Archive for January, 2019

Working with ProRes RAW in non-Apple Software Applications

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019


Update NAB 2019: ProRes RAW support announced by Assimilate, FilmLight, MTI Film, and Telestream.

At NAB 2018, Apple announced the availability of ProRes RAW.  As of this writing, it still only supported in Apple products when created in the field from certain side camera recorders such as those from Atomos. As we all know, what codecs productions use in the field is sometimes not communicated to postproduction and you end up with a file that either is not supported or need to go through some steps to be able to use. So if you are using Adobe Premiere ProBlackmagic DaVinci Resolve, or Avid Media Composer, you will need to add some steps to your workflow if you receive ProRes RAW in your cutting room and how you plan to do an offline/online if needed.

 In all cases, you will need to do a “semi” dailies workflow using Apple Compressor. The reason for “semi” is that does not offer fully featured dailies requirements such as dealing with double system audio, additional metadata, reporting, and ALE export, etc. It will mainly be the video processing step into a codec that meets your needs. In some cases, the output from the Compressor workflow outline below will be all you need and you can select your preferred codec/data rate and color space and work with that directly in the NLE of your choice. With the assumption that you will start and finish in a non-Apple product, you will need to first create a new submaster in a high-quality compatible codec. The latest version of Apple Compressor added support for ProRes RAW and that is where the process begins. The following is a suggested workflow but you can change color space used depending on your workflow and pipeline. The following is just one example of creating a new finishing quality submaster with as much information in it needs to transcode to a non-RAW format for final color correction. 

  1.  Open files in Apple Compressor. Sample ProRes RAW files are provided by FilmPlus Gear for download.
  2. Because it is a new submaster, I use the highest quality ProRes available (ProRes 4444XQ) and the P3 color space as shown in the screenshot (click to enlarge):apple-prores-4444xq.png
  3. Set your outputs settings as needed for location, etc. Then click “Start Batch”
  4. I tried DNxHR as a codec and I don’t have the same color space options available and no control over which data rate DNxHR to use. It does offer up a message indicating it is a legacy codec and will not be supported in the future. Avid has released a statement regarding this change in the Apple OS. It seems that it will be up to the individual application to support the different codecs, and it is unclear at this time whether Apple Compressor will support it moving forward. As of now, the encode fails and thus the choice to go with Apple ProRes 4444XQ as my finishing submaster format.
  5. Once the files are completed, the process is the same as using a ProRes file. If an editing proxy is needed, I find that using the ArriLogC LUT works well enough for editorial dailies. This LUT can be applied in any of the applications or as part of a dailies process leaving the P3 submaster for color correction as needed. As mentioned, you may just want to create a ready to edit file if there is no need for a proxy workflow and apply a different codec/data rate and color space of your choosing - for example, ProRes HQ with Rec709 color space.

Before (P3):
(click to enlarge)

After (with ArriLogC709):
(click to enlarge)

Perhaps this year Apple will open ProRes RAW to all system to the same level as currently available for ProRes. We have seen them change their position regarding ProRes creation on Windows with Adobe products.