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Apple Updates ProRes 4444, Final Cut Pro X

ARRI will support on ALEXA series

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Boy, when it comes to the professional world, Apple is a bit manic. First it takes forever to bring out a full Mac Pro update, then it EOLs (end-of-life) Aperture, but now it is releasing a new, updated ProRes codec that will provide XQ 4444 compression for higher image and color quality. Good news, for sure. Cupertino also updated their pro editing apps, Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, and Compressor 5.


The highest-quality version of Apple ProRes for 4:4:4:4 image sources (including alpha channels), with a very high data rate to preserve the detail in high-dynamic-range imagery generated by today's highest-quality digital image sensors. Apple ProRes 4444 XQ preserves dynamic ranges several times greater than the dynamic range of Rec. 709 imageryeven against the rigors of extreme visual effects processing, in which tone-scale blacks or highlights are stretched significantly. Like standard Apple ProRes 4444, this codec supports up to 12 bits per image channel and up to 16 bits for the alpha channel. Apple ProRes 4444 XQ features a target data rate of approximately 500 Mbps for 4:4:4 sources at 1920 x 1080 and 29.97 fps. – Apple

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So, as Apple says in their statement above, the new higher quality version of ProRes 4444 will simply sample at higher data rates to preserve detail. This will allow for greater color saturation and dynamic range from a production point-of-view, but from a post-production point-of-view, it’ll be a bandwidth pig. So users better beef up their storage for those files that will likely triple in size than they were before. Now, of course the Mac Pro will be able to handle it without a blink of an eye, so there’s nothing to worry about there. All in all, this is a good upgrade.

And ARRI?was quick to see that, having announced support for the new updated codec on ALEXA XT and Classic platforms that house the optional XR module.

“ARRI ALEXA XT cameras and ALEXA Classic cameras with the XR Module will gain ProRes 4444 XQ capability with ARRI's Software Update Packet SUP 10,” ARRI announced in a statement.

The codec, which is scheduled for an open beta in July and a final release in August,?will provide high quality definition for all ARRI cameras shooting in HD and up to 2.5K. But you have to figure that if the ALEXA XT is in the game, that there’s plenty of room in the codec to go up to 4K and beyond. That would seem to make sense if what Apple is introducing now, we could be on the high road to ultra high definition.

But HD streams will likely be the biggest beneficiary as it’ll give any shooting done in high definition greater clarity and DR which is always beneficial in post production, especially when going through one rendering session after another.

In other Apple News, Cupertino also announced updates to Final Cut Pro X, Compressor, & Motion, which, in addition to the updated ProRes 4444 support, will also provide better media management, and allow for?optimized, proxy, and rendered media to be stored outside of the media library and be deleted from within Final Cut Pro X. That’s a nice house cleaning update. Other updated features include:

Final Cut Pro 10.1.2

  • Optimized, proxy, and rendered media can be stored at any location outside of the library
  • Easily delete optimized, proxy, and rendered media from within Final Cut Pro X
  • Used media indicators for Compound clips, Multicam clips, and Synced clips
  • Option to show only unused media in the Browser
  • Apply a standard (Rec. 709) look in real time to high dynamic range and wide color gamut video from ARRI, Blackmagic Design, Canon, and Sony cameras
  • Automatically apply an ARRI embedded 3D LUT from the new AMIRA camera
  • Support for Apple ProRes 4444 XQ
  • Improved speed and accuracy when synchronizing clips
  • Audio recording improvements including countdown and automatic Audition creation from multiple takes
  • Fast export of cuts-only projects containing XDCAM media
  • Export entire library as a single XML file
  • Selecting a library displays key metadata in the Inspector
  • Adjust relative and absolute volume of a clip or range selection
  • Create Keywords from Finder Tags when importing media
  • Option to sort events by date or name in the Libraries list
  • Import a clip by dragging directly into the Browser
  • Share 4K video to Vimeo

Compressor 4.1.2:

  • Support for Apple ProRes 4444 XQ
  • Status display and improved responsiveness when using "Send to Compressor" from Final Cut Pro X and Motion
  • Improved performance and color accuracy when encoding H.264 source files from GoPro cameras
  • Fixes issues transcoding alpha channels in image sequences
  • Includes general stability improvements


  • Support for Apple ProRes 4444 XQ
  • Improved Sequence Text behavior for animating characters, words, and lines
  • Enhanced Contrast filter parameters for refined adjustments

More in the videos below, from our friends at Ripple Training:


Hat Tip – NFS