Vegas Tip: Re-timing your video

Special thanks to [too smart, too hawt] Sony engineer Dennis Adams for the tip!

This tip allows you to change the speed rate of your video at an exact percentage that makes it compatible with a target frame rate. For example, when you want to re-time a 24.00 video to 23.976 fps, or a 30.00 to 29.97 fps, or from 24p to 25p, etc. This method is how DVD makers export 24.00 fps film movies for PAL or IVTC 24p DVDs, for example. Also useful if your digicam doesn’t record in exact NTSC 29.97 (e.g. the Canon 5D, Kodak).

If you just drop a different-than-in-project-properties frame rate video in your timeline, your video will “resample” instead of “retime”, and that’s not what you want to do for media that they have similar but not exact frame rates. With this method there should be no ghosting introduced, and stretched audio will preserve its pitch. If you do see ghosting, “disable resample” for the media before step 10.

This trick should not be used with HDV PF24 or other pulldown-added formats. You need to first remove pulldown and have a “clean” progressive image before you do such frame rate transformations correctly.

1. In Project Properties set the ruler time format to “Absolute Frames”, and make sure that the ruler offset is 0.
2. Make sure that in the “Options” menu, “enable snapping” is ON and “Ignore Event Grouping” is OFF.
3. Set project frame rate to match the current media frame rate (e.g. 24p). You can use the “Match Media Settings” yellow button in the Video tab of the “Project Properties” dialog if it is not a common frame rate and you want to be exact (e.g. cheap digicams are never exact 29.97 or 30.00).
4. Place media at the very start of a video track (time 0).
5. Place cursor at the end of media. After Vegas 8, the cursor will snap at the end.
6. Hit Ctrl+G, Ctrl+C (Selection Start, Copy).
7. Set the project properties to the desired framerate (e.g. PAL 25.00)
8. Focus on the timeline again, make sure cursor is at the end of the media, and hit Ctrl+G, Ctrl+V (Selection Start, Paste).
9. Ctrl+drag right edge of media to new cursor position, snapping to it (like you are time-stretching it).
10. Now, export using a lossless codec (e.g. Cineform, Huffyuv) following your project properties as a guideline as to how exactly to export (e.g. for the Canon 5D 30.00->29.97 fps conversion, it would be 1920×1080, progressive, 29.97 fps, 1.000 aspect ratio).
11. Do the same (steps 1 to 10) for all your clips that need re-timing.
12. Import all the exported clips to a new project, and edit using project properties generated by the “match media” function for these new clips.

Once retimed, if you don’t want to transcode to an intermediate format in step 10, you are free to chop up and trim the clips and use them in your project as is. The step 4, about starting the clip at time 0, was to make the math easy, but clips can be moved later and will stay “retimed”. Just don’t time-stretch them even more (e.g. adding slow-mo) after using this method because they would lose their time frame sync (which is why I suggest you export to an intermediate codec first before really editing the retimed clips).

Hopefully, someone will step up to write a C# Vegas script for it, or even better, Sony adds proper support for it (by letting you edit the frame rate on the media’s properties dialog).

For DVX-100 users read here instead.

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