Sony has often been accused of only meeting the needs of the high-end enthusiast with its Vegas Movie Studio package. This is because it is based on the same technology Sony sells to professional users. However, with Version 9 we see a real move towards meeting the needs of the more entry-level user.
For instance, what we really like about this software is the way it eases the first-time user into the package, as this is something earlier editions didn't allow for. It does this by using a 13-step walkthrough of the main editing features, and offers tips and tricks as you work through them.
The interface itself is fairly standard, with a timeline running along the bottom of the screen, a preview panel at the top right and an Explorer window where you can browse for video and audio. It's a clean but rather sterile interface, as many of the most frequently used features, such as trimming video, adding transitions and effects, are tabs located under the Explorer window.
That said, once you start to use Vegas Movie Studio, you'll find it's an accomplished suite. As you would expect from Sony, it supports Blu-ray by default, as well as AVCHD. However, we did find you could also burn to Blu-ray discs directly from the main timeline.
If you simply want to get on with editing videos, then the new Project and Make Movie wizards work really well, helping to easily speed projects up.
This edition comes with features you won't find in the cheaper versions, including high-definition (HD) video editing for HDV and Sony AVCHD. 5.1 surround sound mixing and encoding and even 3-wheel primary colour correction tools are also included. None of them are essential but, if you're after getting the most from your videos, they make this software suite well worth the investment.
Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 has come a long way. It's still not the easiest suite to get to grips with, but Sony has flattened the learning curve for the first-time user, while still managing to add plenty of new features for established users.
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