Apple ProRes is one of the most popular codecs in professional post-production. The ProRes family of video codecs has made it both possible and affordable to edit full-frame, 10-bit, 4:2:2 and 4:4:4:4 high-definition (HD), 2K, 4K, 5K, and larger video sources with multistream performance in Final Cut Pro X. This white paper provides in-depth information about the ProRes family of codecs, including technical specifications and performance metrics.
Apple ProRes codecs provide an unparalleled combination of multistream, real-time editing performance, impressive image quality, and reduced storage rates. ProRes codecs take full advantage of multicore processing and feature fast, reduced-resolution decoding modes. All ProRes codecs support any frame size (including SD, HD, 2K, 4K, 5K, and larger) at full resolution. The data rates vary based on codec type, image content, frame size, and frame rate. As a variable bit rate (VBR) codec technology, ProRes uses fewer bits on simple frames that would not benefit from encoding at a higher data rate. All ProRes codecs are frame-independent (or “intra-frame”) codecs, meaning that each frame is encoded and decoded independently of any other frame. This technique provides the greatest editing performance and flexibility. A variety of cameras can now capture and record a wider gamut of color values when working in log or raw formats. You can preserve a wider color gamut by recording with the ProRes LOG setting on certain cameras such as the ARRI ALEXA or transcoding from the RED® camera’s REDCODE® RAW format. Final Cut Pro 10.3 or later can process color in wide color gamut and output ProRes files in the Rec. 2020, DCI-P3, or D65-P3 color space. This results in deeper colors and more detail, with richer red and green areas of the image. With Final Cut Pro 10.3 or later, you can also export ProRes files inside an MXF metadata wrapper instead of exporting .mov files. This makes the exported video file compatible with a wide range of playback systems that rely on the MXF standard for broadcast and archiving.
Apple ProRes 422 HQ: A higher-data-rate version of Apple ProRes 422 that preserves visual quality at the same high level as Apple ProRes 4444, but for 4:2:2 image sources. With widespread adoption across the video post-production industry, Apple ProRes 422 HQ offers visually lossless preservation of the highest-quality professional HD video that a single-link HD-SDI signal can carry. This codec supports full-width, 4:2:2 video sources at 10-bit pixel depths, while remaining visually lossless through many generations of decoding and re-encoding. The target data rate of Apple ProRes 422 HQ is approximately 220 Mbps at 1920 x 1080 and 29.97 fps. Apple ProRes 422: A high-quality compressed codec offering nearly all the benefits of Apple ProRes 422 HQ, but at 66 percent of the data rate for even better multistream, real-time editing performance. The target data rate of Apple ProRes 422 is approximately 147 Mbps at 1920 x 1080 and 29.97 fps.