Peter and I have been having a serious love-in with Sony’s Vegas Video editing software this year. I’m a long-time Premiere user, but it hasn’t been getting a look in since I realised just how much faster it is for me to edit video with Vegas. I’ve had my eyes opened to the flow. Vegas lets you make edits, rearrange, delete, fade, and layer clips without interrupting playback. As a VJ, of course I’m used to “editing live”, so when I tried to go back to the play-stop-edit-play workflow of Premiere, it felt completely unnatural and archaic.

The one thing I’ve been missing is the tight integration between Premiere and After Effects. Vegas has some reasonably capable post-production tools, but as soon as things got beyond simple colour-correction or pan and scan, I would reach for After Effects, and things would get messy – exporting uncompressed AVIs, multi-layer exports… Unpleasant for everyone involved.

So, Peter and I were counting the ways we love Vegas, and I remarked that “if Vegas could save a file which could be imported in to AFX for post-production – absolute bliss”. I quickly followed this up with “it’s never going to happen”, and started to theorize about converting Vegas project files into XML to be then hacked into Premiere, while clicking around Vegas in a hopeful manner.
Saving from Sony Vegas to EDL for Import into After Effects or Premiere

Whoops! I seem to have stumbled upon an antiquated file format, which just happens to be supported by both Premiere and After Effects.

After Effects importing EDL file from Sony Vegas

Import is completely painless, and all of my relatively simple edits and fades made it through unscathed. I haven’t tried this process with any colour correction or layer moves, and I wouldn’t really expect them to come through as easily (if at all), but the point of this exercise was to meld the fast editing in Vegas with After Effects for post-production, and EDL export achieves it beautifully.

We’ll have more to say about Vegas as we learn more and put together more quick projects and tutorials, and in the meantime, check out how Beeple uses Vegas for live AV performance.

  • I'm using Vegas for about two and half years. In December 2006 i gave a workshop of vjing, and made the all capture with Vegas. I completly abandoned Premiere, except if i'm working with After Effects.

    That idea would be complety cool, why not program a bridge interacting via Directx or OpenGl between Vegas and After Effects. Something like Adobe Bridge. It's just an idea. But share with us if you do something like this, really great post 🙂

  • GET OUT OF MY HEAD, CDM!

    I was just sitting with someone an hour ago trying to figure out if there was a way to do this exact thing! Too funny. NICE CATCH!

    Yes, I've been pushing VEGAS on people for years now. It's amazing for AV mashup work: Set your BPM, lock to grid, and real-time time stretch your clips to the bars and beats…hottt stuffff.

    -Robotkid

  • what's the closet thing to Vegas on the mac? I'm using Final Cut Express at the moment and getting annoyed by the rendering slowness.

  • @VJ Oxyodo – not sure how you mean in regards to DirectX / OpenGL. But this format looks fairly straightforward, so it might be possible to hack together a Vegas-AE bridge — is there anything this import workflow doesn't provide that you'd want?

    @felix: Well, Premiere is your other option on Mac, but we've had some disappointments with Premiere. Vegas could be a decent reason to dual boot if you've got an Intel Mac. You could also tune that Windows install for video (i.e., disable unneeded services and such and strip it down for video-only work).

    @Robotkid: Sorry? What are you saying? I was too busy scanning your brain for other story ideas. 🙂

    And yeah, Vegas is totally the not so secret A/V mash-up axe thanks to its musical roots. We may have to do a guest tutorial on that. 😉

  • EDL has been around forever – i'm always surprised when people tell me they use premiere because of AE integration (i've not used premiere since version 6 which i used for a while as it was the only app supported by the matrox rt2000 – bad old days which i'm happy to have behind me!)

    EDL export is old school but works reliably – personally i'm not sure who would need any tighter integration between their NLE and Compositor? EDL export will also let you switch between other apps to – so you could edit in premiere and composite in combustion with EDL tying the two together – or even switch between premiere and vegas if your mad!

  • Jaymis,

    maybe I don't get it, but my AE 7.0 on PC doesn't have any EDL import option. If I'm missing something please tell me where can I find it – I tried really hard and failed.

    However, AAF format is perfect for Vegas exports to AE – this is what I'm doing regularly.

    By the way – there is a way to transfer audio/video data between applications without rendering. It's called frameserving, and works perfect with Vegas and Premiere (unfortunately not After Effects) and other NLEs.
    Check the Debugmode website, it's free for both commercial and personal use and I highly recommend it.
    Debugmode FrameServer homepage

    This has the advantage of all the custom edits and effects get transferred as well!

  • @Sleepytom: The integration between AFX/Premiere/Illustrator etc. is really spectacularly good. If you set things up correctly you can make edits in a Photoshop document and have them show up in Premiere and After Effects. Well beyond the integration that EDL provides.

    But for a simple, fast workflow, EDL is now rocking my world!

    I can't think of any reasons to switch between Premiere and Vegas.. I'll keep trying though, there's got to be something. Encore integration perhaps?

    @Zsolt: Sorry, I'm on CS3 now, so I don't know if AE7 supports it. It's not an explicit import option though in AE8, I just go "Import File" and click on the AAF file. AFX comes up with "Format: AAF. Import As: Composition – Cropped Layers" and I'm away!

  • … Whoops, sorry. Now that I read your comment again, that's exactly what I was doing.

    I've done a little frameserving in the past, hadn't encountered Frameserver though, looks great!

  • @Peter Kirn – No Peter everything is fine. The thing is that i didn't read the second part of the article and i thought you were thinking in the idea. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • I checked a little more for EDL support in AE7, and there's definitely no such option.

    Jaymis, if you did AAF export from Vegas/import to AE, then I think the article should be corrected where it says "EDL export achieves it beautifully".

  • Suppperb, I can` not thank you enough for this. This is a blessing, I will test it out. I use AE to make video effects and animations, but I make the soundtrack to it in Vegas. When I import the sound as a wav file I always have to reposition things in the composition.

  • Got to agree with your sentiments of Sony Vegas 8, it really is a hidden little treasure. I've been shooting and editing for 15 years and Vegas 8 works, really works, honestly peeps it does all it promises to do and then some, unlike other nle's I shall not mention. Now my life is complete with the knowledge I can take the timeline into AE for finishing, oh joy of joys!

  • Half something

    What version of Vegas are you using? I am in Vegas Pro 9, and I cannot find the .aaf file format. I am guessing they have filtered it out. But it would be soooo great to have it. Does anybody know a good place to find the codec online as a .ddl file. Then I think I will be able to make it work..

  • I just created a video tutorial about this , check it out:

    http://www.bluefx.net/blog/import-sony-vegas-proj