New Software from Sony: Vegas Pro and Spectra Layers Pro, bringing the Pro Studio into the Home Studio
Review by Joseph Timmons – Xombiewoof Magazine
Sony has for many years been recognized as a leader in audio and video technology, everything from personal audio players and cameras to full performance stage equipment and the software that drives the industry. At the NAMM convention in Anaheim California, Sony gave convention participants a chance to see and work with the most recent tools of the trade that will inevitably change how studio sound and video will be processed. I met with the representatives and was blown away by the versatility of 2 of the titles that I feel will be their most popular and truly innovative offerings. After the convention I introduced the following titles into our studios here at Xombiewoof Magazine and put the software to the test and I have great news to report.
Spectra Layers Pro, sound editing software that gives you literally complete control of the sound editing process post recording to and throughout the editing stages. Those familiar with computer design are knowledgeable of the layer editing process in regards to graphic and photo manipulation. The premise of Layers allows you to add, subtract and / or reduce and images properties to create an image that is both accurate and visually stunning. Until the creation of Spectra Layers Pro, this was a very difficult process to do with audio files; Spectra Layers Pro allows the music files to be separated into “Layers” by variables on decibels and sound wavelengths. One can take a sound file, say an audio interview in the field and edit the sound qualities- let’s say you had an audio file that had a siren or distractive element, you can locate and either reduce or completely remove this sound from the sound file without damaging or needing to re-record / re-engineer the entire file. Spectra Layers Pro will also allow the introduction of sound or modifications of sound to enhance, duplicate or increase said files audio attributes. Similar to the forensic software that is available at a much higher price range but with an ease of use that makes this software perfect for the smaller budgeted or home studio enthusiast. This software is for use with either Mac or PC based systems and has versatile keystroke and hot-key functions.
Configurable tools include Harmonics, Frequency, and Area – you can predict what your desired selection should be and dial them in to highlight only what you need, quickly, cleanly, and intuitively. Spectra Layers Pro takes audio copy and paste functionality into whole new dimensions, shuttling blocks of sound between layers can be used in analysis and repair tasks as well as for radically creative arranging and rearranging of sound. You're never more than three easy steps away from a new audio layer in Spectra Layers Pro; you can reach directly into the core DNA of a sound and extract it out to develop new audio life forms. You'll never again see unwanted noise in the same light after working with it in Spectra Layers Pro.
Supported File Formats –
Read: AAC, AIFF, Apple Core Audio Format (.caf), Apple Lossless (.alac), FLAC, MP3, RAW/PCM, Real Media (.rm), Sun (.au, .snd), Video (AVI, MXF, MP1, MP2, MP4, MKV, Quicktime, .vob, .wmv), Ogg Vorbis, Wave, WMA
Write: AAC - 256kbps, AIFF - 24-bit PCM, Apple Core Audio Format (.caf), Apple Lossless (.alac), FLAC, MP3 - 320kbps, Wave - 24-bit, Wave - 32-bit, RAW/PCM 32-bit, Ogg Vorbis - 320kbps, WMA
PC Based Systems
· Microsoft® Windows Vista™ 32-bit or 64-bit SP2, Windows® 7 32-bit or 64-bit SP1, or Windows® 8 32-bit or 64-bit operating system - Dual-core processor (quad-core processor recommended) 2 GB RAM with 2 GB of free hard disk space (for temporary files) - Supported NVIDIA or AMD/ATI GPU with 512 MB or more RAM / NVIDIA: GeForce GTX 2xx Series or higher with driver 285.62 or later. Quadro 400 or higher (or Quadro FX x700 or higher) with driver 285.62 or later.
· AMD/ATI: Radeon HD 47xx or higher GPU with Catalyst driver 11.7 or later. If using a FirePro GPU, FirePro unified driver 8.85 or later is required with 1280x720 display resolution.
· Windows-compatible audio hardware - Internet Explorer 8 or later, Firefox 10 or later, or Google Chrome 13 or later (for viewing help)
· Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) 10.7 (Lion) 10.8 (Mountain Lion)
· Intel dual-core processor (quad-core processor recommended)2 GB RAM
· 2 GB of free hard disk space (for temporary files)
· OpenGL 2.1 compatible graphics card with 256MB - 1280x720 display resolution
· CoreAudio-compatible audio hardware
Vegas Pro 12 is an integrated, forward-thinking production environment designed for a new generation of creative professionals. Combining a familiar track-based timeline with hundreds of thoughtful workflow innovations, Vegas Pro 12 is a modern approach to post-production, supporting more formats, more workflows, and more creative control than ever before, Vegas Pro 12 makes it easy to deliver your message and express your artistic vision.
In the same way that large television studios and video production units can input signal from multiple camera inputs and edit sound compared to a master track, Vegas Pro 12 can create a stunning visual final product in half the time and at a very reduced cost in post-production hours, included is the ability to create titles, credits and captions, sub mix audio tracks and author final product to video and Blu-Ray.
You can import and export images, graphics and footage with easy and flawless motion. Editing video is a snap with simple point and click features, easy to navigate tools and menus. Edit images to mask objects, such as a t-shirt with a questionable image, or artistic image editing, all on one screen, no need to export and reimport from external auxiliary or 3rd party titles that may or may not match the desired quality.
Vegas Pro 12 is the top of the line title from Sony with a suggested price of $ 599.00; it costs less than many titles with only 1/3 of the features.
Vegas Pro 12 system requirements PC Based Systems:
· Microsoft® Windows Vista® 64-bit SP2, Windows 7 64-bit, or Windows® 8 64-bit operating system
· 2 GHz processor (multicore or multiprocessor CPU recommended for HD or stereoscopic 3D)
· 500 MB hard-disk space for program installation - 4 GB RAM (8 GB recommended)
· OHCI-compatible IEEE-1394DV card (for DV and HDV capture and print-to-tape)
· USB 2.0 connection (for importing from AVCHD, XDCAM EX, NXCAM, or DVD camcorders)
· 512 MB GPU memory
· Windows-compatible sound card
· DVD-ROM drive (for installation from a DVD only)
· Supported CD-recordable drive (for CD burning only)
· Supported DVD-R/-RW/+R/+RW (for DVD burning only)
· Supported BD-R/-RE drive (for Blu-ray Disc™ burning only)
· Microsoft .NET Framework 3.51 (included on application disc)
· Apple® QuickTime® 7.1.6 or later for reading and writing QuickTime files
· Internet Connection (for Gracenote MusicID Service)
· GPU-accelerated video processing and rendering require an OpenCL™-supported NVIDIA®, AMD/ATI™, or Intel® GPU with 512MB memory or more.
Go to http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com to learn more about, or better yet, to get your own copy of Vegas Pro and Spectra Layers Pro, 2 of the newest, and by far the best of what is being offered by Sony for the highest quality of sound and video production.
* Specifications and context fact checked at Sony Creative Website and photos / artwork courtesy of Sony Creative