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This tutorial will teach you how to set up Sony Vegas Pro 12 for rendering/exporting 1080p or 720p HD Video suitable for YouTube, Vimeo or playback on your home computer.

Which format should I use ?

There are always many different ways to skin a cat with Sony Vegas Pro 12. With the release of this version of Vegas Pro, Sony has created some easy to use Internet Rendering Templates under the MainConcept AVC/AAC (.mp4) format.

MainConcept AVC/AAC (.mp4)

Mainconcept uses the H.264 codec which is widely used and accepted on all websites, so it is a safe choice to use. Mainconcept produces a slightly higher contrast look with very vivid colours. If your Bit Rate is on the low side, you can lose some detail in dark and shadowy areas of your video. It does have the advantage of the option to use your GPU (Graphics Card) to help speed up your rendering times. Please note that you will need a compatible Graphics Card for GPU Acceleration to work. You can read more about the requirements for GPU Acceleration here on the official Sony Creative Software website.

Windows Media Video (.wmv)

The other choice you could use for making your videos is Windows Media Video (.wmv)
Windows Media Video creates a slightly different look to Mainconcept, which some people may prefer. The colours are a little more muted with this codec, however it does hold onto small detail in any dark and shadowy areas of your video.

One dis-advantage of Windows Media Video is that it is extremely CPU intensive when rendering. So it takes a lot of juice and time to render this codec out. You will also need a fair amount of RAM (memory) installed if you intend to render full 1080p video with WMV. On lower powered computers with not enough memory, it can just keel over and die halfway through rendering.

If you are interested in Rendering to Windows Media Video instead of MainConcept AVC/AAC, then you can watch a video tutorial I made for Sony Vegas Pro 11, where I showed three different ways to render. About one third of the way through this video I showed how to render with WMV.

Sony Vegas Pro 11: How to Render 720p and 1080p HD Video for YouTube

render as template selection

Where can I play back this type of video ?

Rendering to an Interent Template does not limit you to just uploading it to a website. You can also use this format for playback on your computer.

However, if you want to make a BluRay Disc or DVD, you will have to render to some different formats. You can learn about this through these related articles:

How to Render Video for BluRay Disc using Movie Studio Platinum 12

How to Render a Video Suitable for turning into a DVD


Special Upgrade Deals - remember to buy the right version !

If you already own an older version of Sony Vegas Pro, Sony Movie Studio Platinum  or Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum, you automatically qualify for special discounted upgrade pricing if you purchase directly through the Sony Creative Software website.

Don't own Vegas Pro yet and would like to start editing ?

Use the link below to grab your first copy of Sony Vegas Pro direct through Sony Creative Software now.

Sony Creative Software Inc.


About Derek Moran
Derek Moran is the author of all articles on Movie Studio Zen.
You can find me on YouTube, , FacebookTwitterRead more about Derek...

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ian Kunena Avatar   29.07.2014 23:27
Problems with rendering Yes No Hey Derek,

great article and I'm hoping you can help.

I've assembled a bunch of clips that I want to now render as one big file. Preferably lossless so I can go back in and add some colouring. Doing it clip by clip was ridiculous as the render time was 3 days!

I'm thinking one big AVI but it keeps rendering it in blocks. No idea and have to say Vegas has got a mind of its own. The film is only 12 minutes long too.

Have you got an ideal setting that could achieve this?

Derek Kunena Avatar   30.07.2014 00:34
Yes No Which exact version of the program are you using ?
I have never heard of Vegas rendering a project in blocks - you must be doing something wrong. Video for Windows is a completely uncompressed format and will produce insanely large files - too big to be practical. Did you watch 100% of the tutorial and follow my instructions precisely or come up with your own method ?
Please check the bottom of the Render As window and make sure that Render Loop Region Only has not been selected. Doing this will mean that only part of your project will render.
How many minutes in total is this "bunch of clips" you have added to one big project ? If Vegas is saying that it is going to take three days, you must have a very old and slow computer and/or you have added a tonne of Video Fx in large chains.
Do you have the GPU turned ON in Vegas preferences ?
Which encode mode did you choose ? CPU, Cuda or OpenCL ?
Until I know just how big (length in time) your project is, I am in the dark a bit.
Most professional Video Editors using Vegas Pro, render to Avid DNXHD Video Codec to use as an intermediate Video File in the situation you have described for yourself. You will need to download and install Avid DNXHD and make sure your have Apple Quicktime installed.
You then render using the Quicktime format and have to press Customize Template and then select Avid from the Video Format options.
John Rofrano has a tutorial which explains this in full.
This is an advanced technique. If you are a beginner, I would suggest you bring it down a couple of gears and try something simpler and smaller. If however you have some experience with these things, go for it.
andreas Kunena Avatar   12.11.2013 04:52
How to Render 1080p and 720p Video using Sony Vegas Pro 12 Yes No i want to join some fullhd clips i recorded with my phone...what values should i set in bitrate?the bigger one is 9739mbps and the lowest 4080mbps?others are 6 or seven mbps...constant or variable bitrate mode?and what numbers?funny is when i join them with a simple tool(boilsoft splitter)the quality is as the original vids...when i do it in vegas,there is always a slight drop in frames,u can tell the difference...what am i doing wrong?i just want to join clips with no quality loss.please answer
Derek Kunena Avatar   12.11.2013 23:48
How to Render 1080p and 720p Video using Sony Vegas Pro 12 Yes No There are no videos in the Universe with those kind of bit rates.
Nine thousand seven hundred and thirty nine Mega Bits per second ?
In guess you actually mean something like 9.739 Mbps.
When rendering video you should always render to the same Frame Rate the original video was recorded in were possible. For best quality, leave the Bit Rate settings in Vegas at the default high values. Something like 24mbps high and 12Mbps low.
Some people also like to turn of Sampling. Right-click your videos on the timeline and select Disable Re-sample - this will reduce motion blur.
andreas Kunena Avatar   13.11.2013 23:16
How to Render 1080p and 720p Video using Sony Vegas Pro 12 Yes No big thanks for the disable resample,it solved my problem

about the bitrate...why set it to 24 mbps when the highest clip is 10?shouldnt i set the same values?also,when should i choose variable bitrate?
Derek Kunena Avatar   14.11.2013 04:42
How to Render 1080p and 720p Video using Sony Vegas Pro 12 Yes No You should use Variable Bit Rate 99% of the time - it is more efficient and theoretically you should give you smaller file sizes that Constant Bit Rate. This also relates directly back to your question about setting the bit rate to 24Mbps. Setting to this higher value doesn't actually mean it will render to 24Mbps - it just means that if one particular section of your video "needs" a higher bit rate to maintain quality, then it is available.
Rick Kunena Avatar   21.10.2013 05:33
How to Render 1080p and 720p Video using Sony Vegas Pro 12 Yes No Thnaks for commnet on enabling GPU card .... I thought it was using this, seems it was 'off' by default
Derek Kunena Avatar   22.10.2013 00:04
How to Render 1080p and 720p Video using Sony Vegas Pro 12 Yes No You're welcome :)
Alex Kunena Avatar   12.09.2013 18:15
How to Render 1080p and 720p Video using Sony Vegas Pro 12 Yes No For YouTube rendering, I recommend this free extension:]
Works good for me!
Corina Kunena Avatar   06.06.2013 12:17
How to Render 1080p and 720p Video using Sony Vegas Pro 12 Yes No There is a h264 codes for sony vegas pro12 For example this chap explains it and how to use at:

However are you saying know need to as your demo and setting using the Main concept avc mp4 is actually definitely using the h264 codec anyway ?
(but just does not actually say so?)
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