Hitting a wall with Vegas

Quite a few Sony Vegas users read this blog, but I might have to move to CS4 or FCS soon. While Vegas is possibly the best *editor* in terms of usability, it doesn’t satisfy me regarding color grading — which is the main thing I do.

Even when using the 32bit mode to grade, I get blotches and ugly artifacts. Using a mask without having too much halo is impossible too. Using motion tracking is not supported. Basic color plugins like a vector-based rainbw-color plugin (like the super-buggy third party Aav6cc) are missing. And if that’s not enough, Red Giant Software has stopped maintaining Magic Bullet for Vegas, does not develop any new products for Vegas, and BorisFX also left the Vegas camp too a few months ago. In other words, Vegas becomes much-unsupported by third party plugins, and itself doesn’t have all the features (or the usability in the current tools) a colorist needs. In my view, Vegas is irrelevant right now, even if it has thousands of users and it gets a lot of new ones every day (who buy it because it’s the best *frame editor* for the price). The problem is with actual support (like on things I wrote here), advanced features, and the nonexistent third party plugin support.

Check this amazing grading done in AE by Charles-Etienne Pascal, where he didn’t use any third party plugins at all (special thanks to Charles-Etienne for letting me use the grabs). The outcome is milky. Doing a similar 32bit grading on Vegas resulted in visible artifacts (when viewed in 1:1). For some reason, Vegas’ own color plugins don’t take a lot of pushing before they show artifacts.

For those interested on how it was done, it involved 3 video tracks, one with a mask around the eyes to lower the gamma in them and make them visible, a track with a mask around the head to change the face color using Color Corrector, change the lighting on the face using bump map’s spotlight option, and some unsharpen mask, and a third track that changes the gamma/colors on the background to make it darker.

The easiest way to come somewhat close to that look without having to use all these tracks and masking, is by using the “punchy” Magic Bullet Looks template modified, and unsharpen mask.

Nevertheless, Adobe’s CS4 might be in my near future.


William Eggington wrote on September 19th, 2009 at 10:21 AM PST:

I’m a long time AE user and while I love the control, the render times drive me nuts. I have 8 cores in my machine but by default AE only uses 1. You have to really bend it on its ear using plugins like Nucleo Pro to utilize the full potential of your machine and even then it puts such a crazy burden on your hardware (running 8 instances of AE and binding them all together) that its difficult to keep things stable. CS4 utilized your full hardware at render time but not while your animating/editing. I’m looking at upgrading to eyeon’s Fusion. It at least has background rendering, supports all of AE’s plugins and more.

xiaNaix wrote on September 19th, 2009 at 11:47 AM PST:

Is Fusion limited to using 4GB RAM as well? I’ve been waiting for Adobe to get their poop in group and update AE for 64-bit processors.

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Eugenia wrote on September 19th, 2009 at 12:42 PM PST:

AE is indeed slow. I sat down and used it last night, since I already own CS4, but it’s very slow to preview, even with no plugins attached to it. And it also doesn’t have secondary PC monitor preview it seems (Vegas does, and it’s great).

Things I like on AE are: the 3D lighting ability, motion tracking, better algorithms for color/masking that don’t barf on themselves like they do on Vegas. But for just these 3 features, not sure it’s worth the jump.

Jim wrote on September 19th, 2009 at 9:17 PM PST:

I wonder if a solution would be to edit in Vegas and then render, then open the file in AE and use their tools.

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Eugenia wrote on September 19th, 2009 at 10:05 PM PST:

No, because the cuts won’t be there.

Dustin wrote on September 20th, 2009 at 10:23 AM PST:

So if you move to FCS you will have to buy a mac….

Aaron Grech wrote on September 20th, 2009 at 11:17 AM PST:

Thanks for the great article! Why Vegas is being deserted by plugin developers? Personally, I see Vegas as a God send for editing quickly HD video and wouldn’t even dream of going back to the slow and buggy Premiere! Again, I can’t understand why plugins aren’t being developed for the best video editor on the PC! BTW; I’ve learned about Vegas thanks to one of your articles on Os News, can’t thank you enough!


Charles-Etienne Pascal wrote on September 20th, 2009 at 1:06 PM PST:

I think that Vegas does its main job (video editing) very well. It is possible to do some decent grading for corporate videos and stuff like that, but for high end grading you need a software designed for it. It’s like trying to do some video editing in After Effects or any compositing software; it sucks. I agree with you guys that it would be cool to have more third party developers interested, but the best thing would be a separate application from Vegas designed by Sony that let’s us color grade individual shots without having to render them. A bit like FCP and Color. Too bad I hate FCP…

Bezedor wrote on September 21st, 2009 at 7:28 AM PST:

>Why Vegas is being deserted by plugin developers?
Maybe because its plugin support has certain limitations that require 3rd party developers to find workarounds. E.g. I use NeatVideo a lot and I love it but there is a known stutter issue with it in Vegas. The developer says there is nothing to do with this unless Vegas improves its plugin support…

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Eugenia wrote on September 21st, 2009 at 3:47 PM PST:

Yes, it is true that the Vegas SDK sucks.

William Eggington wrote on September 21st, 2009 at 4:14 PM PST:

If Final Cut were on a Pee Cee I’d probably use that. It has almost everything After Effects does sans a lot of the font/text animation. It can even read after effects plugins!

William Eggington wrote on September 21st, 2009 at 4:22 PM PST:

xiaNaix there is a 64bit version of Fusion.

According to this:


CS4 of Adobe is 64bit optimized which is a huge relief. (Sorry Eugenia. . . I never remember how to do those HTML tags. . . )

Vic wrote on September 21st, 2009 at 8:55 PM PST:

For colour correction, I personally don’t think you can beat Color Finesse 2. Hands down the best software I’ve used for CC. Better than FCP, Vegas and even Avid. If you guys haven’t tried it, I recommend that you do.

Colour Finesse 2

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Eugenia wrote on September 21st, 2009 at 10:17 PM PST:

I used Color Finesse 2 as part of CS4 (it comes for free). I don’t like it much. The interface is quirky. I think Apple’s Color is the best of them all (not counting HW-SW combo solutions like daVinci).

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