Apple ProRes - All You Need to Know about ProRes Format

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We all desire lossless compression when making videos, conserving space, and retaining quality. Apple ProRes gives just that, but it is essential to know the pros and cons of utilizing this service. This article discusses ProRes, the aspect ratios, and color ratios. All the things that highlight the features of Apple ProRes.

Part 1: What is Apple ProRes?

Almost all videos are compressed when they are recorded. The uncompressed video takes up a lot of space on your hard drive. A codec like Apple ProRes compresses that video into a smaller file size while maintaining the color and clarity.

what is prores

ProRes is an Apple video codec from 2007; it allows you to compress a movie into a compact file while maintaining high visual quality and color. It's a popular video codec tuned for smoother playing in editing programs like Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Davinci Resolve.

Benefits of Apple ProRes

  • Image compression reduces the demand on the computer by significantly reducing each captured video frame.
  • ProRes minimizes video data. The computer can process the video data quickly during decompression and editing.
  • High-quality images ProRes employs 10-bit encoding to get higher color information while maintaining a high compression rate.
  • ProRes can also play high-quality movies in a variety of formats.

The most significant benefit is video processing, which includes color correction and other effects, as you said. ProRes is an I-frame format, which means that each frame is encoded independently. When it comes to processing, this provides a very high-performance medium. Every 15th frame, the compressed formats comprise a single fully encoded frame. The intermediate frames are extrapolations of that frame plus the alterations made to the group's original I-frame.

This is excellent for compression but not for playback since it necessitates a lot of processing on the fly and might result in mistakes when re-encoding. The severely compressed files are substantially smaller; the ProRes files are much larger but will be perfect and maybe re-encoded several times with no loss of quality. Multiple encodes of compressed formats will show differences that will look worse and worse, and if you have gradients like sunsets, the compressed formats will produce a lot of banding.

Part 2: Versions of Apple ProRes Codecs

Apple ProRes Codecs have six versions in total, with similarities and differences. They include Apple ProRes 4444XQ, Apple ProRes 4444, Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), Apple ProRes 422, Apple ProRes 422 (LT), and Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy).

Apple ProRes 4444 XQ

Apple ProRes 4444 XQ is Apple ProRes' highest-quality version for 4:4:4:4 picture sources (including alpha channels). This format features a high data rate to maintain clarity in high-dynamic-range pictures produced by today's best digital image sensors. The dynamic range of Apple ProRes 4444 XQ photography is several times larger than that of Rec. 709 imagery. This stays true even when processing strong visual effects when tone-scale blacks or highlights are significantly expanded. This format supports up to 12 bits per picture channel and 16 bits for the alpha channel, like regular Apple ProRes 4444. At 1920x1080 and 29.97 frames per second, for 4:4:4 sources, Apple ProRes 4444 XQ has a target data rate of around 500 Mbps. ProRes 4444 XQ.

Apple ProRes 4444

Apple ProRes 4444 is a high-resolution version of Apple ProRes designed for 4:4:4:4 picture sources (including alpha channels). 4:4:4:4 In this format, RGBA color and visual quality are identical to the original content at full resolution and mastering grade. With great multigenerational speed and a mathematically lossless alpha channel of up to 16 bits, Apple ProRes 4444 is a high-quality option for storing and distributing motion graphics and composites. Compared to uncompressed 4:4:4 HD, this codec has a very low data rate. Its intended data rate for 4:4:4 sources at 1920x1080 and 29.97 frames per second is around 330 Mbps. It also supports RGB and Y'CBCR pixel formats for direct encoding and decoding.

Apple ProRes 422 HQ

Apple ProRes 4444 is a high-resolution version of Apple ProRes designed for 4:4:4:4 picture sources (including alpha channels). 4:4:4:4 At full resolution and mastering grade, RGBA color and visual quality are perceptually indistinguishable from the source content in this format. With great multigenerational speed and a mathematically lossless alpha channel of up to 16 bits, Apple ProRes 4444 is a high-quality option for storing and distributing motion graphics and composites. Compared to uncompressed 4:4:4 HD, this codec has a very low data rate. Its intended data rate for 4:4:4 sources at 1920x1080 and 29.97 frames per second is around 330 Mbps. It also supports RGB and Y'CBCR pixel formats for direct encoding and decoding.

Apple ProRes 422

Apple ProRes 422 is a high-resolution compression format from Apple. that offers virtually all the features of Apple ProRes 422 HQ but with a data rate of 66% for even greater multistream, real-time editing performance. The projected data throughput is roughly 147 Mbps at 1920x1080 and 29.97 frames per second.

Apple ProRes 422 LT

Apple ProRes 422 is a high-quality compression format with nearly all of Apple's capabilities. ProRes 422 HQ but with a data rate of 66% for even greater multistream, real-time editing performance. The projected data throughput is roughly 147 Mbps at 1920x1080 and 29.97 frames per second.

Apple ProRes 422 Proxy

Apple ProRes 422 Proxy is a higher-compression version of Apple ProRes 422 LT, designed for offline operations requiring low transfer rates but full-resolution video. The projected data rate is roughly 45 Mbps at 1920x1080 and 29.97 frames per second.

Differences between 4:4:4 and 4:2:2

Colour subsampling is a compression technique that significantly decreases file size and bandwidth needs while preserving quality.

The first number (in this example, 4) denotes the sample size. The two digits after that both pertain to Chroma. They define horizontal and vertical sampling, respectively, and are related to the first number.

4:4:4 vs 4:2:2 chroma subsampling

A signal with Chroma 4:4:4 does not compress (and hence is not subsampled) and carries both brightness and color data on its whole. The Chroma of 4:2:2 is half the Chroma of 4:4:4, while 4:2:0 contains a quarter of the available color information in a four-by-two array of pixels. Horizontally, the 4:2:2 signal will have half the sampling rate.

Data Rate of Apple ProRes

The Data Rate (or Bit Rate) is the size of the video file in kilobits or megabits per second of data.

Subsampling
Format
Bit rate
4:2:2 Uncompressed 4:2:2 video 1,326 Mbps
4:2:2 Apple ProRes 422 HQ 220 Mbps
4:2:2 Apple ProRes 422 147 Mbps
4:2:2 Apple ProRes 422 LT 102 Mbps
4:2:2 Apple ProRes 422 Proxy 45Mbps
4:4:4 Uncompressed 4:4:4 video 2237 Mbps
4:4:4 Apple ProRes 4444 XQ 500 Mbps
4:4:4 Apple ProRes 4444 330 Mbps

Comparison of All 6 Versions of Apple ProRes

Terms
4444 XQ
4444
422 HQ
422
422 LT
422 Proxy
Recording size 16 GB will last about 1.75 hours and 32 GB will last about 3.5 hours when recording at 1080p/60fps. 1 minute of media will consume 2.3 GB When recorded at 1080/25p or 13.9 minutes. If recorded on a 32 GB card. 1 minute of media will consume 1.6 GB When recorded at 1080/25p or 20 minutes. If recorded on a 32 GB card. 1 minute of media will consume 1 GB When recorded at 1080/25p or 32 minutes. If recorded on a 32 GB card. 1 minute of media will consume 734.7 MB When recorded at 1080/25p or 43 minutes. If recorded on a 32 GB card. 1 minute of media will consume 337.3MB when recorded at 1080/25p, or 94 minutes if recorded on a 32GB card.
Quality The highest-quality version of ProRes for 4:4:4:4 image sources (including alpha channels) High-quality solution for storing and exchanging motion graphics and composites Higher quality than AppleProRes 42 Higher quality than AppleProRes 422 (LT) Higher quality than AppleProRes 422 (Proxy) High-quality offline editing at the original frame size, frame rate, and aspect ratio
Data Rate 500 Mbps 330 Mbps 220 Mbps 147 Mbps 102 Mbps 45 Mbps

Part 3: Users of Apple ProRes

Whatever type of project you've worked on in the past, you've almost certainly used ProRes or another intermediate codec at some point for capturing, editing, delivering, archival purposes, or all of the above. With the Apple ProRes format, you can work in a broad range of frame sizes, frame rates, bit depths, and even color sample ratios.

Apple ProRes improves films and is especially beneficial to those who color grade or edit with Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro.

Part 4: ProRes vs. H.265/H.264

H.265 (also known as HEVC or High-Efficiency Video Coding) is the most recent video compression standard. The ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group was created for the broadcast business and the ISO/IEC Moving Pictures Experts Group, just like its predecessor, H.264.

H.264/ H.265/ prores 422 file sizes

H.264's potential to adapt to meet the needs of the latest high-resolution image formats, like 4K, is limited since 4K encoded in H.264 produces a proportionately bigger file. On the other hand, H.265 builds on the H.264 compression standard's efficiency by producing the highest-quality pictures in the smallest video file.

The most extensively used codec is H.264, which is primarily utilized as a delivery/distribution codec with a substantially reduced file size. As a result, whether you need to broadcast or publish a movie or clear up storage space on your device, H.264 is the best choice. You may also utilize ProRes for higher video quality when editing.

H.264/H.265 videos require additional compression to make a file smaller. The negative is that the image quality isn't as good, and encoding an H.264/H.265 movie takes a long time.

Apple ProRes utilizes less compression to preserve image quality and color while quickly encoding and decoding. However, this implies the file size is bigger. ProRes was designed for post-production tasks such as editing and color correction. H.264 and H.265 are intended to be more easily shared.

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Part 5: People Also Ask

Yes, ProRes 422 is superior to any H.264 in quality while being considerably larger in file size. The Cineform 10-bit YUV or DNXHD/R choices on a PC provide excellent quality.

Yes, iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max models with 256GB of storage or more can record ProRes video up to 4K 60fps. Phones with 128GB are limited to 1,080p at 30fps. Keep in mind that ProRes files are large, roughly 6GB for 1 minute of video.

Apple Inc. developed ProRes, a codec introduced in 2007 and is compatible with Final Cut Studio 2. Unfortunately, ProRes employs the QuickTime (MOV) format, which, as previously stated, makes the files massive and takes up a lot of storage space.

Yes, the only cons of doing this are having a longer upload time and the increased storage and bandwidth usage.

Yes, ProRes codecs are supported only on authorized ProRes products like Final Cut Pro and Abode Premiere Pro. The corresponding ProRes codec for Windows is required to play ProRes on windows.

The Bottom Line

Lossless compression would always take the lead because it helps you save space and retain quality. ProRes is indeed a vital codec; definitely, this should go on with more and more improvements to the service. It makes an amateur feel like a Pro and makes content creation so easy and worth it.

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