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What is Apple ProRes? The video format explained

Apple ProRes is a headline feature of multiple third-party cameras and premium iPhones. But what exactly is it? 

It’s been a very busy week for Apple, with the anticipated Wonderlust event taking place in just a few hours. With the soon-to-be-announced iPhone 15 range quickly approaching, we wanted to run through everything you need to know about Apple ProRes. 

Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know about ProRes, including what it is, how it works and which devices use it.

What is Apple ProRes? 

Apple ProRes is a compressed video format, or codec, designed to produce high-quality, high-performance files for video production and post-production without taking up unnecessary space. 

Apple introduced ProRes 422 in 2007 as “a new full raster, 10-bit 4:2:2 post-production format [that] produces stunning HD quality at SD file sizes”. 

Fast forward to 2022 and there are now six formats of varying qualities – ProRes 4444 XQ, ProRes 4444, ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422, ProRes 422 LT and ProRes 422 Proxy. 

ProRes 4444 XQ is the highest quality of the ProRes formats, followed by ProRes 4444, both of which support 4:4:4:4 image sources and alpha channels. Then, there’s ProRes 422 HQ, a higher-data-rate version of ProRes 422 which deals with preserving the quality of 4:2:2 image sources. ProRes 422 LT is a more compressed version of the 422 format, while ProRes 422 Proxy is the most highly compressed of the six codecs. 

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What is ProRes RAW? 

ProRes RAW was unveiled in 2018 as Apple’s way of applying its ProRes compression technology to the RAW images captured by your camera. 

It comes in two formats – ProRes RAW HQ and ProRes RAW, with the HQ version offering higher data rates than the standard ProRes RAW. 

ProRes RAW is well-suited for those creating HDR content, according to Apple. 

Which devices support Apple ProRes? 

Apple licences the ProRes name out to other companies. You can find a full list of all of the products and devices that support ProRes and ProRes RAW on Apple’s support page

Notable software on the list includes Adobe’s Premiere Pro and After Effects, Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve, Magix’s Vegas Pro, while cameras that support ProRes, include the Canon EOS C700 cinema camera, the Nikon Z9, the Blackmagic Pocket Camera 6K Pro and the DJI Magic 3 Cine. 

Other than third-party cameras, ProRes also appears on some of Apple’s own devices. It made an appearance on the iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max handsets, suggesting that it could appear on all future iPhone Pro models. 

With that in mind, it’s very possible that Apple ProRes will also feature on the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models. We won’t know for sure until we get confirmation from Apple during the Wonderlust event – which you can watch here – but it seems likely that Apple will follow the same trend it set two years ago. 

It is worth noting that Apple ProRes does not work across all camera settings. Notably, it does not work alongside slo-mo, time-lapse or Cinematic Mode

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