VEGAS Pro 14 video editing software was released by new owners MAGIX aka Vegas Creative Software on September 20th, 2016.
Vegas Pro has been around for a long time and gone through many different incarnations by three different owners now. Sonic Foundry gave birth to the program and introduced great audio tools and workflows, then Sony Creative Software took over and added many video features that make VEGAS Pro a unique and popular choice for a large and eclectic group of content creators. On May 20, 2016 Sony Creative Software sold the majority of its products to MAGIX Software GmbH.
I have been using Vegas Pro and Vegas Movie Studio since 2008 to create all my video tutorials and personal projects. I also teach how to use Vegas and regularly answer questions from a wide range of different users. So I write this review from the perspective of a experienced home user and business owner, who loves to create content in the digital age of 2016.
To make it easier to navigate this review, you can use the quick-links below to go directly to the information that is relevant for you! I have also added chapter links to the video description on YouTube, so make sure to press the YouTube button inside of video first.
Topics covered in this Review of Vegas Pro 14
VEGAS Pro and VEGAS Movie Studio
VEGAS Pro up until recently, has been colloquially referred to as "Sony Vegas", "Vegas Pro" or just "Vegas".
Sony, Sony Creative Software and Sony Electronics have nothing to do with Vegas software anymore, since Magix took over in May 20, 2016. I'm sure it is going to take quite some time before the street name "Sony Vegas" is dropped from the vernacular. It is evident on the official Magix website, that MAGIX likes to refer to the brand MAGIX in ALL CAPS. They are also using the same ALL CAPS style when referring to VEGAS Pro and VEGAS Movie Studio. So that is why I have placed VEGAS in all caps, during some parts of this review.
A new home for Vegas Creative Software
Even though MAGIX is the new owner of VEGAS Pro and VEGAS Movie Studio software, Magix has decided to create a new dedicated home for the VEGAS branded products at www.vegascreativesoftware.com
Magix has also created a wonderful new forum, just for everything VEGAS at www.vegascreativesoftware.info/us/
There are many other microsites related to the transfer of all Sony products that Magix now owns. I have listed a complete breakdown of all the new webpages here on the Movie Studio Zen Forum.
Here is the official list of everything new that has been added to the program. There has been 30 bug fixes applied to the program as well, which can you view here.
- Added Smart Zoom, Smart Scale, and Smart adaptive deinterlacing to allow you to upscale clips for Ultra HD delivery (requires a supported NVIDIA, AMD/ATI, or Intel GPU).
- Added support for working with high-frame-rate (HFR) clips.
- Added hover scrub to the Trimmer for fast scrubbing.
- Updated support for current BlackMagic Design hardware: DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G, 4K Pro, 4K Extreme, Studio 4K, SDI 4K, HD Extreme, Extreme 3D, Mini Monitor, and Mini Recorder; Intensity Shuttle, Pro 4K, and Pro; UltraStudio 4K Extreme, 4K, Pro, SDI, Express, Mini Monitor, and Mini Recorder
- Improved support for clips from RED ONE, EPIC, SCARLET, and WEAPON cameras.
- Added Post lift, Post gamma, Post gain, and Dragon enhanced blacks controls to the R3D Decode Properties dialog.
- Fixed an issue that caused certain clips to fail to load on upgraded RED WEAPON cameras with older firmware.
- Fixed a crash that could occur when loading certain old RED ONE clips.
- Fixed a color cast that could occur in clips shot with RED Motion Mount on the latest camera firmware.
- Updated support for current AJA hardware.
- Added a Resample mode drop-down list to the Video tab in the Project Properties dialog.
- Improved playback and editing performance when using a Dynamic RAM Preview cache size greater than 200 MB.
- Improved gamma calculations for still-image sequence renders for 32-bit floating point projects. Now levels for 32-bit floating point (video levels) and 32-bit floating point (full range) with nonlinear gamma are more consistent with 8-bit levels.
- Added a Group Video and Audio Events script (Tools > Scripting) to allow you to easily group audio and video events from an imported EDL.
- Increased the top-end of the range of event Velocity envelopes to 1,000% to increase the maximum possible overall velocity of video on the timeline to 40 times normal speed (in conjunction with the Playback rate event property).
- New artwork and icons for buttons and other interface elements give the application an updated, more modern look and feel.
- Support for reading and writing HEVC/H265 files.
- Native support for reading ProRes 422 files without the need for QuickTime.
Keep in mind that the features I like maybe completely different to you. I recommend everyone take advantage of the free 30 day trial and test the program on your own computer first, before making a purchase. The computer I tested Vegas Pro 14 on uses an Intel i7-2600k CPU, Nvidia GTX460 graphics card and 16 GBs of RAM.
Here is my shortlist of favourite new features.
You can now set the Resampling mode globally in Project Properties. This feature has been on everyone's request list for years and I'm sure this will be well received by many existing Vegas Pro users.
Super responsive Hover Scrub ability when previewing clips in the Trimmer window. I was very impressed with how fast you can now scrub through a video to find the section you want use.
Preview Window performance
Playback performance in the Preview Window seems to have improved quite a bit. There was generally less lag when playing back direct from the timeline. When I had Preview Quality to set to Auto, the image seemed sharper than older versions of Vegas Pro. Please note that your own experience will depend on what type of GPU, CPU and source media you are using at the time.
Velocity Envelope Speed Up >>>
You can now speed up video playback by up to 1000% using a combination of Velocity Envelope and Playback Rate. This is another request that has finally manifested and will make a lot of people very happy. After speeding some test video up to 1000% and using Shift + B to render a preview, playback was smooth and looked great.
Vignette Video FX
New Vignette video fx is also a welcome addition and will sure to be put to good use.
New Artwork & Icons
New Artwork and Icons gives the user interface a more modern look. I know some people are already complaining about this, however I think the small refresh looks great and was well and truly overdue. You can't make everyone happy, especially when it comes to design.
NewBlueFX Titler Pro Express & Titler Pro 3
The addition of NewBlueFX Titler Pro Express or Titler Pro 3 in the Suite, is a great addition to the program and especially useful for anyone who does not already own a good Text Titling program. These additions are definitely not gimmicks and are sure to be put to good use by many content creators.
proDAD Mercalli V4 Image Stabilizer
proDAD Mercalli V4 is a BIG addition to the program and will finally give Vegas Pro users an outstanding solution for stabilizing any shaky videos. The basic stabilizer that came with Vegas for years, was very primitive and next to useless for many situations. Mercalli now solves that problem.
High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), also known as H.265, is a new video compression standard. Support for reading and writing HVEC/H.265 will make it easier to keep file sizes smaller, but not lose quality.
Native support has been added to Vegas Pro 14 for reading ProRes 422 files without the need for QuickTime.
There are a couple of things about Vegas Pro 14 which I definitely don't like.
AC-3 Dolby Digital Pro removed
The No.1 mystery with Vegas Pro 14 is why Magix has removed the AC-3 Dolby Digital Pro encoder for outputting audio to Blu-ray disc and DVD. There is now only the option for rendering to AC-3 Dolby Digital Studio. This basic option means no one can customise their settings for AC-3 audio output. I hope Magix is forthcoming with an explanation about this terrible decision. DVD Architect Pro is probably the most used program anywhere, for disc creation in 2016. To take this option away just makes no sense at all. Adobe Premiere Pro CC allows users to output to Dolby Digital Pro and Dolby Digital Plus. VEGAS should be on par with Premiere Pro CC, if it wants to be treated as a serious competitor in the Pro Video Editing market.
Support for CUDA in Mainconcept AVC removed
Another sad discovery in Vegas Pro 14 is the removal of a feature that some of us are still using. Support for GPU Acceleration of Mainconcept AVC rendering has been deactivated. So if you use an older generation Nvidia GTX 400 or 500 series graphics card, it will no longer help you speed up rendering times. If you own a more modern graphics card, nothing has changed for you - your card will still not work in Vegas Pro 14 for accelerated rendering. I know this is a complex topic to explain properly, so I am not going to go into a deep discussion now about this now.
Rendering performance generally slower than competition
I have been testing many different video editing programs over the past three months. Specifically I have been testing how long it takes to render a video. What I have found on my PC, is that Vegas Pro has one of the slowest rendering engines out of everything I tested. I am not a programmer or tech head specialist, so I don't know what or if anything can be done to improve this in Vegas Pro. I really hope this is something that can be improved upon in future Vegas Pro generations. I feel like we have been waiting an eternity to see improvements in this critical part of the program. Once again, this is a topic that has been discussed ad infinitum on various Vegas Pro forums.
Scripts and Plugins from 3rd Parties
If you use Scripts, they will now be broken and no longer work in Vegas Pro 14. Due to legal reasons, Magix had to remove all references to "Sony". This seemingly small change, has created a nightmare for people who use a lot of scripts in Vegas Pro. If you do currently use scripts, you will need to edit them or wait for developers to release compatible versions. To learn more about this, visit the Vegas Pro Forum at Vegas Creative Software.
Some third party plugins like New Blue FX are also experiencing problems in Vegas Pro 14. New Blue FX is aware of this and working on program updates to remedy the situation. As is the nature with new releases of programs, there are often many bugs that come to light in the initial launch period. If you know of any major bugs affecting only Vegas Pro 14, please let me know in the comments and I will add anything important to this article.
To get the best performance out of Vegas Pro right now, you need to use the fastest CPU you can afford. A good AMD Radeon or Nvidia graphics card is also required.
Please note that all though GPU acceleration of rendering is lacking for some output formats in Vegas Pro 14, your graphics card IS being put to good use for timeline/preview window playback, trimmer playback/scrubbing and GPU acceleration of many Video FX, Transitions and NewBlueFX Titling programs.
For a complete breakdown of what is and is not included with the three different versions of Vegas Pro 14, you can view this comparison chart at Vegas Creative Software. If you are brand new to Vegas Pro and not familiar with many of it's general features, I recommend you read and watch an in-depth comparison I did between Vegas Pro 12 and Vegas Movie Studio 12. Even though it is a few years old, the information is still relevant for Vegas Pro 14.
1. VEGAS Pro 14 Edit is VEGAS Pro 14 just by itself. It does not include Blu-ray and DVD Disc™ Authoring software VEGAS DVD Architect. It does not include any bonus 3rd party Video Effects or Titling programs. The Edit version is great value for anyone wanting pro level features on a limited budget and is not interested in bells and whistles.
VEGAS Pro 14 Edit includes VEGAS Pro 14 video editing program only.
VEGAS Pro 14 Edit retails for US $399.
2. VEGAS Pro 14 includes VEGAS Pro 14 and also includes Blu-ray and DVD Disc™ Authoring software VEGAS DVD Architect. So if you want to make Blu-ray discs and DVDs, you must purchase this minimum level version. At the time of posting this review, there is no way to download a free trial version of VEGAS DVD Architect. Going by what people who have purchased Vegas Pro 14 have said, VEGAS DVD Architect has had no new features added to it since DVD Architect Pro 6.0. It is simply a rebranded version of the same program.
Like previous versions of VEGAS Pro, this version also comes bundled with some cool bonus features from popular 3rd party software vendors. Bonus features include: NewBlueFX "Looks" colour filter pack, NewBlueFX Titler Pro Express and proDAD Mercalli V4.
NewBlueFX Titler Pro Express is an entry level Titling program that gives you the ability to create professional looking 3D style text. If you would like to see this Titler in action, I have a tutorial that shows the older version of this app in action.
proDAD Mercalli V4 is the market leader in Image Stabilization software. I know that sounds like hype, but in this case it is actually true. Mercalli is one of the best image stabilizers you will find for fixing shaky and wobbly looking video. The standalone suite and plugin if bought separately from proDAD would cost $349, which makes this addition to Vegas Pro 14 truly amazing value. If you would like to learn more about this specific plugin, check out proDAD Mercalli V4 plugin for Sony Vegas
VEGAS Pro 14 includes all of the following:
- VEGAS Pro 14
- VEGAS DVD Architect
- NewBlueFX "Looks"
- NewBlueFX Titler Pro Express
- proDAD Mercalli V4 Image Stabilizer
VEGAS Pro 14 retails for US $599.
3. VEGAS Pro 14 Suite is the "hamburger with the lot" version. I bought Vegas Pro 12 Suite a few years ago and this new version is significantly different from previous releases. Magix has teamed up with Boris FX to add some seriously powerful plugins to Vegas Pro 14 Suite. Boris FX are a premium software application company who have been expanding rapidly during the last few years and now own Sapphire and Mocha as part of their business.
The three Boris FX packs included are from their Continuum Units range. By themselves, these units are worth $299 each, which means you are getting $900 worth of value just with these inclusions.
The addition of these three Boris FX Units fixes some of the areas where Vegas Pro has some weaknesses. The included VEGAS chroma key plugin has always been very basic. Boris FX Key and Blend Unit is an extremely powerful chroma key / green screen application, that will give you the ability to create perfect green screen video effects without seeing "green spill" and artefacts. I highly recommend this tool.
The Suite also includes NewBlueFX Titler Pro 3, which is an advanced 3D Titling & Text program. This is the same app I have been personally using to create all the Text Titles at Movie Studio Zen. It is definitely the most used 3rd party application in my Vegas Pro toolbox and I would be lost without it! Titler Pro 3 is worth $299 if bought separately. When you add up all the bonus features that are included with VEGAS Pro 14 Suite, you are actually getting over $2000 worth of product for the reasonable price of only US $799. If you do not already own any of the included bonus features, the Suite is a great way to purchase a powerful group content creation tools that will help you create some very sophisticated videos.
VEGAS Pro 14 Suite includes all of the following:
- VEGAS Pro 14
- VEGAS DVD Architect
- NewBlueFX "Looks"
- NewBlueFX Titler Pro 3
- proDAD Mercalli V4 Image Stabilizer
- Boris FX 3D Objects Unit
- Boris FX Key and Blend Unit
- Boris FX Match Move Unit
VEGAS Pro 14 Suite retails for US $799.
There has been much heated discussion about this on the official Vegas Pro Forum about the way Magix has handled the release of Vegas Pro 14. Only some people were emailed special offers to upgrade to Vegas Pro 14 and the rest of us (including myself) have been kept in the dark and had to rely on the Vegas Pro grape vine to learn about upgrade deals. I don't want to fan the flames of this current controversy any further here, because I'm sure over time Magix will get it's act together and start treating existing customers more equally, once they sort out the "dodgy" email database they bought from Sony.
A have to be completely honest about my main recommendation. This version of Vegas Pro 14 currently has a few problems due to the nature of this release and it is going to take time for some of the bugs and compatibility issues to be ironed out of the program.
New Customers and Current Vegas Movie Studio users
If you do not currently own Vegas Pro and do not own many 3rd party plugins, you will probably have a good experience with using Vegas Pro 14. Movie Studio owners are being offered a very good deal right now for upgrading to Vegas Pro, so if you want to save some money, go for it. Please make sure you download the free trial and thoroughly test the program beforehand, so you know exactly if the program is going to be right for you!
Vegas Pro is still a great all purpose professional video editing program, that is much easier to use than most of the competition.
Remember that when you buy Vegas Pro 14, you get to keep it for life! You don't have to rent it for life, like Adobe forces it's users to do.
Existing Vegas Pro owners
If you currently own an older version of Vegas Pro and it is working well for you, it may be best to stick with what you have for now and wait until all the current problems are resolved, before upgrading to Vegas Pro 14. Only you can decide if it is worth upgrading to Vegas Pro 14. Obviously you need to download the free trial and do extensive testing before making a decision. If you don't currently own any Titling programs and need a good Image Stabilizer, the upgrade may be quite good value for you. If you do a lot of complex editing that requires tracking, the Suite would offer great value if purchasing at the special upgrade pricing rate.
Upgrade Pricing for Existing Vegas Pro and Vegas Movie Studio owners
If you already own any version of Vegas Pro or Vegas Movie Studio, you qualify for discounted upgrade pricing. Enter the serial number for your older product into this webpage and Magix will show a special price for you.
If you are a Movie Studio owner and would like to upgrade to Vegas Pro 14 Edit, Vegas Pro 14 or Vegas Pro 14 Suite, enter your Movie Studio serial number into one of the Vegas Pro options.
Option 1: If you are a student or have a limited budget and just want the core video editing features, Vegas Pro 14 Edit is the best choice.
Option 2: If you also like to make Blu-ray discs and DVDs, you need to get Vegas Pro 14 not Edit, because it includes VEGAS DVD Architect. You also get NewBlueFX Titler Pro Express to help you make great looking Text Titles and if use a GoPro camera to shoot action video, the addition of proDAD Mercalli V4 is going to help BIG TIME in stabilizing all your footage.
Option 3: If you have extra money in your pocket right now and love to create high quality content with all the bells and whistles, I highly recommend Vegas Pro 14 Suite. Although this is the most expensive option, it represents the most amount of value out of all three versions. The addition of NewBlueFX Titler Pro 3 and the three different Boris FX Units, adds some seriously powerful features to Vegas Pro. This would be my choice right now, if I did not already own similar programs that provide much higher functionality.
Unfortunately it is not uncommon for many bugs and compatibility problems, to be discovered during the initial launch period of any new software version. The best place to report a bug and learn about solutions, is on the new Vegas Pro Forum.
The dedicated community of loyal Vegas Pro users on the official Vegas Pro Forum, has been doing an excellent job at reporting any problems discovered with Vegas Pro 14 and offering solutions. The Vegas development team definitely seems serious about making sure that Vegas Pro 14 is a success. It's great to see that they are working as fast as they can, to make Vegas Pro a stable product.
UPDATE 19th November 2016
Update 3 (build #201) for Vegas Pro 14 was released on the 19th November 2016. This is significant update to Vegas Pro 14 and adds many new features to the program and also repairs a large number of bugs. Read here for the full list of new features and bug fixes included in build #201.
Disclosure: This is not a paid review. I am an affiliate with Magix and do promote their software on Movie Studio Zen via affiliate links to Magix owned websites.