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’s budgets.
ProRes 422 is a standard-definition and high-definition lossy video compression format developed by Apple Inc. for use in post production. It was introduced in 2007 with Final Cut Studio 2 and is comparable to Avid’s DNxHD codec which has the same purpose and uses similar bit rates. Both are DCT based intra-frame-only codecs, and are therefore simpler to decode than distribution oriented formats like H.264.
The Apple ProRes codecs maintain the highest quality and performance while requiring much less expensive editing and storage hardware (compared to uncompressed video). With Mac ProRes video converter, you can convert popular video formats to Apple ProRes 4444, Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), Apple ProRes 422, Apple ProRes 422 (LT), and Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy). The Apple ProRes codecs produce video that is indistinguishable from uncompressed HD video and needs less storage space than uncompressed SD video.
ProRes is an intermediate codec, which means it is intended for use during video editing, and not intended for practical or end-user viewing. The benefit of an intermediate codec is that it retains higher quality than end-user codecs while still requiring much less expensive disk systems compared to uncompressed video.
The Apple ProRes codecs were designed for great software flexibility and performance. No extra hardware is required for encoding or decoding. In particular, the Apple ProRes codecs have been designed to take advantage of multicore processors. The performance of Apple ProRes codecs scales¡ªwhich means that the decoding time per frame goes down¡ªas the number of processors increases. When the system spends less time decoding each frame, it has time for more real-time effects processing.
Installing Final Cut Pro will install the ProRes codecs for encoding your own files on OSX. No free codec for encoding is currently available for Windows based system.
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