I am a PC user and use Sony Vegas Pro. I really like it for editing purposes. I do not like Adobe Premier or Avid which work on Windows and believe that the top 3 tools are AVID, Sony Vegas, and Premier. Can Vegas be used for professional productions today or semi pro; is the quality and tools up to notch? Can it compare to Final Cut Pro which I see professionals use?

The criteria can vary but in general if it is feasible.

4 Answers 4


Vegas is a mature, full-featured NLE. I use it regularly for professional work from spots, to corporate video to feature films. I've also used it for semi-professional things like editing a video of my stepdaughter's choir concert for a Christmas DVD.

Here's where I run into problems. My producing partner is all about FCP. There's no clean way to export an EDL between our two systems so that we can BOTH edit. We work around it. If there's something with Sony's proprietary HD format that's somewhere between HDV and XDCAM, or DSLR footage from a Nikon, I edit because Vegas imports those clips easily. When FCP imports those formats, it ranges from not recognizing the file to displaying interlace artifacts. On the other hand, my Vegas setup chokes on Canon HDV, so that gets edited on FCP.

Whether using FCP or Vegas, the output is comparable, I'm not saying identical because of inherent differences in how MacOS/FCP and Windows/Vegas implement the various output codecs. Needless to say, though, our material from FCP and Vegas has been used in every media from Broadcast to family videos.

The tool, in and of itself, it not the issue. Professionalism comes from a.) the footage and b.) the skill of the editor. Shoot a corporate video with the onboard mic, no tripod and no lights and Eisenstein himself couldn't make that a professional looking edit. Conversely, light and mic a two year old's dance recital, shoot it with three Steadicams for proper coverage, and you'll get something worthy of a broadcast dance show.

It's just that for some projects, I need a phillips head and for some I need a flathead. It doesn't matter if Vegas in the flathead or the phillips and FCP the other. Which one is the best for the job? No one's comparing MSPaint to Vegas...it's just a tool, and if you use it right, you'll be very pleased wit the results.


The way you've phrased this question makes it meaningless. Of course you can use Vegas for professional and semi-professional work. Of course you can compare the output of Vegas with other professional production tools. The problem is that "professional and semi-professional work" is such a broad field that you will always be able to find some situation where some tool is appropriate. Even MS Paint. (I'm sure someone has manually drawn animation frames with Paint and stacked them up for a music video or short animated logo)

For small projects that you can complete entirely by yourself, all that matters is the final output. If you can produce a product pleasing to your client with Vegas, then go right ahead.

For larger projects where you need to share your intermediate work with other professionals, you may need to use the same tools that they use. But those tools will depend on the other professionals that you work with.

Update: It has been a while since I've used Vegas, but I would guess that it would be a perfectly adequate tool for internal corporate communications work. On the other hand, I doubt Michael Bay uses Vegas much.

  • great answer thanks, but reasonably speaking no one can use MS paint nowadays for professional work. Is Vegas the equivalent of MS paint?
    – Vass
    Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 18:47
  • Actually, my UX friends tell me that the latest version of MS Paint has powerful tools for UI mockups. On the "art" side, there are lots of artists who work with MS Paint at the pixel level. Can you do professional work with marginal tools? Definitely. Will you do your best work and earn the respect of your colleagues? Possibly not, depending on the nature of your work. Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 21:32
  • Then again, it's all about what you're going for. I kinda view MSPaint as the 2d-art analogue to creating 8-bit music with an Atari 2600 tone generator. If it's the right tool for what you want to accomplish, rock on!
    – dwwilson66
    Commented Jun 5, 2012 at 18:56
  • Yes, exactly that. Commented Jun 5, 2012 at 22:20

Yes, you can use Sony Vegas for fully professional productions. I was the video producer for Media Services at a local college and I used Vegas all the time, for all kinds of productions ranging from student programs to publicity videos for the college and its website, and a huge pile of other things, like instructional videos for professors, and publicity and instructional videos for local health care organizations. I've used Final Cut Pro at our local cable access TV studio - they professionalized their production and editing area with JVC professional camcorders and Mac Pros with FCP. FCP is good - it's flexible down to the last pixel. But it's hard! They had several video instructors who were Apple-certified FCP pros. Even they couldn't get folks up to speed without a long winded learning-teaching process. I stayed with Vegas because it could do pro-level effects (we did a lot of green and blue screen) and was tons simpler than FCP.


I am a longtime Vegas user, but have never used FCP. I will list some pros and cons I have for Vegas, and you decide whether any of these important for you.


  • Extremely flexible for setting up project's resolution, frame rate, interlaced/progressive, etc. Can change the settings anytime for the existing project, which, AFAIK, Premiere cannot do.

  • Similarly, very flexible rendering options - choose encoder and full range of parameters. If you render from interlaced to progressive, need to pay attention to deinterlacing options in the project.

  • If Vegas can read video file, then it simply loads it, allows to scrub it, and to do all the regular editing tasks without re-encoding into internal format, this is what Apple products (FCP and iMovie) usually do, especially for formats they consider heavy. In particular, when AVCHD was unveiled a decade ago, Vegas had no issues with loading and editing it as is, while iMovie would convert it into something internal. Then Apple came with an idiotic iFrame format because they could not chew through AVCHD. I really like Vegas for no-nonsense editing of whatever you throw at it. On the other hand, if it cannot read it, you need to convert your source clips using external tools.

  • Vegas has a reasonable set of editing tools like levels, curves, color correction, chroma keying, it shows whether your luma and color in proper range, etc. It does not have a whole lot of pretty filters like Instagram, and its titling is quite basic.

  • Starting from version 9 or 10 its processing of AVC-encoded files became much faster, I was able to edit 1080p60 AVCHD on a modest 2008 Phenom machine. Presently, I can edit 4K AVC-encoded files on a mid-range i7 CPU without stuttering. Out of Vegas, Premiere and Corel, Vegas is the fastest.


  • Cannot attach marker to a clip, only to a track. This is stupid. This feature was requested more than 10 years ago, yet have not been implemented. On the other hand, if you ripple-edit with markers included, they move along with clips. Not perfect, but some workaround.

  • Cannot set deinterlacing options per track, only per project. I may have an almost static shot, that I want to deinterlace by combining fields, or I may have a moving shot, that I want to deinterlace by throwing one field away. If I could set deinterlacing options per track, I would arrange my clips accordingly, but Vegas does not allow this.

  • Vegas starts to choke when the project gets long. If you undo something in a long project, you can see how all the clips on the timeline blink - it seems that Vegas's approach to store the sequence of edit commands it case of undo is not very efficient.

  • If all you want are straight cuts without additional effects, then Vegas can do DV and HDV without re-encoding, so it renders very quickly by joining pieces together and only re-encoding the broken GOPs. But it cannot render from AVC to AVC without re-encoding. Considering that most modern video uses AVC, this is a huge downside when you need something quickly.

  • Vegas understands 24p in DV and HDV streams that have flags, but does not seem to understand 24p in AVCHD streams. It does not have built-in standalone pulldown removal either (only as part of DV and HDV decoders). So if I have 24p in 60i stream encoded with AVCHD, I have to remove pulldown using external application, which means extra re-encoding.

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