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ProRes 4444 - What is Millions of Color+ and Gamma Correction Automatic/None?

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Edwin Street
ProRes 4444 - What is Millions of Color+ and Gamma Correction Automatic/None?
on Jun 8, 2014 at 2:13:57 pm

I'm converting files to ProRes4444 for editing. I want to use these files for the master as well so I don't have to conform after editing.

If I understand correctly, the + adds an alpha channel. What is an alpha channel exactly? My film has no blue screen or special effects other than the titles so do I need it?

Should I set Gamma Correction to Automatic or None? The film will eventually be graded so does this make a difference.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: ProRes 4444 - What is Millions of Color+ and Gamma Correction Automatic/None?
on Jun 9, 2014 at 4:10:06 pm

An alpha channel gives you degrees of transparency. If you don't have clips with areas that are semi-transparent or totall transparent, you don't need it.

And you don't really need ProRes 4444, either: the image quality is no better than ProRes 422, but the file sizes are MUCH larger. If you're going to re-render your clips at least 6 generations deep, HQ or 4444 would be appropriate. Otherwise, you're just eating up storage space.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Edwin Street
Re: ProRes 4444 - What is Millions of Color+ and Gamma Correction Automatic/None?
on Jun 10, 2014 at 12:33:33 am

In FCP7 even without the Millions of Colors+ I can still adjust the Opacity meter as normal. Can you give me a real world example of where I might need the extra +(alpha channel).

"the image quality is no better than ProRes 422"
- really? the bitrate of HQ/444 is much higher and we're shooting 2K and hoping to project it in a cinema.


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John Pale
Re: ProRes 4444 - What is Millions of Color+ and Gamma Correction Automatic/None?
on Jun 10, 2014 at 3:27:31 pm

The alpha channel would be for something created in a graphics program intended to be superimposed over other video. The alpha channel cuts out the background. (This is a very simple explanation...you can do more complex stuff, but it doesn't seem relevant here). Sounds like you are not doing that, so you don't need it.

For your case, Pro Res 4444 would actually be of benefit. Dave assumed you were like many people who post, who shot something with a DSLR camera (or something much worse), which is already highly compressed and would not magically improve in quality just by converting it to Pro Res 4444...only bloat the file size.


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Edwin Street
Re: ProRes 4444 - What is Millions of Color+ and Gamma Correction Automatic/None?
on Jun 10, 2014 at 5:11:44 pm
Last Edited By Edwin Street on Jun 11, 2014 at 6:38:49 am

Great thanks for that explanation. Is it safe to assume that if you take away the + in the (Millions of Colors+) it could just be called ProRes444 without the fourth (4)?

Just trying to understand why the four 4s.

Also, would the DP and color corrector prefer if I leave the Gamma Correction at None rather than Automatic? I've been editing for a while but these are two simple things they never taught us at uni.

What does "only bloat the file size." mean?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: ProRes 4444 - What is Millions of Color+ and Gamma Correction Automatic/None?
on Jun 10, 2014 at 11:46:56 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Jun 10, 2014 at 11:48:20 pm

Here's a real-world example of the usefulness of alpha-channeled video: animated lower-third supers. People use them every day the world over.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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