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When you’re selecting a tool for something as demanding as video-editing, there are plenty of things you need to consider. The main one is whether or not the functionality of the software matches the needs of your project. Vegas Video from Sonic Foundry has a slightly different approach to the job, but has enough features to cope with almost anything you can throw at it. If you’re used to editing video with products such as Adobe Premiere or Apple Final Cut Pro, you may find that Vegas Video’s rather busy interface takes a little getting used to. This isn’t a program to run with a small monitor – a dual-monitor set up is recommended. By default, all the windows are snapped together with the Timeline running along the top, flanked by the track controls. Below this is a window that holds all the effects, transitions and tools – sectioned off by tabs – with the monitor window squashed in the corner. The initial layout may not suit everyone’s style of working, but all the windows can be pulled out of position, resized, rearranged, or left floating. Audio plug-ins As you’d expect from the makers of Sound Forge, Vegas Video has an impressive array of audio options. This includes full mixing for an unlimited number of audio tracks and comes with a selection of 35 professional plug-ins, including a 20-band graphic EQ, multi-tap delay, noise gate, flanger, and many more. If this isn’t enough, you can also add numerous third-party or other Sonic Foundry plug-ins. The video-editing functionality is just as impressive, though the tools and methods of applying effects and transitions can take a bit of getting used to. Trimming can be done straight on the Timeline or within the trim window, which also lets you select a region of a clip and drag it straight to the Timeline – making the editing process more fluid. When adding transitions, one clip is simply slid over another on the same track. This applies a default transition for the duration of the overlap. This default can be replaced with any one of the many supplied 2D and 3D transitions simply by dragging-&-dropping. As you’d expect, all the transitions are keyframeable, and can be fully customized – and they can all be previewed instantly in real-time. The software lets you preview any effect, transition or title, or a combination of all three without any rendering or preview file building. Playback can be jerky if you pile on too many effects, but it’s still good enough for fine-tuning any effect or transition before committing yourself. Once you’ve fixed on your final edit, though, the rendering time isn’t any shorter than that of the previous release. There are plenty of video effects and plug-ins to choose from, including a good selection of colour- and image-correction filters. The numerous creative effects such as blur and distortion give so much control that for many purposes, using a separate compositing package will be unnecessary. Vegas Video is not just a really good video-editing and processing program, but is also a more-than-adequate audio editor in its own right – to be able to tweak and mix your audio tracks to such a professional level within a video editing package is a real bonus, and certainly a timesaver for producers of audio-intensive video projects.