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Transcoding Issue: Apple ProRes?

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Alex Lawton
Transcoding Issue: Apple ProRes?
on Oct 7, 2014 at 7:37:28 pm

Hi, first and foremost I do understand that the whole 'ProRes 422 vs ProRes 422(HQ)' debate has been covered many times in the past, so apologies in advance for digging this up once again! I've been reading up on this over the last week or so and I can't find any definitive answers specific to my issue, so I thought it was best to post it up on here.

I'm due to commence editing a short drama film soon which upon completion will feature on the festival circuit throughout next year, with a potential TV broadcast in the works too. We shot the film on a Canon5DmkIII and a Sony FS700. I will be editing the project in FCP7.

My question here is that I'm a little unsure as to which codec to transcode the rushes to for the edit...all of the footage was shot 'flat' which means I'll need to do some extensive colour grading in post, as well as additional sharpening etc. Normally for my day-to-day editing which consists of mainly straight to web content I would transcode everything to ProRes422 or 422LT, which is obviously more than good enough when delivering the work online. Once again I'm considering converting everything to the standard ProRes422 codec, but due to the amount of grading/post work that needs performing and the fact that the film will be shown on potentially a cinema screen and on TV I'm wondering if converting to 422HQ is worth considering here based on the edit requirements and final output?

I mention the HQ codec in relation to its data/bit rate; meaning that as HQ has a higher data rate than the standard ProRes codec there's more 'head room' for retaining quality & detail after rendering the footage out? Apologies if I'm wrong in thinking that but that's pretty much my enquiry in a nut shell there. I understand that converting to HQ initially will not give a better quality file than the standard 422 codec (overkill if you're not doing much grading etc), I'm just wondering if HQ (or any other codec for that matter) will retain it's quality better after potentially some heavy post-work vs codecs such as ProRes422. Storage space and render times are not a problem here.

Any help/advice on this would be much appreciated. Many thanks in advance.


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Shane Ross
Re: Transcoding Issue: Apple ProRes?
on Oct 8, 2014 at 3:47:49 pm

HQ is really meant for 10 bit and 12- bit codecs, like RED or ALEXA or other. 8bit codecs like F700 and Canon 5D's H.264 would do well with ProRes 422. HQ offers no benefits over 422. No quality increase...the only thing that increases is file size. HQ will not retain quality any better over 422 either. Both can be re-encoded several times with very little quality loss.

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