Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 10 review

21 Jun 2010

Already more streamlined and efficient than its competitors, this update sees it taking them on for power too

Price when reviewed 
71
5

The Vegas range of video-editing applications invokes the same reactions as Saab does for its cars. It commands a certain amount of solemn respect, but ultimately it just seems a bit odd – and dull.

In some ways these are fair criticisms. Vegas has its own ways of doing things, many of which might feel peculiar for those with experience of other editors. There’s also a notable lack of bells and whistles, both in the flagship Vegas Pro and in the verbosely titled consumer version – we’ll just call it Movie Studio Platinum.

The upside is that Vegas’s streamlined interface is extremely quick to use, with a large proportion of tasks performed directly on the timeline. It’s also extremely responsive. Screen redraws are fast, so manipulating a complex timeline with multiple layers of HD video is just as quick as trimming a couple of DV clips.

It helps that the preview engine is efficient, too. Being able to preview edits as soon as you’ve made them is essential, but the high demands of HD formats, particularly AVCHD, mean editors often drop frames during playback, making it hard to preview works in progress. Movie Studio Platinum lets you offset preview resolution against smoothness, so simple sequences can be viewed at full resolution, while complex, effects-laden ones might use a lower resolution to avoid dropped frames.

Half the full resolution is a good compromise for 1080p footage. On our Core i7 test PC, the software managed to play four simultaneous AVCHD streams at this setting. Sadly, Movie Studio Platinum isn’t available as a native 64-bit application – Vegas Pro is, and it managed six AVCHD streams on the same PC. Best of all is Adobe Premiere Pro CS5’s revamped 64-bit engine, which manages ten streams.

Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 10 main screen

However, even Movie Studio Platinum’s four streams are a considerable improvement on most other low cost editors. Corel VideoStudio X3 just copes with two and Premiere Elements 8 only manages one stream.

The effects library doesn’t have the pizzazz of some of its rivals but its corrective tools are much more sophisticated. The Color Corrector effect has three colour wheels for shadows, midtones and highlights, as well as the full compliment of gain, offset, saturation and gamma controls. The Secondary Color Corrector, new to version 10, lets you select a limited range of colours in the footage and process only those areas. Also new is a White Balance effect, which removes colour casts by clicking on a neutral colour in the footage.

Movie Studio Platinum finally gets a stabilisation effect. It’s a good one, too, often producing results that resembled Steadicam footage rather than from a bumbling handheld camera. Unlike most such effects, it had no problem distinguishing between unwanted shakes, intentional camera pans and moving subjects.

Details

Price ex VAT £60
Price inc VAT £71
Overall rating 6
Ease of Use rating 6
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 6
Software subcategory Video editing software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Linux supported? no