Many users know FCP's native video format is Apple ProRes, but most of them don't know he Apple ProRes format comes in five versions: Apple ProRes 4444, Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), Apple ProRes 422,
Apple ProRes 422 (LT), and Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy).
The Apple ProRes codecs provide an excellent solution for the most demanding modern post-production workflows. Many of today’s HD formats were developed under significant camcorder engineering constraints and therefore limit the full quality that can be carried in an HD signal. Other camera codecs preserve full quality but are too complex to achieve the software decoding speeds required for real-time editing. Uncompressed HD formats deliver the highest image quality, but the high-bandwidth, RAID-storage requirements of uncompressed HD video are daunting for most users’ budgets. If you are a FCP user, you'd better know about the features of each version.
Apple ProRes 422 (HQ)
The ProRes 422 (HQ) may be the most popular for HD movie shooter editors. The codec offers the utmost possible quality for 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 sources (without an alpha channel) and provides the following:
1) Target data rate of approximately 220 Mbps (1920 x 1080 at 60i)
2) Higher quality than Apple ProRes 422
Apple ProRes 422 (LT)
The Apple ProRes 422 (LT) codec provides the following:
1) Roughly 70 percent of the data rate of Apple ProRes 422 (thus, smaller file sizes than Apple ProRes 422)
2) Higher quality than Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy)
Apple ProRes 422
The Apple ProRes 422 codec provides the following:
1) Target data rate of approximately 145 Mbps (1920 x 1080 at 60i)
2) Higher quality than Apple ProRes 422 (LT)
Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy)
The Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy) codec is intended for use in offline workflows and provides the following:
1) Roughly 30 percent of the data rate of Apple ProRes 422
2) High-quality offline editing at the original frame size, frame rate, and aspect ratio
3) High-quality edit proxy for Final Cut Server
Apple ProRes 4444
The Apple ProRes 4444 codec offers the utmost possible quality for 4:4:4 sources and for workflows involving alpha channels. It includes the following features:
1) Full-resolution, mastering-quality 4:4:4:4 RGBA color (an online-quality codec for editing and finishing 4:4:4 material, such as that originating from Sony HDCAM SR or digital cinema cameras such as RED ONE, Thomson Viper FilmStream, and Panavision Genesis cameras). The R, G, and B channels are lightly compressed, with an emphasis on being perceptually indistinguishable from the original material.
2) Lossless alpha channel with real-time playback
3) High-quality solution for storing and exchanging motion graphics and composites
4) For 4:4:4 sources, a data rate that is roughly 50 percent higher than the data rate of Apple ProRes 422 (HQ)
5) Direct encoding of, and decoding to, RGB pixel formats
6) Support for any resolution, including SD, HD, 2K, 4K, and other resolutions
7) A Gamma Correction setting in the codec’s advanced compression settings pane, which allows you to disable the 1.8 to 2.2 gamma adjustment that can occur if RGB material at 2.2 gamma is misinterpreted as 1.8. This setting is also available with the Apple ProRes 422 codec.