I've been using Sony Vegas Pro 12 Edit for a few months now, and before that for a year or so I was using Sony Movie Studios. I'm a fanvidder, thus I bought both softwares because I wanted more color and HD possibilities. However, I have a problem.
I know for a fact that it is possible to get quality like these on Vegas:
HOWEVER, mine looks like this:
It looks fine whilst rendering, but once it's on the computer, it looks nowhere near as sharp, and kind of pixelated. It looks the same on Youtube.
I've tried tutorial after tutorial, and fiddled around experimenting with different formats over and over. I've used the upload feature and Vegassaur. I'm using the AVC Main Concept template right now, but still no luck on keeping the sharp, clean quality of the original footage.
Any help is appreciated. I am quite frustrated with this by now.
The problem you are describing is just lossy compression.
If the files you are importing into Vegas are not encoded losslessly in the first place (i.e. straight, uncompressed BDrips), there is going to be a fair amount of quality loss during rendering. Whenever you edit something and want the final product to look as clean as possible, you must import the footage into whatever NLE you are using in a lossless codec. If the file is an .mp4 then it is not lossless (the mp4 container cannot hold lossless codecs AFAIK). The audio should be in either .wav or .flac (the former handles much better). The video should be in an uncompressed .avi container.
Now, Vegas has notoriously awful compression which is why the rendered product looks so grainy. If you want to avoid this then you will have to render losslessly as well. Do this by selecting the uncompressed AVI rendering format and clicking on NTSC DV. Click "Customize Template" and make sure that it's rendering progressively and at the exact same frame rate as the footage. You'll want the video format to be Uncompressed. Check off the "Do not letterbox" option before you hit the render button.
You'll end up with a rather large video file that will look really good. This is your master copy.
Now you'll have to re-encode your video into h.264 and your audio into 128 kbps AAC. This can be done using a free program called Handbrake that you can find on google. If you know what you're doing, then I suggest using MeGUI and x264 to re-encode as that will give you much more control. After your re-encode you should have a video of much smaller file size but with superior quality than whatever Vegas would render it as using the default codecs.
Thank you for the replies. I tried your suggestions out and it does seem to make higher quality. However, now I'm having trouble with pixelation and an odd aspect ratio. Any suggestions as to how to make the aspect ratio consistent in an efficient manner?