Sony Vegas Pro 13 Review



Sony Vegas Pro 13 feels a lot like Vegas Pro 12 with some minor updates to the UI. It features a new proxy editing mode that could be useful for ENG style workflows, enhanced audio level monitoring and new collaboration features.

The number one thing we were looking for in Vegas Pro 13 is increased performance, stability and exploitation of multicore and GPU heavy systems for real time editing and faster rendering times. Sony makes no mention of any improvements to the fundamental Vegas engine. In our tests it seems to perform very much like Vegas Pro 12. Projects that experience hiccups in 12 performed just the same in Vegas 13.

Our favorite new feature of Vegas Pro 13 is the multi-tool pop up menu that is now located beneath the timeline. It’s a subtle change that’s implemented in a seamless way that feels instantly familiar and is very handy.  

The CALM loudness meters are a nice addition to Vegas Pro that adds a level of confidence when mastering assets for broadcast distribution. However, considering the Vegas pedigree as an audio platform from the beginning, this should be a rev upgrade to Vegas Pro 11 and 12 users anyway.

Project archiving is useful. Despite our best efforts in the past we always seem to be missing a file in our manually created archives. Again, should have been a rev upgrade.

Vegas Pro Connect seems like the product team was told it had to incorporate a mobile app somehow to make the platform more relevant. We think this feature is good intentioned but would require more work on the client side than necessary. A simple conversation to discuss the edit is faster and easier. We don’t think we’ll ever use this and it’s certainly not a reason to upgrade to Vegas Pro 13.   

Overall we’re unimpressed with Vegas Pro 13. The features we enjoy seem like revision rather than release updates. We’re disappointed because Vegas is still one of our favorite NLEs that we use on a regular basis. The feature set is extremely robust and it's still the most intutive NLE on the market.  In our view Sony missed a major opportunity here. Our advice would be to focus on exploiting workstation horsepower and provide the most versatile and stable NLE on the market. Internally the code name for Vegas 14 should be Kevlar.  The CALM meters, Archiving and Multitool menue are all nice additions but please, no more goofy iPad collaboration features.  

For more information and all the specs visit Sony Creative Software.

Convergent Design Odyssey7Q Review



The Odyssey7Q combines a high quality 7.7 OLED monitor with an SSD based recorder to allow the capture of high bit rate quality codecs such as ProRes, DNxHD, Sony FS700 Raw, Canonc500 4K Raw and other options available via pay firmware upgrades. We used it with the Sony FS700 to capture ProRes HQ at 220Mbps.

The file based workflow is all about flash memory. On our shoot we utilized a variety of flash memory. The Odyssey7Q requires Convergent's branded SSD. We also recorded the native FS700 files to an SD card inside the Sony, glad we did and more on that shortly. The DLSR and Sound Devices recorder used compact flash.

The OLED display on the Odyssey is very nice. It's large enough Before we go any further we have one work of advice for any file based acquisition day, redundancy. We recorded audio to both cameras and the Odyssey7Q as well as the Sound Devices Mixer. We recorded video to both cameras natively and Odyssey7Q.

Our shoot was a series of sit down interviews. Pretty straightforward. Once we were setup we let it rip and then it became more about data management. The Odyssey7Q recorded in chunks of 3.94GB for every 2:45 worth of roll. So after each interview we'd have about 8 files to assemble and cut. The 7D records in 3.99GB chunks for every 13:05. So a couple of files per interview and we'd interrupt the flow periodically to reslate.  With a couple of SSDs it's easy to keep rolling while transferring files.  We highly advise having a system with USB 3.0 to transfer the files and we're looking forward to Thunderbolt in the future.  After a full day of shooting on the two cameras plus redundant files we had 600GB of data to manage.      

The Odyssey7Q was easy to figure out and worked seamlessly for the most part. The 7.7 inch OLED makes for a good size touch screen. However, all is not sweetness and light. We encountered corrupted files for a portion of two of the interviews. Just flat out corrupt files. This is the gotcha in the file based workflow. When it goes bad it's just gone. It's not a few hits in an analog tape. The good news is we had the second camera and the native codec from the FS700 as a backup. However, for a field recorder that's approaching $3K in cost this is not acceptable. It's been years and years of SxS and P2 with and we've never lost a file to corruption. Devices like the Odyssey7Q need to be just as robust. And from our initial field test it appears they're not.

Our advice isn't to shy away from the Oddyssey7Q. This is where things are headed and we expect the folks at Convergent and industry as a whole to make these types of external recorder/displays as rock solid as P2 and SxS. For now remember our keyword for the day, redundancy. As you embrace new technologies that enable you to capture the most brilliant images possible, have a plan in place to capture at least an image, in case you happen to lose a few a long the way.

For more information and all the specs on the Odyssey 7Q visit Convergent Design. 

Pixelan DissolveMaster Review



Pixelan Software’s DissolveMaster provides endless options for creating compelling dissolves that can add production value in subtle ways or be pushed to create interesting effects. We tested DissolveMaster in Sony Vegas Pro 12. The brief 30 second clip above was made by dropping in presets before playing with settings. It comes with myriad presets that can be adjusted with intuitive controls, like shape, glow, color, and percentage of effect.  It’s a clean and easy to use plug-in that also makes it easy to save your favorite presets with a simple right mouse click.



It the video above we used the same seqence and tweaked the settings to create new looks.  It's easy to see how quickly you can create your own looks with the presets provided in DissolveMaster. 

You can spend hours and hours experimenting with DissolveMaster to create your own presents. The plug-in is hardware accelerated and worked fine on our 2 year old workstation with a Quadro 4000 inside. We tend to primarily use cuts and dissolves in our edits and not a lot of special effects.  DissolveMaster gives the dissolves a little something extra.

DissolveMaster includes film dissolves, soft directional dissolves, blur dissolves, glow/flash dissolves and endless ways to tweak all the settings. So you can keep it clean and simple or experiment with color changes and visual effects made possible as DissolveMaster organically animates the video. A well-crafted dissolve can certainly have an impact on the overall quality of your edit and effective story telling. On the flip side it can be a noticeable distraction which is always a pitfall of a new toy. Experimentation and restraint when necessary will lead to success with DissolveMaster.

Dissolve Master offers good value at $50 and will get more useful over time as you create your own presets to complement your content.

Visit Pixelan Software to find out more and test it with your NLE of choice.

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