In Part One, we looked at how to set up the Project Settings for Sony Vegas Pro. We also looked at the two ways in which to import clips into the NLE.

In this part we’ll take at look at some popular codecs and see how to import and work with them in Sony Vegas Pro.

How to import video with different codecs

Sony Vegas Pro isn’t a candidate for the ‘most number of native codecs supported’ award, but it has its advantages. Let’s look at a few codecs and how to deal with them.

H.264

Sony Vegas Pro supports H.264 natively, via either of the import methods mentioned in Part One.

Not surprisingly, the manual is silent on H.264, but focuses on AVCHD.

H.264 – ALL-I

The ‘new’ entrant to the H.264 family is just an interpretation of the codec with interframe turned off. Sony Vegas Pro supports it natively via either of the import methods mentioned in Part One.

AVCHD

Sony Vegas Pro supports AVCHD natively via either of the import methods mentioned in Part One.

GPU-based rendering is available, but it does not help playback. Sony Vegas Pro handles AVCHD (and H.264 for that matter) like a hot knife through butter – this is especially visible with low-end systems, like laptops, for example.

XDCAM

It should come as no surprise that Sony Vegas Pro supports all versions of XDCAM natively. XDCAM MXF is the ‘Prores/DNxHD’ replacement within Sony Vegas Pro. It is an umbrella term for many types of codecs, the most common being XDCAM SD, XDCAM HD, XDCAM EX and XDCAM HD422.

Make sure you copy all the files in the media card folder to your source footage drive, keeping the folder name and structure intact.

XDCAM and XDCAM HD

To access the XDCAM Explorer, hit View>XDCAM Explorer, or Ctrl+Alt+5 (Windows). This allows you to import XDCAM Discs in either full resolution or a proxy format of your choice.

Drag the imported clips to the timeline to add it to your project or right-click a clip>Add to Project Media List to add it to the Project Media List.

XDCAM EX and XDCAM HD422

XDCAM EX is XDCAM HD recorded on solid state media, and limited to 1920×1080 and 1280×720. XDCAM EX cannot be imported, nor is visible in the XDCAM Explorer.

XDCAM EX cannot be imported as proxies, and must be edited in its full resolution. Before you import SxS media, you need to install the SxS Device Driver.

You can capture media using the Device Explorer, via View>Device Explorer or Ctrl+Alt+7 (Windows). You need to connect your camera via USB 2.0, and it will show up in the Device Explorer window.

XDCAM HD422 is the broadcast-quality variant of XDCAM EX, but the same workflow applies.

For further information, check out the Sony XDCAM Micro-site.

XAVC

XAVC is supported by Sony Vegas Pro natively. Where XDCAM was limited to HD, XAVC is built for higher resolutions using the AVC (variant of H.264) codec, instead of MPEG-2. For more information, click here.

The Manual is unfortunately lacking on info. It is not surprising that XAVC and Sony Vegas Pro are both limited to a maximum resolution of 4096 horizontal pixels.

Sony Vegas Pro supports XAVC natively via either of the import methods mentioned in Part One. It’s as easy as AVCHD, that’s the point. Unfortunately, it’ll carry all the baggage of AVCHD (think computer resources), and that means it might be good idea to work with proxies.

CANON XF (MXF)

This applies to files from both the XF series cameras as well as the Cinema EOS line (Cxxx). Make sure you copy all the files in the media card folder.

Sony Vegas Pro supports it natively via either of the import methods mentioned in Part One.

One can also use the Canon XF Utility to reorganize metadata and clips, etc., but it is not mandatory.

HDV and DV

HDV is still supported natively, in both transport stream form as well as wrapped as MOV, etc. You can use either of the import methods mentioned in Part One.

You can also Capture HDV from a camera or tape deck directly using the Device Explorer.

REDCODE RAW R3D/RMD

Sony Vegas Pro supports Redcode RAW natively via either of the import methods mentioned in Part One. Resolutions greater than 4096 are not supported, and nor are frame rates greater than 59.94p (time base only).

In Sony’s own words:

RED cameras create new “rollover” files for each clip each time a file reaches 2 GB on disk. For example, a 10-minute clip recorded in 4K will be approximately 20 GB on disk, divided among 10 .r3d files. You can drag any one of these files to the timeline to place the entire clip on the timeline.

As explained in Part One, you can also Right Click a Clip>File Format Properties… to change what Sony calls ‘Decode Properties’.

ARRIRAW

Sony Vegas Pro does not support Arriraw.

Sony RAW formats

Sony Vegas Pro does not support Sony RAW natively. RAW files can be viewed using the Sony RAW Viewer. From this utility, you can make color adjustments and export as DPX sequences, which Sony Vegas does support.

The Sony F5/F55/F65 cameras shoot internally to other codecs while shooting RAW, and this might be the faster workflow.

HDCAM SR (SStP)

HDCAM SR is supported natively, now that it has made a comeback! All formats are supported, as long as it is in the MXF wrapper from the camera.

You can use either of the import methods mentioned in Part One.

MPEG-4

Sony Vegas Pro supports MPEG-4 (.MP4) natively via either of the import methods mentioned in Part One.

X.264

X.264 is not supported by Sony Vegas Pro natively, but there have been people who have used the Open-source x264vfw tool for importing and exporting to X.264.

PRORES

Sony Vegas Pro supports Prores if the plug-in (via Quicktime) is installed. For more info, click here.

DNxHD

Sony Vegas Pro supports DNxHD if the codec is installed. For more info, click here.

You can also export to DNxHD. Follow this detailed writeup.

DPX

Sony Vegas Pro supports both Log and Linear DPX sequences via either of the import methods mentioned in Part One.

IMAGE SEQUENCES – TIFF, JPEG, PSD, ETC.

Sony Vegas Pro supports image sequences via either of the import methods mentioned in Part One.

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive. For more information on additional codecs, click here.

Unfortunately, not everyone feels Sony Vegas Pro is a professional applications worthy of the major leagues. Don’t underestimate it. It is a powerful tool capable of holding its own. On the flip side, it probably has the worst documentation of all the NLEs I’ve tried.

We have covered everything you need to know to set up your Sony Vegas Pro project, files and drives. In this article, we have also covered some of the most popular codecs and how to import them.