How to Import Video into Sony Vegas Pro (Part One): Project Settings

This article will explain:

  • Where to find help when you’re stuck with Sony Vegas Pro.
  • How to set up your project correctly.
  • How to import clips into Sony Vegas Pro.

Sony Vegas Pro

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Before we go on, it might be a good idea to read Part One of How to Import Video into Adobe Premiere Pro, in which I’ve outlined my hard drive strategy, and what it means to edit ‘native’.

Where to find help

I first encountered Sony Vegas Pro when it was version 8, which was a major upgrade at the time. I was blown away by how ‘lean’ and snappy everything was. Today, this is still its core strength. In addition, the greatest advantage Sony Vegas Pro has is its ability to edit and export to XAVC, XDCAM and HDCAM SR.

To know what codecs Sony Vegas Pro supports, and to know the minimum system requirements, click here.

To download the user manual (which you should read, no excuses), click here.

For continued help and information sharing, join the Sony Vegas Pro Forum.

While you’re working, you can always access the manual by hitting F1, or by going to Help>Sony on the web…>Product Support.

How to set up your project correctly in Sony Vegas Pro

When you open a new project (File>New…), you get this:

Sony Vegas New Project

Similar to the Adobe Premiere Pro method of matching project settings to source files, Sony Vegas Pro provides ready templates if you know your ultimate delivery format. If you prefer, you can customize the resolution, frame rates, and so on, based on your camera format.

The maximum resolution supported is 4096×4096, so no 5K or 6K native editing.

Sony Vegas Pro only supports frame rates from 12 fps to 59.94 fps (no true 60 fps). This is not a problem, since most cameras that claim to shoot 60p are really only recording in 59.94p.

One of the cool features of Sony Vegas Pro is its ability to work in a 32-bit float environment. For editing purposes, this is not really necessary, and I recommend you stick to 8-bits. It is a rare project indeed that will be edited, finished and mastered in 32-bit space within Sony Vegas Pro. In Sony’s own words:

  • 32-bit floating point (video levels) is recommended when working with 10-bit YUV input/output or when using xvYCC/x.v.Color media.

  • When using 8-bit input/output, the 32-bit floating point (video levels) setting can prevent banding from compositing that contains fades, feathered edges, or gradients.

  • If you’re creating a 32-bit project, you can increase performance during editing and playback by using the 8-bit setting during editing and switching to 32-bit floating point (video levels) before rendering.

Choose a 1.0 gamma if working exclusively in 32-bit float, otherwise stick to 2.22. I suggest you leave everything else as is, except for the deinterlacing.

Choose a folder for Prerendered files. Make sure this drive has good read and write speeds (like an SSD). However, when working with large file types, like R3D, XAVC and so on, you might need a drive that is about 1 TB in size, so a good 7,200 rpm drive will work fine. In addition to this, once you’re done, click Options>Preferences…> General Tab – Use the same drive as the Temporary files folder.

If you don’t know what project settings to choose, then use the methodology I’ve outlined here. Sony Vegas allows you to set the Project Settings based on the media file imported (which we’ll cover next). Once you’ve imported a file, double click it or Right Click>Match Project Video Settings and click OK.

The audio settings are pretty much standard.

How to import clips into Sony Vegas Pro

Once you’ve set up your Project, you will need to import clips. Before you do, take a look at Sony’s simple but powerful Project Media Window:

Project Media Window

Each folder is called a ‘Bin’, and you can create as many as you want by selecting the Media Bin>Right Click>Create New Bin.

This is important, because once you’ve setup your project into bins, you can search (Right Click on a bin>Search Media Bins…) these bins and you can even save your results into a ‘Smart Bin’ for future use!

There are two simple ways to import video into Sony Vegas Pro:

  • File>Import…>Media…
  • Click the Import Icon (next to the lighting icon)

Once you have imported your video clip, you can right click it and select Properties… to view its properties. You will also get a snapshot of it at the lower end of the Project Media Window, as shown in the above image.

Sony Vegas Pro allows native editing of many file formats, including R3D. For Red Media, if you right click the clip you will have the option of selecting File Format Properties… to get extra settings to ‘correct’ your R3D files.

In Part Two we’ll look at some common file formats and codecs, and see how Sony Vegas Pro deals with them.

Exclusive Bonus: Download my free guide (with examples) on how to find the best camera angles for dialogue scenes when your mind goes blank.