This guide explores the export capabilities of Sony Vegas Pro.
It is written for the beginner, so you can understand what is possible with Sony Vegas Pro and what isn’t. Hopefully by the end, you should be able to decide whether Vegas Pro is the right tool for your workflow, or not. I highly recommend you read the Sony Vegas Pro Manual (F1 from the application) for a more detailed overview once you’re done with this guide. It goes into greater detail, and that’s where you should head if you find something confusing.
You can export two things from Vegas Pro:
- Video (as files or discs)
- Project files that will help move the project to another software.
In this part we’ll look at the first option.
Supported export codecs and file formats
The following formats are supported for export:
- MPEG-4/AVC/H.264 – many variants
- MPEG-2 – many variants
- MPEG-1 (!!!)
- Quicktime (*.mov) – very limited???
- MXF – up to 1080p 50 Mbps
- HDCAM SR – all versions up to 444
- AVI – up to 1080p, all in Y’CbCr
- XDCAM EX – up to 1080p 35 Mbps
- WMPhoto (Microsoft’s photo format, something like WMV and WMA)
- ATRAC (*.aa3)
- Dolby AC-3
- PCA (Sony format)
- Sony Wave64 – up to 192 KHz, 32-bit
- WAV – up to 96 KHz, 32-bit
*5.1 Surround Sound output is via the Dolby AC-3, WAV, W64, and WMA preset only. The rest can export multiple channels as separate mono files.
How to export video from Sony Vegas Pro
Once you’ve finished editing, go to File > Render As…, and you’ll get this screen:
Under Output File, select where you want the file rendered or exported to, and choose a name. Under Output Format, you click on More filter options to get more options:
If you want to see export templates that match project settings (resolution, frame rate, etc.), check that box. These presets will have an ‘=’ next to it.
You have the option of saving a few formats as favorites for easy searching. Just click the star and these will be saved as favorites:
A lot of these seemingly ‘consumeri-sh’ choices are in fact quite brilliant. The export process is as trouble-free and idiot-proof as it is possible to be – and you have all the features you need.
One of the coolest features of Vegas Pro is its ability to ‘Smart Render’ some codecs, which basically means these codecs are not recompressed or changed on export or render – if the output settings match their settings perfectly. In Sony’s words:
When you render video to any of the following formats, unedited video frames are passed through without recompression (smart rendering):
MXF (IMX 24p MXF is not supported for no-recompress rendering)
MPEG-2 (for files such as those from HDV and DVD camcorders)
In order to perform smart rendering, the width, height, frame rate, field order, profile, level, and bit rate of the source media, project settings, and rendering template must match. Frames that have effects, compositing, or transitions applied will be rendered.
You can clear the Enable no-recompress long-GOP rendering check box on the General tab of the Preferences dialog to turn the feature off.
If you’re rendering to .wav, .w64, .avi, or .mxf format, you can check the Enable multichannel mapping box to render a file with multiple audio channels.
The Render Options are self-explanatory. In the Metadata Options section, you can choose to add markers for those formats that support markers in metadata.
The View All Options check box on the bottom left lets you take out options that are not generally used or supported – just to avoid clutter.
When you’re done, click Render.
How to create discs from Sony Vegas Pro
Vegas Pro supports three kinds of discs:
- CDs (Individual), and DAO (Master CD for mass duplication)
I won’t be covering CDs, only Blu-ray and DVDs.
Go to Tools > Burn Disc > Blu-ray Disc:
You can choose both H.264 (15 Mbps) or MPEG-2 (25 Mbps) as your encode options. Vegas Pro also supports Stereo 3D projects (MVC, 10 Mbps). Vegas Pro burns Blu-ray BDMV format to BD-R and BD-RE discs. I recommend Sony discs for both Blu-ray and DVDs.
Most of the settings are simple, but pay attention to the Operation radio buttons:
- Render image and burn – burns a Blu-ray player-compatible disc, like a movie you can buy at a store.
- Render image only – only renders the file to an ISO format on your drive, does not burn the disc.
- Burn existing image file – burn an existing ISO file on your drive to a Blu-ray disc.
I suggest you opt for a slower burn speed, as this tends to give the best results on consumer equipment. Click OK to start.
Go to Tools > Burn Disc > DVD…:
Obviously, DVDs are MPEG-2 mostly, and in the standard definition (either PAL or NTSC). You can choose both 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios. What you can’t choose are region codes or any other fancy thing.
In Part Two we’ll look at how Sony Vegas Pro creates projects that can be imported into third-party software for further processing or finishing.