Create ProRes Settings in Adobe Media Encoder

Posted on by Larry

ProRes is an outstanding family of codecs, even if Adobe Premiere Pro is your principle editing tool. However, Adobe did not create any ProRes presets until the current (2019) version.

Here’s how to create a ProRes setting in both current versions Adobe Media Encoder (AME) and earlier.

NOTE: Here’s an article on how to create a ProRes sequence setting in Adobe Premiere.

WHAT IS PRORES?

“Apple ProRes is a high quality, lossy video compression format developed by Apple Inc. for use in post-production that supports up to 8K. It is the successor of the Apple Intermediate Codec and was introduced in 2007 with Final Cut Studio 2. It is widely used as a final format delivery method for HD broadcast files in commercials, features, Blu-ray and streaming.

“ProRes is a line of intermediate codecs, which means they are intended for use during video editing, and not for practical end-user viewing. The benefit of an intermediate codec is that it retains higher quality than end-user codecs while still requiring much less expensive disk systems compared to uncompressed video. It is comparable to Avid’s DNxHD codec or CineForm which offer similar bitrates and are also intended to be used as intermediate codecs.” (Wikipedia)

All variations of ProRes have a video bit-depth of 10 bits or greater.

NOTE: AME does not ship with the ProRes codecs. The easiest, and cheapest, way to get them is to purchase either Apple Motion or Compressor. Either includes all the ProRes codecs.

FOR OLDER SYSTEMS

Open Adobe Media Encoder and click the plus icon in the top left corner. Then, select Create Encoding Preset.

NOTE: Create Ingest Preset creates import presets for Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

This opens the Preset Settings window.

Give your new preset a name, then, from the Format menu, pick QuickTime.

NOTE: QuickTime is a word with many meanings: it is both a movie format and a “foundation” for a variety of older codecs. The QuickTime 7 Foundation is going away with macOS 10.15 and later. However, the QuickTime movie format is fully supported by Apple and continuing.

After you select QuickTime, the Based on Preset menu changes to include a variety of ProRes settings. (This menu will look different depending upon which version of AME you are running.) Here, I’m selecting ProRes 422. Which version should you pick?

It depends upon the video you initially shot. (Remember, ProRes is designed for editing and master files, not for posting to the web.)

NOTE: Converting a lower-quality camera format, such as H.264, to a higher-quality format, such as ProRes 422, does not add more quality. It just means that you won’t lose any quality during the conversion.

The rest of the Basic Video Settings are fine.

As you can see from the settings in the Audio panel, ProRes defaults to fully uncompressed, stereo audio using a 48,000 Hz sample rate and 16-bit depth. You can adjust audio bit-depth up to 32-bit.

NOTE: Audio bit depth controls the gradation of audio volume. 16-bit is fine for recording and distribution. Most audio mixing is done at 32-bit depth.

NOTE: When creating final output, be sure to check Use Maximum Render Quality. This will improve the look of effects in a final output. It is not necessary when transcoding from 8-bit video to ProRes.

I also recommend against Use Previews. Using previews saves time by reusing existing render files. However, I prefer to create all new renders for my final output. Again, for transcoding camera masters this setting does not apply.

When you have adjusted your settings, click OK.

FOR CURRENT SYSTEMS

For current system, Adobe created a new ProRes category containing all six ProRes variations.

You’ll find them in System Presets > Broadcast > Apple ProRes

NOTE: What about Apple ProRes RAW? This is created at the camera during initial recording, NOT in transcoding, because it needs to record the Bayer pattern (pixel locations) directly from the camera sensor. You would NEVER transcode existing media into ProRes RAW because the video is no longer “linked” to the camera sensor.

Here’s an article that explains ProRes RAW further.

OPERATIONS

The new setting now appears in User Presets & Groups. At this point, you can apply it to clips the same as any other compression setting.

NOTE: Here’s a webinar that covers how to use Adobe Media Encoder.


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