Vegas Pro FAQ

Sony Vegas Pro

This FAQ was compiled in 2012 when I was using a Windows PC with Vegas Pro for video editing. I have since moved on to using an Apple Mac Pro with Final Cut Pro, but I leave these here for others who are still using Vegas Pro in hopes it might be helpful. These are compiled from questions that I have provided answer for over years in various forums that I thought I would consolidate in one place:

I’ve imported a file but there is no video! What do I do?

Video file types like AVI and MOV are just a wrapper for the actual video. They are containers that you place the video into. The actual video itself uses one of any number of codecs to store the video information. The word “codec” stands for Coder / Decoder. It contains the algorithm used to encode and decode the video or audio in the file. When Vegas imports only audio, this usually means that you either don’t have the correct video codec for the file or the video codec is not support by Vegas.

To remedy this, first download a utility like GSpot or MediaInfo and drop your AVI file into it and find out what codec it uses. If it’s a MOV file, then open it with the Quicktime Media Player and use the Movie Inspector (Ctrl+I) to see what codecs are being used by the file. Then make sure that you have that codec installed. If you do and Vegas still doesn’t import your video, then it’s probably a codec that Vegas doesn’t support and you will need to use some other program to convert the file into a format that Vegas can edit.

Never, I repeat… NEVER install a “Codec Pak” like K-Lite on your video editing computer. It will replace the high quality codecs that you paid good money for with lower quality free codecs. Whenever you need a codec, just install the one codec you need. You wouldn’t take every pill in your medicine cabinet in hopes that one of them will cure you would you? Don’t load unnecessary codecs onto your computer either.

How can I make Jump Cuts look better?

Cutting out pieces from an interview or lecture is very difficult to do seamlessly. People are always moving and if you have to cut out something they said, their body has undoubtedly moved to a new position so the cut will look very jumpy.

Here are some things you can try:

  1. Use a Crossfade: It could be very slight like a few frames or it might need to be longer up to 1/2 second or a whole second. Whatever works and lessens the jumpiness of the cut. It will still be noticeable but should be less jarring to the viewer.
  2. Use B-Roll footage: B-Roll is footage that you shoot of other things around the event. Usually footage of the audience or other activities. You can use these as a cut-away shot momentarily. The viewer will think you are cutting to show audience reaction when, in fact, you are covering an edit. This is done all the time. While cutting to the B-Roll you keep the audio from the A-Roll going so the person talking continues to talk over the B-Roll video. If you don’t have any B-Roll footage, next time remember to shoot some. It could be before the event starts or while you’re waiting for the next speaker. B-Roll is invaluable for covering edits and enhances the production value by giving the viewer a something new to look at just like we all turn our heads occasionally to see what else is going on.
  3. Use Stock Footage: If you don’t have any B-Roll, try and find some stock footage on the topic of the lecture. It could be as simple as a still image that you pan and zoom into. If they are talking about a hospital use a picture of that hospital. If they are talking about children get some footage of children interacting. You get the idea. Again this enhances the production value by giving the viewer something else to look at for a brief instant and covers the cut in the edit.
  4. Change the Angle: This technique involves zooming in slightly with Vegas Pan/Crop and repositioning the subject in the frame. It will look like you changed camera angles and can give the illusion of a two camera shoot when you only had one. You have to be careful not to zoom too much because the picture might get pixilated but changing the angle for a brief moment and then perhaps slowing zooming back out (using keyframes) will cover the cut better.
  5. Call Attention to the Cut: If you can’t hide the cut, it might be better to call attention to it. In other words, use a transition that’s obvious. I’ve seen a very quick white flash be used (called Flash in Vegas) or the Zoom transition. Something that lets the user know that the lecture was edited for time and they are now further along. You see this a lot in interviews. I’m not sure it would work in a lecture because you know that interviews are edited but you expect to see the whole lecture. Still it’s something to keep in mind when editing in the future.

Hopefully one of these 5 methods will help you make your edit more “watchable”. Good Luck!

How do I clean up video with noise?

Every once in a while I get have some analog footage that has noise in the signal. I like to clean this up before I start editing. After I capture it, I run the raw footage through VirtualDub with the Border Control and Dynamic Noise Reduction 2.1 filters to clean it up. Border Control allows me to remove the noise that often occurs around the border of analog footage. This is never shown by the TV so it’s OK to just blacken it. It also saves bits when encoding. Dynamic Noise Reduction is a temporal processor that compares frames before and after to determine what is signal and what is noise. It does an excellent job of removing analog video noise.

I also use that opportunity to trim the in and out points since analog capture is not that exact. Once that’s complete, I bring the video into Vegas and edit. If I had to color correct all my clips, I’d probably do the same thing. I usually capture a clip and then run it through VirtualDub while I’m capturing the next clip. So this really does save time.

How do I make a Title Credit Roll slower?

The way to make a credit roll slower is to make it last longer so it has more time to scroll up the screen. You change its length like any other event.

  1. Right-click on the credit roll event on the timeline
  2. Select Properties and then the Media tab
  3. Adjust the Length to be longer. The longer it is, the slower it scrolls
  4. Finally, you have to drag the end of the event out to the tick mark to take advantage of the new length.

If you go beyond the divot (a little tick mark at the top) the event will loop which is not what you want so make sure you stop at the divot.

Can I make animated backdrops in Vegas Pro?

The best way that I’ve found to make animated background in Vegas Pro is by using the Generated Media Noise Texture. If you add a key frame at the end and adjusting the Progress (in degrees) just a bit it will animate the noise. Of course key framing any of the properties is bound to change something but I find the progress most appealing. Try using the Puffy Clouds preset and adjust the progress just a little on the last key frame to get some pretty convincing moving clouds.

If you want to just have an animated border on a video you can use the Cookie Cutter and another track. The trick is adding the background on the track just below the track you want to border so it shows through the Cookie Cutter.

Here are the steps:

  1. Insert two video tacks
  2. Drop your animated background on the bottom track
  3. Place your video that needs the animated border on the top track
  4. Add the Cookie Cutter to the event on the top track
  5. In the Cookie Cutter dialog, select Shape: Rectangle
  6. Select Method: Cut away all but selection
  7. Adjust Size: to the size of your border.

Finally you can use Generate Media Color Gradient to make animated backdrops. Just change an existing backdrop and save it as a new name (press the floppy disk icon). You can use key-framing to animate the changes. Let’s say you don’t like the fading edge inside the Hollow background. Just change it. By moving points (1) and (2) on top of each other the fade becomes a hard edge. By moving them away from each other the fade gets softer. You can even add a 3rd or 4th point with different color or edge hardness. You really have to play around with this to really appreciate it.

Try moving the two points to the right of the screen and place them on top of each other. This should give you a top and bottom blue border with nothing on the sides. Then change the color of point (1) to white and you should have the effect you need. This should be placed on the overlay track so it’s in front of your movie.

How do I get rid of wind noise?

Wind is really hard to remove because it is broadband noise meaning it contains a lot of frequencies across the spectrum. Sometimes I forget to turn on the wind screen on my camera but I’ve done this right in Vegas Pro with fairly good results. Go into the track FX and select the Track EQ that is already added for you. The first point is already set for Low Shelf, which is what you want. Set the Frequency (Hz) to 300 and the Gain (dB) to –Inf (all the way to the left). Now listen to a loop of your audio and adjust the frequency to filter more or less of the wind.

The trade-off is that other audio will sound a little thin because you’ve removed some bass. If you add some music softly playing in the background on another track, it will mask this because the music will have full fidelity and provide bottom to the mix. If adding music is inappropriate for your video then you have to live with the thin sound or buy plug-in lie iZotope RX2, or Sony Noise Reduction 2.0. Hope this helps.

How to do a split screen with credit roll?

This is something you see at the end of many programs. While they roll the credits, the screen compresses to half its vertical size or half its horizontal size and on the other half they run bloopers or other movie clips. To make this effect, your bloopers should be on one track while your credit roll is on another (usually the upper track). Make sure the bloopers and credit roll overlap each other totally. Then follow the instructions below: 3D Track Motion is the tool for the job. You just type in the coordinates and sizes than to manipulate the video directly.

To do this in Vegas Pro follow these steps:

  1. Go into Track Motion on the Credit Roll track
  2. Unselect the Lock Aspect Ration button. This is because you want to squeeze the aspect ration to get both videos on the screen at once.
  3. (Optional) If you want the split to be gradual, select a cursor position 1 or 2 seconds into the credit roll and create a keyframe. Otherwise skip this step and the split will be immediate.
  4. Change the Position values as follows (note width and height should be 1/2 you project resolution. This example is for a 1920x1080 project):

    Position Value
    X: 180
    Y: 0
    Width: 960
    Height: 540
  5. Close Track Motion for the Credit Roll track.
  6. Repeat Steps 1 – 5 on the Bloopers track changing the X: value to –180. You should now have a credit roll on the right side of your screen with video on the left. You can reverse these by reversing the X: values. You can also make these be top and bottom by adjusting the Height: and Y: instead Width: and X:.