Originally Posted by Ungermann
I'll try to answer regarding Vegas, because this is what I use.
1) Be able to capture AVCHD and produce an AVCHD DVD.
Without going into different ways of "capturing" AVCHD files ("capturing" usually means acquiring video being played at realtime speed) I can say that Vegas has no problems with whatever AVCHD flavors I threw into it. Project settings are easily customizable for whichever frame size, field order and frame rate you may have. Vegas can write out a simple menu-less AVCHD disc, but I prefer using MultiAVCHD for authoring BDs and AVCHD discs.
2) Easy and intuitive trimming of video clips on the timeline, as well as manuvering video clips within the timeline with ease.
It is all simple and easy. The feature that I miss is setting a mark on a clip, not on timeline. Vegas can set marks on timeline only, so if you moved a clip, it would move out of mark. Sometimes when I am trying to arrange several clips this just drives me nuts.
3) Some good post production tools for adjusting video color, saturation, adusting other video properties like white balance, etc.
Vegas Pro has very important vectorscope and level display, which cheaper versions lack. All versions have basic color corrector, but I believe only the Pro version has secondary color corrector. There are levels and curves. You can do a lot with Vegas, but these are rather basic tools, so you need to know what you are doing, and it may take some time. If you want easy to use automatic effects, then I guess Vegas is not the best tool. I've heard a lot about After Effects, I have not used it, it cannot be used with Vegas but can be used with FCP and I think with Premiere.
4) I good cropping tool and some kind of stabiliazing of shaky video.
It has that. For example, you can create panning in post by cropping and moving the subframe within the original frame. Stabilizer does work, it has correction for CMOS artefacts, but I think it actually does not stabilize CMOS images well enough, they may looks worse than without stabilization. Stabilized CCD images look great.
5) Be able to combine video clips from an AVCHD camcorder and an HDV camcorder and produce a nice clear program as an AVCHD DVD, or as a standard DVD.
Absolutely no problem. Throw different formats onto timeline, Vegas can natively process DV, HDV, AVCHD, DVCPROHD, XDCAM EX, whole bunch of other formats. It will convert frame rate and frame size for you, but you have control on how this is done. I think Vegas is great for editing multiformat stuff.
6) A few decent, conservative transistions between clips, and some nice menus.
I usuall use a simple fader or a flash. There are some other ones, but I don't care much for transitions. Vegas is not an authoring program, so I don't think it can create menus. It can put text on top of the video though. For authoring Sony offers DVD Architect.
7) A nice, selection of music (more than just a few) (free if possible).
I don't recall Vegas coming with a music pack.
8) Be able to produce a AVCHD video program on DVD that has a very good picture and great sound. I have found a range of sound qualities in different NLEs that range from OK to wonderful. I shoot trains and when I want to watch them on my Plasma and Home Theater setup, I want my neighbors to feel the sound of those engines, even when I don't turn the sound up too much.
This, obviously, depends on rendering codecs. Mainconcept MPEG-2 codec is not very good, but Mainconcept AVC and Sony AVC produce nice picture. I don't know whether you need a Pro version to get higher than 128 Kbit/s for AC3 audio. Until recently Vegas had issues ingesting 5.1 sound, I don't know how things are in this department now. I use old-fasioned stereo.
9) Oh yes, the NLE should have some tools for working with the audio also.
Sure there are basic tools like changing levels, five-band equalizer, some effects. Sound is linked to video by default, but you can unlink them and move audio and video around separately.
10) When I get my next camcorder, the GW77 (I hope), the NLE should be able to blend 60p of the new cam, with the 60i from my current cams.
No problem, set the project to 60p and deinterlacing to "interpolate".
Download a trial version from sonystyle and try for yourself. The app look very businesslike, not some other consumer-oriented apps. They screwed up some dialogs in version 11, these dialogs are harder to use now, but the old functionality is still there.