Why ProRes for Windows Isn’t Ready for Prime Time

David Kong, over at Frame.io, has a very interesting blog post on the short comings of editing in ProRes on Windows platforms. The blog takes an honest look on how Apple’s favorite codec is great for importing, but you can’t always export your hard work as you’d expect. And when you can, it’s not without a ton of work.

Here’s a few paragraphs from Kong’s excellent post to wet your whistle:

Can you make it work? Yes, sort of, sometimes. But it’s a bad idea for lots of reasons.

Playback is not enough – you have to encode, too

First off, we need to make a distinction between encoding and decoding.

Lots of software—including all of the major NLEs (Non-Linear Editors)—can decode ProRes on Windows. This means that they can play back and edit with ProRes just fine, but they are unable to export the results of those edits.

Practically speaking, the ability to only decode ProRes is not enough to build a solid ProRes workflow. It is possible to mix and match your codecs throughout your project, but there is a great advantage in the simplicity of using one codec all the way through your workflow. In order to be able to do that, you have to be able to encode your codec of choice.

Some higher-end cameras or external recorders are able to capture ProRes files, and a Windows user can then edit them directly (depending on what type of ProRes it is). That is a very valid workflow, but I wouldn’t call that a ProRes workflow so much as a starting-with-ProRes workflow.

If you’re using any kind of proxy workflow or intermediate workflow, then you’re going to need to choose a different codec to encode. Decode is not enough.

It’s a very telling article that points out the shortcomings of the Windows platform when dealing with Apple ProRes as your primary codec in your post production workflow. It’s not surprising considering you’re crossing platforms. It’s pretty clear that Apple didn’t intend ProRes to be an easy go of it in the Windows platform. Why would it? But as Kong points out, even using third party encoders to cross the divide, there are problems with reliability and consistency. At the end of the day, most end up using more than one codec out of desperate necessity.

Read the rest of Kong’s article here.

(published with permission)

About James DeRuvo 671 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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