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What is Apple ProRes Codecs : FAQ and Useful Tips

A detailed info about five types of Apple ProRes codecs. If you’re a FCP user, you’d better know about the features of each version.

ProRes is a lossy video compression format developed by Apple Inc. for use in post production that supports up to 4k (From Wiki). It is the successor of the Apple Intermediate Codec and was introduced in 2007 with Final Cut Studio 2. Many users know Apple ProRes is FCP’s native editing format, but most of them don’t know Apple ProRes comes in five versions: Apple ProRes 4444, Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), Apple ProRes 422, Apple ProRes 422 (LT), and Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy).

The Apple ProRes codecs provide an excellent solution for the most demanding modern post-production workflows. Many of today’s HD formats were developed under significant camcorder engineering constraints and therefore limit the full quality that can be carried in an HD signal. Other camera codecs preserve full quality but are too complex to achieve the software decoding speeds required for real-time editing. Uncompressed HD formats deliver the highest image quality, but the high-bandwidth, RAID-storage requirements of uncompressed HD video are daunting for most users’ budgets. The following list describes the features of each version. For a complete comparison of the relative data rates of the Apple ProRes codecs, see Apple ProRes Format Specifications.

Apple ProRes 4444

The Apple ProRes 4444 codec offers the utmost possible quality for 4:4:4 sources and for workflows involving alpha channels. It includes the following features:

- Full-resolution, mastering-quality 4:4:4:4 RGBA color (an online-quality codec for editing and finishing 4:4:4 material, such as that originating from Sony HDCAM SR or digital cinema cameras such as RED ONE, Thomson Viper FilmStream, and Panavision Genesis cameras). The R, G, and B channels are lightly compressed, with an emphasis on being perceptually indistinguishable from the original material.
- Lossless alpha channel with real-time playback
- High-quality solution for storing and exchanging motion graphics and composites
- For 4:4:4 sources, a data rate that is roughly 50 percent higher than the data rate of Apple ProRes 422 (HQ)
- Direct encoding of, and decoding to, RGB pixel formats
- Support for any resolution, including SD, HD, 2K, 4K, and other resolutions
- A Gamma Correction setting in the codec’s advanced compression settings pane, which allows you to disable the 1.8 to 2.2 gamma adjustment that can occur if RGB material at 2.2 gamma is misinterpreted as 1.8. This setting is also available with the Apple ProRes 422 codec.

Apple ProRes 422 (HQ)

The Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) codec offers the utmost possible quality for 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 sources (without an alpha channel) and provides the following:

- Target data rate of approximately 220 Mbps (1920 x 1080 at 60i)
- Higher quality than Apple ProRes 422

Apple ProRes 422

The Apple ProRes 422 codec provides the following:

- Target data rate of approximately 145 Mbps (1920 x 1080 at 60i)
- Higher quality than Apple ProRes 422 (LT)

Apple ProRes 422 (LT)

The Apple ProRes 422 (LT) codec provides the following:

- Roughly 70 percent of the data rate of Apple ProRes 422 (thus, smaller file sizes than Apple ProRes 422)
- Higher quality than Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy)

Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy)

The Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy) codec is intended for use in offline workflows and provides the following:

- Roughly 30 percent of the data rate of Apple ProRes 422
- High-quality offline editing at the original frame size, frame rate, and aspect ratio
- High-quality edit proxy for Final Cut Server

Additional Tips:
For converting your video footage to Apple ProRes MOV for further editing with Final Cut Pro, the best program I can recommend is Video Converter for Mac, a powerful high-quality video converter, player and editor. The program can be used as a nice ProRes Converter for FCP which can output the five types of Apple ProRes codecs.

convert mxf to fcp

As the best video converting and editing tool on Mac OS (including Mavericks 10.9 and Mountain Lion 10.8), it’s capable of encoding SD video clips (YouTube *.flv/*.f4v, *.mp4, *.avi, *.mpg, *.wmv), HD camcorder recordings in MXF, MTS AVCHD, MOV, MP4, MVI format, DVR videos (*.tivo), audio files (*.mp3, *.mp2, *.flac) and more to any popular format including the professional encoders, Apple Intermediate Codec, ProRes and DNxHD—ensuring maximum editing quality and efficiency when working with iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere (Converting MXF to Premiere Pro) or Avid Media Composer, respectively.

March 12, 2014 This post was written by Categories: Convert MXF to Final Cut Pro 5Convert MXF to Final Cut Pro 6Convert MXF to Final Cut Pro 7Convert MXF to Final Cut Pro XMXF Video Converter for Mac Tagged with:
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