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Timeline Tools for Sony Vegas Pro.

The following Users Guide describes all of the features found in the Timeline Tools Utility program.   Timeline Tools is a utility that, for the most part, works with Open Vegas Projects.   If a project isn't Open, or you are working with Media but have not yet saved it to a Project, most of the programs features are disabled.  This is also the case while Vegas is opening up a large Project.   Once loaded, all the features are enabled and the Main Event Display Grid will be filled with information about Events on the selected Track.

Briefly, Timeline Tools is a Vegas Command Extension like Excalibur, Vegasaur and Ultimate S, and makes a great adjunct to the features provided by these other commercial applications.   You start Timeline Tools in the same manner as the others and dock its window in the same spaces occupied by other built-in Vegas windows such as the Project Explorer and Project Media windows.   Timeline Tools displays information about your Vegas Project and lets you manipulate Events, Markers, Regions, Points, and FX & Transition PlugIns.  With Timeline Tools you can:

  • Move one or more Events around on the Timeline while maintaining their Overlap & Fade settings in the new location.
  • Reverse the positions of a selected group of Events on the Timeline.
  • Setup an AutoSave action that saves a running series of your Project .Veg files.
  • Add Tags to Media and Comments to Events.
  • Configure external Media editing tools
  • Search for timeline Media using several different search criteria..
  • Filter the Event grid display using several filter criteria.
  • Look for multiple references to the same Media file.
  • Display Events in the Timeline that are missing their associated Media files.
  • Display only Generated Media such as Text Events.
  • Search for Gaps in your Events based on a specified gap width.
  • Automatically remove or add gaps to targeted Events, and remove or add overlap between adjacent Events.  If you are adding overlap, you can also specify the overlap fade curve type. 
  • Remove or add Video FX PlugIns and Transitions to one or more Events or Media files or add Random transitions to Events.
  • Remove Pan / Crop, Rotation and Aspect Ratio, among many other settings to a group of targeted Events. 
  • Automatically add Markers to your Events, and export and import your Marker positions to and from a text file.
  • Adjust the value of one or more Envelope Points with a single mouse click.   You can filter the list of points to find specific points on the timeline.
  • Get a quick overview of all of the current project Event groupings.
  • Save a set of Project comments or notes that are stored in a Rich Text Format file in your Vegas Project subdirectory.
  • All of the changes that Timeline Tools makes to your Vegas project, are completely reversible using the built-in Sony Vegas Undo feature.
  • Perform Optical Scene detection on Event Media.
  • Perform Beat Detection Analysis on an Audio Event and generate Markers at the sound beats.
  • Timeline Tools does all this and more.

Timeline Tools behaves the same as other Vegas Command Extensions.   If Timeline Tools is running when Sony Vegas Pro is closed down, it will automatically load and position itself on screen when Vegas is next started.   If it isn't running when Vegas is closed, it will not automatically load when Vegas is next started.

Most of the Timeline Tools features operate on selected Events or items that are highlighted in the Track Event Table or in List and Combo boxes that appear in the programs different tabbed pages.   Menu items, checkboxes, and action buttons will clearly state if the action will be performed on either Selected Events or Highlighted grid items.

After downloading and installing the Timeline Tools Vegas Pro Extension, you start the utility from the Vegas Pro View Menu.

To start the program select: View / Extensions / Timeline Tools.

To make it easier to run the utility in the future, you can add the Timeline Tools icon to the Vegas Pro toolbar.

From the Vegas toolbar select: Options / Customize Toolbar...

This brings up the Customize Toolbar form.   Scroll down the list at left of Available toolbar buttons until you see Timeline Tools; then select it.   Select an entry in the Current toolbar buttons list at the right, then press the Add -> button.   This installs the Timeline Tools icon on the toolbar just ahead of the item you selected in the list at right.

Note: you may have to restart Vegas Pro after installing the Toolbar Icon for it to become visible.


Use the following links to jump to the Tab of  interest.

Timeline Tools is primary designed to work with open Vegas Projects.   If you start up Timeline Tools without a Vegas Project currently loaded, the main window will display the message shown below.   After that, if you either Open up a project, or Save the current Vegas configuration to a project, Timeline Tools will automatically switch to its normal project display mode.


When you start the Extension from within Sony Vegas Pro, the Track Event Info tab is selected by default.

The Track Event Info tab (Fig. 1) consists of 5 separate sections.

Note:  Some keystrokes used by Timeline Tools are the same as those used by Sony Vegas Pro.   For example, the Spacebar is used in Sony Vegas Pro to Play/Pause video Playback.  In Timeline Tools, it toggles the Vegas cursor position between the current and last timeline position.   The logic that determines which application processes keystrokes is simple.   If you click your mouse anywhere in the Vegas application itself (giving it focus), then Sony Vegas will handle all subsequent keystrokes.   If you give focus to Timeline Tools by clicking on the main Event grid, Timeline Tools will process the shared keystrokes.

Figure 1

[Section 1] [Section 2] [Section 3] [Section 4] [Section 5]
[Right-Click context menu] [Edit Move List] [Export Event Table Data] [Add Points to Events]

Section (1) is where the Track of interest is selected.   If your project contains more than one Video Track, an All Video Tracks selection becomes available.  This is also true for Audio Tracks.   Once a Track is selected, the display Table fills up with information about all the Events on the selected Track(s).   You can press the Refresh Table button to update the Table should anything change in the Vegas Project that did not cause the Table to be updated automatically.   This section also includes a checkbox that can lock all of the programs other Track selection controls to follow the Track selected in the Track Event Info Tab.   Note: some Track selection controls only allow a Video Track selection.   If an Audio Track is selected in Section 1, the other controls remain unchanged.  Also, changing the selected Track will reset any Events stored in the Move list.  Move operations are only available when a single Track is selected.   If an All Tracks option is selected, you will not be able to perform a Move or Reverse Move operation.

If you hover the Mouse over the label that shows the number of items in the grid, a pop-up appears that displays the Combined Time Length of all items shown in the grid.    Note: this displays the combined length of each Event shown in the list.  It does not display the length of time the Events may occupy in the Vegas timeline; which could be different due to overlap and gaps between Events. 

Section (2) The drop-down list allows you to filter the list of Events by Media Type.   You can select from the following filter types:

Normal View - Show All Displays All Events are included in the table.
Show duplicate Media Name refs. Displays Media files with the same name, but from different file locations.
Show duplicate Media path refs. Displays Media files that appear in the project more than once.   This happens if an Event is split, or added multiple times.
Show Missing Media Events Displays Events associated with Media files that are no longer present in their previous location.
Show misnamed Takes and Media
This filter selection will find Events that have been unknowingly modified by the notorious Sony Vegas Changed Media bug.

When the Show misnamed Takes & Media filter is selected, you can select one of two ways that Timeline Tools can use to check for the Vegas Changed Media Bug.   Leaving Use Event Snapshot un-checked, will display Events where (1) The Take name is not the same as the Media File Name; (2) The Generated Media Name and Media Path are not the same; or (3) The video or picture Media Stream in the Take is reported by Vegas to have a  0 x 0 image size.    If you enable the Use Event Snapshot feature, both the previously described tests, and a more thorough analysis is performed to determine if your Project media was corrupted.

This method employs a snapshot of all of your Projects Media.   Press the Take Snapshot button to save your current Project Media configuration.   If any changes occur between the Project Takes and those stored in the Snapshot, the effected Events will be displayed in the Main Display Table.

Note: If you make any changes to your Project such as adding or removing Tracks, Events, or Takes, you must take another snapshot after those changes have been made.

Show Events with Multiple Takes Displays Events that contain two or more Takes.
Show Generated Media Displays Events containing Media such as Vegas Text, Test Patterns, etc.
Show Selected Media Displays Events that are selected on the timeline.
Show Locked Media Displays Events that have their Lock property set.
Show Media with Plug-Ins Displays Events that have a Video effect applied (i.e. Transitions or Video Effects).
Show Wide Media Displays Events with Media having a greater width than height.   See below for information on additional parameters.
Show Narrow Media Displays Events with Media having a greater height than width.   See below for information on additional parameters.
Show Square Media Displays Events with Media having the same width and height.   See below for information on additional parameters.
Show Small Media Displays Events with Media having both a width and height, that is smaller than the project width and height.   See below for information on additional parameters.
Show Media that Fits Displays Events with Media having just one dimension (width or height) that is equal to or smaller than the same project dimension.   See below for information on additional parameters.
Show Large Media Displays Events with Media having both a width and height, that are larger than the project width and height.   See below for information on additional parameters.
Filter by Size Expression Filter displayed Events solely by size expression parsing.   See below for information on additional parameters.
Filter by Media Tags When this option is first selected, the Media Tag input box is blank.   This effectively perform a search for all Media that has no Tags assigned.   If you enter "*" in the search field, this will display all Events that have any associated Tag.   Enter the media tag you want to use to filter the main display.   As you enter the tag name, a drop down suggestion list of possible valid tags appears.   The more letters of the tag name you enter, the more refined the list of suggested tags becomes.   Tags are case-insensitive.   To provide additional filtering, you can enter more than one tag.   Multiple tags must be separated by commas.   Note: Tag name suggestions are only are available for the first tag entered.

The "*" and "?" are wildcard characters that can match any number of characters "*", or a single character "?".   If you place a Tag inside of square brackets, "[" and "]", this will exclude that Media Tag from the search results.   If you place the special search Tag "[*]" after all your other search Tags, only Media with just the specified search Tags will be included  For example:

  • "beach, sunset" matches any Media containing both of the Tags "beach" and "sunset".  Any other Tags assigned to the Media are ignored and will not affect the search.
  • "*ing" matches any Media with a Tag that ends with "ing" such as "surfing", "following", or "running".   Other Tags are ignored.
  • To search for Media with a Tag that has "ship" anywhere in it, you would enter "*ship*".   This would match "warship", "worships", etc.
  • "ca?s" matches any Media with a Tag that starts with "ca", followed by any character, and ends with "s".  So "ca?s" would match Tags like "cars" and "caps".    Other Tags are ignored.
  • "bar, [pool]" matches any Media that contains the Tag "bar", and does NOT also contain the Tag "pool".   Other Tags are ignored.
  • "beach, sunset, [*]" matches Media with just the two Tags "beach" and "sunset" assigned to it.   If additional Media Tags are present, that Media will be excluded from the search.
  • "beach, [sunset], [*]" matches Media with just the two Tags "beach" and any other Tag except "sunset" assigned to it.   If additional Media Tags are present, that Media will be excluded from the search.
Filter by Event Comments Filter displayed events by matching Event Comment.    The "*" and "?" characters are wildcards.   "*" matches any number of characters.  "?" matches any single character.

Additional Parameters for the Filter Types shown in the above table colored Blue.

Show Media with Plug-Ins.   If this Filter is selected, an optional search string can be entered into the parameter input box below the drop down filter list.   The search string is not case sensitive, and returns a match for any Plug-In listed in the Plug-Ins grid column that contains the search string.   For example: entering color as the search string will return a match for any event that has either the Sony Color Curves, or the Sony Color Color Balance video Plug-In applied.    You can also enter the wildcard characters "*" or "?" to match PlugIns.

Show Wide Media,  Show Narrow Media,  Show Square Media,  Show Small Media, Filter by Size Expression.   If any of these Filters are selected, an optional Boolean expression can be entered into the parameter input box.    The expression will be applied against each Event, and if the result is true, the Event will be displayed in the grid.   The optional expression recognizes the following Operators and Constants:

  • Math operators: *  /  +  -  =  <  >  !=  (  )
  • Boolean operators:  And, Or, Not
  • Constants:  Width, Height, ProjWidth, ProjHeight, ProjAspect, PixelAspect.

Constants that are available for use in boolean expressions are not case sensitive, and are described as follows:

Width The Width of the media in pixels associated with an Event.
Height The Height of the media in pixels associated with an Event.
ProjWidth The Width of the Project in pixels as determined by the Vegas File / Properties Video Width setting.
ProjHeight The Height of the Project in pixels as determined by the Vegas File / Properties Video Height setting.
PixelAspect The Pixel Aspect Ratio as defined by the Vegas Project settings.
ProjAspect The Project Aspect Ratio defined as (ProjWidth / ProjHeight) * PixelAspect

The following examples show how to use Size Expressions to perform display filtering: 

  • Selecting Filter by Size Expression and entering the expression: "(width > 1600)" will filter the display to only show Events that contain Media with a width greater than 1600 pixels.
  • Selecting the Show Wide Media filter and entering the following expression: "(width < projwidth) and (height < projheight)" displays Wide Media that is also Small Media.
  • Selecting Filter by Size Expression and entering "not (width = 1600)" displays all Events whose width is not equal to 1600 pixels.   This could also be achieved with the expression (width != 1600).
     

Section (3) allows you to further refine your display filtering by letting you specify search text for the Media Name in each Event.   All filtering is case insensitive.  You can choose to either turn this option Off; Specify a Match using wildcard characters "*" or "?"; Or use Regular Expression (RegEx) pattern matching.   If you select a Match filter, this means the Media Name is exactly the same as the filter text unless a wildcard characters are also used.   Regular Expression searches are beyond the scope of this user guide.  But there are a few web sites that cover the topic fairly well.  Here are  three sites that do a good job of explaining Regular Expressions:  A, B, C.

Section (4) allows you save any number of Labeled Vegas Cursor positions to a stack in the utility.   Many people use Markers for this.  But using Markers to save cursor locations can become unwieldy when the Project itself requires the use of many Markers.   The Cursor Position stack can be viewed in a drop down list, and you can move directly to any position in the list.   You can save the current Vegas Cursor location to the stack by pressing the Add Cursor Pos button, or delete all of the entries in the stack by pressing the Clear Stack button.    *Note - The Cursor Stack does NOT save selected Track or Event information.   Items in the stack are simply timeline locations in your project.   When you press the Add Cursor Pos button, the label in the cursor position text box will be associated with that timeline position.   This is useful if you want to annotate locations in the timeline.


Cursor Stack

 Right-Click on the Cursor Stack Drop-down list for a context menu describing other options for the Cursor Stack (shown below). 


Cursor Stack Context Menu

  1. Sort Cursor Stack - This rearranges the Timeline positions in the stack so they can appear sorted as earliest to latest, or latest to earliest.
  2. Show Cursor Position History - The maintains the last 15 timeline locations where you either clicked on an Event in the Timeline, or selected an Event in the main display grid.   As you move the mouse through the list of locations, the preview window displays the project output video at that position in the timeline.   You can select an entry to keep the Vegas cursor at the new position, or if you close the menu without selecting anything the Vegas cursor returns to where it was when you opened the Cursor History menu.
  3. Add Vegas Cursor position to Cursor stack - This does the same thing as the Add Vegas Cursor Position button.
  4. Create Timeline Markers from Cursor stack - This will place a Vegas Marker on the timeline at each location stored in the Cursor Stack.
  5. Select Events at locations in the Cursor stack - This will Select all timeline Events that are at the locations stored in the Cursor stack.
  6. Select Event at Vegas Cursor location - This lets you select the Event under the Vegas Cursor.  Use this to select the Event that was just brought into view by choosing a Cursor Stack or Cursor History entry.  Or any Event on the Vegas Timeline.
  7. Add Events at ALL Cursor Stack locations to the Move-List - This adds all of the Events at the locations in the Cursor stack to the Move-List.   This is handy if you want to move many non-contiguous Events at once.
  8. Delete Selected Cursor Stack entry - Deletes the item in the Cursor stack is currently highlighted.
  9. Delete ALL Cursor Stack entries - This is like the Clear Stack button.  It deletes ALL items in the Cursor Stack.
  10. Toggle Last & Current Cursor positions (or press SPACE) - Refer to Fig. 2 explanation of this function below.
  11. Update selected Cursor Stack entry Label - Select the Cursor Stack entry that contains the label you want to change.   Type in the new label text.  Lastly, select this menu item.
  12. Open Event under Vegas Cursor using external tool - Refer to Fig. 2 explanation of this function below in the section titled: Open selected Event using external tool.


Section (5) contains the Track Event Table.   The Table shows information about Events in the Track(s) selected in Section (1).   The action taken when an item in the Table is selected, is determined by the Timeline Tools Option settings found in the Track Tools tab.    If the "Vegas Cursor tracks the selected Event table item." option is enabled (the default setting), selecting an item in the Table automatically positions the Vegas Cursor to that Event.   If the "Tracking positions Vegas Cursor to center of Event." option is enabled (the default setting), the Vegas Cursor is positioned to the center of the Event, rather than the start of the Event.   This is useful if your Events are overlapped and you want to view the Event in the Preview window.   Right-Click on the Table for a context menu of additional Event Table features.    If you are displaying the PlugIns column, you will see Video Event PlugIns listed when a Video Track is selected, and Audio PlugIns if you have an Audio Track selected.   Video PlugIns that have "(Ts)" after them are Transitions that are assigned to the Start of an Event.   Video PlugIns that have "(Te)" after them are Transitions that are assigned to the End of an Event.

Note:  PlugIns added to Active Take Media instead of the Event itself, will be displayed in the color Red in the grid.   Because the grid cell text color can only be a single color, Transition PlugIns will also appear Red even though they are attached to Events, not Media.   Also, Video FX applied to Media will have priority being displayed in the grid over Video FX applied to an Event if both exist at the same time.

At the bottom of the screen is the status message line.   This line contains information about the current state of the program.  It displays information about tasks being performed, and any error messages that may result.

[Top] [Tab Index]


 
The Track Event Info tab Right-Click context menu for the Track Event Table (or Grid) (Fig. 2).

Note: Several items in the Event Grid Context Menu operate on either Highlighted Event items in the Table, or Selected Events.   Highlighted Event items refer to Events displayed in the Event Grid that are Highlighted in blue.   The grid allows you to Highlight one or more Events.   Selected Events are those Events that are Selected in the Sony Vegas Timeline, and are identified in the Event Grid with a checkmark in the Selected Column.

Note: Some menu items will be hidden from view if they are unavailable based on current other selections or conditions.

In the following screen shot we can see Three Selected Events, and One Highlighted Event.

Event Grid Context Menu:  (Move mouse over items shown in menu for links to item descriptions) To enable this menu view you must disable the Vegas Cursor tracks the selected Event table item menu item, and add some items to the Move list [this is hidden in the online view].

Figure 2

Autosize Table columns to fit contents.   This automatically sizes the Table column widths for a better view of the contents.   You can also manually change the individual column widths by placing the cursor on the column separator in the column header, then drag the line left or right.    Any changes you make to the column width settings will be maintained and restored the next time you start Timeline Tools.
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Highlight all Events in the Table.   This selects all of the Table entries.   The next two menu options work with items highlighted in the Table.

Select all highlighted Events in table (or dbl-click item ).  This Selects the Events represented by the highlighted table items.  Other Selected Events are unchanged.   You can also Dbl-Click an item in the Table to toggle the Event Selection state.

Select all highlighted Events in table (deselect all others ).  This Selects the Events represented by the highlighted table items.  All other Events are deselected.
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Deselect Events highlighted in table
.   Deselects the Events represented by the highlighted table items.

Deselect all Events in the Track.   Causes the Selected state of all Events in the Selected Track to be cleared.
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Go to highlighted Event.   This is the manual method of doing what happens automatically if the "Vegas Cursor tracks the selected Event table item." option is enabled.   This menu item is hidden if the Cursor Tracking option is enabled.

Go to First Selected Event.   Brings the first selected Event into view in the Timeline Tools main display grid.

Add Highlighted Events to Cursor Stack.   Adds the starting position of the Events represented by the highlighted table items, to the Cursor Stack.

Toggle Last & Current Cursor positions (or press SPACE ).   This is a very handy feature that lets the user temporarily move the Vegas Cursor to a new position, and by pressing the SPACE BAR, it will return to its previous location.   To use this feature do the following:

  • Have Timeline Tools opened up.
  • Click directly on an Event in the Vegas Timeline so it gets selected.
  • Then Click directly on another Event in the Vegas Timeline so it gets selected.
  • Then Click on the last selected Event entry in the Timeline Tools Event Grid.
  • Then either press the SPACE BAR, or select the menu option to toggle the Cursor locations.
  • Clicking on another Event in the Timeline makes this position the newest position.  Repeat the above process to toggle between the last two Events.

Note: Vegas has a limitation.  Only when you click on an Event, will Vegas inform Add-Ins and Extensions like Timeline Tools, that the Vegas cursor has been moved.  If you click on a Gap between Events, Timeline Tools is not informed of the move, and can't track the change.
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Edit Move-List.  The Move-List provides an alternate method of selecting one or more Events that you want to move around on the Timeline.   This is useful when you need to move several Events that are widely spaced in a Project containing hundreds or more Events.    The Edit Move-List menu selection brings up the following form.   From here you can view and alter the contents of the Move-List.    Right-click on the grid to bring up the context menu where you can Autosize the columns to fit the contents.   (Not visible if there are no items currently in the Move List, or an All Tracks selection was made)

(Press Ctrl-F1, or press Help  to bring up the Users Guide Page for this Form)

The Edit Move-List form gives you the ability to:

  1. Remove ALL entries from the list.
  2. Remove selected entries from the list.

In addition to the above, if you have the Cursor tracks selection checkbox checked, as you move through the Event list the Vegas Cursor will follow.  This allows you to preview the Events that have been added to the Move-List.   Any changes you make to the Move-List will be accepted if you close the form by pressing the OK button.   If you press Cancel, your changes are discarded and the Move-List remains unchanged.    When the Move-List form is closed, the Vegas cursor will be restored to the position it was at when the Move List form was opened.

Add highlighted Events in table to Move-List  ( or ~ ).   This menu item adds all of the currently highlighted Events in the Events table to the Move-List.   You can also press the Tilde Key (~) to add the highlighted Events to the Move-List.  (This menu items is not visible if an All Tracks selection was made)

 Add selected Events to Move-List.  This adds the currently selected Events in the Vegas Timeline to the Move-List.   (This menu item is not visible if an All Tracks selection was made)

Move x List entries to the Highlighted Event location.   This moves all Events that were added to the Move-List, to the position in the Vegas timeline represented by the currently highlighted Event table item.  After Moving the Events the Move-List is automatically cleared.   (Not visible if there are no items currently in the Move List, or an All Tracks selection was made)   To move Events using the Move-List, perform the following steps:

  • Choose the Event(s) that you want to move by Highlighting them in the Timeline Tools Event Table, or by Selecting them on the timeline.   Right-Click on the Event table and chose to add either the Highlighted Events or the Selected Events to the Move-List.
  • Repeat the previous step as many times as needed to select and add all of the Events you want to move to the Move-List.   These events can be anywhere on the Timeline, but must all be from the same track.
  • Highlight a single Event in Timeline Tools Event Table.   This Event location will be the insertion point where all the Selected Event(s) will be moved.   If you added more than one Event to the Move-List, these Events will be moved and be placed consecutively at the insertion position.
  • Right-click the Event table and select the Move x List entries to the Highlighted Event location menu item. 
  • Moved Events will maintain their Overlap and Envelope Fade Type settings when moved.   Also, Events on a different Track that are grouped with a moved Event, will also be moved (e.g. an Audio Track will be moved  with its grouped Video Track).

Note: ALL Event Move operations are only available when a specific Track is selected in the Track Event Info Tab.   Cross track moves are not supported in Timeline Tools.   This must be done manually from the Vegas timeline.

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Move Selected Events to the Highlighted Event location.
   This is another method than can be used to move one or more selected Events from their original location to another location in the Timeline.   (This menu item is not visible if an All Tracks selection was made)   To use this feature do the following.

Three Events are selected and ready to be moved ahead of the Event
named 020930-0-9999G-015
  • Select the Event(s) on the same track that you want to move, either by selecting them from the Vegas Timeline, or by Highlighting them in the Timeline Tools Event Table and clicking the Select all highlighted Events in table (deselect all others ) menu option.
  • Highlight an Event in the Timeline Tools Event Table.   This will be the insertion point where the Selected Event(s) will be moved.   If you Selected more than one Event, these Events will be moved and be placed consecutively at the insertion position.
  • Click on the Move Selected Events to the Highlighted Event location menu item.
  • Events will maintain their Overlap and Envelope Fade Type settings when moved.   Also, Events on a different Track that are grouped with a moved Event, will also be moved (e.g. an Audio Track will be moved  with its grouped Video Track).

Note: If you have A/V clips that have Audio Events grouped with the Video Events, the Audio Events will be moved along with the Video Events.   There's no need to perform a separate Move operation on the Audio Events.   The same is true for moving Events with the Move List, or the Reverse Events menu selection.

The Events after the Move operation.   Note:  This can be
reversed using the Vegas "Undo" feature.

Note: Move operations are only available when a specific Track is selected.   Timeline Tools can not move Events between Tracks.  You must do that manually from the Vegas Timeline.

Reverse order of Selected Events.   This is used to Reverse the order of Events as they appear in the Vegas Timeline.  (This menu item is not visible if an All Tracks selection was made)   For example, if you have 10 Events in the Vegas Timeline, and you Select Event numbers [2], [4], [7], and [10].   After invoking this option, the Events will be ordered like this:  [1] [10] [3] [7] [5] [6] [4] [8] [9] [2].     If you Selected Events [8], [9] and [10]; after invoking this option they would be ordered: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [10] [9] [8].   To use this feature do the following:

  • Select the Event(s) that you want to reorder, either by selecting them from the Vegas Timeline, or by Highlighting them in the Timeline Tools Event Table and clicking the Select all highlighted Events in table (deselect all others ) menu option.
  • Click on the Reverse order of Selected Events menu item.
  • Events will maintain their Overlap and Envelope Fade Type settings when moved.   Also, any Events on a different Track that are grouped with a moved Event, will also be moved.

Note: Reverse operations are only available when a specific Track is selected.

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Open highlighted Event using external tool
.   This allows you to open up an Event's associated Media File with an external Media editing program.  This could be either the default program associated with the Media file extension type, or by selecting an external editing program that you previously configured in the Track Tools tab.    You can also choose to open up the Media File Location in Windows Explorer.     Note: You will see different Media editors appear in the list depending on the type of Media selected.   Also, if you have more than one Event Highlighted in the Grid, only those editors that have the Accepts multiple files option switch enabled will be visible.
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Export Event Table Data / Relocate Project Media ....
   This option allows you to export information displayed in the Event grid to a text file.   It can also generate a DOS Batch file that can be used to move all of your active project media to a new file location.   When this menu option is selected, a form appears that lets you choose options for exporting Event data.   Only Events displayed in the table are exported.  If you have filtering applied to the Event Table, such as a Text Search or Media Type filtering, only the filtered results can be exported.   To export ALL table data, remove all filtering that would reduce the number of Events displayed in the table.

(Press Ctrl-F1 to bring up the Users Guide Page for this Form)

From this form you can select:

  • Which Event Table columns you want to include in the export (including those that may not currently be visible in the main Event table).
  • Whether or not to include a column header row at the beginning of the text file.
  • Whether or not to include information about Sony Generated Media such as Text, etc.
  • The character to use as a column delimiter.
  • The location and file name where you want to export the data.
  • To open the Folder containing the exported text file.

Press the Export Event Table Data button when you have made all your option selections.

To create a DOS Batch file that can move your media files, perform the following steps:

  • Make sure all of the media files you want to move are included in the Events displayed in the main Event table.
  • Select the menu option to Export Event Table Data.
  • Select the As a Batch File Tab at the top of the form.
  • Enter the location and name of the Batch file that will be created.
  • Enter the location where you want to move your Project Media files.
  • Choose if you want to create a Batch File that warns about potential file over-writes.  This can prevent the loss of your media files if your project contains multiple media sources from different locations that all have the same name.   Moving all of these files into the same location would cause file over-writes if this option is omitted.

(Press Ctrl-F1 to bring up the Users Guide Page for this Form)

Press the Create DOS Batch File button when you have made all your option selections.   Timeline Tools will skip over media files that are already located in the target location.   When finished, a Message box will inform you of the results of the action.   If no errors were encountered, and a Batch file was created, after closing the Message box Timeline Tools will open up Windows Explorer to the location of the Batch File with the Batch File automatically selected.   If you double-click the Batch File it will run and automatically move all of the included media files.   When you click back on Sony Vegas Pro, you'll see a Message box warning you about missing media files.   Select the option to specify a new location.   When Vegas opens up the file selection form, enter the name and new location of the requested file then press OK.   Finally, tell Vegas to use this location for ALL missing files.

Note:  The above steps can only be performed if you have the following Sony Vegas option selected.   This option tells Vegas to close all open media files when Sony Vegas Pro is not the Active program (the program with focus).    Running the DOS Batch file takes focus away from Vegas allowing the Media files to be moved without causing a File In Use error.   The same is true if you use the Timeline Tools feature to edit Project Media in an external editor program.


Sony Vegas Option that must be selected to use an external Media Editor
program, or execute the batch file created to move project media files.

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Add Points to Selected Events.  This option will automatically add four Points to the selected Track Envelope and selected Target Track in this dialog, based on the physical locations of the Selected Events in the Track selected in the drop down Track list in the Track Event Info Tab.    Points are added that bracket the Selected Events.    For example, here's a typical use-case for this feature.   Let's say you are creating a photo slide show that will have an accompanying sound track.    Your photos will only be visible on screen for a few seconds while the longer audio track is played.    And for effect, you would like to drop the sound level during photo transitions, or inter photo gaps.   This feature lets you select your photo video track in the Track Events Info Tab; then select the photos that you want to use to place your points on the accompanying Audio Track.   And finally select your Audio Track in the dialog box and which envelope in the Audio Track will receive the points when you click the dialogs OK button.

Another use for this feature would be to add points to the Video Bus Tracks Motion Blur envelope.  This can help reduce the herringbone interference effect when some detailed images are Panned & Zoomed using Event Keyframing.

(Press Ctrl-F1 to bring up the Users Guide Page for this Form)

The option dialog contains the following settings:

  • Target Track:   This dropdown list shows all of the Vegas Tracks that contain at least one Envelope.
  • Track Envelopes:   This dropdown list shows all of the Envelopes that are available for the selected Track.
  • Skip Overlap Area:   If checked, when Points are added to the selected Envelope, the points will be located in the non-overlapped section of the Selected Events.   Otherwise the points will be added at the start and end of the Selected Events.
  • Optimize Adjacent Event Points:  When the four Points are added to the Envelope, there are two end points that bracket the Event, and two inner points that set the envelope level for the duration of the Event.   Normally the bracketing Points are set according to existing values on the Envelope; based on either the value of the last point before the new points, or on the value of the Envelope slope at the position of the new points.   If this setting is enabled, all other settings are ignored and the bracketing points of adjacent Events are set to the same level as the inner points.
  • Use Slope value at Event end points:  This setting lets you select how the bracketing point levels are determined.   If unchecked, the bracketing Points will be set to the level of the last existing point that's present on the Envelope before the start of the selected Event.   If checked.  The bracketing Points will be set to whatever the current value of the Envelope Slope is at the location of the bracketing Points.
  • Apply Event left offset:   If checked, the amount of offset in frames given in the +/- Frame offset bracketing Event input box is added to the left edge of the Event in deciding where to place the Points on the Envelope.
  • Apply Event right offset:   If checked, the amount of offset in frames given in the +/- Frame offset bracketing Event input box is subtracted from the right edge of the Event in deciding where to place the Points on the Envelope.
  • +/- Frame offset bracketing Event:   The number of frames to add to the left Event bracketing point, and subtract from the right Event bracketing point.
  • [The Value input Box for the Selected Envelope]:   The value of the Envelope that will be created by the bracketing Points.   The title of this input box will change depending on the envelope type selected in the dropdown.   The value entered will also be in units that are appropriate for the selected envelope type.

The following example demonstrates how a Motion Blur can be assigned to Events on the project video track.    The project contains four graphic images that have a one second overlap.   The video Track is selected in the Track Event Info Tab.   Also, the projects Video Bus Track has been made visible using the Vegas View / Video Bus Track (Ctrl-Shift-B) menu option.    A Motion Blur Amount envelope has been added to the Video Bus Track using the context menu shown below.

Static graphic images like those in the above project would not normally require a Motion Blur effect.   But, if you will be adding Pan and/or Zoom Keyframes, some images will produce a herringbone interference effect if that image contains tightly grouped patterns such as closely spaced lines, or small objects with sharp edges.   Pictures that contain grass, tree bark, gravel, and clothing with small closely spaced striped or checked patterns can all cause a herringbone distortion effect while the image is transitioning from Keyframe to Keyframe during a zoom.    The following image is a picture of a rug with a tight weave.   You can download this image to see the effect.   (1) Download the image.  (2) Add it to a project.  (3) Set the image length to 6 seconds.  (4) Add a Keyframe to the end of the image that produces a zoom effect.  (5) Playback the image and you'll see the distortion effect.

Low Resolution Images that contain the above mentioned patterns are especially susceptible to the effect.    One way I've found to minimize this zoom action distortion, is to apply some Motion Blur.   This was the primary  purpose of adding this feature to Timeline Tools.

In the above project, select Event number two.    Right-click the Timeline Tools Event Grid and select the Add Points to Selected Events menu option.    In the Add Points to Envelopes within Selected Events form, make the following selections:

  • Select the Video Bus Track as the Target Track.
  • Select the Motion Blur Length Envelope.
  • Check the Skip Overlap Area checkbox.
  • Uncheck the Optimize Adjacent Event Points checkbox.
  • Enter 0 in the +/- Frames offset bracketing Event input box.
  • Uncheck both the Apply Left and Apply Right checkboxes.
  • Enter a value of 10 into the Number of Frames input box.

When done press OK.

Events that are butted end-to-end Events that are overlapped

Four points were added to the Motion Blur envelope that bracket the selected Event.    If you overlap your Events, the Skip Overlap Area checkbox will place the points so they bracket just the non-overlapped area of the Event.    This option is useful if you will be using transition effects in the overlap area.   Your rendered video will suffer from undesirable side-effects if you perform Motion Blur over a number of images that contain both image frames and transition effect frames.   This prevents the transition effect frames from being included in the blur.   You can have finer control of this by using the +/- Frame offset bracketing Event feature.    This allows you to specify additional Frames that you want to reduce the bracketed Event area.

Overlapped Events with Overlap area skipped, and bracket width reduced by 7 frames. Close up view of the 7 frames removed from the bracket.

Above you can see the effect that the 7 frame offset value had on the placement of the envelope points.  The width of the envelope bracket has been reduced by 7 frames at each end.    If you will be using a large number of frames for your Motion Blur, you will need to skip over additional frames of video following the transition to insure that transition frames are not averaged into your Motion Blurred video.

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Project Media Tags.
   This menu option lets you select one of three Media Tag related options:  Edit Tags, Export Tags and Import Tags.

Edit Tags brings up the project Media Tag Editor form.   Media tags are saved as Metadata in the Media objects contained in the Project Media Pool.    Media Tags let you to assign labels to your Project Media that can be used to filter the list of Events displayed in the Main Event grid.   Note:  Media Tags entered in the editors input box may not contain any of the following characters: "[", "]", "?", or "*".

Note: The Media Tag feature supported by Timeline Tools is completely independent from the Media Tags provided in the Sony Media Manager.   Media Manager uses an SQL database that is common among all Vegas projects.  The Timeline Tools Media Tags are unique to the Media in each project, and are stored in the Project .VEG file.

(Press Ctrl-F1 to bring up the Users Guide Page for this Form)
 

The Media Tag Editor form is modeless; meaning it can be opened, and you can continue working with the Timeline Tools utility windows.   The Media Tag Editor supports the following features.

  • Add New Tags.   Enter the Tag in the input box and press Enter, or press the Add Tag button.  As you enter letters into the input box you will see a list of Tags that already have been created for your project.  You can select from the list, or continue to enter an entirely new Tag.
  • Update Tag.   This lets you edit a previously entered Tag.   Select the Tag from the list that you want to change.  Enter the replacement Tag in the input box.  Then press the Update Tag button.
  • Delete Tag.     Select the Tag from the list that you want to delete.  Then press the Delete Tag button.
  • Reset Tags.     This deletes all Tags from the Event.
  • Close.              This closes the Media Tag Editor window.

Tags that are added to or deleted from the indicated Event, are done so immediately.   You do not have to Apply them or Close the Editor window.    While the Media Tag Editor window is open, highlighting new Events in the main display grid opens the Event in the Media Tag Editor.    This allows you to quickly move from Event to Event to add new Tags.   Pressing the Up or Down Arrow key while focus is in the Tag input field, moves the selected Event in the main display grid up and down in the list.

Finally, you can right-click on the Tag list window to bring up a context menu that lets you Copy and Paste Tags from one Event to Another.   This copies either all of the tags, or selected tags from one event into another.

Export Tags lets you export the Tags assigned to your Project Media in an XML file of your choosing.   Through this mechanism you have the ability to share Media Tag information between Vegas Projects that reference the same Media files.

Import Tags lets you open a Media Tag XML file to restore or assign Tags to Media that's present in your Projects Media Pool.

Timeline Tools takes advantage of the Sony Vegas "CustomData" property on the Project, Event and Media Stream objects to store Event Comments and Media Tags displayed in the main grid as Metadata saved in the Project .veg file.  For you programmers, there are three GUIDs used to access these pieces of metadata.

// Event Guid ID for Timeline Tools Event Comment
public Guid EventCommentGuid = new Guid ( "1A922985-3362-4F23-B834-170B8A856307" );

// Media Stream Guid ID for Timeline Tools Media Tags
public Guid TagGuid = new Guid ( "F19F027C-78D8-4E71-ADDD-3DFA00D9CF71" );

// Project Guid ID for Timeline Tools Media Tags Imported flag. Value set to 0x01 if Tags were imported from old Tag xml file.
public Guid TagsImported = new Guid ( "D2147916-C6FC-4102-8EB2-847AD68A4E98" );

The Imported flag Project GUID indicates if Media Tags have been imported from the old style Tag XML file into the CustomData property of the Media Stream assigned to an Events Take.  Use the following code snippet to get the value of this flag.   If true, then Media Tags are available in the Media Stream's CustomData.

byte[] val = new byte[0];
bool bImported = false;

val = myVegas.Project.CustomData.GetBytes ( TagsImported );
bImported = ((val != null) && (val[0] == 0x01));

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Edit Highlighted Event Comment ...
   This option brings up the Event Comment dialog box.   From here you can Add, Remove or Edit the comment associated with the Event that was highlighted in the Main Display Grid.    If more than one row in the grid is highlighted, this menu item is not visible.

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Merge or Copy New Media ...
This menu item brings up the Merge or Copy Media dialog box.   This option allows you to easily Select and Copy New Project Media from one folder to another, or select New Project Media from a folder to be Merged into your Project at the end of the Selected Track in the upper left corner of the Track Event Info Tab.  When the dialog box is displayed a list of Media files will be shown.  Clicking on a file in the list will preview the file in the Preview Window.   Image files will be displayed immediately, but Video or Audio files will must be started by pressing the round Play button in the Preview Window.   If the Autoplay Audio & Video option is checked, then these types of files will automatically start playing after being selected in the grid.

To Copy New Project Media from one Folder to another Folder:

  1. Select the Merge or Copy New Media menu item.
  2. The Merge or Copy Media dialog opens up and is filled with a list of Media files found in the Image Source Folder shown above the grid.   The Media files displayed in the grid are filtered to not display any Media files that are already being used in any Event in the Selected Track.   If this is the first time the Merge or Copy Media dialog has been displayed since you started Timeline Tools, the Image Source folder is initialized with the path of the first Highlighted Event in the Main Display Grid.  Otherwise this is the last folder chosen when the dialog was closed.
  3. If you'd like to select a new folder as the source for Media files to be copied, pres the Browse button above the preview window and choose a folder location from the dialog.
  4. When you've selected the source folder for your new Media files, the go through the list of Media files in the display grid and check the files that you want to include in your Project.   The Right-Click Context Menu lets you Autosize Table Columns to fit contents of the display area that adjusts all column widths to fit the largest item in each column, or you can perform group Check/Uncheck actions to make file selections easier.   You can Uncheck All which unchecks all files, Check All which checks all listed files,  Uncheck Highlighted which unchecks all Highlighted files, and Check Highlighted which checks all Highlighted items.


     
  5. After you've Checked all the files you want to Copy to a new folder, Press the Copy to Folder button.
  6. The Browse For Folder dialog opens up again where you select the folder where you want to copy the Media files.
  7. Select the Copy to Media Target Folder from the tree and press OK.
  8. Your checked Media files are copied from the Source folder to the Target folder.
  9. At this time you could press the Merge to Project button, and the files that were just copied will be added to the end of the Selected Track in your Project.

To Merge New Media files into your Project at the end of the last Event in the Selected Track.

  1. Follow steps 1 through 4 in the instructions above on how to Copy New Project Media from one Folder to another Folder.
  2. After you've Checked all the files you want to Merge into your Project, Press the Merge to Project button.
  3. The checked files will be added beyond the last Event in the Selected Track.

I should also mention that the display grid in the Merge or Copy Media dialog box can also be used as a Drag and Drop source for checked files.    If you choose, any files displayed in the grid that have been checked, can be dragged out of the grid and dropped into an appropriate type of Track in the Vegas Timeline.  Or they can be dragged out of the grid on dropped on a folder in Windows Explorer.   Dropping on an Explorer folder causes the checked files to be copied to that folder.

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Replace Highlighted Events Active Take Media ...
   This option allows you to select an alternate media file that will replace the Active Take in the single Event Highlighted in the grid.   After choosing this menu option you are prompted to select the replacement media file from the file browsing dialog.   Navigate to the desired replacement media file, then click OK.   The selected media is then checked for compatibility with the Highlighted Event.  After validation the media is added to the Project media pool, if not already present; and then it is added to the Event Takes collection as the active Take.   The previously Active Take is removed from the collection.    Since this action only works on a single Event, the menu option is hidden if more than one Event is selected in the main display grid.

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Optical Scene Detect on Highlighted Events ...
  This menu item is not shown if anything other than a single Video Track is selected in the Track dropdown list.     This feature of Timeline Tools allows you to perform an Optical Scene Detection analysis on selected Event(s) for the purpose of generating Vegas timeline Regions that span scenes that are present in an Events Active Take Media file.    Vegas has a built-in ability to detect scenes from Digital Video sources when the video is Captured and imported into Vegas.    However, this feature isn't available when Capturing video converted from Analog Recording sources, or after the video has been imported into a project.   This feature of Timeline Tools provides that capability for previously imported video regardless of its original recording method.      When scene detection sensitivity has been properly adjusted for any particular video file, Optical Scene Detection can accurately detect scene changes within +/- One Frame.

You access this feature by selecting the Timeline Tools Track Event Info tab.  First, select a single Video Track from the dropdown Track list.   Next, Highlight the Event(s) that contain scenes you want to detect.   Then Right-Click on the Main Display Grid and choose the Optical Scene Detect on Highlighted Events menu item.   This will bring up the following form.

The Optical Scene Detection form contains several different controls identified by the numbers shown in the Red Circles.   Here is a description of each:

  1. This is where the list of detected Scenes will be displayed after running the Scene Detection Process.   You can select either individual, or multiple items in the list to be edited using the Merge and Delete controls numbered 7 through 9.    Note: controls 7 and 9 (the Merge controls) are disabled if you have multiple items selected.
     
  2. This is a checkbox that forces the Vegas timeline cursor to be centered in the timeline.   This can be very helpful when you want to tweak the Start and End frames of a scene to fall exactly on a scene change, or to skip over bad frames that can be present in older analog recorded videos that were transferred from video tape.   This will keep the scene changes centered on screen as you move through the scene list in item 1.
     
  3. This is the scene analyzers sensitivity slider that adjusts through a range of 0 to 100; with 0 being the least sensitive, and 100 the most sensitive.    If you are seeing too many scene changes being detected that are not true scene changes, the decrease the sliders sensitivity.   Likewise, if the analyzer is missing scene changes, increase the sensitivity.
     
  4. You can either use the slider to set the sensitivity, or you can enter it directly in the input field next to number 4.   The default sensitivity is set to 90.  But you can change this to meet the needs of your individual video files.  Once you are satisfied with the scene detection sensitivity setting, when you press the Accept button the current setting will be saved and restored the next time you perform a scene detection analysis.
     
  5. The Numeric Up / Down controls become enabled after completing the scene detection process.   By selecting one or more scenes in the list, these controls allow you to adjust the Start and End timeline positions of the selected events by applying a +/- frame offset value.   The scene analyzer has a precision of about +/- One Frame.  So in some cases you may have to adjust the scene Regions Start or End position to correct for this inherent inaccuracy.
     
  6. This is the button that Starts the Scene Detection Process.   Hold Down the Shift Key to display Debug Log.   Hold Ctrl-X keys to abort FFMpeg operation.
     
  7. After Scenes have been detected, buttons 7, 8, and 9 become enabled.   These allow you to edit the detected scenes.   Button 7 lets you merge the scene currently selected in the list, with the previous scene immediately to its left.   The selected scene is deleted, and the previous scene is increased in size to also occupy the space previously taken up by the selected scene.
     
  8. Button 8 allows you to delete the scenes selected in the list.
     
  9. Button 9 lets you merge the scene currently selected in the list, with the next scene immediately to its right.   The selected scene is deleted, and the next scene is increased in size to also occupy the space previously taken up by the selected scene.
     
  10. These are the Accept and Cancel buttons.    Press Accept button when you are satisfied with the results of the Scene Detector and after you've made any changes are edits to the Scene Regions.    If you press Cancel, all of the analyzers detected scenes will be deleted from the Vegas timeline.

Here is a typical workflow suggestion for using this feature.

  1. Open Timeline Tools and Select a Video Track in the dropdown Track list, then Highlight an Event in the main grid, right-click and select Optical Scene Detect on Highlighted Events menu item.
  2. Press the Start Process button.
  3. Click on a scene in the list.   Note: If you click the same item multiple times, the Vegas cursor will toggle back and forth between the Region Start and End positions.
  4. Click on the selected Track in the Vegas Timeline.
  5. Zoom out the Track view so the Region Boarders can be easily identified and the Cursor can step from frame to frame.
  6. Click the timeline to position the Vegas just before the scene change.
  7. Step the cursor by frames till it crosses the scene change.
  8. If the scene change looks good repeat these step for the next scene in the list starting at step 3.
  9. If the scene needs to be edited, either drag the end points of the Regions directly from the timeline.
  10. Make the needed offset adjustments to the Start and End points of the selected scene using the Up / Down controls.

When all scenes have been modified, or accepted as is, press the Accept button to retain the current Regions and their settings.  

The next step may be to clip the Regions into their own Events. To perform this task:

  1. Click on the Markers, Regions & FX tab.
  2. Select Regions Mode.
  3. Press the Select All button to the right of the Regions list.
  4. Then click the Split Evnts @ Markers button.
  5. You will be prompted to continue.
  6. If you did not have an associated Audio Track selected in the Vegas timeline, you will be prompted to also split the associated Audio Track if present.
  7. All of the Regions will be split and Grouped into new Events.

The Optical Scene Detection feature in Timeline Tools is made possible by leveraging off the Microsoft Windows builds of an open source program called FFmpeg.    FFmpeg is a complete, cross-platform solution to record, convert and stream audio and video.   For more information about FFmpeg please visit: http://ffmpeg.org/.     The stand-alone 32 and 64 bit statically linked builds for Windows were obtained from http://ffmpeg.zeranoe.com.    The 32 and 64 bit versions of these programs are installed under the FFmpeg folder in the "Vegas Application Extensions" directory.    FFmpeg is continuously being upgraded and maintained to fix software bugs and add support for new video formats.    Newer releases of Timeline Tools will include the latest release of FFmpeg.    However, if needed, you can visit the web site and download the latest versions, and replace the versions of FFmpeg in the folders described above.

Lastly, I'd like to give much deserved credit to Andrei Craciun for his help in making this Timeline Tools feature a reality.   Andrei contacted me with the original suggestion for incorporating this feature into Timeline Tools, and continued on to provide invaluable technical assistance and bug testing to making it happen.   Without his help this would not have been possible.

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Edit Highlighted Event Properties.
    This option and the Edit Selected Event Properties option lets you to edit selected properties on one, or more, Events simultaneously.    This option lets you edit Events that are are Highlighted in the Main Display Grid.    Select a Track(s), then Highlight the specific Events in the grid that you want to edit.    Event property editing is described in more detail in the Edit Selected Event Properties selection.

Edit Selected Event Properties.    This option lets you edit selected properties on one or more Events simultaneously.    First, Select a Track(s).   Then Select all of the Events in the Vegas timeline of the Track that you want to edit.    Finally select this option to bring up the Event Property Editor.

(Press Ctrl-F1 to bring up the Users Guide Page for this Form)

The Property Editor lets you directly change the exposed properties of one or more Events.    Changes made in the Property editor are immediately applied to the Event(s).   There is no "Cancel" operation.   Note:  Because of the way Vegas updates it's Preview Window, the effect of changing some properties will not be displayed until after the Properties Editor is closed.

The property editor displays Properties in Groups.   In the example shown above, properties such as Locked, Loop, Mute and Selected are in the Group called Event States.    Default values of Properties are shown in Regular text.   If a property has been changed from its default value, it's shown in Bold.    If you've selected Multiple Events simultaneously, properties that are not all set to the same values, will appear blank in the property editor.   If you then change the value of the blank entry, that specific Property in all of the Selected Events, will be set to that value, and will then become visible in the Property Editor.    The Properties that are exposed in the Property Editor are a combination of properties that exist on the Event itself, the Active Take, and the Video Motion Default Keyframe.    These represent a set of what I've determined to be the most common properties that people would like to access.

To use the editor, select the Property Type in the left column.   Then make the change in the right column.   Some properties present a drop-down list.  Some are free form entry.   Some, like Position and Size let you enter both values at once, or let you expand the selection to change one of the two values.   Finally, the Pixel Aspect Ratio property lets you select from a list of pre-defined values.  Or you can select the Custom selection and a popup entry form appears where you can enter your custom PAR.

Note:   The above example shows the Property Editor as it appears when a Video Event was selected.   Audio Events will expose a smaller number of editable properties.

Add New Audio Track from Playlist ...    This option lets you Open a standard .M3U or .WPL Windows Playlist file, and import the Playlist audio files into a new Vegas Audio Track.

[Top] [Tab Index]


 
The Track Tools & Options tab (Fig. 3) consists of 6 separate sections.  Features on this tab allow you to adjust Event Size, Gaps, Overlap, Fades and Fade Curve type.   You can also review and change program options, and define one or more external editing programs that can be called up to edit Event Media.
 

Figure 3

Figure 4

 

Section (1) allows you to select the Track where Event modifications will be applied.   If the Lock Track Selections checkbox in the Track Event Info Tab is checked, the Track selection will automatically follow what has been selected in the Track Event Info Tab.    However, this does not prevent you from changing the selection manually.

Section (2) lets you search the selected Track for Gaps or Overlap between Events that are greater than, or equal to the specified Min Gap / Overlap Width value in seconds.   A value of zero simply jumps the Vegas Cursor to the next Event on the Track.   A non-zero value will move the Vegas Cursor to start of the next gap that is greater than or equal to that value.  A Negative value will search for an Event Overlap amount that is greater than or equal to the absolute value of the specified time.

Section (3) contains the Restore Default Settings button that quickly resets all of the Section 3 and 4 controls to their default state.   This is useful if you'll be making several Selected layout modifications; and you want to start each layout from a default state.    Section 3 provides an action selection to Re-Quantize To Frames which aligns all targeted Events to place the Event Start and End locations at the closest rounded down frame position.   Section 3 also has an option button to Align Events to Markers.   This will Size and Position all the targeted Events so they are placed at the position of each Marker, and sized to fit between the starting Marker and next Marker.   This feature also lets you add Gaps or Overlap to the aligned Events, but the size of these options are limited to fit within the available Marker length.   Section 3 also contain two action Presets; Remove Gaps, Overlap & Fades and  Remove Gaps & Overlap that apply specific modifications to the targeted Events in the selected track.   Along with the two Presets, there are some additional checkbox options that modify how all three of the Adjust Event Gap, Overlap & Size radio button options behave.   If the Selected Events Only checkbox is checked, only the selected Events on the Selected Track will be affected.  If the Lock 1st Event checkbox is checked, the first eligible Event on the Selected Track will not be moved; causing all Events further down the timeline to be adjusted relative to the first Event.   An Event is eligible if it's the first Event on the Track, or if the Selected Events Only option is checked, and it's the first Selected Event.    If the Ignore Gap Adjustment checkbox is checked, Event Gaps will NOT be affected when any other editing operation is performed that would alter or remove Gaps.   If the Selected Events Only and Shift Trailing Events checkboxes are both checked, Event modifications that may  cause a change in their position on the timeline, will also shift all of the unselected trailing Events Left or Right as needed.   Note:  The Shift Trailing Events checkbox can only be selected if the Selected Events Only checkbox is also selected.

Remove Gaps, Overlap & Fades.  This Preset adjusts all targeted Events on the selected Track and moves them adjacent to each other without any leading Gaps.  There will be no Event Overlap, and any Event Fade In/Out settings will be cleared.

Remove Gaps & Overlap.  This adjusts all targeted Events on the selected Track and moves them adjacent to each other without any leading Gaps.  There will be no Event Overlap, and any Event Fade In/Out settings will be retained.

Section (4) Adjust Gaps, Event length, Overlap & Fade.  This is the meat & potatoes option that gives you the most flexibility in modifying your Track Events.   The best way to approach using the controls in this section is to first understand that ALL the controls will be examined, and depending on their combined settings, they will individually either be used or skipped when the Adjust Events button is pressed.     Together, these controls can Add / Remove Event Overlap, Add / Remove Event Gaps, Size or Not Size Events, Reposition or Not Reposition Events on the timeline, or Add / Remove / Change Fade settings.    What is and isn't adjusted depends on the combination of all of these settings.   So once you understand what each control does, it's much easier to predict what effect it will have on the adjustment process.

The first thing to do is decide how to make your adjustments.   Either in Time, or by Frames.   This affects all changes to Event size, Overlap or Gap length, and Fade In/Out duration and Fade Type.   If the Selected Events Only checkbox is checked, only the selected Events on the Track will be affected.

The "Ignore" checkboxes just to the left of the Event Size, Overlap Size - Fade In/Out Size, and Gap Size input fields will prevent these field values from being applied to Events when the Adjust Events button is pressed.   If you're working with A / V clips in Vegas, you've probably invested a lot of time adjusting the length of each clip in the Vegas Timeline.   If you later use Timeline Tools to adjust all your clips for position, overlap, gaps and fade curves, you don't want the clip length to be changed.  This is what the "Ignore" checkboxes do.  Simple check the Ignore Event Size checkbox, and your clips will be arranged without changing their lengths.   On the other hand, if you're working with hundreds of Image files in a Slideshow Project you probably want Timeline Tools to adjust all the Image lengths to the same value such as 5 or 6 seconds per picture.   In this case simply leave the "Ignore' checkboxes unchecked.  

Note: If an Event has the Vegas Locked property set, and the Use Fixed not Locked property to prevent Event Length changes option is not enabled, the event will be moved in the Timeline along with any other Events when the Adjust Events button is pressed; but its Length will not be adjusted.  A Locked Event is like having the Event Size "Ignore" checkbox checked for a specific Event.    A typical use case for this scenario would be in a Slideshow Project where you want certain photos to have a different lengths than the rest of the photos.   By adjusting these photos and setting their Locked properties, they will NOT have their lengths altered if you should later decide to change ALL the lengths of the other photos.    This is one way to accomplish this:  First set all your photos to the same length with gaps or overlaps.  Next, Select an Event you want to change the length setting, then (1) Check the Selected Events Only checkbox, (2) Check the Shift Trailing Events checkbox, (3) Enter the new Event length in the Event Size input field, (4) press the Adjust Events button, (5) and lastly set the Selected Events Lock Switch setting.   Repeat this for each Event that you want set to a different length than the rest.   From now on if you change the Event Size value and reapply it to ALL Timeline Events, all will be modified except those with their Locked property set true.

The "- Ignore -" Fade Type selection operates similar to the "Ignore" checkboxes in that it prevents Timeline Tools from making changes to existing Fade Type settings for Fade In/Out size or Type.

  • Relative Event size change.   If unchecked, the Event size value will be used to set the absolute length of the Event in Time or Frames.   If checked, Event size will be increased by the length of the specified amount of Time or Frames.  Entering a negative size value reduces the length of the Event by the specified amount.   If checked, a value of zero causes no change to Event length.
     
  • Force no Event Overlap.  If checked, Events will not be overlapped and the Overlap size input box will change to Fade In/Out size allowing you to set the length and type of the Event Fade In/Out curve that will be placed at the start and end of each Event.   Also, you can enter a value in the Gap size field if you want to add a gap between your Events.     If unchecked, the Overlap size value will set the amount of overlap between adjacent Events.   Fade In/Out curve type is set using the Fade Type drop down list.

Adjust Events.  This button applies the Event configuration settings in Sections (3) & (4) to the targeted Events on the Selected Track.  When the Timeline Tools window has focus, this button can be invoked by pressing the Ctrl-Alt-E keys.

Section (5) (Fig. 4) lets you configure external media editing tools.  These tools can be invoked to edit Media files used in a Vegas Project.  You can add tools and specify the Media types they work with; either Audio or Video.   You can also specify if the tool is capable of accepting multiple file names on the command line to open multiple files at once.    You can also delete any of the tools you've added to the lists, or change the tools settings.   Configured Tools must be capable of opening up a Media file passed to them on the command line, or they will not function properly when used here.   Most editing programs support this.    If your default Video or Audio editing programs ( the programs associated with Video, Graphics, and Audio file extensions ) can accept multiple files on the command line, check the associated checkboxes just below the editor list.

To add a tool, press the Add Tool button.  In the form that appears you must enter: The tool Name, The file path where the Tool is located, and the type of Media this tool edits.    Additionally you can specify if the tool is capable of accepting more than one file name on the Command Line; and if the tool should be the one that's opened by pressing the Ctrl-Alt-X Hot Keys.   The Tool Name is the name that appears in the list of external Tools in section (5).    Note:  You can drag a file from Windows Explorer into the Location input field to specify the program as an external media editor.    If the Accepts multiple files checkbox is checked, the word [multi] appears next to the tool name in the list.   If the Open using Ctrl-Alt-X checkbox is checked, an asterisk character "*" appears next to the tool name in the list.

To edit a tool that is already in the list, simply double-click the tool item in the listbox.

The Video Tools, and Audio Tools radio buttons let you filter the list to show the tools you have configured for those Media types.

Section (6) is where you make changes to the Timeline Tools option settings.   The options are as follows:

  1. Vegas Cursor tracks the selected Event table item.   When checked (default True), selecting an item in the display Table in the Track Event Info tab, automatically positions the Vegas Cursor to the associated Timeline Event.
     
  2. Highlighted Event Grid items automatically Select Timeline Events.    This option is useful if you frequently select items in the Main Display Grid that you intend to select in the Vegas Timeline.   This can be very useful if you're using the PlugIn Dialog, or Timeline Tools Hot Keys to invoke a change to the Vegas selected Events.
     
  3. Tracking positions Vegas Cursor to center of Event.  This option is used to refine the positioning of the Vegas timeline cursor if option (1) is enabled.   When checked  (default False) selecting an item in the display Table will move the cursor to the center of the associated Event.   If unchecked, the Cursor is moved to the Start of the Event.   This is useful if you have overlapped Events.   Because positioning the cursor to the start of an Event will actually display the previous Event in the Vegas preview window.
     
  4. Always keep Vegas Cursor visible in Timeline Window.  When checked (default False) any action that moves the Vegas cursor in the Timeline will also tell Vegas to scroll the Timeline window, if needed, to keep the Vegas Cursor position in view in the Timeline window.
     
  5. Configuration settings Loaded and Saved by Project.  If checked (default True), all of the Timeline Tools settings (except options and external tools) are saved in a Timeline Tools configuration file in the currently open Vegas Project subdirectory.   This makes all of these settings Project specific.   If not checked, all settings are saved in the Timeline Tools data directory and are global to every Project.  This could lead to some unexpected results, so I strongly suggest you use the default setting to keep the program Configuration Settings Project Specific.
     
  6. Check for newer version of program at startup.  When Timeline Tools is first started, either from the Vegas Toolbar button or automatically if it was running when Vegas was shut down, the program will check for the availability of a newer version of the program than what is currently installed and running.   If found, a message will be displayed showing both your current version, and what is available for download.   If you want to download and upgrade the program, you must first shut down Sony Vegas before running the Setup program
     
  7. Dbl-Click Event Table item deselects all other Events.   Allows you to double-click an Event Table item, making it the sole selected item in the Table.   This is useful if you will be making adjustments using any other Timeline Tools feature that operates on selected Events.
     
  8. Cursor stack selection highlights Event table entry.   This causes the Event table item that's associated with the Cursor Stack position to be highlighted and scrolled into view when the cursor stack item is selected.   This is useful for moving Events from one location to another that are greatly separated.   Find the target Event where you will be moving the source Event(s), and add it's position to the Cursor Stack.   Then find the source Event(s) and select them.   Use the Cursor Stack dropdown to move back to the target Event.   Then right-click and choose the Move Event option.
     
  9. Make Leading and Trailing Random Transitions different.    If you will be adding Random Transitions to the Start and End of your Events, this will tell the program that you want the two Transitions to be different.   A Random Transition will be generated for each.   If this option is disabled, both the Start and End Transitions will be the same.
     
  10. Enable Project Notes Editor.   When checked, the Project Notes Editor is enabled and will open and save a Project Notes file in the Vegas Project subdirectory.   The Notes file is a standard Rich Text Format (.RTF) file.
     
  11. Lock Envelope Points to Events.   This option behaves similar to the Vegas toolbar button labeled "Lock Envelopes to Events".   If enabled (the default state), Events that are moved, using the Main Display Grid Event Move feature, will also bring along any Points on any Envelope that are present within the Event.     Vegas will move points with an Event if the Lock Envelopes To Events option is selected.   But this feature does not work if Events are moved using any of the context menu Move options in the Main Display Grid.   For this you must have Lock Envelope Points to Events enabled.

    Timeline Tools follows the same rules used by Vegas.   If Events are overlapped, Points that exist from the start of the selected Event, to the start of the following overlapped Event will be moved with the event.   Points in the overlap area of the selected Event and the following Event are considered to be located in the following Event.
     
  12. Create Auto-Save backup on file save if enabled   If you have enabled both the Auto Save Project feature, and this Option selection,  a specially named variation of an Auto Save Project Backup will be created when you manually save the Vegas Project from the File menu, or Toolbar Save Button.   The specially named Auto Save backup will be similar to other Auto Save backup file names, but will have "Manual Save" added after the Date and Time.
     
  13. Add, Insert or Replace Selected PlugIn Without User Verification.   The default state of this option is False.    If checked, you will NOT be prompted to verify the PlugIn Dialog action to Add, Insert or Replace the Selected PlugIn.
     
  14. Preview Inactive Takes when mouse is over Inactive Take Cell.   This option is only needed if you employ multiple Takes in your Video or Graphic Image Events.   To use this feature you must first click on the Event in the main display grid that contains multiple Takes, then position the Vegas Cursor over the Take Cell in the grid of the Event Take you want to preview.   The Vegas preview window will normally be displaying the Active Take.    When you move the Mouse Cursor over an Inactive Take cell in the main display grid, the Vegas Preview Window switches to display the Inactive Take; as shown below.     The Active Take will be restored after about 5 seconds if the Mouse isn't moved over another Inactive Take Cell.    If this option is disabled, you can still force the popup window appear if you hold down the Ctrl Key before moving the mouse over an Inactive Take Cell.
  1. Create Media Tags Backup with Project Backup.   The default state of this option is False.   If enabled, a Media Tag Backup file will be created whenever a regular Project Backup file would be created when Autosave is enabled. 
     
  2. Use Fixed not Locked property to prevent Event Length changes.    When Events are being Adjusted in the Track Tools & Option Tab, setting an Events Locked Property True, will prevent any adjustments from being made to an Events Length.   If This option is enabled, the Locked Property will be ignored, and instead the Events Fixed Property will determine if Event Lengths will be preserved.   The Fixed Property is a Timeline Tools custom Event Property that's modified using the Timeline Tools Event Property Editor. (default False)
     
  3. Auto Save PlugIn usage Report when Project is closed.    If enabled, Timeline Tools automatically saves a PlugIn usage report using the last settings specified in the Export Project PlugIn Usage Report form, opened from the Context Menu of the PlugIn Tree in the Vegas PlugIns Tab.   If you create the more detailed List of PlugIns used by Vegas objects report, this can take a long time generate.   If you have this option enabled I strongly recommend that you select the shorter Overall list of used PlugIns report and leave it like that whenever this option is enabled.
     
  4. Only Refresh Event Group Display when button is pushed.    If enabled, the Track Extras Tab Event Group Associations display will only be updated if the Refresh Event Group Display button is pressed.  Enabling this option can speed up loading your Project in some case for large complex Projects that, for example, employ nested .VEG files.

The following option settings control which Columns are shown, or hidden in the Event Table in the Track Event Info Tab.   This allows you to change the display to only show information that interests you.

  1. Show Track Number.   (default True)
     
  2. Show Event Number.   (default True)
     
  3. Show Event Take Number.   If this option is disabled, only Active Takes will be displayed in the main grid.   Enable this option if you want to show all Takes associated with an Event.   Note: When Enabled, the Active Take is shown in a Bold Red Font.   Also Note:  Sony Vegas Pro does not inform Extension programs like Timeline Tools when you've changed the Active Take.   You must press the Refresh Table button to reflect the change in the grid. (default False)
     
  4. Show Event Start Time.   (default True)
     
  5. Show Event Length.   (default False)
     
  6. Show Event Selection State.   (default True)
     
  7. Show Event Locked State.   (default False)
     
  8. Show Fixed Property State.  (default false ).   Shows if the Timeline Tools custom Fixed property is enabled.
     
  9. Show Event Active Take Name.   (default True)
     
  10. Show Event Media Size.   (default True)   Video media displays Width x Height.  Audio Media displays Length.
     
  11. Show Event Plug-Ins.   (default True)
     
  12. Show Event Media Path.   (default False)
     
  13. Show Event Media Tags.   (default True)

[Top] [Tab Index]

 

 
The Markers, Regions & FX tab (Fig. 5) consists of 3 separate sections.
 

Figure 5

[Section 1] [Section 2] [Section 3]

Section (1) lets you make changes to Events to Remove or Restore Pan / Crop and Video FX settings.

You can choose to completely remove All Pan / Crop Keyframes.  Or you can be selective and remove or apply specific settings in the existing Keyframes.    The types of selective changes you can make are:

  • Modify Media FX.   If checked, the following 3 settings apply to the events Active Take Media, instead of the Event itself..
     
  • Remove Video FX.   Removes all Video FX in the Selected Events in the selected Track.
     
  • Delete Video FX Keyframes.   Keeps all Video FX in the Selected Events," + "\n" + "but deletes all existing Keyframes.
     
  • Delete all but Keyframe 0.   Keeps all Video FX in the Selected Events," + "\n" + "but deletes all Keyframes except Keyframe 0.
     
  • Remove Event Transitions.    Remove all Leading and Trailing Transitions from the Selected Events in the Selected Track.
     
  • Remove Pan / Crop.   Removes all Pan / Crop Keyframes from the Selected Events.
     
  • Keep Pan / Crop Zero.   Removes all Pan / Crop Keyframes from the Selected Events, but keeps Keyframe 0.
     
  • Restore Media Size.  This restores the Media to the way it appeared when it was first added to the project.   All Pan & Zoom Keyframes are removed.  And the Media Aspect Ratio is returned to its original size.
     
  • Match Output Aspect.   This sets the Media Aspect Ratio to match the project Aspect Ratio in All Keyframes of the selected Events.   Simply stated, this zooms in on the media to eliminate the vertical or horizontal black bars that you see if the media size doesn't exactly match the project size.    Use this together with Restore Media Size to make sure the Project display is first Reset before setting it to match the output Aspect Ratio.

    Wide media only.    This option is enabled only when the Match Output Aspect option is selected.   This further modifies the behavior of the Match Output Aspect option by only modifying Wide Media.   Wide Media is any media that has greater Width than Height; or an Aspect Ratio greater than 1.0.
     
  • Don't fit Large media.   By default, when Vegas adds Media to the Timeline it automatically re-sizes the Media so that the largest dimension exactly fits the Project dimension.    For example, a large image is effectively reduced in size so that its largest dimension, either width or height, exactly fits the Project dimensions.   Likewise, a smaller image is effectively expanded in the same way.   If your media size is substantially larger than the Project size, shrinking it down to the project resolution can result in compression errors resulting in an unacceptable picture.   This option will set the video size to the project dimensions, allowing you to Pan and Zoom around your original media   You can later use Timeline Tools or Pan / Crop to adjust if necessary.
     
  • Don't fit Small media.   By default, when Vegas adds Media to the Timeline it automatically re-sizes the Media so that the largest dimension exactly fits the Project dimension.    For example, a large image is effectively reduced in size so that its largest dimension, either width or height, exactly fits the Project dimensions.   Likewise, a smaller image is effectively expanded in the same way.   The problem is, if your media size is substantially smaller than the Project size, blowing it up can result in an unacceptably grainy picture.   This option will restore small media (media that is smaller than the Project size) back to it's original dimensions on screen.   You can later use Timeline Tools or Pan / Crop to adjust it if necessary.
     
  • Reset Rotation.   This resets the Rotation value assigned to all the Keyframes in the selected Event(s) to 0.
     
  • Set to Project Size.   This sets the Pan / Crop display size equal to the size of the Project for all Selected Events.   This can be checked along with other options such as Match Output Aspect to size the display to the Project size and also make sure the Aspect Ratio is preserved to fill the video frames.    If you have a very large image, this causes the display to zoom into a small portion of the image.
     
  • Apply Changes.    When you press this button all of the options selected above will be applied to the Events Selected in the Vegas Timeline.   When the Timeline Tools window has focus, this button can be invoked by pressing the Ctrl-Alt-C Hot Keys.

Section (2) lets you make adjustments to the Vegas Timeline Markers & Regions.   In this section you can:

  • Set the list display Mode to show either Markers or Regions.
     
  • Set the Format used to Import/Export Markers/Regions.
  • Set various Option Settings that include:
  1. Include Media Markers in the List.  -  This will merge any Media Markers from Events in the Selected Track into the Timeline Markers list.   The Media Markers will be interleaved into the list so they appear in the same Time sequence they appear in the Vegas Timeline.
     
  2. Have the Vegas Cursor automatically track the Marker/Region positions of the selected item in the Markers list.  -  If Regions are selected, clicking on the same item in the list will toggle the Vegas Cursor back and forth between the Region's Start and End positions in the Timeline.
     
  3. Display a Five Second Preview of the Vegas project starting at the timeline position of the selected Marker/Region item in the list.  -  This is similar to the Preview feature found in the Vegas Project Media tab.
     
  4. Set focus to the Vegas Tracks Window after selecting a Marker/Region item from the list.  -  With this option enabled, selecting a Marker/Region item in the list immediately positions the Vegas Cursor to the selected items timeline position, then transfers focus to the Vegas Tracks Window.  From there you can perform any keystroke or shuttle related command that you normally use to Play/Stop or traverse Events.   To return to using the Timeline Tools, you'll have to click back on its window.
     
  5. Include Region End info.  -  If Region Mode is selected, this will include the Region End information in the Timeline Regions list, and also in the Exported Regions text file.
     
  6. Include End + Length info.  -  If Region Mode is selected, this will include both the Region End and Length information in the Timeline Regions list, and also in the Exported Regions text file.
     
  7. Only display Label info.  -  This option strips away time position information from the list and Exported text file, and only displays Labels.
     
  8. Include Labels.  -  Normally, only position information is included in Exported Markers/Regions.  This option includes Marker and Region labels if present.
     
  9. Export to DVDA .SFL file.  -  This tells Timeline Tools that you want to create a Sony DVD Architect compatible .SFL file that's used to transfer Vegas Marker positions to DVD Chapter points in DVD Architect.    When the Export button is pressed, you'll be prompted to select a previously rendered project video file that was created with the same exact render settings as the currently open project.   Later, when you import that video file into DVD Architect, DVDA will find the .SFL file with the same name as the video file, with .SFL appended, and read that in to create Chapter points.
     
  10. Export to a TMPGENC Mastering Works Keyframe file with the extension .keyframe.
     
  11. Write a One Line file.  -  This lets you Export Markers/Regions to a text file that has no Linefeed terminators and the end of each item.   This is essentially a file with one large line of text.
     
  • You can search for Markers or Region labels.   Enter the search string into the text box above the Listbox.  Wildcard characters "*" and "?" are supported.   Matched items are highlighted in the listbox.   If you check the Filter Marker / Region List instead of Highlighting checkbox,  The listbox will only be filled with Markers/Regions that match the search criteria.   This lets you selected listbox, and move through the filters list of matched items.
     
  • Copy the Marker/Region positions to the Cursor Stack in the Track Event Info tab..
     
  • Delete highlighted Markers or Regions from the popup Context menu in the Markers listbox, or by pressing the Delete key when the Markers listbox has focus.
     
  • Import Markers / Regions from a Text file.   Select the Mode, either Markers or Regions, of the Text file you are Importing, then press the Import Markers & Regions button to open the File Selection dialog.
     
  • Re-Sequence ALL Markers & Regions so they start at 1 and continue in an ascending numerical order down the timeline.

    Markers and Regions as they appear on the Timeline Before Re-Sequencing.


    Markers and Regions as they appear on the Timeline After Re-Sequencing.
     

    Note:  Vegas shares the assignment of numbers to Markers and Regions.   If you've created 3 Markers, then 3 Regions.  The Markers will have the numbers 1, 2, and 3.   And the Regions will have the numbers 4, 5, and 6.   If you add another Marker it will be number 7.   Re-ordering the Markers and Regions will result in Markers and Regions displaying starting a "1" on the left end of the Timeline, and continuing until the highest number appears at right.  Numbers will be assigned to either a Marker or a Region in the order it appears in the Timeline.

     
  • Select All ( highlight all Markers / Regions ) in the list.
     
  • Clear All ( set the highlight state of all Markers / Regions to None ).
     
  • Refresh the list if something was changed in Vegas and the list did not pick up the change.
  • Decimate Markers / Regions.   Press the Decimate button to open the Decimation Tool window.  Note ***  The Decimation Tool does not itself delete any Markers / Regions from the Vegas Timeline.  What it does is highlight Markers / Regions in the list on the Markers, Regions & FX tab when you press the Apply button.   You delete the highlighted items as normal using the Delete button or context menu selection.   In the Decimation Tool window you can select a specific Marker or Region where decimation will begin; followed by choosing the Decimation Factor to be applied to the Markers / Regions.   Decimation lets you reduce the number of Markers / Regions that are present on the Vegas Timeline by the Decimation Factor Number chosen.   Decimation leaves one Marker / Region remaining in every group of Markers where the group size is defined by the Decimation Factor.   A Factor of 4 will highlight 3 out of every 4 items in the list.  Likewise a Factor of 2 will highlight every other item in the list; and so on.

 

The Markers/Regions listbox provides a popup context menu that provides additional features.     

Many of the menu items in the context menu duplicate existing features that can be invoked by pressing their associated buttons.    However, the menu items that control how Markers are moved and shifted, have no related button controls.   The following describes these unique popup context menu items.

  • Move selected Markers to Event Start / Middle / End.  -  When you have a Marker that's positioned over a selected Event in the Vegas timeline, and that Event is in the selected Track in the Timeline Tools Markers, Regions & FX tab, these three options will reposition the Marker to either the Start, Center or End of the Event.
     
  • Shift Markers Left/Right to Cursor ( or by pressing the Shift Left/Right Arrow keys ).  -  This feature lets you perform a relational repositioning of the start location one or more Markers/Regions with a single key press or mouse click.    This feature behaves identically to the Shift Points to Cursor feature in the Track Extras tab.     All the selected Markers/Regions are moved a relative distance from the closest qualified Marker/Region to the Vegas Cursor.    Consider the following image:

Here we have three Markers; 19, 20, & 21.   The Vegas Cursor is to the left of all three of the markers.    If all three Markers are selected in the Markers listbox, and the Shift Markers Left to Cursor menu item is selected, Marker 19 is moved to the timeline position of the Vegas Cursor, bringing Markers 20 and 21 along with it, while maintaining their relative time spacing.    In this scenario Marker 19 is the qualified Marker because, when shifting Markers left, Marker 19 is the closest Marker to the Cursor without being left of it in the timeline.    In other words, when shifting Left, the first selected Marker to the Right of the Cursor is the qualified Marker.   And the relative Time difference between the Vegas Cursor and Qualified Marker becomes the Time interval that's added to all selected Markers, causing them to shift by that same relative amount of time.    If the Vegas cursor was positioned halfway between Marker 19 and 20, and the Shift Left menu item was selected, Marker 20 would be the Qualified Marker.   In this case, the time difference between the Vegas Cursor and Marker 20 would be the amount of time that all three Markers would be shifted Left. 

In this same scenario, if the Shift Markers Right to Cursor menu item was selected, all three selected Markers are already to the Right of the Vegas Cursor.   To shift any Markers Right or Left, there must be at least one qualified Marker; in this case to the Left of the Vegas Cursor.   Since there are none in this scenario, nothing is moved.
 

Section (3) lets you add new Markers to the Timeline based on the starting location of the Events on the selected Track.    You can add Markers to the Start of all Events, or you can add Markers to the Start of all the Events, except for the Start of the First Event, and the End of the last Event.    This option is useful if you're using Markers to create Chapter points for the production of a DVD.   Lastly, you can import Markers or Regions from a text file that can be a file that was created by Exporting Markers or Regions.   Simply select the Mode radio buttons (Markers or Regions) of the type of text file you expect to import.   If desired you can add an offset value in Seconds to be added to the Marker and Region positions contained in the text file.

You can also Export the Marker or Region positions to a text file in the project subdirectory, either as Frame Numbers or Timecode.  You also have the option of exporting Marker or Regions to a DVD Architect .SFL file or to a
TMPGENC Mastering Works Keyframe file with the extension .keyframe..    Exporting Markers is useful if you author a DVD using a program that accepts input from a text file for the creation of DVD Chapter Points.   If you want, you can include the Marker or Region label in the exported text file.  And you can chose to write everything on a single line in the file, or multiple lines.   Before exporting your Marker or Region information you must select the items in the list that you want to Export.  

To export items in the list to a text file:

  1. Press the Select All button, or just highlight the specific list items targeted for Export.
  2. Select the Include Labels or any other desired Marker & Regions Option.
  3. Press the Export Selected Markers & Regions button.
  4. Select the desired Folder and File name from the Dialog, and press Ok.

To export items in the list to a DVD Architect .SFL file:

  1. Check the Export to DVDA .SFL file entry in the Marker & Regions Options list.
  2. Press the Select All button, or just highlight the specific list items targeted for Export.
  3. Press the Export Selected Markers & Regions button.
  4. Select the previously rendered video file where the the newly created .SFL Chapters file will be placed and named for.   When you open the rendered video file, DVD Architect it will automatically import the .SFL file and place chapter marks in the DVD title.

To export items in the list to a TMPGENC Mastering Works Keyframe file:

  1. Check the Export to TMPGENC file entry in the Marker & Regions Options list.
  2. Press the Select All button, or just highlight the specific list items targeted for Export.
  3. Select the Include Labels or any other desired Marker & Regions Option.
  4. Press the Export Selected Markers & Regions button.
  5. Select the desired Folder and File name from the Dialog, and press Ok.

You can also have Timeline Tools Split the Events on the selected Target Track that are located under a Selected Marker or Region by choosing the item in the list, then pressing the Split Evnts @ Markers button.

Lastly, if you're using Sony Vegas Pro to author an Audio CD, Timeline Tools will automatically prepare your selected Audio Track for burning a Disk-at-once Audio CD.    First, select the Audio Track that contains all the Events that will become CD Tracks from the Select Target Track list in the upper right section of the Markers, Regions & FX Tab.    Next, click the Add CD Event Regions button to automatically Layout the selected audio track.   This action adds Regions to the Audio CD Track at the top of the Vegas Timeline that bracket all the Audio Events in the selected track.   Finally, select the Burn Disc / Disk-at-once, option from the Vegas Tools menu.
 

Audio Track Events prior to Adding Audio CD Event Regions

Audio Track Events after Adding Audio CD Event Regions

[Top] [Tab Index]

 

 
The Track Extras tab (Fig. 6) consists of 5 separate sections.

Figure 6

Section (1) lets you see a list of available Tracks and BusTracks, and the Envelopes and Envelope Points that are associated with them.    You first select the Track, then select the Envelope type assigned with the Track.  This shows you a list of all points added to that Envelope.    If you double-click a point in the list, or right-click on the list, you can move the Vegas timeline cursor to the selected point.    If you have Cursor tracks selected point checked, clicking on a point in the list will automatically move the Vegas cursor to that location on the timeline.

This section also allows you to filter the list of displayed points based on the filter setting and a value entered in the input box that's also used to modify point values.    In the example shown above, the > Greater Than filter setting was selected, and a value of 0 was entered in the Input Box.   In this example Zero will display all the Points in the Volume Envelope.    To apply this filter, first select the > Greater Than filter setting.   Then enter your filter value; in this case Zero and press the Enter key.   You can also press the Refresh Points button to refresh the list of filtered points.   The resultant filtered list of points can now be selectively highlighted and their values modified if desired.   Note:  The Update Point Values and Delete Points buttons are disabled if the filter selection is anything other than None.   Reset the filter selection to None if you need to delete or modify the filtered points.

In the above example, If you select the Only list Event Envelopes option, the Select Track dropdown list shows both the Track and Event on that Track, that contain Event Envelopes.   Select the Track/Event pair to view the list of Envelopes assigned to that pair.

If you right-click on the Point List, you will see the popup context menu shown below:

  • Move Vegas cursor to first Selected Point in list.   If you are not automatically tracking the selected point, this menu option will move the Vegas cursor to the location on the timeline of the selected point.

  • Highlight List Points contained in Selected Events.   If you select Events in the timeline by clicking on them directly or by selecting them from the main display table in the Track Event Info tab, selecting this menu option will highlight any points in the list that exist on the timeline in the timeframe occupied by the selected events.   In other words, it will highlight points that are coincident with the selected Events on the timeline.

  • Select all Track Events that contain Points highlighted in the List.   This is the reverse of the menu option just described.   This will selected all Track Events that are coincident in the timeline with the points that are highlighted in the list.

Context Menu for Track Extras Point List

Section (2) allows you to change the location of the Envelope Points you selected in section (1).   You can move a single point, or groups of points together with a simple mouse click.

First, select the Point(s) you want to move; two buttons allow you to select all or none of the Points.   You can also select the Points directly by highlighting the Points displayed in the Envelope Points listbox.

Next, choose how you want to move the Points.   Your options are to: (1) Shift points to the Vegas Cursor position, (2) Shift points by a number of Frames, (3) or Shift points by a number of Seconds.   If you selected by Frames or by Seconds, enter a value in the selected units of frames or time in seconds.    If you selected Shift points to cursor you must position the Vegas Cursor to the position in the timeline where you want to move the points.   The following rules are followed when shifting points to the Vegas Cursor.  We'll assume the Shift Left button has been pressed:

If the Vegas cursor is to the left of all the selected points on the timeline, and the Shift Left button is pressed.   The Leftmost point (excluding point 0) is shifted left to the Vegas Cursor position. along with all of the other selected points.  All points maintain their original relative spacing, and their amplitudes are unchanged.  

The same is true if the Vegas Cursor is to the right of all selected points.  The Rightmost point is shifted to the cursor, along with all of the other selected points.

 

If the Vegas cursor is placed within a group of selected Envelope points, and the Shift Left button is pressed, the following rule applies:   The utility starts looking at selected points and compares their positions to the Vegas cursor.   It skips over points left of the Vegas Cursor (points 1 & 2).   When a point to the right of the cursor (point 3) is found, the program calculates the difference in position between the point and the cursor, then shifts all the points left by that amount.

This same algorithm is applied if the Shift Right button was pressed.   Points are skipped until one is found to the left of the Vegas cursor, then the difference in position is applied to all the selected points, shifting them all to the right.

 If you selected by Frames or by Seconds, simply click the Left or Right arrow button to shift all the highlighted Points left or right on the Timeline by the amount of Frames or Seconds entered in the Seconds / Frames input box.

Note:  Point 0 is special in Vegas and can not be shifted.   If selected, it will be ignored.   Also, points cannot be shifted past the first or last frame of the Envelope.   For normal Envelopes this is the first and last frame of the project.   For Event Envelopes, this is the first and last frame of the Event.

Section (3) allows you to make changes to Point magnitudes, or initiate a Point Filtering action.   To change Point Magnitudes, first select the Points you want to modify in the listbox.   Then either: (a) Enter a new value for the selected Point(s) in the Input Box, and press the Update Point Values button, or (b) Enter a new value in the Input Box for the amount that you want you Increase or Decrease the selected Point values, then press either the Up Arrow or Down Arrow button to change the selected Points by the specified value.    If you are performing action (a), you can press the Enter Key and typing in your new value in the Input box only if the Filter Point List selection is set to None.    If the Filter Point List selection is set to anything other than None, pressing the Enter key will filter the Point List using the selected Filter and Comparison in the Input Box value.

For Volume Envelope Points enter the string -Inf in the entry box for a -Infinity level.   For a Mute Envelope, enter 0 for Muted, and 1 for Not Muted.   For Motion Blur Points enter a number of frames.   For Super Sampling enter the number of Samples.  For all other Points, simply enter the numeric value of the Point, without any units such as "db", or "%".

Section (4) provides you with a quick overview of all the Event Group assignments that Vegas is currently using.   This allows you to make decisions on how you may want to alter these Event groupings.    To refresh the list, press the Refresh Event Group Display button.  *Note: This list may appear blank when Vegas starts if you have the "Only Refresh Event Group Display when button is pushed" option enabled in the Track Tools and Options Tab.

Section (5) Auto Save allows you to set a time interval at which your Project will be automatically saved if you had made changes to it since the last autosave interval.   This feature does NOT overwrite your current .VEG project file.  It renames your current open .VEG project file with the current Date and Time appended to the base Project file name, followed by a regular Save action on your project.    In this manner you will end up with a series of .VEG files providing a history of the state of your project at each autosave action.    When your project is ultimately finished, simply delete any of the autosave .VEG files that you no longer wish to keep.    Selecting the Make Global option, will make the current Auto Save settings the default for all Vegas Projects opened in Timeline Tools.    Auto Save provides an additional optional feature that can create an Auto Save backup when you manually Save your Project from the Vegas File menu or Toolbar Button.  Refer to the Timeline Tools Option settings for more information.

Note:  This feature only works if Timeline Tools is open and running.

[Top] [Tab Index]

 

 
The Vegas PlugIns tab (Fig. 7) consists of 4 separate sections.
 

Figure 7

The Vegas PlugIns Tab displays a tree view of all the Vegas Plug-Ins that have been installed on your computer.   It also allows you to select and apply one or more Video PlugIns to targeted Video Track Events.

Section (1) filters the list of PlugIns that appear in the tree.   You can view All available Vegas PlugIns, only Audio PlugIns, or only Video PlugIns.    Video only, is selected by default.

Section (2) allows you to select a PlugIn of interest.   Note: only Vegas plug-ins that are shown in blue can be applied to Events.    If you Select a Blue colored PlugIn from the list, you have several choices of what you can do with that PlugIn:

  1. You can add it to the PlugIn Chain in the right half of the tab to build up a group of PlugIns that you can apply to targeted Events.   See Section (3) for details.
  2. You can Delete the Selected PlugIn from one or more targeted Events.
  3. You can Add, Insert or Replace an existing PlugIn with the Selected PlugIn in your Targeted Events.

Right-click on a Blue item in the PlugIn list and the Context Menu gives you a choice of Deleting, Adding, or Inserting the Selected PlugIn.   Or you can Replace the Selected PlugIn with another.   Additionally, clicking on a Blue item in the list or anywhere in the PlugIn Tree background, shows the menu item to Export a report showing the PlugIns currently being used in your Project.   These include Audio, Video and Bus Track level PlugIns.   Audio & Video Event level Transition PlugIns and Media PlugIns.  And Video Event PlugIns.

 




If you chose Export Project Plug-In utilization list from the Context Menu, this opens the Export Project PlugIn Usage Report form.   (1) Enter a folder and file name to use for the Rich Text Formatted Report.  Or simply use the default name and location that Timeline Tools creates from the Project name.    (2) Choose the Report Type and (3) Press the Save Report button.    When done, the Report will be opened up inside Windows Wordpad for your review.    The two Report types are:

  1. Overall list of used PlugIns  -  This generates a Report that just shows all the PlugIns that have been assigned to Vegas objects in this Project.   Vegas objects are things like Tracks, Events, and Media.
     
  2. List of PlugIns used by Vegas Objects  -  This is a comprehensive Report that shows all of the Vegas objects in your Project and any PlugIns that are assigned to them.   Note, this Report can take a long time to Generate, especially if you have many Tracks and hundreds of Events.   NOTE -- It is NOT recommended that you leave this Report Type selection active after Generating a Report if you also have the Auto Save PlugIn usage Report when Project is closed option enabled.   Otherwise when you Save your project, Open a new project, or shut down Vegas, it may take a long time to complete these actions while the PlugIn Report is being created.

Along with this feature there's a new Program Option added to the Option List in the Track Tools & Options Tab.   After you create your first PlugIn Report by opening the Report form, the settings you chose in the form will be saved.  Later, if the "Auto Save PlugIn usage Report when Project is closed" option is checked, Timeline Tools will automatically save a PlugIn usage Report whenever the Project is closed or Vegas is shut down.

If you chose Delete Selected PlugIn from the Context Menu, the Delete PlugIn dialog at left is displayed.   Chose the Track containing the Events of interest.  Then set the option to delete the PlugIn for ALL Events on the Track, or only those Events that are Selected in the Timeline.    Press Apply to delete the PlugIn and leave the dialog open.  Press OK to delete the PlugIn and close the dialog.   Or press Cancel to close the dialog without any other action.
If you chose the Add, Insert or Replace Selected PlugIn menu item and the PlugIn you Selected in the List is a Video Effect, the dialog at left is displayed.    This allows you to Chose the Track containing the Events where you want to include the Selected PlugIn, along with the desired PlugIn Preset and Keyframe position.   You can also chose to Remove all existing Keyframes if the Event already contains the PlugIn with other Keyframes present.

To simply Add the Selected PlugIn to the end of an Events PlugIn Chain, or to Add a new Keyframe to an existing instance of the Selected PlugIn, enter your Keyframe position and press either OK or Apply.

To Insert the Selected PlugIn into the FX PlugIn Chain of your targeted Events, Check the Insert PlugIn at Index option, and enter the Index position where you want the PlugIn inserted.   Index values are 0 - N, where N is the number of PlugIns in the FX Chain minus 1.    For example, if you want to insert the PlugIn into this Event FX Chain where the Sony Sharpen FX resides, use an Index value 1.  The Color Corrector (Secondary) PlugIn is at Index 0.  And the Brightness and Contrast PlugIn is at Index 2.    Entering a negative Index, or an Index greater than N, will result in no action being taken.   Note, the value for N could be different for each Event you have targeted depending on the number of PlugIns already present in each.

 

If you wish to Replace an existing PlugIn in the FX Chain of your targeted Events, you can either chose to Replace the PlugIn at a specific Index position, or you can Replace a Named PlugIn that is present in any position in the FX Chain.   To Replace the Indexed PlugIn, Check the Replace PlugIn at Index option and enter the Index value.   The Index value is the same as described for Insert PlugIn option.    To Replace and existing Named PlugIn, Check the Replace Named PlugIn option and enter the name of the PlugIn that you want to replace.

If the Timeline Tools "Add, Insert or Replace Selected PlugIn Without User Verification" option is checked, you will NOT be prompted to verify the action you've selected when you press the OK or Apply buttons.

If you check the Only Make Changes to Selected Events option, your changes will be limited to only those Events selected in the Vegas timeline.    If you check the Apply changes to Active Take Media option, your changes will be applied to the Active Take Media in the targeted Events.  Note:  PlugIns added to the Active Take Media, instead of the Event itself, will be displayed in the color Red in the main display grid.   Because the color of the text in a cell in the grid can only be a single color, Transition PlugIns will also appear Red even though they are attached to Events, not Media.   Also, Video FX applied to Media will have priority being displayed in the grid over Video FX applied to an Event, if both exist at the same time.

If you chose the Add, Insert or Replace Selected PlugIn menu item and the PlugIn you Selected in the List is a Video Transition, the dialog at left is displayed.     This allows you to Chose the Track containing the Events where you want the Selected Transition to be applied, along with the Transition Preset and your choice of applying the Transition to the Leading, Trailing or Both edges of the targeted Events.    You can also adjust the Transition length in Ruler Units within the limits imposed on Transitions by Sony Vegas itself.

Section (3) is used to either create Custom FX PlugIn Chains.  Or it can be used to create Lists of Selected Transitions that can be used as the source set of Transitions that will be Randomized and applied to targeted Events.

Custom FX PlugIn Chain:   A Custom PlugIn Chain can be Edited, Saved, Recalled and applied to Events on the Selected Track.   This is similar to the Vegas PlugIn Package mechanism, but the Chain configurations are saved in an XML file in the Timeline Tools application data directory, and are not subject to the problems associated with upgrading or moving Vegas installations.   Simply copy the Timeline Tolls application configuration XML file and everything is immediately available.

When you select a PlugIn from the Tree on the left side of the Tab, a list of available Presets for that PlugIn appears in the dropdown list of Presets at the Top of the right side of the Tab.   If you selected an FX PlugIn, select a Preset, and enter a Time value in seconds where you want to create a Keyframe of the PlugIn and Preset.   If you selected a Transition PlugIn, select a Preset, and enter a Time value in seconds for the duration that you want the PlugIn to run.  Lastly choose where you want to apply the Transition; to the Starting end of the Event, or the End of the Event.    You can only have a maximum of two Transition PlugIns assigned to an Event; one at each end.   Therefore you can not enter more than two Transitions into any single PlugIn Chain.   Transitions can be identified by the "(T)" suffix on their name in the tree.

  • After you've selected your PlugIn, press the Add PlugIn to Chain button to add the PlugIn to the currently visible chain.   If you Right-Click a PlugIn node in Selected PlugIns tree, a context menu appears that allow you to Edit the Selected PlugIn or make changes to the list of configured PlugIns.   You can also bring up a PlugIn for editing by Double-Clicking the node name in the tree.
  • To delete a PlugIn from the chain, select the PlugIn name node in the tree at right, and press the Delete PlugIn button.
  • To delete ALL PlugIns from the chain, press the Delete All button.
  • You can also automatically load the PlugIn Chain list by telling the program to grab the Events PlugIn settings from the selected timeline Event.  To do this first select the Track in the drop down list, then select an Event on the timeline.  Then press the Grab Event PlugIn Config button.
  • You can also Save and Load PlugIn configurations using the Load and Save buttons.   These configurations are stored independent from the PlugIn chain visible in the tree.   The PlugIns visible in the tree are saved along with the project configuration settings.   The Saved PlugIn chain configurations are saved in user named files.

Note:  Grabbing the PlugIn configuration directly from an Event will not display the Preset that may have been used to configure a Keyframe.   You will need to manually edit the Event list and supply the appropriate Preset.  This is also true for Transitions that have been grabbed from an Event.   This is a limitation of Sony Vegas.

List of Selected Transitions:   This is a list of user selected Transitions and Presets that can be Edited, Saved, Recalled and Randomly applied to targeted Events on the Selected Track.   The method for adding Transitions is exactly the same as that for creating a Custom FX PlugIn Chain described above.   The difference being that you only add Transitions to the list, rather than adding both FX and Transitions.  See section 5 below on the use of Transition Lists.

In Section (4) press the Apply PlugIn Chain button apply the PlugIn Chain to the appropriate Event(s) on the selected Track.    When the Timeline Tools window has focus, the Apply PlugIn Chain button can be invoked with an automatic Apply to Selected Events setting made by pressing the Ctrl-Alt-S  Hot Keys.    Pressing the Ctrl-Alt-A Hot Keys applies the Chain to ALL Events.

If the Apply Chain to Active Take option is checked, all Video FX in the Chain will be applied to the Active Take Media in the Targeted Events on the Selected Track.   Note:  PlugIns added to the Active Take Media, instead of the Event itself, will be displayed in the color Red in the main display grid.   Because the color of the text in a cell in the grid can only be a single color, Transition PlugIns will also appear Red even though they are attached to Events, not Media.   Also, Video FX applied to Media will have priority being displayed in the grid over Video FX applied to an Event, if both exist at the same time.

Section (5) allows you to add Random Transition Effects To one or more targeted Events on the selected Track.    The Transition Effects used in the Random Transitions feature comes from one of two sources; either the entire inventory of installed Vegas Transition Effects, or a selected group of Transition Effects in the loaded Transition List.  To apply Random Transitions, first check the Random Transitions checkbox, then select your source for the Transition Effects.

  • Check the Ignore Chain checkbox to use the entire Vegas inventory of installed Transition Effects.   This will only apply Random Transitions to your targeted Events, and will not apply the currently loaded PlugIn Chain if present.   Next you should select one or both of the checkboxes to Add the Random transition to the Start and / or End of the Event.     Note: If you have Overlapped Events, you only need apply Transitions to the start of the Event.   If Events are Overlapped, the starting Transition takes precedence, and hides the ending transition.  So in this case the end Transition is essentially unused.    Also, if you do not have the Timeline Tools Make Leading and Trailing Random Transitions different option enabled, the Fade In and Fade Out Transitions will be the same on each targeted Event.   Lastly, you should enter a value for the length of the Transitions in either seconds or Frames.
     
  • Check the Randomize Chain checkbox to used the currently loaded List of Transition Effects as the source for applying Random Transitions to your targeted Events.   Next you should select one or both of the checkboxes to Add the Random transition to the Start and / or End of the Event.   When the Randomize Chain checkbox is checked, the  Add to Event Start and Add to Event End  allow a Tri-State selection of Checked, Unchecked, and Intermediate.   If Checked, Transitions will be added to the Event, overriding any edge selection that was applied when the Transition was added to the List.   If Unchecked,  Transitions will NOT be added to the Event, overriding any edge selection that was applied when the Transition was added to the List.    If set to the Intermediate state, Transitions will applied to the edge selections states created when the Transition was added to the List.    Note: If you have Overlapped Events, you only need apply Transitions to the start of the Event.   If Events are Overlapped, the starting Transition takes precedence, and hides the ending transition.  So in this case the end Transition is essentially unused.    Also, if you do not have the Timeline Tools Make Leading and Trailing Random Transitions different option enabled, the Fade In and Fade Out Transitions will be the same on each targeted Event.   Lastly, you should enter a value for the length of the Transitions in either seconds or Frames.   This value overrides any time value that was defined when the Transitions were added to the list.

Using Random Transitions

Transitions are Effects that can be inserted into the Envelope areas at the leading and/or trailing edges of a Video Event.    Transitions provide special effects as Vegas moves from one piece of media to another.   These effects include Swirls, Wipes, Dissolves, etc.    Timeline Tools creates Random Transitions with Randomly selected Presets on the Transitions.    These can be applied alone, or with the currently displayed PlugIn Chain FX.

  1. If you choose to add Random Transitions to your Events, this will override any Transitions that may be present in the selected Events.
  2. Check the Random Transitions checkbox, the check the Ignore Chain or Randomize Chain checkbox in the Random Transitions group at the bottom of the Vegas PlugIns Tab.
  3. Check the appropriate check box to apply Transitions to Event Leading and/or Trailing edges.
  4. Specify the duration in Seconds that you want the Transition to run.
  5. Press the appropriate Apply button to modify just selected Events, or ALL Events.

Notes:  Sony Vegas Transitions have some quirks that you should be aware of:

  • Transitions can be applied to both the leading and trailing edges of and Event, but if you have your Events overlapped, leading edge Transitions have precedence over the trailing edge.

    In the above image Two non-overlapped Events have had random Transitions applied to their leading and trailing edges.

  • In the following image the second Event was dragged left to overlap with the first.  As you can see, the leading edge Transition of the second event is the one that's displayed as the images transition from the first to the second Event.

  • Now a strange thing happens.  If you drag the second Event back away from the first, so the Events are no longer overlapped, the trailing edge Transition of the first Event, and the leading Transition of the second event appear to have disappeared.   But this isn't the case.  They are still there, but their envelope lengths have been set to zero.   You can drag the second Event so it again overlaps the first, and you'll again see the leading edge Transition of the second Event reappears.   To restore the Transitions to what they looked like in the first example above; simply drag your envelope as you would when you want to create a normal Fade In or Fade Out.   And you'll see the Transitions reappear.

  • The following image shows the envelope window being dragged open, restoring the Transition name that appears in the envelope area.

[Top] [Tab Index]


The Audio Tools tab (Fig. 8) consists of 6 sections.
 

Figure 8

The Audio Tools tab provides a unique new capability to Timeline Tools.    This feature is designed to analyze targeted Audio Events in the Audio Track selected in the listbox [Item 1], for the purpose of detecting rhythmic beat positions in the audio files.   When the analysis is finished, Vegas Timeline Markers are automatically laid out on the Timeline at those beat positions.   This new feature, combined with the feature in the Markers, Regions & FX tab to Decimate Markers if needed, and the Track Tools & Options tab to Align Events to Markers, gives you the ability to automate the process of creating rapid-fire Video Slideshows that change images to the beat of the Active Take music file in the Audio Event in the selected sound track.   This new Timeline Tools feature relies heavily on the vast audio processing capabilities that are available in the BASS Audio Library; an Audio library that has various licensing options available to fit the needs of different software developers.

Section (1) Displays a list of all currently available Audio Tracks in your Vegas Project.

Section (2) Lets you chose to process either the Active Take in ALL the Audio Events, or just the Active Take in the Audio Events selected in the Vegas Timeline.

Section (3) Lets you choose to process either the entire audio file, or just a region within the file as defined by the entry fields for Start and End point in Seconds.  Note: if more than one audio file will be processed at one time, the same Start and End points will be applied relative to the beginning of each targeted file.

Section (4) This is where you make adjustments to the Three settings the beat analyzer uses when processing audio files.   The settings are Bandwidth, Center Frequency, and Release Time.    The BASS Audio Library describes how these settings work:

Beat detection is using a Band Pass Filter. A band-pass filter is a device that passes frequencies within a certain range and rejects (attenuates) frequencies outside that range. So the bandwidth parameter defines the range around a center-frequency to include in the beat detection algorithm. The center frequency parameter actually defines the center-frequency of the band pass filter.  Once a beat is detected, the beat release time parameter defines the time in milliseconds in which no other beat will be detected, after that just detected beat.   Often you have kind-of 'double beats' in a drum set.  So the beat release time should avoid a second (quickly repeated) beat if detected.

Section (5) Allows you to Save and Load Named sets of configuration settings.    As you play with this feature of Timeline Tools, you'll discover that some Audio files containing different segments of rhythm and beats must be processed in sections using different analyzer settings.   By fine tuning your settings for each segment of the audio file, you can save each set of settings with different names.  For example "File X - Section 1", "File X - Section 2", etc.

Section (6) The final step after making all your adjustments is to press the Process Audio Events button.   This starts the analyzer and places Markers on the Vegas Timeline at the audio files beat positions.   As you become familiar with this new tool, you'll learn that optimizing your settings for each audio file is a trial and error process.   You'll start with the default settings, run the analyzer and examine where the beat markers are placed.   If this doesn't look right, you can either press the Vegas Undo button to remove the Markers, or click on the Delete All Markers button.   There is a label just below the Process Audio Events button that indicates the total number of Markers that exist on the Vegas Timeline.

When you decide you've obtained the best settings possible, the next step is to browse through the Markers and your selected Audio Events, and manually Add any beat Markers to the Vegas Timeline the analyzer missed, and/or Delete any extraneous ones the analyzer may have added.    Even though there's still manual tweaking involved using this new tool, it will still save you many hours of work over doing this entirely by hand.

As a tool to assist you in finding the optimum settings for the Beat Analyzer I've found that Sony Sound Forge can be very helpful.   I enable the Spectrum Analysis View, enable Real Time Monitoring, and then turn down the Track display gain (the vertical sliders to the left of the spectrum windows) to the least sensitive setting.    When I press Play, the most pronounced beat frequencies are just barely visible in the display above all the remaining music frequencies.    I should also mention the most important thing to keep in mind when picking a music track for your slideshow is that it must have a very discernable and pronounced beat.    Without a pronounced beat, you'll find it difficult to find any combination of Analyzer settings that will produce acceptable results.   If I had to pick a particular genre of music that works very well, it would have to be 70's Disco Music.  But, thankfully, that doesn't mean you must limit yourself to this music style.

When you're satisfied that all your Markers have been laid out and manually adjusted and properly synced to your music, the next step is to decide if the number of Markers created by the Analyzer fits with the slideshow presentation you have in mind.   The Analyzer typically produces hundreds of Markers.   Maybe there are more Markers at close intervals than you'd like.   If so, you can click on the Markers, Regions & FX tab and use the Decimate feature to reduce the number of Markers to slow down the overall pace of slide switching.   Finally, the last step is to click on the Track tools & Options tab, and have Timeline Tools automatically Size and Position your Images to the Beat Synced Markers using the Align Events to Markers feature.

 

What a typical Slide Show project looks like before any processing.

Slide Show after beat Analyzer adds Markers.  

View of the Timeline showing Markers added at Beat
locations.    If this is too many Markers, the image at right shows Markers after applying a Decimation
Factor of 2.
This image shows that after Decimation, the Timeline
contains only half as many Markers as previously seen.
Markers were Decimated to remove every other Marker
starting a Marker #1 at Time 00:00:00.0. 

This is what the Timeline looks like after the Events have been
Aligned To Markers.

[Top] [Tab Index]


The Project Notes Tab.

Timeline Tools gives you the ability to save a unique set of notes (or comments) for each project you work on.   Your project notes are saved in a Rich Text Format file that has the same base name as your  .veg Project file; and is saved in the same subdirectory where your Vegas .veg Project file is located.   This is the same method used by some other tools that provide similar functionality.

There are 21 items on the Project Notes toolbar.  Here is a description of what each item does.

  1. Save Project Notes.   This manually saves the contents of your notes to the Project Notes file.   Notes will be saved automatically when your project is saved, or the Timeline Tools extension is closed, or when Sony Vegas Pro is shut down.
     
  2. Font Selection list.   This is a drop down list of all of the available fonts you can use in your project notes.   If you select some text in your notes then select a new font in this list, the selected text will use the new font.   This also displays the font of the text under the text cursor.
  3. Font Size list.    This is the list of font sizes that are available for the selected font.   This also displays the font size of the text under the text cursor.

  4. Select Font dialog.    This button display the Font Selection dialog box that allows you to select multiple Font attributes at once.

  5. Toggle Bold.   This toggles the Bold Font setting on and off.   This can change the bold state of selected text, or set the Bold state of newly entered text.

  6. Toggle Italics.   This toggles the Italics Font setting on and off.   This can change the Italics state of selected text, or set the Italics state of newly entered text.

  7. Toggle Underline.   This toggles the Underline Font setting on and off.   This can change the Underline state of selected text, or set the Underline state of newly entered text.

  8. Align Left.   This can change the text alignment of selected text, or set the alignment of newly entered text.

  9. Align Center.   This can change the text alignment of selected text, or set the alignment of newly entered text.

  10. Align Right.   This can change the text alignment of selected text, or set the alignment of newly entered text.

  11. Select Font Color.   Brings up the Font Color selection dialog box.

  12. Increase Indent.   Increases the Indent of selected text.

  13. Decrease Indent.   Decreases the Indent of selected text.

  14. Toggle Bullets.   This toggles the selected text state between normal paragraphs and a bulleted list.

  15. Insert Picture From File.   Lets you import a graphic image from a file into the note at the position of the text cursor.

  16. Zoom In.   This allows you to zoom into your notes by increasing the document magnification level by 20% every time the button is clicked.

  17. Zoom Out.   This allows you to zoom out of your notes by decreasing the document magnification level by 20% every time the button is clicked.

  18. Zoom Percentage.   This displays the current document magnification level.   100% is Normal magnifications.   You can also change the magnification level by entering a number into this field.

  19. Insert Timestamp.   This inserts a Timestamp into the note at the position of the text cursor.

  20. Insert Vegas cursor location.   This inserts the Timecode position of the Vegas cursor into the note at the position of the text cursor.

  21. Save notes and open in Wordpad.   This button saves your notes to the project note file, then opens up that file in Microsoft Wordpad.

In addition to the Project Notes toolbar, right-clicking on the editor window brings up the editors context menu.   This provides the same functionality of the toolbar, with the addition of a few more options.   Here is a description of the additional features included in the context menu.

  • Open Note File  -  This allows you to import the contents of a Rich Text Format (.RTF) file into your Project notes.    This replaces any content that you may already have in your project notes.
  • Save As  -  This lets you save your notes to a Rich Text Format file other than the project note file.
  • Set Vegas Cursor to Timecode  -  This menu item works with text you have selected in the notes.   If the selected text can be interpreted as a valid Vegas Timecode, this menu option becomes enabled.   Selecting the option interprets the selected text, converts it back to a Timecode, and sets the Vegas cursor to that position on the Timeline.   This is the reverse of pressing the Insert Vegas cursor location button on the toolbar.

If you have another tool that performs this task better than the one provided in Timeline Tools, you can disable the Project Notes Editor from the Timeline Tools Option Settings.

[Top] [Tab Index]


The About tab gives information about the utility program, and lets you manually check to see if a newer version is available.   From the About tab you can also file a problem report.  In the About Tab there are three buttons that will open Windows Explorer to the (1) Timeline Tools Data Subdirectory where the programs configuration and setup information is stored, (2) the Timeline Tools Installation Subdirectory, and (3) The currently opened Project Subdirectory.  Timeline Tools now logs internal errors, and can send a copy of the error log with your written summary of your problem using your default email client program such as Microsoft Outlook, etc.

[Top] [Tab Index]

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