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Vegas: Basics

Written by andreas on 7. October 17:16

Following parts will be introduced in this guide

00. Introduction.
01. Overview.
02. Audio and video tracks.
03. How to open your needed files.
04. How to handle your timeline.
05. All the icons (what are they?).
06. How to add effects.
07. The Explorer tab.
08. The Video FX tab.
09. The Trimmer tab.
10. The Project media tab.
11. The Media manager tab.
12. The Transitions tab.
13. The Media generators tab.
14. How to render your final movie.

00. Introduction
This guide will cover the basics in Sony Vegas® 6. Vegas is one of the most powerful amateur editing programs out there, about nine of ten gaming-moviemakers use Sony Vegas® 6 for their basic editing in their movies. With this program you can create cool effects, you can edit your movie just how you want it, and you can organize your project media and much more. After a look in this guide you'll be handling Vegas without any problems.

01. Overview
Ok, we've just opened Vegas and are ready to start the editing. You'll now see a lot of icons, tabs and a big timeline. To explain what everything is I'll write something about each section.

Click to zoom.

This is how it all looks from your view, It is probably some changes because of my taste (I've changed places on some parts). If you also want to personalize your looks you can do this by using the standard drag-and-drop functionality. The big gray part in the middle with some lines is your timeline. It's your workspace and it's here you'll manage your files. It's here you do all your synching, your awesome editing and where you collect all the killing sprees.

At the bottom left you have some tabs (Explorer, Video FX, Trimmer etc). You will be working with these tabs pretty much but I'll talk more about them later. The big black screen is your preview display. This display will be very useful for you since you'll need to see how everything looks like when you're working in Vegas. To the right on the picture you have the master. With this you can control the volume on your project audio.

02. Audio and video tracks
Okay, now you've got a little bit more knowledge about the sections in Sony Vegas and we are ready to move on. Let's say you want to add some music and clips to your timeline. You can do this by creating a video- and/or audio track. Do this by right-clicking in your timeline and choose Insert Audio Track or Insert Video Track

You can also do this by choosing Insert > Audio/Video track at the top of your screen. Remember that if you choose to open a video/audio clip directly, vegas will automatically create a video/audio track for you.

If you open a video and audio track you'll see the both tracks at your top left corner.

The 1st layer is a video track. You can change the video track's opacity with the drag-control:

A few track-icons will be useful for you as well.

Compositing Mode
Click this button and choose a mode from the menu to determine how the transparency in a video track is generated when you have multiple tracks on your timeline and clips above eachother. The clip below the upper clip will not be shown if no compositing mode is set. By choosing a Compositing mode the lower tracks below will be shown. It is the mode which determines how much of the lower tracks that shall be shown. Compositing modes are very popular when it comes to cool colors, effects and especially intros. The compositing mode of the lowest video track has no effect on a project.

Mutes the whole track, this can be useful if you want to try something without a special track.

Track FX
This button takes you to a big list of effects. You can choose effects and add it to the whole track.

Maximize/Minimize track
Maximize or minimize your track heights.

The 2nd layer is an audio track. You can change the volume on the track by dragging the control.
You can also change the pan for the track.

03. How to open your needed files
Now you need to add the files to your audio and video tracks. You can do this by clicking the 'Open' icon at the top left and then choose your media files.

Click to zoom.

If you have added music and video to your timeline it will look like this:

This is how a video clip looks like in Vegas.

This is how a audio file looks like in Vegas. The sound waves can be very useful for you to synchronize your video with.

Congratulations, you have now added media files to your project! Now you'll need to know how you handle your files in the timeline, read the next step and you'll learn that as well!

04. How to handle your timeline.
First of all you'll probably not see everything in your timeline since it's very big. You got almost everything you need on the sides of the timeline. You have scrollbars which you can use to move around with. Sometimes you'll need to zoom in your timeline, you can zoom in your timeline by either clicking the zoom icons in the timelines bottom right corner OR using the mouse-scroll.

Green arrow zooms/minimizes in the "time" and makes your media files bigger/smaller.
Blue arrow zooms/minimizes your track heights.

To move around your media files you just need to click and hold your mouse on the clips and drag them to the place you want them to be. If you hold your mouse on the media file's edges you can drag it outwards and inwards.
This will make your clip shorter (inwards) or longer (outwards). If you want to fade out a video/audio file you can also do this by click and hold your mouse in the file's top corner (that is marked blue) and drag right/left.

Now to one of the most important parts you need to know when working in your timeline. You of course have to know how you play up your projects in the timeline.
There are a few icons in the middle I would like to introduce for you.

The Record tool
This will not be so useful for you. This is NOT where you render your final movie.
Loop tool
Plays your marked area in the timeline over and over again. You can mark parts in the timeline just like in your desktop. Click - hold - and drag.
Play from start
Plays your movie from the start.
Starts playback of the project from the cursor position.
Pauses your project playback and brings the cursor to the current playback position.
Stops the playback of your project and brings the cursor where it started. That's the only difference between Stop and Pause
Move to start
Moves the cursor to the start of your project
Move to end
Moves the cursor to the end of your project.

A good tip is that you use SPACE to play and stop your playback, and Enter to play and pause the playback.

Now you got some good timeline-knowledge in your brain. Let's go on to the other step about some more useful icons.

05. All the icons (what are they?)
Something that can be useful for you is to know what all the icons is used for. I will give you some information about some good and useful icons in the toolbar (at the top).

The toolbar - part one

New project
Creates a new blank project.
Open project and media files.
Save your project.
Project properties
Check and change your project settings.
Cuts your marked area in the timeline and copies it to the clipboard. You can later paste it to a different area in the timeline.
Copies your marked area in the timeline and copies it to the clipboard. You can later paste it to a different area in the timeline.
Pastes the content of your clipboard to your current cursor position
Undo and Redo
Undo reverses the last command performed. There are an unlimited number of undos and this allows you to restore the project to any state since it was last saved. Redo reverses an Undo.

The toolbar - part two

Enable snapping
When this is enabled your media files will snap to your markers, grid and cursor.
Automatic crossfade
Creates an automatic crossfade for two overlapped media files in your timeline.
Auto ripple
After performing any of these actions; cutting, pasting or deleting you can choose if you want the files to be auto rippled or not.
Locks envelopes to events
This is pretty useful for you as a beginner. Anyway, it looks envelopes to a special event on the timeline, so they wont move when you move the event
Ignore event grouping
Disables all the grouping (control + click your media files. Right-click > Group > Create new) in your project. Grouping makes your selected files stick together.
Normal edit tool
Selects the Normal editing tool. This tool gives you the most flexibility while editing; selection, project navigation, etc. You'll be working with this tool the most
Envelope tool
Designed to manipulate track-leven audio and video envelopes. With this tool selected you can't move or edit files on your timeline.
Selection tool
Select multiple files on your timeline in a quick and easy way. Click - hold - drag.
Zoom tool
Use this tool to zoom special areas in your timeline. Click - hold - and drag on the area you want to zoom. When the button is released your area has been zoomed.
"What's this?"
Activates the "What's this?" tool. When this is enabled use your cursor to press any area/icon you are unsure about and receive some help about it. This tool can be very useful for you when you are exploring new areas.

That was basically the most important icons for you as a beginner. Next step; How to add effects!

06. How to add effects.
Adding effects in Sony Vegas is really easy and you'll learn it in no time! Simply follow my instructions:

- At your bottom left you have different tabs, choose Video FX
- Now to your left you have many different effect-categories, choose 'Gradient map'
- Then add the effect 'Night Vision' to your right. To add the effect, simply use the drag-and-drop function.

Now an window will open for you. This is the Video event fx window where you control the effects. You can animate the effects in here by using keyframes (Read the 'Vegas: Keyframes' guide in our guide section about that), and you can also change values to your effects in here.

Try explore some other effects and mix some settings just to learn it. Later on, we move on to the next step about the bottom left tabs, first of: 'The Explorer Tab'.

07. The Explorer tab.
The Explorer tab is simply a place where you can look up and find your needed files. You can use the Explorer tab instead of using the normal 'Open' way. Quick, easy and flexible!

Another good function to the Explorer tab is that you can preview your files directly from the explorer in the 'Preview Display'.

Start preview - Stop Preview - Auto Preview on/off

08. The Video FX tab.
Which you probably already know is that you add effects to your media files from here. Tons of effects, but remember most of these are overused and not so popular in the movies by this stage. Be creative and use them in a good way!

09. The Trimmer tab.
A powerful section in Vegas which you can use for taking out special parts in your projects media files. To open a clip in the trimmer simply right-click the file in your timeline and select 'Open in trimmer'.

Now your clip will be shown IN the trimmer. It looks like this:

You can take out special parts from the clip by marking the area you want to take out and then drag it to the timeline. Everything you do in the trimmer will be shown in the 'Preview Display'

10. The Project Media tab.
A feature which collects all your project media, everything you use and HAS used in the project will be saved here. If you want to remove all the unused media from the project simply press the bolt-icon in the left corner.

11. TheMedia Manager tab.
You can use the Media Manager window to search and manage your collection of media assets so you can easily find the right file for your Vegas projects. The Media Manager maintains a database of your media files. A good technology to organize your project media!

12. The Transitions tab.
As you remember you made a transition early on in the guide. If you don't remember that's okay. I will show the pictures once again.

Okay, now we got a simple fade. But if you want to customise it and give it another look you should go to the transitions tab. This is almost exactly like the Video FX tab but instead of effects, you have, as you have probably figured out, transitions. Use the transitions by simply choose a category to the left - pick an transition-effect to the right and drag it to the fade. Congratulations, you have now made an transition!

13. The Media Generators tab.
This is a tab exactly designed like Video FX and Transitions but here you can add backgrounds and other funky stuff. But of course, there are some good functions as well. You can make a credit roll in here and also add text to your movie. You probably know how to add these things by now so I'm going to let you to do that by yourself.

14. How to render your final movie.

Ah, the last chapter is finally here and it's not a big chapter at all! Okay, to render your final movie, the only thing you need to do is to press File > Render as.. and then choose the way you want to render it.

How to render a movie can be very tricky for beginners but if you look around on our site you will find some guides about how to render your movie in the best possible way. The most popular way now is to use the Windows Media Video Codec (.wmv). So check around, and you will find a guide!

So this is it, you made it to the end and I really hope you got some knowledge in Sony Vegas by now. If you notice any bugs in this guide please contact me as soon as possible. Feedback is always welcome and at last, Good luck!

Guide written by Andréas ibiz Bengtsson
#1marsi hillbillyjunkies 7. October 2006 20:15
#2Round-Three 7. October 2006 22:06
nice tut !
#3senteR 9. October 2006 18:57
nice dude!! very nice Tutorial!!
#4Meethz 9. October 2006 23:09
awesome tutorial for beginners
#5wack 10. October 2006 16:10
#6IP 87 Studios 10. October 2006 23:13
Didn't learn much new things, but this is for sure a really well-made tutorial and sure will help lots of beginners!
#7Bilbo 11. October 2006 18:14
N I C E :D

I know beginners will have good use of this!
#8Chrulle 11. October 2006 20:33
nice tutorial :D
#9amaZad 13. October 2006 17:47
tnx ! i can use it a lot :D
#10Shagglicious 24. October 2006 21:16
Thank you very much!
Really nice tutorial!

Last changed: 26. October 2006 21:48
#11radon Eyewire 29. October 2006 17:42
great job andreas!
#12deFicit moviedesign 3. November 2006 18:33
gj ! :)
#13owe 19. November 2006 00:33

Last changed: 19. November 2006 00:34
#14pandan4 19. November 2006 14:07
#15GauR 24. November 2006 20:52
#15 .. oo


I did not get any smarter ;P
#16Sync 29. November 2006 17:35
good work
#17mardal91 5. December 2006 07:26
#18Ecto e-Newf 28. December 2006 19:30
that blows my mind way out of proportion !
#19BlackDJ 30. December 2006 04:19
excellent tut!
thx :D
#20dANG 14. January 2007 01:41
Nice, love it.
#21eksico- 19. January 2007 12:26
Could someone give me a "Render Guide" ? please ;D

Anyway, nice basics.
#22ConTroLL 5. February 2007 22:48
nice, but in vegas, how do I add the orange line so when i click it, it gives me at that line... or whatever?

sry for bad english
#23misoo83 31. March 2007 17:45
very nice :)
#24Baw222 17. April 2007 22:59
Nice tutorial helps a lot thanks

Last changed: 17. April 2007 22:59
#25Cortez Mammoth-Flicks 28. April 2007 23:54
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