This Vegas Movie Studio 17 review marks the fourth release of the software since Magix bought out the entire Sony Creative range of video and audio editing products a few years back now.
Despite the doomsday rumblings at that time as to what what Magix was going to do with the software, the company has steadily continued development with very good results.
So just as I do whenever I am embarking on any new review, here is a video from Vegas Creative showing a reasonably complete run through of the software and what it looks like.
Now before I embark on this full Vegas Movie Studio 17 review I think it is important to address why Movie Studio in many ways sits outside the box when it comes to consumer level video editing software.
Movie Studio was always a bit of an oddball within the consumer level video editing software market over the years mainly due to its origins.
The product grew out of some of the very first digital video editing software made by Sonic Foundry, later purchased by Sony which ultimately became Vegas Pro.
All of those early editors were designed around the existing terminology, techniques and workflows of professional film editors to make them more attractive to that specific market.
At some point the geniuses at Sony (the owners at the time) worked out that video editing was finding its way into the consumer market so they decided to create a “home user” version of the software.
Unfortunately the result of that was a very well equipped piece of software that was an absolute nightmare to learn or understand unless you were a pro editor.
Over the years design changes were made to make it easier to handle but I don’t think Sony ever actually grasped the concept of easing a new user into a totally foreign piece of software.
Of course the reality is that no matter which editing software you choose, if you have had no previous experience with it, it will all look a little daunting!
With the sale of the software to Magix a few years back things finally started to fall into place for Movie Studio.
Magix have not really tried to add a bunch of new bells and whistles to the program given that the software always had a pretty formidable feature set on offer.
What they have introduced has been an entirely new view on the way the software looks and operates from the user’s point of view.
The user interface is now a simple clean arrangement offering easy access to the extensive set of features on offer without all the clutter.
If you are new to the software or new to Vegas Movie Studio of course like any editing software, it will all seem a bit foreign so to deal with that Movie Studio comes armed with a set of interactive lessons built in to the interface.
You can get up to pace and be working on your project in no time at all and more importantly, any time you get stuck or want to know how to do something, you can access the appropriate guide to find out immediately how to do it.
For an idea of actually working within the software check out this video below which although uses version 16 everything is pretty much the same.
Mode Based Workflows
The new Mode-based workflow has been introduced to offer a sequential approach to putting together your project based on a logical progression of steps.
As you can see in the image above you start with the addition of video, audio and image assets then from there move through to Titles, Graphic Elements Transitions, Special Effects etc until you finally output to your file type of choice.
At any time you can switch to the Power User Mode which immediately converts the user interface into the fully loaded editing interface.
This workflow is actually based on the same workflow most professional editor make use of and minimizes the need to keep switching back and forth to correct things that have been thrown out by other actions.
The best part of it is that whenever you are working on a specific type of feature such as transitions or titles etc., the user interface switches instantly to only show the tools and settings relevant to that activity.
This is a great way of keeping your screen real estate clean and uncluttered and lets you always know just where you are in the editing process.
You can see a demonstration of both the Mode Based workflow in the video below.
Guided Video Creator
This is an even more guided approach to making video projects that steps you through the entire process from the point of selecting the video assets you are going to use.
Interactive Storyboard Editing
Again another feature designed to make the software more user friendly.
Having a Storyboard view within the editing interface is hardly a groundbreaking new feature in any video editing software!
However in most editors that level of functionality available in storyboard mode is usually greatly reduced based on the assumption that storyboarding is only going to be used to add media to a project in a very general “overview” sort of way.
In Movie Studio 16 you have the ability to use your cursor to scrub through each clip shown in the library so you can get a better idea of what that clip contains.
You can not only layout your clips from this view of the editor but also trim clips and rearrange them to achieve a fast “rough cut” of your project.
Vegas Movie Studio is offered at three levels:
Vegas Movie Studio 17
This is the simplest version of the program ideally suited for someone wanting to perform simple editing and uploading to the internet or mobile devices.
It offers basic editing features, special effects and tools but has no ability to create discs of any kind, has limited audio features and only ten available video or audio tracks.
It does have integrated uploading to YouTube and other services because that’s basically the style of editing or distribution it is aimed at.
VEGAS Movie Studio 17 Platinum
At this level most of the more advanced features begin to kick in with more pro tools such as motion tracking and enhanced video stabilization available.
You can adjust the layouts of your windows and workspaces then save them for later use.
The sheer number of features you get at this stage is far too long to list here but some of the highlights are the NewBlue Transitions Ultimate package, the ability to color match footage as well as secondary color correction.
You can execute motion tracking along with the ability to use Bézier masking, one-touch video stabilization, complete 360° editing workflow and much much more.
At this level Vegas Movie Studio also adds the ability to burn DVDs, Blu-ray discs and AVCHD on to DVD discs.
You also get a much wider range of audio effects, video effects and filters plus greater ability to control them.
VEGAS Movie Studio 17 Suite
At this level you are about as close as you are going to get to a pro editing solution at the consumer end of the market.
This is mainly achieved through the implementation of NewBlue FX packages consisting of:
- NewBlue Transitions Ultimate
- NewBlue Cartoonr Plus
- NewBlue Cinema Collection Template
- NewBlue Chroma Key Pro
- NewBlue Essentials 5 V3
- NewBlue Fluid Template Pack
- NewBlue Titler Pro Express
This version represents the peak of the Movie Studio family with all the bells and whistles and I think if you look hard enough, you will find the kitchen sink too!
It has hundreds of features and can do just about anything you can think of and it is at this level that the interactive guides really become necessary.
There is just a bewildering array of video, audio and still image effects and features inside the program and to list them all out would take pages and pages which I am not going to do here.
You can see a full Product Comparison Chart Here
There is no point going into what Vegas Movie Studio 17 can do here… it does it all and it does it very, very well!
Of all the video editing software at the consumer level Vegas Movie Studio 16 is one of the most feature packed products at each price level.
It particularly excels in the field of manually controlling every aspect of video production and honestly if it can’t do what you want then you probably need to go up to a pro editor.
With its excellent tutorial system the learning curve is still a curve but much less painful than most.
Within a very short time you will have the software well under control and doing what you want it to do.