Creative Cow Newsletter

What ProRes is not

Concluding from your many posts on the topic, it appears that ProRes is not:

Lossless. While Apple describes it as “visually lossless,” which it clearly is, among the ways it achieves such smaller bandwidth is cleverly discarding pixels.

A codec with an alpha channel. Really? At least that’s how it looks from here. I’ve seen nothing anywhere saying that ProRes does support alpha, and several places that say it doesn’t. That’s okay for an output or archive format, but wouldn’t the lack of an alpha channel torch its usefulness for a whole lot of editing and animation uses?

Although indeed, discarding the alpha channel is a one way to get rid of a quarter of your file size on the spot.

Remarkably enough, only one question in The COW about this so far, and after 5 days, still no answer. So can one of you tell the rest of the class what you’ve found?

4:4:4 RGB. You probably already figured out that the codec operates in the 4:2:2 colorspace. But you might not know that ProRes 222 is YUV-only. As a result, there are film and DI workflows where ProRes isn’t exactly useful. There are in fact truly lossless RGB formats that are designed from the ground up to work in 4:4:4 RGB, but that’s another article.

Hey you geezers out there – remember when computers working in RGB was a BAD thing? The sign of a true amateur, if not a moron?

Able to run on computers without FCP 6 installed. You can use ProRes in other current QuickTime-aware applications…as long as they’re on a machine that also has FCP 6.

I read this in quite a few posts. To which I say, Really? It’s not just a codec you can install on, say, your After Effects machine on the desk next to yours that doesn’t have FCP 6?

Or do I misunderstand? Perhaps you mean that the codec doesn’t work with earlier versions of FCP. I wouldn’t expect this, for the rest, maybe I’m missing something. I welcome your corrections and clarifications, posted in the COWmunications forum.

A cross-platform workflow codec
. Again, there are plenty of space-saving codecs for Final Cut Pro from a variety of companies that are ideal for this. In fact, you can have lossless, cross-platform, 4:4:4 RGB codecs for Final Cut Pro that are also cross-platform. Like I said, another article.

Finally, ProRes is not two words. Just one word, with an intercap: ProRes. Remarkably enough, I only found 3 people and 1 company in the past 2 weeks who wrote it as two words. In fairness, all but one also used it as one word other times. So overall, class, very well done!

Lest any of this, or what follows, appear to be a bit negative, heed the words of Wayne Carey:
“Something to keep in mind, guys….Apple’s ProRes 422 is AWESOME!”