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What is Apple ProRes? The video format explained

If you’re shopping for a camera, phone or new editing software, you’ve probably come across the term “ProRes”. But, what exactly is it? 

Here’s everything you need to know about the Apple video codec, including what it is, what variations there are and where you can find 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 or 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. 

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’ 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. 

More recently, ProRes also made an appearance on Apple’s own iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, with the camera app now able to record video in Apple ProRes in iOS 15.1. Users can then edit the videos in the Photos app, iMovie for iPhone or any video editing app that supports the format.

However, it doesn’t work with some camera settings, like slo-mo, time-lapse or the new Cinematic mode.

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