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Old August 31st, 2009, 01:15 PM   #1
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ProRes Questions What's the Ideal Format?

Hi, all. I've found a lot of good information on the forum regarding the importance of converting footage to ProRes before editing, but I'm wondering which codec is the best choice for Mark II video.

Since the Mark II records at 38.6 Mbps (or so I hear), is there any benefit from using the high-end ProRes settings that go well over that amount? Here are the options I'm weighing.

Would ProRes 422 Proxy be a bad idea? It's a 45 Mbps codec. If no quality is lost, then fantastic, but if there's a better option I'm willing to go higher.

Any benefit from choosing ProRess 422 HQ (220 Mbps) over plain old ProRes 422 (147 Mbps)? One has a significantly higher bitrate, which I imagine is unnecessary, but would the color space (or other areas) benefit?

And lastly, I'd be a bit averse to trying this unless there were a definite advantage, but what about ProRes 4444 (a 330 Mbps format)? I don't want to deal with file sizes that big if I can avoid it, but I've heard that it's ideal for grading in Color. If there's a compelling reason to use that... I suppose I could get some more hard drives.

I'm pretty sure that most of the information I've heard about from these codecs is in regard to going from uncompressed 1080p HD video to ProRes, whereas since we're going from highly compressed h.264 to ProRes, so I wouldn't be too surprised if there wasn't a good reason to use the high-end options. If anyone has any experience using these, any advice would be tremendously appreciated!

Thanks,
-Sean
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Old September 1st, 2009, 07:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Parker View Post
Since the Mark II records at 38.6 Mbps (or so I hear), is there any benefit from using the high-end ProRes settings that go well over that amount? Here are the options I'm weighing.

Would ProRes 422 Proxy be a bad idea? It's a 45 Mbps codec. If no quality is lost, then fantastic, but if there's a better option I'm willing to go higher.

Any benefit from choosing ProRess 422 HQ (220 Mbps) over plain old ProRes 422 (147 Mbps)? One has a significantly higher bitrate, which I imagine is unnecessary, but would the color space (or other areas) benefit?

And lastly, I'd be a bit averse to trying this unless there were a definite advantage, but what about ProRes 4444 (a 330 Mbps format)? I don't want to deal with file sizes that big if I can avoid it, but I've heard that it's ideal for grading in Color. If there's a compelling reason to use that... I suppose I could get some more hard drives.

I'm pretty sure that most of the information I've heard about from these codecs is in regard to going from uncompressed 1080p HD video to ProRes, whereas since we're going from highly compressed h.264 to ProRes, so I wouldn't be too surprised if there wasn't a good reason to use the high-end options. If anyone has any experience using these, any advice would be tremendously appreciated!

Thanks,
-Sean
I have dealt with QC on studio/network deliverables for years. Pro Res HQ would be a total waste of processing power and hard drive space. Most of the people dealing with the HQ and above should be animators, motion graphic artists and people doing sophisticated, multilayered VFX and compositing. Normal editors are by far best served with Pro Res in most circumstances.

I have been in this business long enough to see that codecs and resolutions are typically misused by inexperienced editors, convinced that they need "the best possible". In order to efficiently edit a full project with lots of tracks of video and audio and possibly thousands of edits and clips/effects, you need to use a codec/resolution that will not overburden your CPU/RAM/hard drives. Pro Res is more than adequate for 5D MKII footage. Go shoot something with an F35 or a Viper, then let's discuss Pro Res HQ or 444

Dan
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Old September 1st, 2009, 07:38 PM   #3
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Thanks Dan, that certainly helps. I'll certainly go no higher than standard ProRes 422. Do you (or does anyone else) have any opinion regarding the lesser of the codecs (ProRes Proxy vs. ProRes LT vs. standard ProRes 422)? I'd be fine with using standard ProRes, but if the "lower quality" versions are actually the same quality -- and if even the standard codec is a waste of drive space, I'd be happy to use them.
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 12:10 AM   #4
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I would recommend ProRes LT for most workflows. It is a better codec than DVCPRO HD/HDCam. Which is a saying alot. It is 10bit and it will work for the vast majority of work.

I would actually say people doing low end visual effects maybe better served with Using Pro Res LT because it should provide faster rendering and more realtime performance. It is only when you are passing video from shop to shop should you use ProRes HQ.
Most editing will go thru 4 or less conversions.
1. Capture/Convert Render (get file to ProRes)
2. Effects/Transitions/Titles reRender maybe (maybe not needed if going to apple Color)
3. Color Correction reRender (to the Master Archived Format you make other vids from)
4. Master Format reRender (make iPod,YouTube,BluRay videos from this)

Most independent Editors should/will probably convert footage to ProRes.
Edit in ProRes.
Add Visual effects and render to ProRes
Color Correct in ProRes.

If you are not sending video files or assets to multiple video shops back and forth then ProRes LT shoud be great.
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 12:14 AM   #5
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Thanks so much, that really helps.
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 01:37 PM   #6
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I agree with Nikol's take on this. While I have FCS 3 on my MBP, I have not ran tests with the new variants, but I have ran tests with Pro Res vs. Pro Res HQ.

Enjoy!

Dan
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