VEGAS Movie Studio 17 has unveiled over a dozen new updates for its multi-track editing software. The improvements include a new slow motion plugin, a refreshed effects window, a unified color grading workflow, and GPU accelerated decoding.  

The non-linear editor is available in three versions – Movie Studio, Movie Studio Platinum, and Movie Studio Suite – to cater to different user demands. Each version has a perpetual license, meaning it's a one time purchase. There are no monthly subscriptions or need to sign into a web-based platform or cloud. You can work completely offline.

However, each version doesn't receive every new feature. Such is the case for this latest update. Below are the highlights of the new build and which version receives what. 

  • Redesigned Effects Windows - Studio, Platinum, Suite 
    • ​The effects window gets a complete overhaul. Plug-ins can now be searched, tagged, or added as a favorite. 
  • Improved Trim Handle - Studio, Platinum, Suite 
    • The editor now has larger trim handles at the edge of clips in the timeline. 
  • Project Location Memory - Studio, Platinum, Suite 
    • The software will now remember where users left off after closing the program. 
  • Black Bar Filler - Studio, Platinum, Suite ​
    • ​Vertical video that will be delivered in widescreen now has a feature that can automatically fill in the empty video space on each side with blurred content. 
  • Storyboard Enhancements - Studio, Platinum, Suite 
    • Users can add the same media to a single storyboard multiple times. Storyboard thumbnails will now show the frame at the in-point so multiple instances from the same clip are easily identifiable. 
  • GPU Accelerated Decoding for AVC and HEVC - Studio, Platinum, Suite 
    • ​Higher resolution and frame rates will see smoother preview video. 
  • Unified Color Grading Workflow - Platinum, Suite 
    • Color grading tools have been organized and unified to simply the process. 
  • Slow Motion Plug-In Platinum, Suite 
    • Similar to Twixtor, the plug-in creates super-smooth slow motion effects without requiring additional third-party tools. 

To me, the classic version of Movie Studio is not worth considering unless the user interface speaks to you. If all you need is a basic editor, there are plenty of free options that perform just as good, if not better. Some free alternatives include DaVinci Resolve, Apple iMovie (Mac only), VSDC (Windows only), Shotcut, Blender, Openshot, Videopad, and Hitfilm Express.

That said, Vegas Creative Software should consider offering the classic Movie Studio version completely free. Yes, there is a free trial version, but in essence Movie Studio, and even the Platinum and Suite versions are slimmed down options of VEGAS Pro. It's a stepping stone. If you like using Movie Studio, the next logical step is upgrading to VEGAS Pro. Movie Studio projects can even be opened up with VEGAS Pro. 

The software is relatively inexpensive though. Currently, Movie Studio is $49, Platinum is $79, and Suite is $139. Divide that over twelve months, and the cost is fairly negligible. The main difference between Platinum and Suite is the support for effects plug-ins. Suite provides access to the FXhome Ignite advanced VFX pack. A full comparison chart can be found here

Do you use Movie Studio? Like it? Let us know in the comments below.