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Re: "Divorcing" Vegas at NAB

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Dave HaynieRe: "Divorcing" Vegas at NAB
by on Mar 21, 2011 at 5:12:00 pm

[Chuck Pullen] "Thanks for jumping in on this Jay, I totally agree the "3D" stuff totally irked me as well. "

Yeah, there's a bit of "Microsoft Syndrome" here. For any new release of any well used software, the authors will have a very complete list of the most requested new features, a list of the things they think they need to address (some of which may be stability related, some of which may be hidden architectural changes to remove known limitations, etc). And then there's the list of "strategic" changes.

Microsoft has had a number of releases (see "Vista") in which they pretty much ignored the user feedback, and concentrated on the strategic stuff. Vegas 10 has, I think, some good stuff in it.. some of which (like integrated Cineform API support), is still a little half-baked. And then there's the strategic bit: 3D. Sony sees 3D as the Next Big Thing, and this one's corporation-wide: TVs, Blu-ray players, camcorders, probably laptops before too long. And there's some value to them here: being the first major NLE with integrated 3D support, if there's really a forthcoming 3D craze (I'm waiting for 4K, sorry), could win them some sweet new market share.

Along with this idea, there's the other problem often displayed in Microsoft products: 1,000 new features, each one only 25-50% functional. This is great for bringing in new customers and old customer upgrades, at least in a world where most people don't use most of those new features, but figure "maybe some day". Thing is, in a professional class product, a 50% or even 75% functional new feature is not likely something you can use.

I've worked at computer companies (Commodore), dealt with software development from the inside and outside, used wicked expensive CAD tools for electronics development, etc. Back in the Sonic Foundry days, I was absolutely certain that Vegas, Forge, and Acid were the most rock solid tools I had found anywhere in the software world. They shipped good, got better pretty quickly, and even grew new features between revisions. I don't think Vegas is buggier than other programs in this class, but I also don't think they're delivering that previous best-in-industry quality any more. And in other industries, I have used $10,000+ programs (with $2,000+ annual support contracts) that misbehaved more often than Vegas, even today.

With that said, of course we need to demand better. And Sony's definitely less responsive, in general, than the Sonic Foundry was, in the early days (given that I actually got new features I requested in the very next revision of Acid, that would be hard to top).

But also... proprietary is proprietary. Vegas was the very first NLE to support a wide variety of input formats without conversion. But like any other NLE using Apple's formats, Vegas is at the mercy of Apple's Quicktime subsystem as implemented on Windows. Unless there's some Vegas-specific bug in interfacing to that, you're not going to find it better with ProRes on any Windows NLE. Apple has kind of a vested interest in delivering the absolute minimal Windows support that doesn't prevent ProRes from being an acceptable industry standard.

Looking at it from the other direction, if you have any slightly off-norm format in Apple's Final Cut Pro, you have to convert it to ProRes or something else before editing. Even AVC, except maybe in the very latest version (not sure, I know iMovie does AVC to some extent, my daughter uses it in school).

On a personal level, sorry we didn't do enough back in the early 90s to keep the Amiga alive, thus letting Apple jump into the video thing before PCs were really ready, and thus creating this situation.

-Dave


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