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Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?

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Eduardo Serrano
Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 12:59:23 pm

I heard that at NAB, one could hear ProRes everywhere. Even Alexa is using it. So, that brings me up to my original question, is ProRes, as a format, going to be hurt by FCPX? I know Premiere doesn't have an internal codec, and avid prefers Dnx. If a lot of the post production houses and networks change to a different NLE, are we going to loose the only possible viable substitute to tape?

What do you think?


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Rich Rubasch
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 2:22:00 pm

Big fear at our shop....I was hoping that ProRes would be developed to be written on a PC (not just read) and become a truly cross platform codec of choice for editing. Now? Unknown...

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Eduardo Serrano
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 2:35:17 pm

Yep. That's what I was hoping as well... and probably the whole industry. But if everyone moves away from FCP, it will be a much harder fight to get rid of tape. When you start convincing a company like ARRI about this.. it would eventually grow into others big profile companies and maybe even the networks.


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Andrew Richards
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 2:28:51 pm

ProRes is FCPX's preferred codec. It is what everything renders as and is the "optimized" and proxy media as well. FCPX doesn't let you define HQ, LT, or 4444 for it's optimized media, but it will work with those variants happily.

Best,
Andy


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Eduardo Serrano
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 2:39:53 pm

[Andrew Richards] "roRes is FCPX's preferred codec. It is what everything renders as and is the "optimized" and proxy media as well. FCPX doesn't let you define HQ, LT, or 4444 for it's optimized media, but it will work with those variants happily."

My question is more about the role of ProRes in the industry. It's about the demise of FCP as an NLE at the moment. We are on the verge of becoming file-based in the delivery process to the final clients (meaning tv networks and studios), not only because of the advent of this codec and the market, but because of the shortage of HDCAM SR tapes due to Japan's earthquake.

But even adding to your answer, not being able to define the form of ProRes you are working with in FCPX is one more major design flaw in the current state of FCPX.


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Andrew Richards
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 3:01:59 pm

[Eduardo Serrano] "But even adding to your answer, not being able to define the form of ProRes you are working with in FCPX is one more major design flaw in the current state of FCPX."

Completely agree.

[Eduardo Serrano] "My question is more about the role of ProRes in the industry. It's about the demise of FCP as an NLE at the moment. We are on the verge of becoming file-based in the delivery process to the final clients (meaning tv networks and studios), not only because of the advent of this codec and the market, but because of the shortage of HDCAM SR tapes due to Japan's earthquake."

This is a larger problem than just ProRes. ProRes and DNxHD are both proprietary codecs, so they are not ideal for file-based mastering from a compatibility and risk perspective. The overarching problem is that there aren't any equivalent open standard codecs. All the open standards are compromised in terms of quality or in terms of their structure (interframe compression being the big gotcha).

Maybe proprietary codecs like Pro Res or DNxHD are going to become like PDF is for documents, where they aren't a true open standard but they are so ubiquitous and easily licensed it hardly matters. The jury is certainly still out on that one.

In practical terms, if your delivery specs call for ProRes, your decision is easy. If you are looking for a codec for your own archives, that carries some risk that whatever you choose will fall out of favor one way or another. No way around that. The safe thing to do there is to archive camera and/or NLE native codecs to maintain the highest possible quality that you can today, and along side that store a high bitrate full raster, full frame rate MPEG-2 or H.264 safety proxy that is more likely to be readable in a future that may have discarded whatever proprietary codecs may have been used for the original media.

Best,
Andy


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C. Park Seward
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 4:02:56 pm

"The overarching problem is that there aren't any equivalent open standard codecs. All the open standards are compromised in terms of quality or in terms of their structure (interframe compression being the big gotcha)."

What about JPEG 2000? "High-quality frame-based video recording, editing and storage."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JPEG_2000

"JPEG 2000 is by itself licensed, but the contributing companies and organizations agreed that licenses for its first part—the core coding system—can be obtained free of charge from all contributors."

Best,
Park


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Andrew Richards
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 4:34:04 pm

Good point. My FCP-centric experience is showing. JPEG2000 is a great codec for long term storage and compatibility.

Best,
Andy


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Bernhard Grininger
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 4:43:19 pm

Hello,

the BBC has developed a professional codec and took care
that it's components aren't bound to licenses:

Dirac Pro

It utilizes wavelet-compresson like JPEG2000 and Cineform
and was developed to be robust for post production.

There is even hardware, ready to use:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/projects/dirac/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/projects/dirac/diracpro.shtml


I seems the development has been finished,
but I don't know why it is not commonly used, e.g. by Adobe.

What I very appreciate about ProRes is that it caused a paradigm shift
in who defines the recording codec in field.

In my opinion, camera vendors should give up codec development at all!

In the 21st century there is simply no demand for e.g.
an overpriced format like HDCamSRLite inside a strange container
passed over an inpractical interface any more!

Best regards,
Bernhard


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Eduardo Serrano
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 5:24:43 pm

I didn't know about Dirac. The idea was very good until I checked it for quality and found this study.
http://keyj.emphy.de/video-encoder-comparison/

It seems it's even worse than mpg2 for medium bitrates.
Interesting tho. BBC being public, it could have been a good idea.


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Michael Phillips
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 8:08:38 pm

[Andrew Richards] "This is a larger problem than just ProRes. ProRes and DNxHD are both proprietary codecs, so they are not ideal for file-based mastering from a compatibility and risk perspective."

DNxHD is not a proprietary codec. It was ratified several years ago by SMPTE as VC-3. Also, encode and decode QT codecs are available for both OS X and Windows operating systems. Source code for DNxHD is available for download on avid.com.

Michael

Michael Phillips


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Andrew Richards
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 8:36:35 pm

I stand corrected! Good to know.

Best,
Andy


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 3:04:50 pm

[Eduardo Serrano] "My question is more about the role of ProRes in the industry."

I'm sure ProRes will remain viable for a few years to come. Change that to several years to come if the family of codecs become cross-platform. Don't bet the farm on it as a useful archival codec.

But who's to say Quicktime will be around forever? Or for a few more decades? Or for a few more years, for that matter?

I believe I read on the COW about a movement afoot between Disney and a hardware company... let's say it's Hewlett-Packard. Their goal is to develop an open-source, cross-platform, non-proprietary, universally-accessible multimedia container with excellent utility for professional use: Quicktime On Steroids For Everyone, so to speak.

If it were to become a reality, I'd say many software developers would embrace it, and even Apple would have to support it if it wanted to remain viable in multimedia.

Now mind you, this is RUMOR. I can't confirm it. I haven't been able to locate where I read it. It may even be a fantasy stemming from mere wishful thinking.

If anyone can confirm this one way of the other, it would be a big help.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Hector berrebi
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 9, 2011 at 6:31:15 am

[Dave LaRonde] " I haven't been able to locate where I read it."

was it here?

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/9241

Hector Berrebi
prePost Consulting


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Tim Wilson
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 5:33:32 pm

[Eduardo Serrano] " it will be a much harder fight to get rid of tape"

Think of it this way. FCPX is the first NLE in history to build itself around ZERO tape capture. That was one of the first things that people barked at.

As others have observed, it looks like ProRes will be just fine for the foreseeable future...although the time frame that we can foresee just got a whole lot shorter, eh?

But it really is the wild west for tapeless DELIVERY, especially in Hollywood, where SR was the universal language for mastering and delivery. ProRes is nowhere near becoming any kind of standard. It's on the list, mind you, but I think that the upshot of tapeless is that the idea of A standard is gone forever. There are standards, and the client will tell what they want, end of story.

You know which tapeless format is coming on strong? HDCAM SR. Even before the tsunami, Sony's recent SR gear releases have virtually all been tapeless.

My point is, there are dozens, if not scores of potential tapeless formats and workflows.

One reason why ProRes came on so strong is that FCP has never been very good at supporting camera formats. It has been easier for Apple to get companies like Cinedeck and AJA to work on outboard recorders, and ARRI and other camera makers to write to Apple's own codec than get FCP to support theirs.

Here's my guess, though: FCPX is going to work modularly. Camera manufacturers will either give you their software decoders for free, or they'll be available as in-app purchases.

If this works as well as FXPlug has. Higher quality and better performance than anything Apple ever did themselves, for very low cost. While it has plenty of limits, it's the best plug-in architecture that's ever been built.

How cool would it be to have INSTANT camera format support? No waiting for Apple whatsoever. The fact is that Apple has ZERO financial incentives to build in codec support. Every new one brings more development costs, more support costs, with no chance of recovering those costs in incremental new sales.

A camera manufacturer not only has the incentive, they've already done the work by creating the codec in the first place. There's no extra cost. Now if they could deliver it direct to you without waiting on Apple? Directly into the app? Yowza.

And rather than SPEND money to develop codecs, Apple would take a slice of every sale. This really could be huge.

All the other features and lack thereof are what they are -- but for tapeless, nobody offers more POTENTIAL than FCPX. We'll see.

[Dave LaRonde] " Their goal is to develop an open-source, cross-platform, non-proprietary, universally-accessible multimedia container with excellent utility for professional use"

I think you might be thinking of IIF ACES: - IIF - Image Interchange format ACES - Academy Color Encoding Specification. There are many, many partners in the worlds of hardware, software, post and technology.

Pick an encoding format. Fast forward a few years. The file may not contain headers that George Jetson's computer can read. George won't know anything about the color space, bit depth, frame rate, or all the other critical metadata fields that will tell you what the file actually is or how to play it. IIF-ACES encoding and decoding carries all that.

That's the archive component. The workflow component carries a lot of that same metadata, plus lens information, camera position, and so on. There are hundreds of fields in the spec. The issue now is that, no matter how many fields you fill in, most downstream applications ignore that, and write in their own fields. The Academy and its partners are trying to fix that.

One interesting possibility with FCPX is that there's never been an NLE to support more metadata fields. Right now, FCPX's approach is destructive, but it would be pretty slick if they'd just pass the source metadata right on through.

Anyway, that's true regardless of codec, so you might be thinking of something else too. :-)

For today, the heavyweights of native camera tapeless workflows are Premiere and Vegas. If FCPX stays as open as it looks like they could, with the robustness of their FXPlug architecture, well, we might have a contendah.


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C. Park Seward
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 5:44:28 pm

[Tim Wilson] "FCPX is the first NLE in history to build itself around ZERO tape capture."

Incorrect. From Apple: "Final Cut Pro X does support FireWire import for DV, DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50, DVCPRO HD, and HDV."

Tape archives will be around for many years. Until all the tape libraries go away, we won't be able to get rid of tape.

I run a business that transfers obsolete tape formats. There is still a lot of tape out there.

Best,
Park


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Tim Wilson
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 5:50:52 pm

[C. Park Seward] "Incorrect. From Apple: "Final Cut Pro X does support FireWire import for DV, DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50, DVCPRO HD, and HDV.""

Of course you're correct. So let me rephrase - no other NLE has gone as far in the assumption that tape is on its way out.


[C. Park Seward] "I run a business that transfers obsolete tape formats. There is still a lot of tape out there."

I couldn't agree more. I still know of city TV channels that play back 3/4 inch. And I know that's why a lot of people were so upset to see how limited...well, let's say "different," the support for tape acquisition is.

In the long run, though, whether tape or not, I think that every NLE's biggest issue is dealing with camera formats as natively as possible, with the greatest performance possible. Premiere and Vegas have this in spades. FCPX has the potential, especially if the camera vendors themselves are doing the heavy lifting.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 6:03:22 pm

[C. Park Seward] "I run a business that transfers obsolete tape formats. There is still a lot of tape out there."

Hmmmm....

It just so happens we have two rooms full of file tapes containing news stories on both 3/4" and Beta SP, and the wheels have been put in motion to go both tapeless and HD origination-capable from acquisition to the transmitter.

However, I have NO clue if any consideration has been made for archiving the old stories.

If you have contact information, I'd sleep better knowing we'd have a resource like your service if needed. I can be reached at dave-dot-laronde-at-kcrg-dot-com.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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C. Park Seward
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 9:34:26 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "It just so happens we have two rooms full of file tapes containing news stories on both 3/4" and Beta SP, and the wheels have been put in motion to go both tapeless and HD origination-capable from acquisition to the transmitter.

However, I have NO clue if any consideration has been made for archiving the old stories."


Right, Dave. A lot of tapes with little or no migration plan.

Most of the Beta tapes I have seen are in good shape. The 3/4" tapes are not so good. Sticky-Shed Syndrome (SSS) is the biggest problem. They get so sticky the transport can't even pull the tape through. Dehydration usually fixes the problem.

I have sent you an email.

Best,
Park


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 9:55:03 pm

Thanks! Got it. It's good to have an ace in the hole.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 6:08:56 pm

[Tim Wilson] "I think you might be thinking of IIF ACES: - IIF - Image Interchange format ACES - Academy Color Encoding Specification."

That's probably it. I neglected to include the phrase "capable of containing a boatload of metadata" in my earlier description.

From your additional information, it also sounds like the turn-by-turn directions to the Holy Grail of a Universal Multimedia Container are still etched in Jell-O.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Tim Wilson
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 6:32:04 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "it also sounds like the turn-by-turn directions to the Holy Grail of a Universal Multimedia Container are still etched in Jell-O."

You don't even want to know what Hollywood's vegetarians are etching it in.


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Tim Kolb
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 10:08:21 pm

[Tim Wilson] "One interesting possibility with FCPX is that there's never been an NLE to support more metadata fields. "

How many does it support?

Premiere Pro supports more than I care to even attempt to count...three lists of EXIF data, Camera RAW, Dublin Core, Rights management, Photoshop, PDF, Content analysis, Broadcast audio extensions, Script, transcript, DICOM (each one of these things is a list of properties, not one).

I don't think I'm sticking my neck out too far when I suppose there may be 500+ fields...Adobe has had this in place for several releases and it works across the suite with Bridge being an excellent editor.

FCPX handles more than that?

TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Adobe Certified Instructor


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Ben Scott
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 11:07:53 pm

so what your getting at tim is that there's no DARK METADATA! (the metadata that gets passed through)

all archives go through migration, people should factor that in as a cost, they never do

its people that are the problem not the providers of wrappers

then again AV foundation seems so much better than quicktime and reading metadata into FCPx is good, shame you cant create smart collections or manage the mapping of fields from tapeless cameras to FCPx keywords


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Dan Hayes
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 5:08:14 pm

[Andrew Richards] " FCPX doesn't let you define HQ, LT, or 4444 for it's optimized media"

Does it always render to plain "ProRes 422"?



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Andrew Richards
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 5:16:34 pm

[Dan Hayes] "Does it always render to plain "ProRes 422"?"

As I understand it, yes.

Best,
Andy


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Devin Crane
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 6:01:29 pm

[Dan Hayes] "Does it always render to plain "ProRes 422"?"

Actually it does allow you specify how you render, either ProRess, HQ, 4444, or Uncompressed 10bit.

It's the import transcode option that doesn't allow you to specify yet which flavor of ProRes you want to transcode to.



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Andrew Richards
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 9, 2011 at 7:49:42 pm

Oops, you're right. Import is limited, rendering is selectable per Project.

Best,
Andy


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Paul Jay
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 3:22:11 pm

Works in Premiere, works in MediaComposer, Works in DaVinci..........


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Eduardo Serrano
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 3:50:54 pm

Avid MC although supports ProRes via AMA. it's not, by avid words, suitable for editing complex and large projects. Everything that comes via AMA, for that matter. They still want you to convert to dnxhd.


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Robert Brown
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 8:04:39 pm

My theory was that ProRes would be a big reason people would continue to buy FC, but if they stripped it down? IMO DVCPROHD and ProRes were 2 of the biggest game changers for FCP. It's just really bizarre to see Apples moves here. Maybe they'll wise up and sell the codecs for $50 or something. That would be the smart thing but...



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 8, 2011 at 11:45:24 pm

Let's not forget MXF as a container is also an open standard.

The codecs still to this day are what's proprietary as it takes muscle and know how and let's you stand out in a crowd, or work with everyone (mpeg2).

While FCPx is incredible at making it's own metadata, but it's really bad at passing through what might be available in the camera original footage. Fcp7 was better and it still had a rather rough go of it natively, you'd need an outside app to translate the fields to FCPs own fields, sometimes doubling them up as FCP7 had limited fields. FCPx has even less available fields and essentially ignores the many fields that are present inside Panasonic's implementation of MXF.

I do think, though, Tim hit it on the head. It will be up to codec/camera/whatever developers to write in support to FCPx. If you take a look at Apple as a company and what they have been doing to allow developers to write software, it's pretty cool. After playing with FCPx for a while this week and reading what hooks seem to be semi present in FCPx it seems that this would be the way it's going. Time will tell whenever those APIs are released, of course, if you get the API, you're under NDA.

I am not worried about ProRes going anywhere, anytime soon. After truly diving in to FCPx this week and seeing what's possible instead of what's missing, it gave me a bit of hope. Sure there's work to be done, but that's what keeps us fed, right?


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Chris Kenny
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 9, 2011 at 12:17:33 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "I do think, though, Tim hit it on the head. It will be up to codec/camera/whatever developers to write in support to FCPx. If you take a look at Apple as a company and what they have been doing to allow developers to write software, it's pretty cool. After playing with FCPx for a while this week and reading what hooks seem to be semi present in FCPx it seems that this would be the way it's going. Time will tell whenever those APIs are released, of course, if you get the API, you're under NDA."

FCP X allows arbitrary custom metadata fields. If Apple exposes this to third parties via an API, the possibilities are nearly endless.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Jul 9, 2011 at 12:39:34 am

[Chris Kenny] "FCP X allows arbitrary custom metadata fields. If Apple exposes this to third parties via an API, the possibilities are nearly endless."

That's the hope.


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Miguel Concepcion
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Aug 6, 2011 at 12:06:15 am

I have a rookie FCP question:

I'm recording some footage from a videogame using Final Cut Pro X for one of my employers. He specifically requested that the files are ProRes. The thing is that he'll be editing the clips on FCP 7. Seeing as how I'm not creating a project and just recording clips, there shouldn't be a compatibility issue, right?


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Is ProRes the big victim of FCPX?
on Aug 6, 2011 at 12:30:04 am

You should be all good. I tried an FCPX made ProRes in 7 and all was well.


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