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Editing stereoscopic 3D videos in Sony Vegas Pro 10

New Sony Vegas Pro 10 editing suite was just released a couple of days back, so because of it’s stereoscopic 3D editing workflow which is part of the package i just had to try it out.

This got me pretty much well interested so as soon as it got released I downloaded the trial. 30 days, nothing locked, the real deal. Being a Adobe CS5 fan for some time now, getting used to Vegas can be weird, as some things that I take for granted that should be there and I can’t find them straight away is a bit annoying, but I do believe that with time I find them features.

So cutting to the chase – stereoscpic 3D workflow. I printed myself about 10 pages from the manual just about this feature. Easy read, if you know 3D even a bit, seems like the way they’ve done it, all makes sense and it’s the hardest to master. Small dissapointment about the live preview on 3D Vision only available for Quadro cards.

Setting up stereoscopic project is easy, you just choose what format you want, and apart from MVC 3D Blu-Ray everything else is there. I am glad to see the side by side / top and bottom full versions as well as half, to be able to output full hd 3D to later view it on 3D Vision or upload to Youtube 4k for future generation 4K 3D TV’s. Another interesting feature is in the project setting is the Crosstalk cancellation, so without thinking I moved it to max, what the hell, who needs cross talk, it must be there for a reason, and propably does a decent job.

Finally I dropped some 3D Avi’s from my Fuji W3, no splicing needed, and bang, both views displayed, checked it by switching the preview to side by side full and yes, the left was on the left and right on the right. I can even swap the views to preview it with the cross-eyed method, or swith it to anaglyph and the preview area changes from 32:9 to a standard 16:9 on the fly. It’s fantastic to be able to change these preview modes that easily. Also I find the “blend” mode ( “onion” in Neo3D ) quite convenient to align unsynchronised footage from my dual Canon 550d ( T2i ) setup, and the “difference” mode very interesting too.And than the magic happened… while having the clip on the project timeline I pressed play…. and it played back in real time, my jaw dropped, as I was used to rendering each time I wanted to see anything while editing in After Effects CS5 and got used to rendering every second for about 10. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Slapped myself back from all this excitement, and moved to aligning my footage. Believe it or not the stereoscopic plug-in in actually included, yes it’s part of the £499 ($599) price. Unlike Neo3D ($2995) or even NeoHD ($499) that comes with FirstLight for making all 3D adjustments, you need to also have Final Cut or Premiere Pro and do cost a lot.

When I’ve opened the plug-in I saw everything I need to perfectly adjust the two streams, but the best thing over there was the Auto Correct button. One click and all these things get done for you, and as I can believe that it used some fancy algorytms to do that( propably the same as Stereo Movie or Photo Maker ) it does a pretty good job, and what’s left for you to do is to adjust the horizontal alignment. Of course you can keyframe all of them too. Control just one stream or both. Flip a stream if you’ve been recording on a beamsplitter. So I decided to do what’s needed, to correct my alignments, keyframed parallax, left the auto-crop option on so that it zooms in or out depending if you going into positive or negative. Switched back to anaglyph so make sure, and yes no “just red” or “just cyan” image parts on any side of the 16:9 frame and … it still plays back in real time. Unbelievable.

Cut a few clips together, and off to final output. In the project setting I choose again the 3D layout/format ( which is independent from what you can have for preview ) and export. My 1min clip took only 3min. That’s it. Quickly put my Nvidia shades on, and there I was watching 3D in 720p feeling all happy how fast I can now make decent 3D videos. Yes it was scaled back up to 720p after all the alignments, but the footage from the W3 is of such low quality that it just didn’t make a noticeable difference. It was as bad as my previous 720p I’ve done all the adjustment to and left the matching footage inside a 720p frame with a floating window to cover the misalignments and mall scaling needed. The upside for Vegas was much bigger though, because with real time playback I could keyframe parallax more accurately and so much quicker that I would’ve ever done in AE CS5, and that solely makes the 3D video stand out of the crowd, looking much more pro and what’s important easier for the eye, and minimizing chances for headaches.

Just to quickly add to this, any unsynchronized dual streams after aligning on the timeline to the closest frame either visually or by waveform, than you simply right click and select “Pair as stereoscopic subclip” and they become one file on your timeline and you can follow the same procedure as with the W3 clip I wrote above.

To summarise, this is a huge step forward for Sony, and I believe it will get them a fair amount of new customers, that will either switch from their current cumbersome or just plain expensive software to just a better 3D editing workflow. I also think that it might get some new people on 3D editing that just thought before the 3D game is too expensive in terms of editing suite costs. As far as it looks now, I am 90% sure that I will be buying it after the 30 days trial, and the 10% is only because it crashed a couple of times yesterday, but that’s something I think they can fix with an update.

Advantages:

-         for £499 ( $599 ) you get the whole thing, a superb 2D editing suite now with a fantastic stereoscopic 3D wokflow

-         auto correct alignment, saves you time, and makes it way better that you would’ve done it yourself anyway

-         crosstalk cancellation on the fly

-         all 3D output and preview formats

-         preview in mode 1 on monitor 1 and in different mode on second in full screen

-         real time playback even in 3D

-         fast encoding, even of large 3D 3840x1080p files

-         trial is 30 days long and let’s you do everything, no restrictions

Downsides:

-         only Quadro cards for Nvidia 3D Vision preview

-         Premiere Pro CS5 is a bit more user friendly and surely got more options, so for my 2D work I’d stick to CS5, as I already own the Production Premium CS5 suite.

So there you go, if you’re not sure, just get the trial, but if you’re serious about editing stereoscopic 3D video, you HAVE to check the trial.

Check out this quick video I have put together as a test of Vegas Pro 10 filme with Fuji W3 :

You can compare it to my previous test video I’ve done with the Fuji W3 but edited using stereoscopic scripts in After Effects CS5 :

Also check this video filmed at IBC 2010 showing a Sony representative quickly going through the workflow of it:

For the option of choosing your preferred 3D viewing method for thetwo 3D clips click the 3D dropdown icon next to the resolution. Choose your 3D viewing method. Also change the resolution box to 1080p , and then immerse yourself into the 3D experience.

15 comments to Editing stereoscopic 3D videos in Sony Vegas Pro 10

  • Pavel Houda

    This review is very well rounded. It is great to have a review written by someone who has an obvious experience by “doing it the hard way.” The most exciting is the speed of the work. I would be willing to pay for a decent Quadro card just to do something else with the little bit of life I have left, than watch rendering. I think that will eventually pay for the electricity itself. Do you have a card in mind you’d recommend? Excellent, I am impressed with your web site.

  • admin

    Thanks for your comment. I read that they recommend FX3800 and above. I think that you will see a huge improvement when working with this card, but my GTX285 2GB on my i7 920 with only 6GB RAM does the job pretty much alright. I would only get the quadro if you want live preview on your nvidia 3D Vision enabled monitor/projector. Other than that, I would rather recommmend buying the GTX470 for price/performance reasons, but with the electricity saving I got to admit, you do have a point.

  • Pavel Houda

    Is there an easy way to match video attributes of the L/R streams (brightness, contrast, color balance) in Vegas 10 Pro?

  • Hi
    I tried Vegas Pro 10 also. I like it (intro/fadeins etc), but the quality of the final 3D video is not as good as when I splice the 3D clips with VirtualDub. Also the fps is 29,97 not 30 like in the original shots. I get motion blur that I don’t get with VirtualDub. The stabilizing doesn’t work with 3D clips. Kinda surprised of these things as I was hoping this would be the ultimate 3D videoedit tool.

  • Zay Nev

    what is a floating window you talk about using and how do you use it?

  • admin

    Please read this very informative book “3D Movie Making: Stereoscopic Digital Cinema from Script to Screen” by Bernard Mendiburu. It will anwser all of your questions.

  • admin

    Thanks for your comment. I haven’t encounterd any issues with exporting Fuji W3 clips (720p24) back to 23.976, nor when shooting 1080p23.976 on my Canon 550d’s and exporting the same. Stabilizing not working is a true pain, but I believe we will still have to wait some time for a holy grail of s3D editing software, but it is still the best suite I have worked on my s3d clips so far.

  • admin

    Not as far as I know, the auto button is only for alignments,would be a nice update though if they added that feature.

  • I am wondering if it is possible to have a 4 monitor setup with vegas 10?
    monitor 1 and 2 are the edit timeline.

    Monitor 3 is LEFT and monitor 4 is RIGHT. Both monitor 3 and 4 go to seperate projectors for sterescopic preview on large screen in edit suite.
    Do you think this is possible with

    2 x (2output)8600GT PCIe cards?

  • admin

    Sounds like a good idea, but if it’s possible I honestly don’t know, and I have only two monitors so can’t even try it.

  • Mike

    I have a Samsung 3d TV set and th Fuji 3W camera. Ths video file created by the canera is an .avi file but the only way you can play this file is inside the camera and with an output cable (mini-DVI) you cane see the result on the TV screen in 3D (you have to use the special glasses(. This is not an anaglyph image. I have the Sony Vegas 10 and I have attempted to edit (put together several sequences of video and some static images). I have not been able to create a file that either the TV or the TV with the camera can play. Does anyone know what are the settings I have to use when rendering the final file on sony Vegas to obtain a file compatible with the camera that I can send fr4om the camera to the TV screen as a 3d video?

  • Beth Owen

    I’m new to Sony Vegas and having trouble getting my 3D footage on a blu-ray to watch on my 3D TV. I’m using a Sony HDR TD10 3D camcorder and have polarized glasses for my TV. Can you please give me some insight as to what settings I need to begin my project and then the setting needed to get it on a blu-ray for a 3D TV? It would be greatly appreciated.

  • With these side by side videos, why don’t you turn on the 3D flag in YouTube? I’d love to see them in 3D at home. Thanks.

  • Hey @Freke1 the softness you mentioned is a ‘feature’ of Vegas that’s always been a problem. By default, all clips have frame blending turned on. You can turn it off clip by clip, or do a search for a script that does it for the entire timeline. Good luck!

  • (nevermind!) I just noticed your comment about embedded video and no 3D. Saw in on the youtube page… looks great!

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