Sony Vegas: Longer project workflows - best practices
It seems like my video editing projects are getting longer as I gain more experience and do more event type shoots.
My question concerns best practices on dealing with these longer workflows in Sony Vegas Pro.
It would appear easier to break up my overall event project into 'sections' or 'chapters' if you will - and probably easier on system resources for rendering by not having so much media, effects, etc.
I've seen where people use nested projects by saving their segments into separate .veg files and importing them to a master project timeline - allows for a cleaner timeline but probably not necessarily easier on rendering I assume.
I've also heard of people opening multiple instances of Vegas and cutting/pasting their segmented timeline material into a master project timeline - also probably not any easier on rendering.
My idea, especially for final output on standard definition DVD media, was to create my 720x480 master project and import rendered MPEG-2 files of my different video sections onto that timeline, thus allowing Vegas to not have to re-render anything but maybe some transition or text material wedged between the different video pieces. However I quickly discovered that because of DVD Architect having to have a separated AC-3 or PCM audio file, I couldn't import in the audio because those file types aren't supported for import onto the timeline.
Are my options at that point to either render the individual segments in an intermediary format such as DV-AVI (not really keen on that) so that the audio is also imported OR somehow piece together everything in DVD Architect (which will pull in the audio)? Is there a different option I haven't thought of?
Lastly if my final output format should happen to be Blu-ray media, do I have the same issues? Not sure how audio works with Blu-ray files but I thought they were also MPEG-2?
I always do everything in one project,.and render output only at the finish.
I usually have dozens of versions of the veg file. Every day start a new file, and sometimes even in that day too: so I can go back to a previous version if something goes wrong, but I can't remeber I ever needed them.
They are for "just in case".
I rarely render an intermediate, but when I do it, it will be in lagarith and 48kHz pcm audio (losless).
This is huge, but I have plenty of Hdd, and I don't keep these intermediates for a long time.
I always start a project as 1920*1080, and switch to lower res later, when needed. That means, if I need mpeg2 for dvd, I change the project properties to 720*576 (I'm in a PAL country) and do the render.
I have different approaches for simple projects, multicam edits, and long -over 90 minutes, typically wedding movies.
The difference is in how I organize and preselect the source material, how heavyly I use media bins. For simple projects I use only timeline -these are finushed in a day or 2.
For complex long project I organize my sources into mediabins first, but how I do it depends highly on the content and the task.
Thanks for that info Laszlo. I too wind up saving multiple .veg project files as I progress through a longer project as experience has taught me that sometimes Vegas will crash on a specific event or FX it doesn't like. It puzzles me because I have more than enough CPU power and 32GB of RAM...but it is what it is.
These periodic program or render crashes is what makes me keep my projects as short as possible to begin with.
I'm really hoping to find an answer to my proposed solution however of my shorter 'segments' that I can render out and throw all of them into a master project that won't have to be recompressed on final render (specifically with MPEG2 and the audio issue) for DVD output. Blu-Ray is my other concern as I know there's more CPU/RAM taxing on that.
For the last 10 years or so, I've enjoyed doing road trip documentaries which usually lead to a final program between an hour to an hour and a half. Since most trips were roughly 2 weeks, it seemed prudent to simply do a day at a time and combine them into a final program, much like you've suggested. I've taken two broad approaches.
First, in the earlier years, I would render out each project and then combine them into a final project. At the time, I was using MPEG-2. Rather than using Vegas for combining the individual segments since it's smart-rendering is a bit iffy, I used TMPGEnc's Smart Renderer. At present, I'm using Version 4 which also smart-renders AVC. I would then do DVD or Blu-Ray authoring using another TMPGEnc product, so there was never a problem as far as having to re-render. While this approach works, there are some real drawbacks, most notably in the audio, which requires that the audio for each sub-project be self-contained.
Second, the approach I now use. I still start with the daily sub-projects where I do basic cuts editing, stabilization, and noise reduction if necessary. I also have a final project file where I simply add the results of each day. Since the results of each daily project are usually in the form a digital intermediate (I use XAVC-S which I find useful as an intermediate and also for archiving.), I simply "copy" the timeline events and "paste" them onto the final project timeline. In this way, I build the final project by adding the results of each daily project. You could use nested projects, but quite frankly I have never found them to work very well. Plus, I've always found a bit hit in final rendering times. It is in the "final" project where I add titles, do color corrections, add voice-over and music tracks and do a final render using Handbrake.
Having taken both approaches, my preference at the moment is the second, although the first will also work.
Wayne thanks for your insight. In the past I too went with just one timeline, which evolved into shorter segments that I cut and pasted into a master timeline. Had a few bad experiences with timelines that weren't the same number of tracks or one had track level keyframes and the others didn't and such.
I was hoping there'd be an easier solution and thought I found it until I ran into the AC-3 audio issue.
What is Handbrake? Is it a seperate rendering app? Does it seem to work better than Vegas render engine?
Handbrake is a stand-alone encoder, considered by many (including me) to be much better than those within Vegas. It is based on the x264 encoder that is used by many commercial applications. There is a Vegas-to-Handbrake 1-click script that makes encoding very easy directly from the Vegas timeline although it does take some time to set it up. Here is the link.
Handbrake primarily supports AVC with options for both CPU only and Quick-sync encoding. Although, it does support MPEG-2, it is not very good. For high quality MPEG-2 encodes, I would suggest you try the now very old Procoder (if you can find it) or the current TMPGEnc's Mastering Works 6 which can also be used in conjunction with the Debugmode Frameserver (also needed for the above 1-click script). For MPEG-2 SD encodes, one of the best is CCE Basic, also so longer available. I have never been a fan of the MainConcept encoder. If you do a search, you will find lots of threads detailing some of the problems that have been reported over the years. In any case, good luck.
To me the main benefit of breaking up project into sections is if I have to re-render to fix a tiny glitch. I generally haven't worried about it and regularly do 1, 2 and 4 hour edits as one. Although my system is getting long in the tooth, it did have the #1 Intel i7 processor at the time, so I still get pretty fast renders, always better than real time even with heavy color grading.
The only time I generally work in sections is if I shared my edit with other editors and they give me their work separately.
My system specs: Intel i7 970, GTX570, 12GB RAM, ASUS P6T, Vegas Pro 12 (x64), Windows 7 x64 Ultimate, Vegas Production Assistant 1.0, VASST Ultimate S Pro 4.1, Neat Video Pro 2.6
I've been using one project per chapter for my family videos shot in AVCHD 60i (24 Mbps). When it comes time to produce my Blu-ray, I simply nest all projects (chapters) into a final project. I render my 2.5 hour final project using the Sony AVC Blu-Ray 1920x1080-60i video stream (18Mbps)/Dolby digitalAC-3 Pro Stereo DVD. I'm pleased with the quality and workflow.
Win 10 Home Prem x64 VegasPro 13
I have been doing long and huge projects in Vegas for years. sometimes 12 or more lanes for multiple takes or camera angles, plus up to 24 tracks of audio with FX. It definitely pushes Vegas to the limits, but I save often. I have crashes daily with these projects, (on EVERY system I have and have used) but I only use nesting for credit roll. Reason being, making one small change to a credit roll seems to ALWAYS crash my systems. However, if I do it as a stand-alone and nest it, I don't have the crashes.
I did have to break up a project around SVP 9 or 10 because it would JUST NOT RENDER the entire project. That is the only time in memory that I have done that.
I am seriously hoping for best (less crashes) results with SVP14 when it comes out, and also some improvements for rendering and such.
Hope this helps!
Xavier (Scott) Francis
Mind's Eye Audio/Video Productions
Great information folks. It does sound like I'm not too far off on how everyone else is dealing with longer projects.
I did figure out a workaround to the pre-rendered segments. I said before that my idea was to create shorter Vegas projects (due to system/render crashes for longer duration/heavy-FX) and wanted to render each of them to MainConcept MPEG2 with AC-3 audio before placing them into a master project for a final render output to DVD that wouldn't recompress in DVD Architect Pro. The problem was that Vegas couldn't import the AC-3 files for the master project and I thought I would have to use an intermediary format like AVI or piece them together in DVD Architect via the Video compilation-type project there.
ALL I NEEDED TO DO WAS RENDER AUDIO IN PCM!!! Now I understand that uncompressed audio files are relatively larger but for most of my projects I have only background music and one speaker talking and for videos that are around an hour - it didn't seem to cause any issues. And of course my Blu-Ray versions were fine also because of the greater amount of space on that media. I really wish I could just slap a bunch of stuff on one timeline and render it out without worry - but I'm always aware of and concerned that I'm going to get a crash. I literally do nothing with my editing computer except for video work in Vegas and renders. I have a solid Intel i7 chip/32GB RAM/GEFORCE GTX (recent) tower, solid-state HDD for my Windows 7 OS, 7200rpm 4GB HDD internal for my media and an external 4GB RAID-0 striped 7200rpm G-RAID HDD for my renders.
Handbrake was suggested by someone earlier in the thread....I'm really wondering if I need to move that direction.
I like to use Nested Projects to work in sections on a long project. Then I can just render them from a master project or of that doesn't work, render each nested project to Sony MXF and combine them into a long master project. As others have pointed out, this has the advantage of only having to render a smaller section of changes need to be made.