Sunday, October 28, 2012

And More: How To Stop Ghosting or Blurring in Sony Vegas Video Rendering (Tutorial with Example Video and Screenshots)

 [Update 1: Added still frame examples of the difference, to help those who perhaps could not easily see the difference in the video or in their own renders, from the recorded video/output, found at **]
[Update 2 (2016-12): Updated some Screenshots and added additional example Screenshots of what the various Menus and Properties windows look like (to Vegas Movie Studio 13, the version I currently own at the time of this Update)]

As part of the 'And More' of this blog, I would like to present a Tip that will help everyone asking about and experiencing the 'blurry/ghost-y' effect that appears when rendering a video that they have created in the Sony Vegas line of products. An example of this blurring or ghosting is shown in this short video:

Recorded with:  Bandicam @ 1080p, Quality 70%  
Recorded Game: Left 4 Dead 2 @ 1080p, Dark Carnival Level
Recording Output: Rendered with Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum Edition, Sony AVC codec @ 1080p, 15Mbps data rate for smaller upload size

The first 10 seconds is the 'Smart Resample' setting that is on By Default in Sony's Vegas product line (Movie Studio, Movie Studio Platinum, Vegas Pro). The second portion is the same recording but with the 'Disable Resample' setting. Even with some quality loss from YouTube, the difference between the first "blurry" output that many have experienced - and the second crisper, clearer version without it can hopefully be seen... So then, how to fix it?

The simplest way is to right click on the video event (video clip) and open the Properties of the event/video. The pop-up menu that should show up when right-clicking on an event/video is seen here (shown from Vegas Movie Studio 13):

Then in the 'Properties' window, simply click on the radio button choice that indicates "Disable resample", as seen here (example Event Properties window shown from Vegas Movie Studio 13):

That's it!

Now, with any further work you do with the video, you won't have to worry about the 'ghosting' effect happening to you in the end render output. I suggest doing this at the beginning of your project and as you add new video clips, that way it is done for the entire clip, even if you split it up into parts.

**Below are two examples, one showing the "ghosting" or "blurring" effect in more detail (for those that could not quite tell the difference in the video example), shown as frames extracted from the video itself:
Example frame from video showing the "ghosty" or "blurry" effect that can occur with Resampling Enabled in the Sony Vegas Video Rendering Options (Smart Resample ENABLED).

Example frame from video showing the absence of the effect/problem that can occur with Resampling here being Disabled in the Sony Vegas Video Rendering Options (Smart Resample DISABLED).

Behind-The-Scenes: Additional Info About The Above Thingamajig And Related Doohickeys

While the above steps solve the problem, I would like to go into more detail as to why this is occurring. I see this question a lot in forums, particularly ones about gaming and video editing, and would like to clear up more of what is going on.

Many people blame Vegas and say that the resampling (which is essentially a re-structuring/blending device to correct for framerate, interlacing, etc.) is not working properly. Although Sony's method could use a little work, the program portion of it 'detecting' and 'kicking in' is actually working as intended...

One of the reasons why this ghosting or blurring occurs, is that the project framerate (what Vegas 'assumes' you are going to be rendering to) differs from the recorded source (that source being your gaming video, recorded with Fraps, Dxtory, Bandicam, etc - whatever you prefer to record with).

One way to check what the output goal that Vegas has set in mind is: open up the Project Properties by going to the Project pull-down menu and select Properties. That pull-down menu looks like this (shown in Vegas Movie Studio 13):

You can also open up the Project Properties by clicking on the button/icon that looks like 'a grey box with an arrow in it', found in the top toolbar and also is found just above the main video preview window area. The button to click on looks like this (shown in Vegas Movie Studio 13):

In the Pro versions of Vegas, the pull-down menu will not be called PROJECT, it will be called FILE (but it will still be the first menu in the Toolbar). The small button that can also be clicked on, will still be located in the same place, just above the Preview Window area, as shown above.

Here is an example of what the Project Properties window will look like (shown from Vegas Movie Studio 13):

The main thing to check in the Project Properties, is the Frame rate (shown pulled-down and highlighted in the screenshot above).

Vegas' resampling capability will kick-in even if the frame rate is off by a small amount, such as if you are using a recording that is 30 frames-per-second, but being edited with a Vegas project setting/output format that is 29.97 fps (which is most standard DVD/BluRay/Render Presets that Vegas may pre-load).

Whatever frame rate you are recording at (30fps, 60fps, etc.), double-check the Project settings to see if it is the same as your recording. If it isn't, Vegas will try to restructure the video and blend the differences, resulting in that 'blurry', 'ghosty' output that many are familiar with.

[To be fair, Vegas is attempting to help/compensate for the framerate differences of possible recording devices (cameras,etc), and in live-action[real-life] recordings, it does help in a way; but in videogame recordings that are already crisp and clear, this process is not needed and results in this ghosty/blurry 'problem' for gameplay recorders/editors]

There are actually three places in Sony Vegas that keep track of the frame rate:

1) In the Project Properties (eg. pulldown the PROJECT menu in the toolbar and choose PROPERTIES (FILE menu in Pro versions of Vegas))

2) Shown In Each Event/VideoClip (eg. Right-Click each of your clips on the Timeline and click PROPERTIES)

3) In The Render Options (eg. RenderAs and see it in the CUSTOMIZE TEMPLATE settings (CUSTOM button in Pro versions of Vegas))

If just Disabling Resampling [via the event on the timeline] is not working, try to see if all of these three locations match the framerate of your recorded video clips.

Alternatively, you could try to change only the framerate in the final Output Format rendering settings to match your source recording(s) framerate (location is shown highlighted below in an example Settings window from Vegas Movie Studio 13):

Looking at the Frame Rate (shown highlighted, near center of window) in a Template of High Quality Render Settings (shown from Vegas Movie Studio 13). Feel free to use these Settings in your Projects!

By doing this one adjustment at the very end of your editing process (just as you finish up and start the Render) - as long as you are sure that all of your source clips involved have the same framerate and you are going to do your final render out to that very same framerate - then you can try to change this one setting at the end and see if it works as well (you may still have go back and change all three locations if it does not).

Note that although the Setting for "Frame Rate" may only allow you to go up to "59.94fps" (even if you type it in); don't worry, that framerate is still seen by YouTube [if you are using YouTube to share your videos] as "60fps". I did a short Vegas render and Upload to YouTube to test it out [kept Private, done just for this test] and below is what it looks like at YouTube after Uploading:
As you can see, even though Vegas had "59.94 fps" in the Frame Rate box/area, it is a Standard Framerate and accepted as "1080p60HD" at YouTube.

Whichever way you go about it, hopefully checking these few things will help you create clearer, crisper game recording videos.

Have fun with it and See You In The Game!