The Sony Vegas Pro Export Guide (Part One): Internal Workflows

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

In this part we’ll look at the first option.

Supported export codecs and file formats

The following formats are supported for export:

Video

  • MPEG-4/AVC/H.264 – many variants
  • MPEG-2 – many variants
  • MPEG-1 (!!!)
  • Quicktime (*.mov) – very limited???
  • AVCHD
  • MXF – up to 1080p 50 Mbps
  • HDCAM SR – all versions up to 444
  • AVI – up to 1080p, all in Y’CbCr
  • WMV
  • XDCAM EX – up to 1080p 35 Mbps

Image Sequences

  • BMP
  • JPEG
  • PNG
  • TIFF
  • WMPhoto (Microsoft’s photo format, something like WMV and WMA)
  • DPX
  • OpenEXR

Audio*

  • ATRAC (*.aa3)
  • AIFF
  • Dolby AC-3
  • FLAC
  • MP3
  • OGG
  • PCA (Sony format)
  • Sony Wave64 – up to 192 KHz, 32-bit
  • WAV – up to 96 KHz, 32-bit
  • WMA

*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:

Sony Vegas Render As

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:

Sony Vegas Output Formats

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:

Sony Vegas Favorites for Export

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):

  • DV AVI

  • DV MXF

  • MXF (IMX 24p MXF is not supported for no-recompress rendering)

  • HD MXF

  • MPEG-2 (for files such as those from HDV and DVD camcorders)

  • XDCAM EX

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)
  • Blu-ray
  • DVD

I won’t be covering CDs, only Blu-ray and DVDs.

Blu-ray

Go to Tools > Burn Disc > Blu-ray Disc:

Sony Vegas Blu Ray Options

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.

DVDs

Go to Tools > Burn Disc > DVD…:

Sony Vegas DVD Options

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.

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

8 replies on “The Sony Vegas Pro Export Guide (Part One): Internal Workflows”

  1. anyone know PCA format? I want to do some work on this format but there seems no tool can support this format. I am using HD video converter factory now, but it can not identify this format, any idea or alternative? Thanks a lot!

  2. Hi,

    I have Vegas Pro 14 – I start with AVCHD ( .MTS files) from a Panasonic AG-160A recorded in 1080/60

    I render to HDV 1080 – 60i resulting in .m2t (the intent is to give the customer good quality on DVD disks as many do not have Blu-Ray readers).

    The problem is with Burn – the only pickable option I see is k720.

    I don’t particularly mind changing to different rendering and/or doing some of the work in Vegas and then using DVD Architect.

    Seems to me prior to the latest update of Vegas Pro 14, you could pick 1080 when burning disks.

  3. hello my is trevor. I use sony vegas pro 13 blu- ray is no problem with doing copies. but dvd copies I seem to have to render and burn each time I want a copy of the samething. could you help me with this please.

  4. Hi,
    I burned DVD using tools in Sony Vegas 12 Pro and dvd player or any other computer can not read the files. What should I do?
    Also, I render my short movie and have two files; mxf and mxf.sfl. Could you please let me know what should be the next step in order to have movie on DVD? Thank you for your help.
    Patrick

  5. Hi Sareesh, greetings from Brazil.  I finally got a BMPCC in order to get better images (well, comparing to my Sony NX70 anyway…).  Not shooting raw (yet), just ProRes HQ. Importing to Vegas Pro 12 is easy, but I can´t figure a good template to export the best quality possible. I´m shooting at 24 and 30p.  Made some custom templates to reach 50 up to 135mbps and discovered that CUDA “help”  from GC is a problem while rendering… Do you have a custom template to render stuff filmed with BMPCC out of Vegas?? 

    Also, can you explain a bit more about the floating 32 point “thing”?  I´m getting a lot of artifacts/out of focus problems over fadings in/out sections of my renderings with the ProRes material…  The avchd from NX70 works perfectly at Vegas, but tuning things to the heavier ProResHQ seems like a necessity now…  Thanks again, Tony.

  6. Hi

    Thank you for the article. It was very informative. I have a question. I am a new user of Vegas pro 13 and I work in 4K. I try to export my 4K video with surround mix but there is no template to do that. I can only export xavc or xavc s in stereo sound. I dont know if I do something wrong. I also noticed that I can export separately video and surround sound in wav but then how do i sync them together. FCPX can export 4K and surround sound in pro res or H264. Is that possible with Vegas?

    Thank you in advance

  7. Useful article, but it would be appreciated more if indications of rendering speed/time were given.  I am currently saving an ISO file for later writing to Blu-ray disk on a PC that has i5 processor and 12 GB of memory and it is taking around 12 hours to render a 12 minute video!!!  I should add that the video is 3D with overall resolution of 3840 x 1080, the volume being around 400 MB at 24 fps with a bit rate of around 25 MBS; this may be the problem I guess.

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