One of the great features of the new Final Cut Studio is the new members of the ProRes family. The one I’m using first is ProRes 4444. It provides almost ‘Animation’ codec quality at much smaller file sizes. Final Cut Pro 6’s ProRes 422 and ProRes 422(HQ) are great quality, but they don’t store the colour value of every single pixel of every single frame. If they did, they would be called ProRes 444. Apple went further with this new codec and added a transparency information for each pixel too – the fourth ‘4’ in the name.
But each time Apple brings out cool new codecs to work with new workflows or cameras, post-production people have a dilemma. We can use footage encoded this way internally, but what happens when you need to share with others?
Before I upgraded to version 7, ‘travelling’ Matt Davis sent me some ProRes 4444 footage with an alpha channel. It played perfectly well on my 6.0.6 timeline with QuickTime 7.6.2 installed.
Good news also if you need to transfer ProRes 4444 footage from your version 7 timeline: QuickTime 7.6.2 has the playback part of ProRes 4444 built-in.
This means you don’t have to send other people the codec for them to see your footage. If they cannot play it, advise them to update their copy of QuickTime.