In this tutorial I will teach you how to do Zen Proxy Video Editing on a slower computer using Sony Vegas Pro or Movie Studio Platinum.

Proxy Video Editing is a process where you create lower quality Standard Definition copies of your original HD videos and edit/create your project in Sony Vegas Pro or Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum using these lower quality versions. Then once you have finished all your editing you then replace the SD Versions back with the original HD Video files and render your project with them. Proxy Video Editing should totally eliminate any lag in the Preview Window.


Step 1

Create two new folders in the Master Video folder on your computer.
#1 HD Originals
#2 HD to SD Proxies

Find all the HD Videos you want to use in your Vegas project and drag them into the #1 HD Originals folder.

Step 2

Convert all the HD Videos into Standard Definition MPEG2 640x360p files. Please make sure you use the EXACT SAME FILE NAME for the HD Originals and SD Proxy Versions you create - this is extremely important, otherwise the process will not work. You can use any Video Converting program you like, but be aware that many of the "free" programs you can download often do not transcode accurately, leaving you with video that is out of sync and a pain to use. My program of choice is Media Converter 7 by Arcsoft. I have been using this program for a while now and it works beautifully for converting AVCHD Video. I have made a tutorial which teaches you how to use Media Converter to create your proxy videos.

UPDATE October 2014 - please read !

Media Converter by Arcsoft is no longer available. Arcsoft has withdrawn this product from service.
There are many different Media Converter software programs available. A free one that works very well is Any Video Converter.
You can download directly from this link:

Step 3

Set up your new Vegas project using the full HD settings that match your original source video. So if you are making a 1080p project, please set the Vegas Project Properties to 1080p - don't set to Proxy Video size.

Import the Standard Definition Proxy Video file versions from #2 HD to SD Proxies into Vegas and create your project just as you normally would.

Once you have finished editing, please SAVE the project using this naming format "Name of Your Project - SD Version".

Now close Sony Vegas down.

Step 4

Go to your Master Video Folder and re-name the #2 HD to SD Proxies folder to:
"HD to SD Proxies - used files"

Step 5

Boot up Sony Vegas and then Open your project "Name of Your Project - SD Version"

Vegas will now freak out and tell you the files are missing and ask you to search for them. This is the step where you now replace the SD Proxy Video Versions back with the Original HD Video files from the #1 HD Originals folder. Please watch my video now to see exactly how to use the Search Function in Vegas to swap the Video Files over.

Once all the videos have been replaced, you are now ready to Render your Project using the original high quality files. However just before you do this step, you may like to review any Colour Correction Fx that you have added. This is because the lower quality SD Proxy videos may have shifted in colour slightly from the originals.

Step 6

RE-SAVE your project using a DIFFERENT name, so that you have a HD Version of your Project Files saved.

Use something like "Name of Your Project - HD Version".

Now you will have two different versions of your project saved so that you can bounce between using either one. You will have to re-name the "#2 HD to SD Proxies - used files" version, back to "#2 HD to SD Proxies" if you want to do more proxy video editing of the same project.

 Update June 2015: Movie Studio Platinum 13 & Vegas Pro 13 Users Must Read this !

If you are using Movie Studio Platinum 13 or Sony Vegas Pro 13, there is now an inbuilt Proxy Video Creation tool which means you can now let Movie Studio or Vegas Pro program do all the hard work for you.

Instructions for Movie Studio Platinum 13 and Sony Vegas Pro 13

Step 1 - Import all your video clips

Step 2 - Open the Project Media tab and then select/highlight all your video clips as a group.

Step 3 - Now right-click highlighted group and select Create Video Proxy. Movie Studio/Vegas Pro will now render video proxy versions for all your video clips. The proxy versions will be easier to play and work with. The will be saved into the same folder location as your original videos. Please note that it may take quite some time for your video proxies to be rendered, especially if they are large in file size.

Step 4 - Drag your videos onto the timeline as you normally would. The program will automatically play back the new proxy versions for you. However you must set the Preview Window to Draft or Preview quality for the proxy video versions to playback while you edit.

If you set the Preview Window to Good or Best, your original HD or 4K video versions will play instead.

Step 5 - When it is time to render/export your project, you don't have to do anything different or swap any files out. The program will automatically render your project using the original video files.




About Derek Moran
Derek Moran is the author of all articles on Movie Studio Zen.
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  • This commment is unpublished.
    • Member
    · 06:54 03/03/2014
    When Sony Movie Studio Platinum Suite Version 12 opens the Mpeg 2 files that were converted with Media Converter 8 the audio is intact but the video is mostly missing, except for a few frames at the beginning of the clip. I'm guessing something in the setup on V 12 is not correct. Do you have any suggestions?
    • This commment is unpublished.
      • Moderator
      · 12:37 03/03/2014
      The problem you are describing has nothing to do with Movie Studio.
      Your videos have not converted properly with Media Converter 8. The problem is most likely caused by something strange in the original video, that Media Converter can't understand. Example = embedded closed captions. I have personally experienced this myself. The solution that works for me is to use a different video converter. Try Any Video Converter - free edition.
      Send me an email if you would like instructions.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        • Member
        · 16:27 03/03/2014
        Thanks for the fast reply. My files are Sony MP4 AVC files shot with a NEX VG30 camera.
        The converted 640 x 360 mpeg 2 clip play fine in the HD to SD proxy folder. But once imported into Movie Studio V12 the video goes black very quickly. If played in the trimmer they will play all the way through the clip but if I stop the play in mid clip in the trimmer the video goes black. In the event line only a few frames of the beginning video will play before going black. This might be a bug in the new release of Media Converter 8.

        MSPS V12 seems to import resized Mpeg 4 files just fine so maybe I'll just use those type of downsized files.

        Thanks again.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Andy · 08:49 16/01/2014
    I tried to do proxy editing from MTS (1080p) and mpeg2 as suggested. It does not work for me.

    After working on the SD formats, renaming the folder and relinking, the large files seem to attach, however when trying to render I only see export for audio formats. Also I can see the import files but when trying to play back the HD files the preview screen is black, only audio works.
    I am doing this on the trial version of movie studio, does it have anything to do with that?

    • This commment is unpublished.
      • Moderator
      · 13:03 16/01/2014
      Hi Andy
      The trial version is fully functional and makes no difference.
      You have done something wrong with one of your files and have disconnected the Video file from the Audio file - this is my guess.
      In would suggest that you start fresh with a new project and do a very simple test before going any further. Re-watch my tutorial and do an experiment with just ONE video file. Don't do any edits or add anything else. Just get familiar with the workflow for working with Proxies. Convert your video, add it in and then swap it out. Once you master this, then try a real project.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Andy · 09:04 17/01/2014
        Thank you for insisting on this, it worked indeed, don't know what happened previously.

        I have to say (thanks to your method) Movie Studio is the first software I manged to do proxy editing easily.

        And thanks for all the tutorials, awesome work. You are close to getting Sony Movie Studio another client!
        • This commment is unpublished.
          • Moderator
          · 15:15 17/01/2014
          That's good news.
          The advice I gave you is the same protocol I follow myself when something goes wrong.
          All the best
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Lear · 08:23 23/11/2013
    Hey Derick, i have gameplay footage from FRAPS. It is in avi. form. Do I need to convert them or will it be fine? If I need to convert them what would you advise as a free converter?

    Thak you,
    • This commment is unpublished.
      • Moderator
      · 14:52 23/11/2013
      It will be fine - no need to convert.
      Just make sure you set the frame rate in Movie Studio Project Properties to match your fraps video frame rate.
      Also, most Gamers like to turn Off Re-Sampling to give a sharper picture. So after you import your video to the timelime, right-click and go to Switches - Disable Resample.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Anders Ohlsson · 17:36 21/11/2013
    Hi Derek, Liked your Proxy Edit video. Tried to apply to 3D from my Sony HDR-TD10 3D Handycam.
    I used MediaConverter 8.0 to convert to Mpeg2 Editing works fine and the switch from proxy to original files is seamless.
    Somehow the original surround 5.1 audio ends up as stereo in the "proxy' standard in Movie Studio 12 Ultimate and remains "stereo" after the conversion to original files.
    I use MediaConverter 8.0 to convert the original .MTS files to Mpeg2.
    I would appreciate your suggestions.
    Best Regards

    Anders Ohlsson
    Boise, ID
    • This commment is unpublished.
      • Moderator
      · 00:28 22/11/2013
      Hi Anders.
      This is a bit complicated.
      Firstly, I don't think Media Converter has the ability to convert a Video with 5.1 Audio file attached into MPEG2 Video and keep the 5.1 - it is going to convert it into Stereo only.
      Did you set up the Original Project Properties in Movie Studio to have 5.1 Audio Tracks ? Go into Project Properties and look at Audio tab settings and make sure it is set to 5.1. As soon as you do this, extra Audio Tracks will appear on the timeline. When you import the Proxy Versions that just have Stereo Audio, the audio should sit on the Front Speaker track.
      After editing and you swap the video files for the originals, the 5.1 audio should fill up the extra audio tracks.
      I also have another idea if this does not work, but it is very complicated. If you need further help, please send me an email to and I can then send some screen shots to you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Lukas Karlsson · 05:54 28/04/2013

    I have a i5-M480@2.96GHz laptop with 8GB of ram and a Geforce M310 (1GB video memory). Running Vegas Pro 12 with GPU acceleration on.

    I tried to preview while working with some GoPro3 videos 1080p@60fps and it is almost impossible to work with the files. Even in worst preview quality everything lags.

    My to questions:
    Does my computer really suck how much laptop power is needed?
    Is Proxy Video the only solution if a new laptop is not an option?

    Thanks in advanced!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    swilly · 04:44 13/03/2013
    Your a Genius! I am used to Camtasia but now my JVC AVCHD files converted to MP4 are so choppy I cannot edit:( So I'm doing a Trial with Sony Vegas Movie. Do you have any tricks for Camtasia to make files stream in Preview nicely? I'm not looking forward to Learning a new Platform. Any help here? Mr. Zen?:)

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