Vegas supports unlimited video and audio tracks, any aspect ratio (4:3, 16:9, etc.) and pixel aspect ratio, and any frame rate (23.97, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, etc.) Projects can mix source clips with different frame rates and resolutions. Project/timeline settings such as frame rate, aspect ratio, etc. can be changed at any time during editing.
Vegas allows external preview via Firewire to Firewire ready broadcast monitors or via DV deck/camera which also incorporates realtime down convert from HD to SD so HD material can be viewed on an external standard definition monitor. As of version 6.0, Vegas can also output video to a second LCD or CRT monitor via component video or DVI connections.
Vegas does not require any specialized hardware to run properly, allowing it to operate on most any standard Windows computer across a broad range of hardware.
In areas of compositing and motion graphics Vegas provides a broad tool set including 3D track motion compositing with control over Z-depth, and spatial arrangement of visual planes including plane intersection.
Much of the visual effects processing in Vegas follows an audio-like paradigm. Effects can be applied at any stage of the visual signal flow - event level, track level and output level effects, much like reverb, delay and flange audio effects are applied in a digital audio system, like Pro Tools, Cubase or Sonar. Master output effects can also be controlled and manipulated over time by the use of Master Bus track automation envelopes.
With version 8.0, Vegas now reads MJPEG AVIs (usually from "video" setting on digital still cameras). (With prior versions of the software, installing an MJPEG codec sometimes fixed the problem.) 3rd party codecs are supported but it can be difficult to see which codec is being used to play back an AVI. Some of Vegas's codecs are 'native' or built-in.
Vegas features integration with 24p DV. It is also one of the few NLEs which can convert other formats to 24p (or any format to any other format) without any kind of a plugin or third-party application support. Vegas is the only pro NLE that allows for multiple instances of the application to be opened simultaneously. Clips and sequences can be copied and pasted between instances of Vegas with ease. Moreover, one instance can be rendering a sequence in the background while the user continues to edit in a different instance of Vegas in the foreground.
Vegas has full resolution 24-bit/192 kHz audio support, with over 30 customizable real-time audio effects included with the application. All audio effects can be controlled via envelopes for each parameter. Effects include Track EQ, Reverb, Chorus, Delay, Noise Gate, and Flange/Wah/Phase. Audio effects for 5.1 projects are also included with the program, including EQ, Dither, and Wave Hammer Surround compression tools. Users can expand the program via its VST and DirectX plugin support. As of version 6.0, Vegas also supports professional-quality low latency ASIO drivers, as well as broadcast wave format.
The software provides many tools for 5.1 surround mixes, including keyframeable surround panning and effects for tracks and busses. Surround projects can be rendered with the included Dolby-certified AC-3 encoder, included with the Vegas+DVD package. Film-style surround panning mode supports panning between speakers using a constant power model, which is optimized for theater-style speaker placement.
The program includes 19 timestretch modes that allows users to choose the resampling method that best fits the audio. Users can also change the pitch of any event in a project. Pitch, tempo and stretch amount information is displayed in timeline events. New to version 6.0 is tape-style audio scrubbing, which mimics the effect of dragging an analog tape past the playhead.
If users don't have 5.1 speakers, Vegas offers real-time downmixing of audio from 5.1 surround to stereo. Users can also downmix from stereo to mono. Complicated mixes can be obtained with bus-to-bus routing, as well as with bus envelopes to set track effect parameters, volume, and panning for a Vegas project.