I have a 20 minute video that needs to finish rendering at a maximum of 7 hours. The video format needs to compatible with Windows without Quicktime.
What the the best options to render the video?
I would go with a .mp4 format, if it is in HD, the AVCHD mp4 would be better compressed and better quality, but regular mp4 would be faster and compatible with more things, although I do believe that it is compatible with windows even without quicktime. I am not sure though if you can render AVCHD in sony vegas pro 8, I work out of both 9 and 10, but the AVCHD support may have come starting at 9, but I'm not sure. regardless, you should still have support for regular mp4 which would probably be the best option.
The best rendering options greatly depend on what you're using the video footage for. Here's a few great options sorted by purpose:
YouTube - Videos uploaded to Youtube in 1080p
All of these options will render a 20 minute video well within 7 hours, even on sluggish hardware. MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and Sony AVC wil probably require a seperate codec. These codecs are included in Quicktime, but also in other codec packs such as VLC.