First Look: Vegas Pro 18

This sort of snuck up on us. Ordinarily we are well aware of upcoming Vegas releases as since version 0.9, at Australian Videocamera we have been on the beta programs for testing.

This time however, for reasons only known to MAGIX, we were kept out of the loop until actual release time which was last night.

As such, we really haven’t had a lot of time to digest what is new (or fixed), but here is a summary to at least give you an indication of whether you should upgrade (or switch from another app even).

Of course you can always get the trial versions and see for yourselves.

Initial Thoughts

As before, there are four versions of Vegas these days – Edit, Pro, 365 and Suite.

Edit is the basic Vegas 18 with little in the way of bells and whistles in the form of extra plugins and so on.

Pro adds a few such as Style Transfer and Colourization (see below) and Sound Forge 14 (also below), 365 is the subscription version that everyone seems to be touting these days sadly (we are not a fan) and Suite is the whole shooting match which I’ll described a little later.

We have been sent the Pro version so will restrict our comments to that at this time but describe where we can what extras you’ll get in the Suite package.

Vegas Pro

Across the board, the UI has been tightened and streamlined which is a good thing as the original was starting to look a bit dated in my opinion. Improvements include separate tabs breaking the VideoFX into subgroups for example and the same treatment has been given to Transitions and Media Generators making it easier to find stuff.

There is also a new search system built in to assist in finding the plugin you need.

Speaking of Transitions, it looks like a swag of the stock ones in version 17 have been dropped in V18 – I am guessing these were just not used much such as the 3D ones which seem to have copped the brunt of the knife.

Other additions include what Vegas calls Project Location Persistence which saves the cursor timeline location when you save, a cleaner way of identifying event edges for trimming, expanded details in the render log, the ability to save and export preferences (hooray!!) and a new incremental project save system.

Style Transfer is a bunch of colour palettes inspired by famous artists (Picasso, van Gogh and Kandinsky etc) among other palettes (Floral, Leaf, Bark, B & W and even Rick and Morty) and Colorization uses “Artificial Intelligence” to well, colourise, original black and white footage by utilizing hardware acceleration from Intel OpenVINO.

V18 2

Colour Grading has been improved the company says (although we haven’t had a chance to test this as yet) and the HDR support has also been beefed up.

Other tools the company says it has tweaked are Flicker Filter, Video Noise Reduction and Black Bar Filter.

Also updated are the Motion Tracking tools allowing data tracked to be transferred to plug-ins that have positional awareness.

A major addition is the inclusion of Sound Forge 14 into the package (Pro, 365 and Suite only). It is true that Vegas started out life as an audio mastering system and as such has a bunch of audio tools built in, but adding in Sound Forge 14, widely acknowledged as one of the Big Three of commercial audio editing apps (with Adobe Audition and AVID ProTools) is a great move we think.

Under the bonnet, Vegas Pro now configures the GPU for the ideal settings – a bone of much contention due to crashes if you believe all you read in the Facebook Vegas forums – and will automatically keep drivers up to date.

Vegas 18 Suite

In addition, if you buy the Vegas Pro Suite (not to be confused with Vegas POST Suite by the way), you also get ActionFX that gives your scenes “cinematic quality” as used so they say in series’ such as “Stranger Things” and “The Walking Dead”, BORIS FX Continuum (which we have heartily recommended for years and years and consider a must have), Zynaptiq (to remove excessive audio reverb and something we KNOW we can use) and New Blue Transitions 5 Ultimate.

Conclusion

Is it worth upgrading? This is always the BIG question no matter what package you are looking at and in what genre, not just video editing.

In my long experience, the answer is yes, because as well as all the new stuff you get, many of the glitches in the old that tend to appear the more you push the software as you learn more about it, are fixed

A school of thought does say why should you pay for fixes, but hey, that is just the way it goes in this biz, and you DO get the new goodies as well.

As I said earlier, if in doubt, download the trial version(s) and see for yourselves is the best advice.

From what I have seen so far, I like what the folk at Vegas Creative Software have done.

But wait, there is more as they say!

For buyers of version 18 (Pro, 365 and Suite) coming soon, I believe in October, is Vegas Prepare, a new integrated media management tool that interacts directly with your production workflow.

You will be able to structure footage and assets in libraries and collections, add tags and have searching and filtering built in.

At present I use KYNO for my media management, and despite nagging the good people there about Vegas implementation, this has not been forthcoming; perhaps this is it? We won’t know until we see it of course, but hopefully Prepare will be at least on a par.

I also hear rumours of a Live Streaming module in the near pipeline (but whether it will work with the fabulous Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro is a moot point at this stage. I just don’t know. But here’s hoping).

OK, if you want all the guff on the new Vegas 18 including pricing etc, go to https://www.vegascreativesoftware.com/us/vegas-pro/new-features/#productMenu

I’ll pass on more as we come to actual working with Vegas 18 on a real project and thus properly put it through its paces.

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