Vegas (Windows) vs. Final Cut Pro (Mac)
I'm on the verge of either setting up a small video production facility using Final Cut Pro on a Mac or Vegas 8 on a PC.
I like much about Vegas, have been evaluating it for a couple of weeks on and off, have tried a few things, checked out the tutorials. Encountered a couple of anomalies -- such as rendering to WMV that came out as an all-black (essentially empty ) 40MB file; but when I tried a second time, it turned out fine. A little unnerving, but I'm very much a beginner at this thing, and I realize there are a ton of variables/settings. (I also have a lifelong knack for discovering bugs in software that other people never experience.)
We have an experienced Mac user who's used FCP and swears by it, and says the Mac is a superior platform for video production. I tend to think a beefy PC these days can equal a Mac in having what it takes, and I've read multiple Vegas users (including those with FCP experience) say that Vegas has a faster workflow and is overall simpler/speedier to work in, with plenty of power.
I'm not producing feature-length films, but short (max. 40 mins.) marketing videos for display at customer meetings and on the web. But we are shooting in HD, so the software must handle this well.
Anyone got advice, opinions, experiences to share? Has Vegas proved to be robust, reliable, etc. I'd love to hear especially from anyone who's used FCP on a Mac and yet is using Vegas 8 on a PC now....
Thanks for any feedback.
I have experience with both FCP and Vegas.
Where I work has 8 FCP Systems and I edit
a lot in Vegas.
My observation is this. FCP and Vegas are both very good
editing systems. Both have there really strong points and a few weak spots.
Lots of wizbang. You can create some really slick stuff in a hurry (after learning the program) and you get a lot of help via templates.
Motion is really cool.
You need a strong, fast, computer and hardware to make FCP get off the ground well, (can you say money).
Some task that should be quite simple are not. Vegas kicks butt in this area.
FCP is a bit closed. It does not like to play with other editing system formats.
Many times you have to do a render before you can preview.
This drives me crazy.
Simple to use compared to other editing systems
including FCP. Very good preview rates when used with a
fast computer. PC's are less expensive than Macs.
You can play a whole lot many different formats of
audio and video files from the Vegas timeline.
You can mix and match diffrent types of files and formats
on the Vegas timeline without a render step as in FCP.
Vegas has some really strong pan/crop and compositing
tools. Vegas has scripting featuure which can automate
certain task for you saving much time and effort.
Simply the best audio toolset of any editing software.
Vegas 8 Pro Multicam tool is way better than FCP's.
You can cut a project very quickly in Vegas.
Weak spot, not a lot of templates for the wizbang.
You have to learn how to create it yourself.
I will stop there and give others the chance to say a word.
As you can tell I like Vegas a lot.
I also like FCP. For most things I like Vegas over FCP.
If you will be working with other FCP users and you
have the money and time to learn FCP that might be the way
to go. If you want a very capable system that is more afforable and much easier to use, and I think more enjoyable to edit on and you do not need to worry about editing projects from other FCP files, Vegas is the way my son.
Regards, and happy editing, Rick.
Director of Audio Production
TCT Network - Directv 377
i think rick has said about all there is to say and quite fairly.
i am an editor of 30+ years and have used them all at some stage or another. they all have their good points (avids is certainly media management), and their bad. for me it's been vegas since 4, and everytime i have to do a job on anything else, i really wonder why i bother. for me vegas is what i want from an editor - sophisticated simplicity. i know others who think i know fa about what's a good nle. then again, none of them have ever edited seriously with vegas. i have with fcp, avid, premiere.
my 2.5cnts worth
I hear you, Leslie! I've been an editor going on ten years and I deal with this issue quite a bit. I have experience with Premiere, FCP, Vegas, and some Avid experience and prefer Vegas over them all. I think this debate is over hyped and it should be up to the editor to choose which program they want to use to cut. Too many times a system is determined for a project with no regard for workflow, output, etc. If that was the case, all you would have to worry about is seamless workflow between multiple editors and final output format. Each of these programs is capable of doing a great job. I think that through great marketing by Apple (and little to no effort by companies like Sony) and a naïve/programmed response to have to use FCP or Avid we miss the point of putting the right editor for the project in the most comfortable position. We are specialists who know our craft and do our homework, and we should let that be known more. This is such a counter productive topic, that I know editors who cut in Vegas and have to import a quicktime file to the FCP timeline just to get credit for doing the job right. It's not about the product, it's about the results you get from the person pressing the keys and moving the mouse.
I'd like to get a nice setup for mastering / creating DVD's. It is a service I pay for and would like to bring it in house and offer it as a service to others.
The problem is, I don't really know what I need.
I have a Mac and would purchase Final Cut Pro, but do I need a high end processor to render the DVD? What are the best books / videos showing how to use Final Cut Pro?
I also have a PC, I see you would recommend Vegas over FCP. Should I get a higher end PC? What's the best tutorials out there for Vegas?
Sorry for all of the questions.
Totally agree. Vegas is soooooooooooo much fun to use. It's easy to use.
And it just works.
I know I love this software because I get excited reading the user manual. :-)
I have never loved Sony products (hardware or software) until I stumbled upon Sony Vegas 9. Have now upgraded to 10.
Would recommend it to anyone over any Mac program. I suspect the Mac person mentioned in the original post who swears by FCP has never even looked at or tried Vegas because if they had, they'd be a convert too. :-)
This mail is to say thank you re your highly informative reply for a user questioning FCP v Vegas
In your reply you state vegas does not have a lot of templates for wizbang
I would be so grateful if you could expand on this - what kind of effects or templates do you find on other editors – what do they do/offer?
I use vegas and do wish to raise my variety of results - my videos are mainly talking head shots, interviews with cut aways to views, pans or stills
I've been editing for about ten years now, and I have used several system including Avid, Premiere, FCP, Vegas and even more advanced finishing products like Smoke and Avid DS. That said I'm currently using FCP as my main editing software and to be honest I'm not necesarly a big fan, but I do find that because is prbably the most popular of all the software mention above I can share my projects with more ad agencies than any other. So if you need to share your work with a variety of clients that also own their own editing suites your probably better off with FCP. It's also hard to compare them only in terms of the editing programm since now a days is the bundle that counts. For me Color is a deal breaker and only Apple offers something like it. Color is very powerfull, it actually used to cost $6,000 when it was called Final Touch HD before Apple bought it.
DVD Studio Pro, Compressor and Motion ( even though I think After Effects is way superior) are also very usefull. So when you're considering buying an editing software you should consider what is included apart from the editing software since nowadays they're all very similar in terms of features and performance.
This is always an interesting topic for me and one that really is quite frustrating on so many levels. My editing history started in the audio field in the studio way back when. It was all Mac and pretty much as I recall ONLY mac. They had the niche and charged on the average 3-4 times the price for everything connected to it. The software we used back than in the early 80's cost a couple of thousand dollars not to mention the computer. But it was the only game in town and as mentioned before Apple's strategy is to market, market , market. It was a great tool but costly until the PC world caught up and directly competed with them in the desktop publishing world.
Studios built their systems and trained their people around the MAC, same exact thing happened with video editing. Walk into an Apple store and you can see how much they sell you on the WOW factor. The reality is today a MAC is really a PC....except for the operating system. Apple almost lost the market and had to regroup or face extinction because they refused to share. Apple has to figure out a way to eke out every right and penny from anything with their name on it.
Case in point...
IPOD...owned a 4 GIG Nano I thought would great for saving my music files but I could not take them back off. Nothing in their literature said anything about it until.....I found a one line blurb in small print that said you could not. Wonder how many people bought the thing and had the same problem. Not long after that however a IPOD rip was available and then of course MP3 players...again at a fraction of the price.
Look at the iPhone and iTouch...the same price for both and one is not a phone. This is Apple's mentality and they prey on our desire for the shiny penny.
The end product is what counts and unfortunately you still have people who think if it does not come from a MAC it must be sub par.
The bottom line is if you want to share and seek jobs you will have to learn FCP. My money these days is very carefully metered out and the WOW factor leaves a hole in the pocket.
Sorry so long winded but this is the flip side of the coin.
I hear you, Joe... it is quite an interesting topic. Honestly, it seems like the least educated (and biased) people on the subject seem to be the ones trying to dictate choices for others in the industry. I see your point that the industry is built on the Final Cut system (which I have no problem with) but just like film is making room for digital, we need to make room for alternate forms of post-production. Workflow, ability to collaborate with others, cost effectiveness, and quality of final product should be all we're looking at. But it seems, like most of the time, people not using the software are making decisions for others based on saturation in marketing and the inability to recognize the positives of this areas evolution.
I do disagree with you on editors needing to learn FCP to get jobs. Although I always think it's helpful to know as much as possible (including multiple softwares) there are smaller (and growing) but just as talented communities of Vegas users, Adobe Premiere users and Avid users. If these communities can work together and support each other, we can address this issue for what it it and not just do it because "everyone else is using it." I for one, refuse to get into a discussion on post production software with clients (mostly because they are limited in their information, and it's only final results that matter). I feel like if you don't make it an issue, then it's not one.
Obviously, there are situations where you will need FCP skills to work with projects and teams who are based on that system, I don't deny that. But there I feel like it's irresponsible and a dis service to make any editor uncomfortable for the sake of a blind "buzz word" response. We are hired for our creativity, problem solving, and storytelling, so let's not waste energy entertaining such a non issue. We are at the first point in history where PC or MAC, Final Cut, Avid or Sony Vegas, professionals can churn out quality work for their clients and audiences alike.
There are jobs out there for Vegas but the reality that I have seen and continue to see in posting after posting is explicitly for FCP. This has nothing certainly to do with the talent behind the system of course.
I would have to say that in the last few years I have only seen Vegas asked for twice. For those jobs that don't they are usually for non film people. I'd like to see the tide turn quicker and try my best to convince clients it does not matter what's in the box. Problem comes in when you are part of a team and unfortunately majority rules and it is not for Vegas.
March on we do....
You'll almost never specifically hear a project to requite Vegas. I tend to look for those who don't specify or it seems like they're just saying FCP because it's "supposed to be said." I believe in most of those cases, they're looking for a capable editor to help them solve their problems. When you're coming from that angle, you can show results and skip the unneeded discussion on which program to use. You don't hear of people telling a plumber what kind of pipe to put under their sink or someone telling a mechanic tools needed to take apart an engine and put it back together again. I mean, I can just picture, "Excuse me, surgeon. I want you to cut my heart open and fix it, but let me choose which scalpels you'll be working with. Oh, and I'm going to be sewing myself up, too."
I tend to focus on what the particular problems they're encountering, what format it's in (Red, HD, SD) and how it's going to be output (and where it's gonna be seen). This makes it much more manageable to find work based on talent to get the job done... because I'm sure if there was a "Vegas job" out there, it's pretty easy to find talented and hungry Vegas editors out there. I've found it really easy to just make sure that everyone has the same media copy, then all you have to share is project files. Forming like Voltron from anywhere in the world.
Let's expand people's options!
It's so true. Rendering in FC has pushed me nearly to the edge to go running back to resurrecting my PC, putting on WIn7 and Vegas just to see if FC is really any advantage at all, other than being on my Mac Laptop.
Dave Keys at davekeys.com
I agree with everyone above (I have both Vegas Pro 9 and FCP), but I have one problem with Vegas that I would like to voice.
I have a PC system that has 8GB of ram and a ATI Radeon HD 4670 with 2TB of HDD space.
However, Vegas, when rendering out, especially in an HD format, will always say "System Low on Memory".
Final Cut has never failed me once with 4GB ram and same graphics card on an iMac with Low Memory problems.
It is not just me who has had that problem with Vegas. If you search the faux-low memory problem on Google (or even here on Creative Cow), there are numerous accounts of this problem happening and no fix has been available, for both the 64 bit and 32 bit versions.
Overall, especially with Vegas' extensive compatibility with various audio and video formats and easy interface, my opinion is that post-production would be greatly improved for many companies if they switch to Vegas, if not for the annoying problem I mentioned in extensive detail above.
this is kind of a late post, and I don't want to get off topic, but this is addressing the low memory problem: sony vegas is not the only one. I've been browsing around other forums, and it seems that adobe premiere gets it the most, then sony vegas, then the other sony creative softwares. however, Pinnacle Studio (the hoe-editing version of avid) gets it a lot too even though projects in there rarely require much RAM or hard drive space
I have 2 AMD HD 4670 in crossfire mode with Vegas 11 Pro, I can't seem to find help from the Vegas or the AMD people but my AMD GPU does not help with vegas, and vagas has allot of issues with loading files and rendering.
So HOW did you test out your HD4670 with Vegas - Its incompatable as far as I can tell?
I would like to know if I can get my gpu to help with encoding I could save some serious time here.
Simple questions but need to be asked:
1) what are you trying to render to? GPU accelerated encoding is only for mp4/h.264 encoded files. Either the Main Concept or Sony codecs.
2) In the options menu under video, how much memory do you have set for the Dynamic Ram preview? If you have anything higher than 256MB, try reducing it to 128MB and see what happens.
3) Also for rendering options you should see a drop down on whether to use CPU, or GPU. What do you have set? You need to set this to GPU.
4) Lastly (I forgot where this is, but I think it's under Options and then the Video Tab), you need to make sure your cards are selected from the dropdown menu. If the cards aren't listed, then Vegas isn't recognizing them. This could be because they don't have the latest or supported driver version.
Yes I know I waisted my Money on Vegas 11 pro, But I had to try.
1) I am trying to render to a blu-ray format typically m2t, Files encoded with SONY system products like Tivo cannot be read, encoded by Sony HD studio 8,9,10,11 and Vegas 10 cannot be read, many times recognizing the audio but not the video.
2) Preview works fine WHEN I am able to load a file into the program, I did howver lower it from 200 to 128.
3) Options Video GPU Acceleration option does not allow me to select any GPU cards, I was greatly disappointed at version 10 when I had AMD HD 4670's and wrote sony asking them to support the card now they say that I need an HD 5700 and upon installing version 11 they crippled any GPU accelleration I got with vegas studio 11 Platinum as well as being able to read most .mpg files, the crippling goes as far back as verion 9, BUT version 8 WORKS!
4) I have the latest Catalyst drivers but to no avail.
A Note for upgraders: Version 11 pro will cripple MOST older versions of Vegas and HD Studio from reading .mpg files and using even the meager %20 GPU it was, and System Restore Checkpoits cannot recover this crippling effect.
I sent a Screen capture of Vegas 8 reading and editing a file right next to Vegas pro 11 NOT being able to read the file into th eprogram about a week ago, but they now seem to be ignoring customer complaints completly.
I was better off NOT upgrading apparently
This has nothing to do with the aforementioned topic but it has a bit to do with the m2t bug that Michael N. mentioned here - First off, after upgraded to Vegas Pro 9, I discovered that it did not open project as fast as version 8, rendering also seems slower therefore I stick with version 8. Now, on to the problem with m2t bug - recently, I tried to open an older project which consists of multiple clips of m2t video, only audio came through but the video track was all black. Suspecting that version 8 as the culprit, I re-opened said project with version 9, same problem! I tried the same approach that helped fix my Vegas problem with Quicktime movies that I had in 2009: quit Vegas, uninstall QT, remove QT reg key, reboot PC, install QT version 7.6 (any later version would resurrect the Vegas m2t bug) - I could be wrong, but so far, Vegas Pro 8 is what I currently use and have no desire to touch Pro 9 albeit it's considered an upgrade!
Its odd that you should mention quicktime, I've uninstalled quicktime in the past and improved and opened features that were crippled or lost in Vegas, it never dawned on me that quicktime was STILL a problem!
Tivo - Vegas not necessarily best pals, the come from the same father but Sony is notorious for incompatability in particulr with there own products!.
As for the SONY vs ADOBE product its a no brainer, SONY WINS, I yet have to try Pinnacle some of my clients who abandoned sony say its excellent, no one cares about Final Cut or Imovie, one person is fine with arcsoft product BUT uses Vegas for more complex projects.
Well, I have been using FCP on Mac & Sony Vegas Pro 8 on PC. I have found that Sony is far better than FCP if we consider speedy edits. FCP is quite popular with its Templates which Sony does not have and are bought in a set of plug ins.Quality wise I have delivered results almost same from both the softwares without any hardware. Final Cut Pro have some issues with the Text Editing and not up to the mark. On the other hand Sony Vegas Pro delivers and renders Texts crystal clear as it is without using any other plug ins. Track Motion feature in Vegas is quick and superior to that of FCP. Another powerful feature of Vegas is that you can apply Effects and chain you effects in THREE modes, On Event, On Track and Finally on the Master Video. This is the most amazing feature which Final Cut doesn't have and one needs to copy Fx attributes to all the events.Another point is that every event, needs rendering in FCP whereas Sony Vegas is Real Time and rendering is required only when you are finished with your edits. At last I would say that Sony Vegas pro and Final Cut Pro both are good softwares to edit on but my preference still goes with the Vegas pro. If a good hardware and a good machine like i5,i7 is with Vegas Pro then I would always want Sony on my Edit Table. I wish Sony comes out with independent MAC version which could work without bootcamp and windows. I would love to have it at my workstation.
This is Pankaj Mattu Hare, I m using Vegas at least from last 10 years and i also uses many other softwares like Pinnacle, Canopus, Premier. i have some probplem with the vegas that when we render the project it loses the generation and takes huge time. if any one have some great settings please send me on my E-Mail "email@example.com". Now i m using the premier pro CS5 and i have great experience with this. it hardly takes few minutes to render or Exporting the project at any format. But i want to work with Vegas so please send me the settings for HD, MPEG1, MPEG2 and AVI format.
Regarding the low memory error in Vegas - there are some things that you can do to prevent it. Change Dynamic RAM preview in preferences to 0 MB and rendering threads to 1. This should help and no errors should occur any longer.
I've worked with Sony Vegas since the version 6 came out. I've also worked with FCP 7 for a year. It's hard to describe my feelings for the these two. Vegas seems to be quick and clever, easy to use and even when sometimes it has some bugs in it, I still love it. FCP reminds me more like a old man with a lot of knowledge but slow reaction. You can get everything done in FCP but it takes more time and sometimes you can't figure everything out yourself. Every time I have a question I look at help (haven't found anything useful there, yet) and then Google. Sometimes I get an answer but sometimes not because the info I'm looking for is so sophisticated. The learning curve for FCP is really shallow. A year later and still I don't understand everything about FCP. Most frustrating is that my MacPro should be the fastest and best on the market but still FCP is much slower than Vegas on my weaker PC. The audio waveform rendering just drives me crazy and also the fact that some video files cannot be directly previewed which makes everything MUCH slower. My conclusion is that though Vegas might have some minor bugs, it still is faster and less frustrating than FCP 7. Ofcourse it has some great features too, so if you're looking for something specific you should look at the features list carefully.
And Vegas 11 is out and also Final Cut Pro X :D . If you have to choose between these two then you don't have much choice. And I really wonder what will the industry do when FCP 7 isn't supported by Apple and new OS X versions? FCP X isn't useable on a pro level, will the go for AVID systems, Premier or PC and Vegas? I've heard that FCP and Premier users have converted to Vegas after they've tried it.
If I'd have time, I could write a novel about FCP's deficiencies, seriously.
I am the Creative Services Director for a TV station, and I currently run 3 Vegas Pro 10 workstations for all of our production requirements. It just works 99.9% of the time as described for SD and HD production.
We had 3 Avids, and 2 Final Cut Pro machines, but I finally decommissioned everything else, and still manage to whisk through all of our work for the 4 stations that are transmitted out of our office.
My staff can simply get more done with Vegas than they could with Final Cut Pro in the same amount of time. The ability to preview everything in real-time is invaluable, and has been a part of Vegas for as long as I can remember. Of Course, it doesn't hurt that the cost of owning and operating a Vegas system is also considerably less.
Our most expensive workstation has 6 cores running at 3.2GHz each, 16GB of RAM, a GTX480 GPU, and Two Solid state drives for under $1,300.00; it runs like the beast that ate the champ with Vegas.
As far as I'm concerned, Avid and Final Cut cannot compete at this price point.