A decent raft of new features and improvements to existing ones marks the latest release of the well-regarded VEGAS Pro 21 NLE.
VEGAS Pro 21 has been released, and it’s a good one! The VEGAS Creative Software team has been working hard since version 20 saw a big update earlier this year. They've not only introduced some great new features, but refined the NLE to be an even more streamlined experience. Some of the highlights include powerful masking with AI assisting and tracking through their partnership with Boris FX.
The biggest new features in VEGAS Pro 21 include:
- Mocha VEGAS: Created by Boris FX for VEGAS Pro and based on their Mocha planar tracking tool. After setting up tracking information, it’s transferred to VEGAS Pro’s Motion Tracking tool, and you can apply it to the project, for stabilization, and more. Lots of great integration.
- VEGAS Z-Depth OFX Plug-In and Compositor: I saw a demo of this with the VEGAS team and was completely blown away. How many of you have spent hours creating masks to isolate a section of a shot, such as a subject who appears too flat and underexposed and the background is overexposed? The VEGAS Z-Depth OXF Plug-In and Compositor makes it easier and much, much faster. You can choose a threshold point between the foreground and background layers and they will be independent of each other. It's really powerful, but took no time at all. Then it's easy to fix the brightness and contrast, and ensure the colors pop on the subject while getting the background as close to proper exposure. And that's just one example.
- Smart Masking: This was in beta until now and uses AI to locate objects in the shot for possible masks. It then adds a Bézier Masking plug-in with a mask ready to go and fully customizable. Oh and it tracks motion, as well, which saves hours of work.
- Adjustment Events: If you add an adjustment event to your project, you'll be able to add effects to that event. Then, any event in the video event directly below the adjustment event gets that effect. This is great for cool effects, transitions, etc.
- Offset and Wrap OFX Plug-In: You'll be able to create some cool motion effects on your footage, sliding video in either direction. Whatever leaves the edge of the frame will wrap around the other edge. It also works pretty good with Adjustment Events.
- Cloud-Based Speech-to-Text: Previously locally based, the Speech-to-Text feature is now available through VEGAS Cloud Services. There are more voices and languages available, plus the ability to control how things are said (sorry, voice over artists!). Since it's in the cloud, more languages and voices are available immediately, so you aren't waiting for another VEGAS Pro upgrade.
- New GL Transitions: Two new transition wipes were added, including the Static Wipe (add a static edge to two clips' transition) and the Directional Scale (changes the sizes of clips as they transition).
The team at VEGAS Creative Software also improved many features, including:
- Quick Upload: Quickly upload footage and other media from your computer to VEGAS Cloud Services, which is great when you're collaborating with others, whether they're in the same room or on the other side of the world.
- VEGAS Content: This has been rebuilt from the ground up with VEGAS Cloud Services, making it much faster and easier to search and preview content before downloading.
- Button Icons: You'll be able to find buttons and whether they've been clicked or not.
- Online Help: This is now available in VEGAS Cloud Services so you can get the help you need quickly.
Delivering a streamlined experience
VEGAS Pro is software that I like to say, ‘gets out of my way.’ What does that mean? Basically, any sort of app that is easy to learn and becomes second nature to me is software that gets out of the way and allows me to create or work. It could be software such as screenwriting, budgeting, or scheduling, or a something more complex like a non-linear edit system.
If I’m constantly having to focus on the software and not on what I’m doing, it means I’m taking too much time to get an edit done, for example. VEGAS Pro 21 has a small learning curve and allows me to deliver projects to clients on time (or ahead of schedule), especially with the new features like the Mocha VEGAS planar tracking tool, Smart Masking, and the Z-Depth plug-in.
I may be a long-time Apple and Final Cut Pro guy (going back to the 1990s), but I've been working with VEGAS Pro since 2005 and always love using it.
Pricing and Availability
VEGAS Pro 21 is available now in three tiers and priced either as a subscription or a perpetual license. Here is a brief overview of each tier:
- VEGAS Pro Edit: VEGAS Pro 21; 20GB of cloud storage (subscription only); Speech-to-Text and Cloud Speech-to-Text (sub. only); VEGAS Content with 20 royalty-free HD video and/or audio clip downloads per month (sub. only); and priced at $19.99 /month (or $143.99 annual payment) or a perpetual license at $199.99 (full version upgrades are $149 for perpetual license owners). This is great for just about anyone, including pros, enthusiasts, students, etc.
- VEGAS Pro Suite: VEGAS Pro 21; Mocha VEGAS; SOUND FORGE Pro; ACID Pro; Boris +Primatte (chroma keying software); 50GB of cloud storage (sub. only); VEGAS Content with unlimited, royalty-free HD video and/or audio clip downloads per month (sub. only); Speech-to-Text and Cloud Speech-to-Text (sub. only); and priced at $34.99 /month (or a $191.88 annual payment) or a perpetual license at 299.00 (full version upgrades are $199 for perpetual license owners). Great for pros, YouTubers, filmmakers, etc.
- VEGAS Pro Post: Everything found in Pro Suite and adds VEGAS Effects for high-level compositing; VEGAS Image to edit RAW images and compositing; 100GB cloud storage (sub. only); VEGAS Content with unlimited, royalty-free 4K and HD video and/or audio clips per month (sub. only); and priced at $44.99 /month (or a $299.88 annual payment). Perfect for those looking for a complete post-production package.
One great thing about the VEGAS Pro team is they’re staying agile and continuing to develop more features and refinements, which they update regularly between major releases.
In short, there are plenty of great new features and I like how the pricing has gone down, especially with inflation driving costs up. Definitely take VEGAS Pro 21 for a spin and decide which tier is for you. My suggestion is VEGAS Pro Suite and pay the affordable annual price of $191.88 . You get a lot of features with the subscription option.