In this tutorial I show you how to render video with Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 17, using the GPU accelerated Magix AVC/AAC video codec, that has replaced the older Mainconcept encoder.
If you haven't upgraded Vegas Movie Studio Platinum for a few years, the best option for rendering most videos now is to use the new Magix AVC/AAC encoder. There are many different export templates for rendering 4K, 1080p and 720p video. Depending on which CPU and GPU your computer uses, you will see different versions of each template which can take advantage of GPU acceleration to speed up your render times.
Topics Covered in this Tutorial
Overview of new MAGIX AVC/AAC Video Codec - Encoder/Decoder
How to Start a New Vegas Movie Studio Project
What should I do if my Project contains Videos from different Sources?
Check your Project Properties are Set Correctly, for Best Quality Results!
How to turn GPU Acceleration On or Off
How to render (export) a video with Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 17
Make Movie - Options
Make Movie - Save it to my Hard Drive - Quick & Simple rendering method
Make Movie - Using Render As to access all Formats & Templates
Rendering with your CPU, Nvidia NVENC, AMD VCE or Intel QSV
How to Customize Advanced Settings in any Render As (Export) Template
Mobile Phone video recorded with a Variable Frame Rate
How to check if your video is using a Variable Frame Rate or Constant Frame Rate
How to Convert Variable Frame Rate video into Constant Frame Rate video
The new MAGIX AVC/AAC codec for encoding/decoding, replaces the older Mainconcept AVC/AAC encoder/decoder, that has been part of Vegas Movie Studio Platinum for many generations now. This new encoder/decoder is fully optimized to work with Intel® Quick Sync Video (the graphics engine that is part of many Intel CPUs) and all the very latest Nvidia and AMD Radeon hardware architecture. This means that you can now render video using your Graphics Card instead of only using your CPU, which for many people will mean much faster render times!
If you have a compatible Nvidia graphics card, AMD Radeon graphics card or an Intel CPU that includes Intel® Quick Sync Video, you will see new template options in the Render As window that you can select from. Please note that you will only see compatible templates that match the GPU and/or CPU you have installed on your computer.
- If you select a template with no (bracketed) options, Vegas will use your CPU to render the project.
- If you select one of the NVIDIA NVENC options, the rendering will be done by your Nvidia graphics card.
- If you select one of the AMD VCE options, your AMD GPU will render your video.
- If you have an Intel CPU that includes Intel® Quick Sync Video, you will see Intel QSV options.
- If you are already an experienced Vegas Movie Studio user, you can skip this section and go directly to here.
- If you are a beginner and want to learn some cool tricks that will make your life easier, keep reading. Setting up your project correctly, will guarantee you get better quality results when it is time to render (export) your project into a new video.
Welcome screen in Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 17
If you have just upgraded from an older version of Vegas Movie Studio Platinum (version 15 or older), the first thing you will see is the new Welcome Screen. The welcome screen is designed to make starting a new project, easier for new users who have never used Vegas Movie Studio before. However, you can bypass this screen and go directly into Power User Mode. For this tutorial, I am going to go directly into Power User Mode, so press that button now.
To start a new project in Power User Mode, go to Project (top menu) / New.
There is a lot I could explain about the New Project window, but for today I will show you one of the best and simplest methods, which is to use the Match Media Settings function. Vegas Movie Studio will automatically set your Project Properties to match your source video's properties. For 95% of people, this method works very well. However if you are using a non-standard video Frame Size and/or Frame Rate, I would recommend manually setting your Project Properties.
1. Select Match media settings
2. Press the Browse button and find one of the videos you plan to use in your project. Navigate through your folders to find the video and then select Open. Your settings are now automatically matched.
3. Name your project.
4. By default, Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 17 will automatically create a master folder in Documents that is called Movie Studio 17.0 Platinum Projects. If you want to save your projects in a completely different location (something I don't recommend for beginners), press the Browse button and select your new folder location.
5. Select Manage Project Files and this will automatically create a custom folder for your project to live in. I highly recommend you always turn on this setting, because it will make your life a lot easier when trying to separate different projects and not get different projects mixed up.
6. Press OK to accept your New Project settings.
7. Spend hours and days creating your masterpiece in Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 17 !!!
What Frame Rate do the videos in your project use ?
Sometimes you may be working with mixed video frame sizes and frame rates, in which case you can't match everything perfectly in the Project Properties. However, where you can, always try to match all your media as best as possible.
Important! Working with Variable Frame Rate video from mobile devices
If you are using video that was recorded with a Android phone, Android tablet, Apple iPhone or Apple iPad, it has probably been recorded using a Variable Frame Rate. Variable frame rate videos do not work properly in video editing programs like Vegas Pro, which means you will need to convert it into a Constant Frame Rate video before importing into Vegas Pro. Click here for instructions on how to fix this at the end of this tutorial.
Rule #1 - All the videos in my project use the same Frame Rate
If all the videos in your project came from the same camera and use the same frame rate, your life will remain easy and simple. When you start a new project in Vegas Pro, the program will normally ask if you want to: Set your project properties to match this media? When you say yes to this question, Vegas Pro will automatically set the Project Properties for you.
In this scenario, you can import any one of your videos to set the Project Properties.
Example: All your videos in the same project are 1920x1080p @29.97 fps, which means your project properties will be set to the same frame size and frame rate. When it is time to render the project, you will also be rendering to 1920x1080p @29.97 fps.
Rule #2 - The videos in my project were recorded with two different Frame Rates
When you have a project that uses video with different frame rates, you need to plan ahead before setting your Project Properties. I use a basic rule for working out what to do.
When you mix high frame rate video (example 60 fps) with standard frame rate video (example 30 fps), I would normally set the Project Properties to match the standard frame rate video of 30 fps. This means I would also be rendering at 30 fps and not 60 fps. Setting a project up like this is the safest option and should give you the best quality results!
However, if you set the Project Properties to match the 60 fps videos, when it is time to render your project, Vegas will have to create 30x fake frames every time it renders parts of the project that use 30 fps video. If the video subject is moving very fast (like sport), the 30 fps to 60 fps conversion can sometimes look bad. If the subject of your videos is stationary and not moving much, it will probable look perfectly OK.
In this scenario, remember to import the 30 fps video first, so that Vegas Pro sets the Project Properties at 30 fps.
Rule #3 - 95% of my videos high frame rate and less than 5% are standard frame rate
If your project uses 30 fps video and 60 fps video, but 95% of the video is at 60 fps, then you can set the Project Properties to 60 fps.
In this scenario, remember to import the 60 fps video first, so that Vegas Pro sets the Project Properties at 60 fps.
Rule #4 - There are no rules, just experimentation to see what works best for you!
All my rules are simply guides. Video Editing often has many grey areas, because no two projects are the same. Experimentation is key to finding what works best in each unique project.
In this scenario, use your brain and experience to do what works best for you!
Before you get to the Make Movie and/or Render As window, make sure your Project Properties are set correctly. If your Project Properties don't match the Render As template you select, it can potentially have a BIG negative impact on how long Vegas Movie Studio Platinum takes to render your videos and the final video quality.
If you used the Match Media Settings function (as I showed in the previous section) when you started your new Vegas Movie Studio project, everything should already be set correctly. However, it is always a good idea to quickly check that your Project Properties are set correctly, before you begin importing videos and creating Text events.
Project Properties - Video & Audio
There are 3 ways you can open the Project Properties window:
- Use the keyboard shortcut Alt + Enter
- Go to Project (top menu) / Project Properties
- Press the Project Properties button (looks like a cog) above the Preview Window.
Please note that your Project Properties will look different to my example, depending on what type of video you import into your Vegas Movie Studio project.
In the Video tab, I recommend setting the Full-resolution rendering quality = Best
in the Audio tab, I recommend setting the Resample and stretch quality = Best
Before you do anything, make sure your preferred Graphics Card is turned on in Vegas Movie Studio, if you have a compatible GPU installed in your computer.
Go to Options/Preferences/Video - GPU acceleration of video processing
- If you only see the Off option, it means your computer does not have a dedicated graphics card OR you have accidentally connected your monitor to the Motherboard video out port, instead of your dedicated graphics card.
- If you do see one of the GPU options listed below, select your graphics card and then re-boot Vegas to accept the changes.
- If you have problems with Vegas crashing during a render, it is often recommended to try turning OFF your GPU and forcing your CPU to do all of the processing.
There are two different ways you can access the Render As window in Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 17.
1. Most beginners will use the Make Movie button, to access all the different rendering (export) options. If you have no desire to customize any of your export settings, press the Make Movie button near the top menu bar to open the first window.
2. If you are an experienced user and/or want to customize your rendering settings, you can go directly to the advanced Render As window by selecting Project (top menu) / Render As.
There are 6 different options in the Make Movie window:
- Upload to Vimeo
- Upload to YouTube
- Upload to Facebook
- Burn it to a DVD or Blu-ray Disc
- Save it to my camera or portable device
- Save it to my hard drive
I strongly recommend that most people ignore the first three options, unless you have patience and know exactly what you are doing. They are not worth the hassle of setting up and don't give you the ability to preview your video before it is uploaded to the website you select. You should never blindly render a video and upload it to a website, before previewing the video and checking for any errors. In my experience, you will normally find at least one error in any Vegas project, that you won't discover until after you try your first render. The other problem with the Upload options, is that if Vimeo, YouTube or Facebook change their login protocols and Vegas does not receive an update to fix the changes, your login and uploads will fail.
There are better and easier ways to render, preview and upload your videos to YouTube, Vimeo or Facebook, which i will explain below...
I highly recommend the majority of users select the last option Save it to my Hard Drive.
The following window will then open...
Simple versus Advanced Rendering (Export) options
- If you would like Vegas Movie Studio to do all thinking for you, use the above window to render your video.
- If you would like to access the Advanced Options, ignore the 5 steps below and simply press the Advanced Options button, which will open the Render As window.
Simple rendering method
1. Make sure to give your video a file name that makes sense to you.
2. Select MP4 - this is the best option 99% of the time.
3. Make sure Render Loop Region Only is un-checked, if you want to render 100% of your Vegas project. If this option is turned on, only part of your project will be rendered. To learn how to create a Loop Region, read this FAQ here.
4. Make sure to set the output folder location before you begin your render, otherwise you may accidentally save the video to a mystery folder on your computer and wonder why your video is missing ?
5. Press Next to begin rendering your video.
If you press the Advanced options button, it takes you to the Render As window. The Render As window can be accessed faster by going to Project (top menu) / Render As.
With all the boring but important stuff out of the way, lets have a closer look at how to render video using the new Magix AVC/AAC video codec in Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 17.
1. Select the output folder you want to save the video into. One of then most common mistakes people make, is to not check this folder address before they begin a render. If you don't check this, your video could end up in some obscure location on your computer and you start yelling at Vegas like a crazy person!
2. Name your file if you want to give it a unique file name.
3. Select MAGIX AVC/AAC MP4 from the Formats list on left side. This is the best option for making most videos that you want to: play back on your computer, stream over your home network to your Smart TV, upload to YouTube, Vimeo or Facebook.
4. This step is extremely important!
4a. Select a Template that uses the same Frame Rate your Project Properties are set to. If you accidentally choose a template with the wrong Frame Rate, it can slow down your render times dramatically and also effect the visual quality of the video. I see people making this mistake all the time and then they wonder why the video looks bad or took a lifetime to render.
4b. Select a (version) of the Template that uses a specific GPU or CPU to render your video.
5. If you would like to customize more advanced settings, press the Customize Template button now.
If you can't find a template that uses the same frame rate as your project, press the Customize Template button now.
6. If you are ready to render your video using the default template settings, press the Render button now and let the render begin.
If you select a template with no (bracketed) options, Vegas will use your CPU to render the project.
CPU rendering is normally the best option if you require the highest video quality possible.
If you select one of the NVIDIA NVENC options, the rendering will be done by your Nvidia graphics card.
You will need to have a compatible Nvidia graphics card installed, for these templates to be available.
You will also need to have your computer monitor connected via the video port out on your Nvidia GPU.
If you do select an Nvidia NVENC template, you will find advanced render options when you press the Customize Template button in the Render As window. The different settings are fairly well self explanatory.
High performance will give you faster render times.
If video quality is important to you, High Quality is the best preset to select.
I strongly recommend you always use VBR or VBR - high quality.
VBR = Variable Bit Rate. VBR is more efficient for encoding most videos and will give you better quality and smaller file sizes. When the subject matter is stationary in your videos, the encoder doesn't have to use much bit rate to draw the image. However, when there is fast moving objects and/or detailed subjects like trees and grass, a much higher bit rate will be used only for those sections of your video.
CBR = Constant Frame Rate. When you select this option, each frame will be encoded with the same bit rate. When there is not much happening in the frame, a high constant bit rate is a waste of data and will produce higher file sizes.
AMD Radeon graphics
If you select one of the AMD VCE options, your AMD GPU will render the video.
You will need to have a compatible AMD Radeon graphics card installed, for these templates to be available.
You will also need to have your computer monitor connected via the video port out on your AMD Radeon GPU.
Intel® Quick Sync Video
If you select one of the Intel QSV options, Intel® Quick Sync Video will render your video.
You will need to have a compatible Intel CPU installed, for these templates to be available.
You will also need to have your computer monitor connected via the video port out on your Motherboard.
When you press the Customize Template button, the following window will open for your Video settings.
Custom Video Settings
1. When you create custom settings in a default Vegas Pro Template, you can re-name and save it for use in your next project. It will then appear in the full list of Templates shown in the Render As window.
2. Press the Save button to save your new custom template.
3. From the drop down Frame Size options, you can select different Frame Sizes if required. If you need to render a custom frame size (non-standard), select (Custom Frame Size) from the drop down options and then manually enter the Width and Height in pixels.
4. Make sure Allow source to adjust Frame Size is not checked !!!
5. There are three options in the Profile settings: Baseline, Main or High. Most everyday videos are rendered using Main profile settings - if you inspect any random video you find, it will generally be encoded with Main profile. If you are after maximum quality, set to High instead, but be aware that some older devices like TVs, may not be able to decode videos that use the High profile.
6. Here is where you can select a different Frame Rate or enter a custom frame rate. If you are working with 24 fps or 23.976 fps video, you will need to select one the default 25 fps or 29.97 fps templates back in the Render As window and then manually enter 24 fps or 23.976 fps, depending on what your source videos and Vegas project properties are set to.
7. Make sure Allow source to adjust Frame Rate is not checked !!! In many older versions of Vegas Pro, this setting was turned on by default for some unknown reason. Thankfully it is now turned off by default.
8. The Field order for most video is normally encoded as Progressive style video. All video on the websites like YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and Instagram is progressive style video. This means each frame of video is a complete frame. The only time you would be encoding as Interlaced video (Upper Field First or Lower Field First) is when you are making videos for Blu-ray disc or DVD.
9. The Deblocking fliter is meant to help reduce pixel blocking artifacts that you often see in blue sky or green grass. In reality though, this setting never seems to make much difference. If you do see a lot of pixel block artifacts in your rendered videos, I would recommend you try an advance rendering method using Handbrake instead of Vegas Pro. I have a detailed tutorial on this topic here, if you have the patience and brain power to try something very cool!
10. Like the deblocking filter, Two-pass rendering is meant to improve overall video quality. As the name suggests, this setting performs a double-pass of your project, so takes twice the amount of time to render.
11. The Bit Rate settings directly influence the quality of your video and file size. The higher your Bit Rates are, the more data is available for encoding fine details in your video. Just remember that higher bit rates = larger files sizes. The reverse is also true - if want to make your file sizes smaller, you need to reduce the Bit Rates. Using Variable Bit Rates is always the best option for achieving qood quality and reasonable file sizes.
12. If you have a dedicated Nvidia or AMD Radeon GPU or Intel Quck Sync Video, you can select it from this drop down box. If don't have a dedicated graphics card and don't have an Intel CPU with QSV (Quick Sync Video), the only option will be Mainconcept. This means your CPU will do all of the work in rendering your video.
Custom Audio Settings
If you would like to customize your Audio Settings, select the Audio tab at bottom on window.
1.The Sample Rate should match your Project Properties and source video properties.
2. The average audio BIt Rate used for most videos is 192,000 kbps. If audio quality is important for you and your project was recorded at a much higher Bit Rate, make sure to select the same Bit Rate your Project Properties and source video audio properties uses.
System & Project tabs
Generally speaking you can ignore the System and Project settings, because the default setting is to match theses settings to your Vegas Pro Project Property settings.
Start Rendering (exporting) your video
If you created custom settings and want to remember what you used for different projects in the future, make sure to re-name and save your custom template, as discussed already, then press OK to close the Custom Settings window.
Now press the Render button to begin rendering (exporting) your video.
This is starting to become a major problem for many new video editors who shoot a lot of video with their phones, so it needs to be addressed. If your project is using video recorded from a mobile phone, it will most likely be recorded with a Variable Frame Rate. All video editing programs work best with Constant Frame Rate video and not variable frame rate video. Technically speaking you can import this type of video into Vegas Pro, however in reality it can cause problems and "glitchy" video.
I recommend anyone using variable frame rate video, to first convert it to constant frame rate, before you import it into Vegas.
First you need to inspect your video and see if it is using a variable frame rate. There is a free app you can download and install, called MediaInfo. It is safe to download and install on your computer, as just about every computer nerd in the universe uses this app. Please read this tutorial for how to install and setup MediaInfo on your computer.
If your video is using a variable frame rate, you will see this in the MediaInfo metatdata readout.
If you need to convert variable frame rate video into constant frame rate video, I recommend a free open source program called Handbrake. I have a beginners guide tutorial for how to use Handbrake here. For a basic conversion, all you need to read is the first section of this tutorial.