Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum

Sony Creative has a wide number of high-end video editing suites aimed solely at the professional market. However, the growth in the enthusiast market and the drop in price of quality camcorders have seen an increase in the needs for powerful tools for the home user.

Sony has stripped out many of the high-end features and once again produced a powerful but perfectly usable home package. Previous editions we’ve looked at have been powerful but there has always been a steep learning curve to getting the most from the software. To a large extent, this is the main change with this edition as Sony has introduced new, read "easier to use", Project and Make Movie wizards that really do work. If you’re new to the software these features are essential and something previous versions lacked.

The interface highlights its high-end roots as there is a lot going on but it never becomes a jumble. To make things easier there is now a Show Me How tutorial that helps you set-up your first project and walks you through the basics of getting to grips with Movie Studio 9. This starts with showing you around the interface, to creating effects and adding audio to your finished clips.

Importing tools have been enhanced and you can now either use drag-and-drop or use the new import wizards.

Support for formats has also been beefed up and in this edition you’ll now be able to import and edit to HD quality. HDV/AVCHD are the big additions and don’t come in the basic edition. Exporting content no supports a wider array of tools too, so you can create a standard format DVD, or choose Blu-ray if you have the hardware. Then there are exports straight to PSP and iPod, which seem essential features in this day and age.

When it comes to audio, this edition supports editing in 5.1 surround sound and there is now a plug-in for Cinescore Studio that allows you to create or import music and add it to the time line.

There are currently three versions of the package on offer with this edition sitting in the middle. At the low end we have Studio 9 (£50 inc. VAT) that serves as an introduction and lacks HD and Blu-ray support, while sat at the high end is Studio Pro 9 (£90 inc. VAT) that comes with everything found in this edition but with the added bonus of more transitions and editing effects, Cinescore themes and extra software in the form of Sound Forge Audio Studio 9, which is a sound editing package. Choosing the right one for you comes down to your needs and whether HD plays a part.

Verdict

Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum offers a host of new features that make it a great deal easier for the novice user to get to grips with the package. That’s not to say experienced users won’t find benefits of upgrading, it’s just that the software has clearly been reworked to appeal to a broader audience.