Apple Pro Res White Paper

Apple ProRes 422 and Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) were introduced with the release of Final Cut Studio 2 in April 2007. These video codecs made it both possible and affordable to edit full-frame, 10-bit, 4:2:2 high definition (HD) video sources with multistream, real-time performance in Final Cut Pro, while offering file sizes at or below standard definition (SD) levels.

With the release of the new Final Cut Studio, Apple has introduced three new members of the Apple ProRes family: Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy), Apple ProRes 422 (LT), and Apple ProRes 4444. These new family members increase the power and versatility of Final Cut Studio while enabling broader usage of Apple ProRes technology. This white paper provides in-depth information about all five members of the Apple ProRes family, including technical specifications and performance metrics.

All members of the Apple ProRes family provide an unparalleled combination of multistream, real-time editing performance coupled with impressive image quality at reduced storage rates. Additionally, all five codecs preserve SD, HD, and 2K frame sizes at full resolution.

As a variable bit rate (VBR) codec technology, Apple ProRes uses fewer bits on simplem frames that would not benefit from encoding at a higher data rate. All Apple 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.

• Apple ProRes 4444: The new Apple ProRes 4444 codec preserves motion image
sequences originating in either 4:4:4 RGB or 4:4:4 Y’CBCR color spaces. At its remarkably
low data rate as compared to uncompressed 4:4:4 HD, Apple ProRes 4444 supports
12-bit pixel depth with an optional, mathematically lossless alpha channel for true
4:4:4:4 support. Apple ProRes 4444 preserves visual quality at the same high level as
does Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), but for 4:4:4 image sources, which can carry the highest
possible color detail.

Apple ProRes 4444 is ideal for next-generation video and the most pristine computer
graphics sources for cinema-quality compositing. For projects that previously required
the Animation codec, Apple ProRes 4444 is a modern replacement with real-time
playback support in Final Cut Pro. Because color detail is preserved, Apple ProRes 4444
is ideal for color grading with 4:4:4 image sources.

Download the White Paper (pdf)

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