Vegas works on the familiar timeline interface, and allows you to drag and drop images or video footage into your project
Reviewing cameras may be the day job, but the digital photography experience is more than just hardware. The old saw about digital photography is that pictures stay locked up on memory cards and never printed or viewed. But it doesn't have to be this way.
I use Picasa at work, which makes capturing, viewing and editing photos a snap. At home, the new iPhoto is getting fired up when eBuyer delivers the extra RAM my creaky but beloved iMac G4 needs.
Great as these programs are for viewing the many, many pictures of polar bears and periodic tables I take while testing cameras, they don't really get any more exciting. I am excited about Vegas, a movie-editing program that supports all kinds of media formats, including stills.
Vegas works on the familiar timeline interface, and allows you to drag and drop images or video footage into your project. Sony recently brought in video mash-up gurus Eclectic Method to demo Vegas, and their enthusiasm for the product was certainly infectious. Eclectic Method's 'Cutswift' (not what his mum calls him, I'm guessing) loves Vegas so much, he watches all his movies in the program so he can clip out cool stuff for later use, as a kind of visual sample library.
The key to their sound and vision shenanigans is the beatmapping feature in Sony's music program Acid Music, which works out the beats per minute of any sound clip, so they can create a complementary visual rhythm in Vegas. I've been playing with it, er, testing it over the weekend and I'm hooked.
On the photo side, you can match stills to music, to create super-powered slideshows with the images and soundtrack beautifully integrated. Fun and productive, and only £45.