ProRes / Apple Intermediate / Final Cut

ProRes is a lossy video compression format developed by Apple, Inc., for use in post-production. It is the successor of the Apple Intermediate Codec and was introduced in 2007 with Final Cut Studio 2. ProRes is a line of intermediate codecs, which means they are intended for use during video editing, including synchronization of audio and video and addition of subtitles or closed captioning and not for practical end-user viewing. ProRes retains higher quality than end-user codecs while requiring much less expensive disc systems compared to uncompressed video. It is comparable to Avid’s DNxHD codec or CineForm, which offer similar bitrates and which are also intended to be used as intermediate codecs.

ProRes 422 is a DCT-based intra-frame-only codec and is simpler to decode than distribution-oriented formats like H.264. ProRes 4444 is another lossy video compression format developed by Apple and introduced with Final Cut Studio in 2009. It shares many features with other codecs of Apple’s ProRes family but provides better quality than its predecessors, particularly in the area of color. In August 2008, Apple introduced a free ProRes QuickTime Decoder for both Mac and Windows that allows playback of ProRes files through QuickTime. Installing Final Cut Pro will install the ProRes codecs for encoding files on OS X.

The Apple Intermediate Codec is a high-quality 8-bit 4:2:0 video codec used mainly as a less processor-intensive way of working with long-GOP MPEG-2 footage such as HDV. The Apple Intermediate Codec was designed by Apple, Inc., to be an intermediate format in an HDV and AVCHD workflow. Unlike MPEG-2-based HDV and similar to the standard-definition DV codec, the Apple Intermediate Codec does not use temporal compression, enabling every frame to be decoded immediately without decoding other frames.

Final Cut Studio is a professional video and audio production suite for Mac OS X from Apple, Inc., and a competitor to Avid Media Composer in the high-end movie production industry. Final Cut Studio version 3 contains six main applications and several smaller applications used in editing video. The major applications it includes are Final Cut Pro 7 for realtime editing for DV, SD and HD, Motion 4 for realtime motion graphics design, Soundtrack Pro 3 for advanced audio editing and sound design, DVD Studio Pro 4 for encoding, authoring and burning, Color 1.5 for color-grading (adapted from Silicon Color’s FinalTouch) and Compressor 3.5, a video-encoding tool for outputting projects in different formats, allowing for easy file-sharing for uses such as archiving and transcription. Final Cut Studio was introduced at the National Association of Broadcasters in 2005.