Vegas Movie Studio 14 marks the first update of this software since Magix bought out the entire Sony Creative range of video and audio editing products last year.
Despite the doomsday rumblings of existing users regarding what Magix was going to do with the software, this update has clearly marked Magix intention to not only bring the software up to date but to continue its development.
So just as I do whenever I am embarking on a review here is a video from Vegas Creative showing a quick overview of the software itself and what has changed in this new version.
Before I get into a full Vegas Movie Studio 14 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 is a bit of an anomaly within the the consumer level video editing software market due to its history in that it doesn’t really look or behave like most of the others in this market.
The reason for this is that the product itself grew out of the original Creative professional editing software which we now know as Vegas Pro.
At that time video editing software was considered to be something only professionals would ever use and the idea that average people would be shooting and editing digital videos on home computers was about as likely as us all having flying cars.
Sadly we don’t have our flying cars yet but we certainly do have a wide range of video editing products available these days!
All of those early editors were based on the terminology, techniques and workflows of professional film editors which is why when you look at the Vegas Movie Studio user interface it can seem a little daunting!
However 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.
Every brand of software on the market will at least at some point in time make the claim that, “It’s easy to use!”
I don’t care which software you are using or are thinking about using, that claim is absolutely meaningless.
I have had friends who are professional video editors at the level of feature films sit down with an “easy to use” consumer grade editing suite and be utterly stumped by it.
So, is Vegas Movie Studio easy to use?
Yes, if you are a professional editor!
If you are not, then like the rest of us you have a bit of a learning curve to get over before you can unleash its full potential.
So the real question is, “How well does the product guide you through that learning curve?”
In the case of Movie Studio 14, they have met the challenge admirably and have included with all their versions a series of excellent interactive guides built in to the program.
For any person new to video editing or new to the software this is by far one of the best introductions and guided tutorial series I have seen.
Before you even get started with the software you can spend an hour or so just following the interactive lessons learning the exact procedure for any given task within the software.
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 and find out immediately how to do it.
To give you an idea of it check the video below to see an explanation of adding effects to a project.
Although a few years back Sony attempted to improve the overall look of the program and make the interface easier to understand I can’t really say they succeeded particularly.
The image below is the old interface and I guess if you were looking for outdated and clunky this would certainly fit the bill!
The good news is that in this latest release Magix have taken the bit between their teeth and completely revamped and streamlined how the software looks and behaves.
I think part of the problem for Sony was that they never really understood what “consumer level” video editing was and how the average person actually used the software.
Fortunately this is exactly where Magix’ expertise comes in and the new interface is clean, modern and does not make your jaw drop to the floor in horror when you first see it!
I think this is a bit better!
As far as other “New” stuff goes most of it falls into the category of bringing Movie Studio up to date with the other video editing suites at this level.
Magix’ task with this software was never really to introduce a bunch of shiny new toys for us all to play with.
Movie Studio has always had the best toys!
What they really needed to do was to add on all the peripheral features that others in the field have been offering for a while now.
In VEGAS Movie Studio 14, (the simplest of the versions available) there is of course the new user interface I already mentioned as well as the ability to directly upload to a range of social media sites. (Can you believe it never had this?)
There is also a couple of new effects and access to Magix Music Maker software which can be used to create your own music tracks.
In VEGAS Movie Studio 14 Platinum you get all of the above plus the addition of Multicam editing which is like a switching module for editing footage of one event from a number of different devices.
To get a better idea here is a video showing it in action.
They have improved the program’s ability to access the computer RAM for previews and have included the NewBlueFX Platinum Complete effects and filters package.
In VEGAS Movie Studio 14 Suite again you get all the above plus a full working copy of SmartSound® Sonicfire® Pro 6, NewBlueFX Titler Pro Express, NewBlueFX Suite Complete and HitFilm Toolkit Pack.
That last one is an additional set of filters and effects from HitFilm.
Vegas Movie Studio is offered at three levels:
Movie Studio 14
This is the bottom of the scale version. It offers basic editing features but has no ability to create discs of any kind. It 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.
It would ideally be for someone wanting to perform simple editing and uploading to the internet or mobile devices.
Movie Studio 14 Platinum
At this level Movie Studio 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.
Movie Studio Platinum 14 Suite
This version represents the peak of the consumer level of the Movie Studio family.
It has 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 14 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 14 is easily the most feature packed product 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.