Getting Started With Sony Vegas



Sony Vegas is an all-purpose industrial grade video editor. It runs extremely fast and has a wide variety of export formats. It’s relatively easy to learn (compared to FinalCut or Adobe Premier.) If your main purpose is editing simple web videos or DVDs, you can learn everything you need to know about Vegas in under a week.

Its only drawback is that it lacks sound editing, which needs to be done in external software like Audacity. It doesn’t have many special-effects type of filters and is primarily a video editing program, not a motion graphics program.

All that said, Sony Vegas is a great all around pick for video editing. Here’s a basic guide to using Sony Vegas.


Step 1: Understanding the Interface

A good understanding of Vegas’ interface is imperative for being able to edit efficiently. Here’s the basic layout of Vegas’ interface.


1) Media Box. This is where you can view your existing media, add new media, manage transitions or effects.

2) Volume Bar. This is where you adjust how loud or quiet the volume is. It also allows you to watch the sound levels visually while previewing a video.

3) Toolbar. Select what kind of tools you’re using to edit your video.

4) Preview Box. Play the video and see how it’ll look after it’s rendered in this box.

5) Timeline. Move forwards and backwards in time in your video. This is where the majority of your editing work will take place.


Step 2: Importing Media

In order to edit video, you first need to import video into Vegas. Do this by browsing for media either in Windows Explorer, or in Vegas’ built in explorer.


Anytime you see a video you want to import, just drag and drop it into the timeline. This works from both Windows Explorer and Vegas’ explorer.


Step 3: Navigating the Timeline

Editing involves constantly moving forwards and backwards in time, previewing how the video looks like, making changes and repeating the process. In order to edit well, you need to be very comfortable with moving through video.

Here’s how to navigate Sony Vegas’ timeline.


1) Basic Controls. This is how you Play, Stop and Pause video. You can also “Play from Start,” “Skip to End” or “Skip” to Beginning” with these controls.

2) Selection. You can select areas of video to apply effects to, to render or to cut. The area between the yellow triangles is the area that’s selected. Change your selection by dragging the yellow triangles.

3) Cursor. Your cursor determines where playback starts and stops. As you play your video, the cursor will move along showing you where in the timeline you’re currently at. Simply click anywhere on the timeline to move the cursor.

4) Playback Rate. You’ll often want to play your video faster or slower than normal. This will allow you to speed past parts that you don’t need to edit, or drastically slow down parts you want to edit so you can get to a specific frame. The Playback Rate allows you to adjust this speed.

It’ll really make your life easier to learn three keyboard shortcuts. These three shortcuts are:

J      K     L


J – Play backwards.

K – Pause.

L – Play forwards.

Double Tap J – Play backwards at double speed.

Double Tap L – Play forwards at double speed.

Triple Tap L: Play forwards at quadruple speed.


You’ll find yourself playing video forwards and backwards constantly throughout the editing process. Learning just these three keys will cut hours from your editing time.


Step 4: Basic Editing: Moving Clips Around

Now that you know how to navigate the timeline, let’s get into how you actually edit video.

To move video around, simply click and drag a video clip. For example, if you’re starting with this video clip:


If you dragged the right clip to the right, it would look like this:


If you dragged it to the left, so that it overlaps the first video, Vegas will automatically create a transition called a crossfade. Basically, the two videos would fade into each other, giving it a smooth transition from one clip to another:



Step 5: Basic Editing: Splitting Clips

Let’s say you take a 20 minute long video on your iPhone. In that 20 minute clip are 5 sub-clips that you want to edit separately, put transitions between, apply different effects to, etc. In order to do that, you’ll first need to split that one clip into several separate clips.

First, position your cursor where you want to make the split.


Then either go to Edit > Split or just hit S on your keyboard. The clip will then be split where your cursor was positioned.


Step 6: Basic Editing: Adding Text, Backgrounds and Other Media

Often times you’ll want to add in things that aren’t already there in your video clips. For example, subtitles, text transitions, colored backgrounds, special effects and so on.

To do this, first navigate to the Media Box in the upper left corner. In the bottom tabs, click on the tab most appropriate to the media you want to create. For example, if you wanted to create text, you’d click on Media Generator, then Text.


Drag and drop the text style you want onto your timeline. When you do, a text edit box will pop up.


Edit the text to look the way you want it to. The changes will automatically be saved.

The same can be repeated for special effects by going to the “Video FX” tab. Transitions can be inserted by going to the “Transitions” tab. Transitions must be dragged and dropped onto overlapping video.


Step 7: Using the Video Preview Tool

To see how your video will look when it’s finally rendered, use the video preview tool in the upper right corner.

You can change the resolution of the video by clicking the drop-down menu. By default, Vegas uses “Preview (Auto)” to save memory and processing power. If you need better quality previews, change the quality.


To see the video preview in a larger screen mode, just drag the video out to the center, drag the corners to enlarge it and set the display mode to “Full” or “Half.”


Step 8: Rendering Video

Once you’ve finished editing your video, it’s time to take your edits and turn it into a real video file. The process is called rendering. During this process, it helps a lot to turn off other programs, as it’s very processing intensive. If you have a particularly long video, you may have to render overnight.

To start rendering, go to File > Render As.


The “Render As…” box will pop up, with a number of options.


First, name your file in #1.

Tell Vegas whether to render the whole file, or just your selection in #2.

You can change the render template by selecting from one of the many selections in #3. These templates are generally all high resolution renders, meaning you’ll have files in the gigabytes, not the megabytes, even for short videos.

This is great for DVD-quality work. If you’re working with DVDs, it’s as simple as selecting the format you need to burn the DVD in and choosing that template.

However, if you’re editing for web, you’ll need to customize your renders. Generally speaking, you’ll want to render out a small sized video that’s highly compressed with decent quality for web work (i.e. YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)

To do this, click Custom, then click Video. Select the Sony YUV Codec.


If you want to get into the technicalities of video editing, there’s a lot you can learn about compression, codecs and how videos are encoded. That knowledge comes in handy when selecting how you want to render your video.

For most people however, Sony’s YUV codec is more than adequate for web videos. The NTSC DV setting is a good choice for DVD editing.

Click “OK” when you’re finished.
Congratulations! You now know enough to do basic editing in Sony Vegas. You now know how to import media into Vegas and edit that media by splitting it up and moving it around. You’ve learned how to move through the timeline by positioning your cursor or playing the video at 2x or 4x speed. You learned how to create transitions, how to add text, how to add effects and other media. You’ve learned how to change the quality of the preview as you’re editing. Finally, you learned how to render a video in both DVD quality and web quality.



Optimizing Videos Embedded on Your Site for Search Engines



If you’re in the habit of putting embedded videos on your site, how can you help make sure those videos get ranked? What makes a video page rank, while others don’t?

Let’s examine some of the most important rankings factors, along with how you can get your embedded pages to the top of the search engines.


Step 1: Optimize Your Title Tag

Take a look at the keyword data for some of the main keywords in your market. You should try to target some of those keywords, especially to “how to” keywords and the “video” keywords.

For example, if you have a fly fishing website, you might target keywords like:

  • How to put a fly on a hook
  • Fly fishing video
  • Fly on hook video
  • How to reel a fly fishing rod

And so on and so forth.

Once you’ve selected your keywords, make sure the keyword is in the title tag of your website. Lead with the keyword, then have the title of the page after it.

Make sure your title tag is less than 66 characters. Why? Because after 66 characters, your title tag is cut off in the Google search results. The rest of the title will be replaced with “…”


Step 2: Optimize Your Meta Description Tag

Your description tag is what search engines will use to describe your website, directly below the title tag in the results.

To change your description tag, add or edit the meta description tag in your HTML <head> tags.


Step 3: Get Your Video Transcribed

As amazing as Google’s technology is, they still can’t “listen” to a video and understand what’s being said. Therefore, anytime you just have a video embedded on a page, Google won’t know whether you have a content-rich page or not.

You could either write a complete article to go along with the video, or you can just get the video transcribed. Just go on oDesk or eLance to create a job posting or to find a transcriber.

Many transcribers in India or the Philippines can be hired for as little as $5 an hour. It takes about 4x as long to transcribe as the video length, so a 5 minute video will take about 20 minutes to transcribe.

Here’s an oDesk screenshot, search results for “Transcriber”:


Step 4: Get Increased Distribution

To get more traffic to your main videos on your site, it often helps to distribute a few peripheral videos to other video sites like MetaCafe or Vimeo. There are literally dozens of such sites, and while none of them have the kind of traffic that YouTube does, combined they’re a formidable source of traffic.

Instead of distributing the videos by hand, the work will be much faster and less tedious if you used a service like TubeMogul (free) or TrafficGeyser (paid) to distribute your videos.


Step 5: Embedding Mini-Videos to Increase Page Views

One powerful way to get more views to your video is to place a small video on every page in your website. Every time the video is loaded, whether it’s played or not, will count as a view on the video.

Let’s say you run a career-related website. In the sidebar of your website, you embed a small 100 x 75 pixel video. The user can click play to watch the video if they want, but the majority won’t.

Even if they never click play, the mere act of loading your video (because it’s on your sidebar) will increase the view count by one. Every time someone visits a page on your site, it’ll load the video count by one again.

This way, your video count will go way up utilizing traffic you already have.


Step 6: Offer a “Put This on Your Site” Code

One of the factors that YouTube looks at when deciding how your video ranks is how many other people embedded your video. If many people are taking your video and putting it on their sites, YouTube’s going to assume that the video should be ranked higher.

You can make getting embeds easier by offering the embed code on your site.

Simply put the embed code below your video, with the heading “Put this video on your site!”

If you want, you can even hide the code so people need to click a button for the code to show.


Step 7: Getting Backlinks

Backlinks play a very large role in getting pages to rank. Some would even say it’s the most important factor of all.

Deep linking, or the strategy of linking to specific pages rather than the home page, is often more effective than concentrating all your links in one place. If you have many videos, try to build a number of backlinks to each of them.

Here are a few potential sources of backlinks:

  • Forums
  • Blogs
  • Web 2.0 Properties
  • Article Directories
  • Guest Writing
  • Press Releases
  • Resource sections on other people’s sites

The most effective backlinking strategy in the long run is to simply put out top notch content. Other people with websites on your topic will then link to your videos as valuable resources.
Optimizing your embedded video page isn’t that different than optimizing a web page for search engines. Follow good SEO practices in your title tags and backlinking strategy. Make sure you always have text content as well as video content. Distribute your videos using a distribution service to get more exposure, and try embedding your videos in main pages to get more view counts and higher rankings. Finally, offer the embed code to visitors to help spread your videos through the web.


How To Add Promotional Text To Videos

When using video to market your business, you can get more bangs for your buck by adding promotional text to your videos. It’s easy to do and only takes a few minutes using Windows Movie Maker software. Here’s how.

You will need:

  • Windows Movie Maker
  • Previously Created Video
  • Promotional Text


Step 1: Open Movie Maker

When you open Movie Maker, here is what you’ll see.



Step 2: Import Video to Project

Click the Add Videos & Photos icon in the home tab navigation as shown above.

Locate your video on your computer. Select it and click open.



Your video should now show up in the story track on right side of Movie Maker as shown here.



Step 3: Select Slide to Edit

Click the slide in the video that you want to add the promotional text to. As you click each slide, you’ll get a preview in the left side of the screen.

In our case, we want our promotion to show on the last slide to direct people back to our website. Therefore, we’ve selected the last file in the story track and we see here the preview of that file.




Step 4: Add Promotion

On the home tab, next to the snapshots icon, you’ll see a list of three editing features.

  • Title: Adds a new title before the selected item
  • Caption: Adds text that displays over the existing video or photo
  • Credits: Adds the credits, director, stars and location to the video


Click the Caption icon and you will have a new text box added to the slide you’ve selected. Simply click to enter your promotional text and click away from the slide when you’ve finished.



Once you add text, you will see a Text Tool tab option open up. Here you can change the text format to suit your needs.



Step 5: Save Video

At this point, the editing is done. But before you do anything else, you need to save your video as a project in case you need to edit it later. Click the small arrow next to the home tab and then click Save Project As. Name the project and click save.



Now that the project is saved for future edits, you can save your video in a format suitable for viewing. Again, click the arrow at the top left of the screen and this time you can do one of two things:

  1. Publish the video to the web (to places like Facebook, YouTube, etc)
  2. Save the video to be viewed on the computer and/or uploaded to the web at a later time.

We want to save the video and upload it later so we mouse over Save Movie.

The next step is to select the size and quality of the video being saved. The most popular settings are pre-defined and include:

  • High Definition: The highest quality and creates a movie at a 1440×1080 pixel resolution.
  • Burn to DVD: The next highest quality creates a 720×480 resolution video.
  • For Computer: Videos with this setting will be of medium quality with a resolution of 640×480.
  • For Email: This is the lowest quality and has a 320×240 resolution.

There are also settings for viewing on mobile devices and manual size settings that you can browse through at your leisure.



Once the movie is finished saving to the new format, you’ll get the following dialog box where you can play to preview your video.




Optimizing YouTube Videos For Search Engines

CHIANG MAI, THAILAND – OCTOBER 03, 2014: Youtube application close up on Apple iPad Air device.

YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, larger than even Bing or Yahoo. It’s by far the world’s largest video search engines.

A well optimized video can easily get you tens of thousands of viewers – Each. A video that goes viral can get hundreds of thousands and even millions of views.

Here’s how to optimize your videos for YouTube.


Step 1: Determine Target Keyword Volume

Much as you would if you were optimizing for search engines, the first step to optimizing for videos is to determine both the keyword volume and the competition for each keyword phrase.

Use the Google Keyword Tool to compile a list of potential keywords. You should target a variety of keywords, some of them high volume and high competition, others lower volume with lower competition.



Step 2: Determine Strength of Competition

How strong are competing videos? Do as search for your target keywords and analyze them by:

  • Number of views
  • Number of comments
  • Number of replies
  • Number of likes
  • Number of video responses
  • Percentage of people who liked the video, out of total viewers
  • Channel subscribers

To view the number of likes, just open a video. It’ll be right under the view count:


To count the number of comments, click on “View All Comments” at the bottom of the page:

The comment count will be right above the comment box:


Put all this data, along with the total number of views, into an Excel spreadsheet. Do this for at least 20 keywords.

Match up the number of views to the strength of the competition. Look for the weakest competition, as compared to the highest number of monthly searches. Then select the keywords with the best volume-to-competition ratio to optimize for.


Step 3: Write a Keyword Optimized, Attention Catching Headline

The headline has two jobs:

  1. To get the video to show up when someone searches. Google uses a relevance check to make sure the videos that show up are relevant to their search.
  2. To convince people to actually click on your video once it shows up in a search.

The most important thing in writing the title tag is to make sure your main keyword is in the title.

The second most important thing is to make sure that your title has well written copy that gets people to click.


Step 4: Get as Many Favorites, Likes and Comments as Possible

The number of likes, favorites and comments you have are some of the most heavily weighed factors for search engine rankings. The more likes, favorites and comments you have, the more YouTube is going to think you have a good video.

How can you increase your number of likes, favorites and comments?

One method is to ask people to do so in your video. You can either hard code into your video, or you can do it in annotations.

To do it in annotations, click on “Annotations” when you’re editing a video.


Click the drop down box next to “Add Annotation” to choose what kind of annotation to add.


Finally, craft a mini-sales message to get people to add comment, like or add your video.


Step 5: Ranking for Related and Suggested Videos

Two potentially lucrative sources of traffic to your videos are related videos and suggested videos. What are they?

They’re the videos that show up when someone else finishes watching a similar video, or the videos that appear on the right hand side of any video you’re watching.


How do you get your videos to appear for on related or suggested videos? Especially other high trafficked and relevant videos?

First, work on the credibility of your own video. The more views you have, the more comments you have and the more likes you have, the higher your likelihood of showing up in suggested or related videos at all.

It’s hard to get a new video to show up in suggested or related videos. But after you have a few thousand views, it really makes sense to try to get them to show up.

Start by copying all the keyword tags that other videos in your industry are using. Having closely related (but not identical) keyword lists tells YouTube that your videos are on as similar subject.6

Then, try to also duplicate the same keywords they target in their title. Of course your title tag should be completely different, but having the same main keyword can really help you land in suggested or related.

Finally, make sure you pick a good video snapshot for your video. In addition to your title, your snapshot is what others will judge your video based on. The higher the CTR to your video from a related video, the more YouTube will think your videos are related and the higher your video will show up in the future.

Step 6: Getting Backlinks

Much like getting rankings in the SEO world, getting rankings in videos requires getting backlinks. The more backlinks, the higher your video will rank.

How do you get backlinks?

The first and most important thing is to have a truly original and high quality video. If you create a video like that, it’s only natural that other people will want to link to your video as a resource.

In addition however, you can do quite a bit of manual link building.

Use sites like Squidoo and Hubpages to get high quality, relevant backlinks. Link to the video from your own site(s). Use distributed articles to get a high number of backlinks.


To wrap things up, it’s important to remember that the majority of YouTube users never try to deliberately get their videos to rank. If you’re focusing on video rankings, you’re already in the top 1%. In time, if you follow the tips outlined in this report, your rankings will very likely beat your competitor’s.