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.
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.
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 Arcsoft has withdrawn this product from service.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:
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.
Go to your Master Video Folder and re-name the #2 HD to SD Proxies folder to:
"HD to SD Proxies - used files"
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.
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.