This update is long overdue – 2 months ago, I bought a $25 Humble Bundle. As a result, I had Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 16 and Magix Video Pro X11. Although these are old versions of the software (that’s why they are cheap), they still have enough features to test out. Therefore, I edited Pandas for Productivity Ep. 8 on three different software to compare.
Vegas Movie Studio 16 Platinum
Sony owned the Vegas software for more than a decade. Subsequently, they sold it to Magix (a German company) in 2016. Today, Vegas has two versions: Vegas Movie Studio and Vegas Pro. Of these, Vegas Movie Studio is meant for consumers. It costs less than $100 once-off, whereas Vegas Pro costs $20 per month.
I wanted to try Vegas Movie Studio because of its multicamera sync features. In future, I might use my phone and camera to film different angles, especially when sewing. So, I am looking for affordable software which can sync multiple camera angles. Also, I need colour correction tools to remove the yellow cast from my household lights.
However, the outcome was disappointing. I fumbled with picture-in-picture, and couldn’t figure out how to shift the overlay on my screen. So, I couldn’t finish the video in Vegas. Furthermore, I didn’t like the text transitions, which were too fancy. While I want my text overlays to fly or wipe in, I want simple movements without too many distractions.
Verdict: I liked working with the audio tracks (easy to mute and change volume). Also, the step-by-step guided workflow could be useful for beginners. However, I didn’t think the advanced features were user-friendly.
Magix Video Pro X11
Video Pro and Movie Edit Pro software belonged to Magix from the beginning. So, they co-exist with Vegas but serve the same customer segments as Vegas Pro and Vegas Movie Studio. However, Magix Video Pro is not as well known or popular as Vegas Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Final Cut Pro. Normally, it is also quite expensive – it costs $399.
I’ve wondered how a “pro” software will improve my workflow. However, my computer can’t take DaVinci Resolve or Lightworks. Adobe Premiere Pro is expensive, and also needs more RAM than my computer has. Therefore, this was a chance for me to try a “pro” software cheaply.
Like Vegas Movie Studio, Magix Video Pro was also disappointing. I didn’t even get as far because I struggled with creating transitions between clips. When making transitions, a pop-up screen comes out, but I couldn’t figure out how to adjust the length of the overlap. Furthermore, Magix Video Pro doesn’t have many online tutorials because it has a small user base. So, I also gave up without finishing my video.
Templates take a lot of space
Magix Video Pro has a 20 GB package of templates! Initially, I installed it twice by accident, so suddenly I lost 40 GB of disk space. When you buy consumer software, beware that it will always use more disk space than free software. The extra space comes from having more templates, which is great if you want them. But just be mindful about what you want!
Paid isn’t always better…
In conclusion, I found that paid software is not automatically better than free software. Instead, everything depends on your goals. For example, someone who wants to make fun videos with fancy effects and transitions may like Vegas Movie Studio. However, I like to use picture-in-picture, and use a lot of Microsoft PowerPoint at work. Therefore, when VSDC gives me a workflow that feels like PowerPoint, it’s user-friendly to me. I also film many takes and need to cut them together smoothly; VSDC gives me the ability to adjust the clips to exactly the same size. That is not so easy in Vegas Movie Studio because most users don’t want to deal with so many numbers, so resizing with only click-and-drag is easier for them. They may not need to be so accurate if they’re not cutting multiple shots together seamlessly.
On the other hand, I don’t need templates because I like to create my own combinations of music, titles and backgrounds. Usually, I have the entire video in my mind before starting to edit. Also, I like plain transitions (fades and wipes) as I have a lot of text flying in and out of my screen, and want it to be interesting but not distracting.
So, VSDC and Kdenlive still win this round. Next: I will try Olive, a new open-source video editor. Will I come back to the same choices? Stay tuned!