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ProRes File Sizes: Just How Big Are They? Let’s Find Out…

How big are ProRes file sizes? They’re bigger than usual files but there’s a unique twist that negates this difference – here’s what you need to know…



When it comes to video codecs, the size of the files they produce is a critical factor to consider. This is particularly true for ProRes, a high-quality codec developed by Apple. ProRes is known for its excellent performance and quality, but these come at the cost of larger file sizes compared to other codecs. This article will delve into the specifics of ProRes file sizes and what you can expect when using this codec.

Understanding ProRes

ProRes is a family of codecs, each offering different levels of compression and, consequently, different file sizes. The ProRes family includes ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422, ProRes 422 LT, and ProRes 422 Proxy. Each of these codecs is designed for different use cases, balancing the need for quality against file size and data rate requirements.

Apple’s ProRes Codec

Here’s a brief overview of each variant of Apple’s ProRes 422 codec:

ProRes 422 HQ

  • This is a higher-quality version of Apple ProRes 422.
  • It preserves visual quality at the same high level as Apple ProRes 4444 but for 4:2:2 image sources.
  • It supports up to 10-bit video sources and has a target data rate of approximately 220 Mbps at 1920×1080 and 29.97 fps.

ProRes 422

  • This is a high-quality codec for general use and provides an excellent balance between quality and file size.
  • It supports up to 10-bit video sources and has a target data rate of approximately 147 Mbps at 1920×1080 and 29.97 fps.
  • Ideal for digital production processes, such as broadcast and theatrical productions.

ProRes 422 LT

  • This is a more compressed version of Apple ProRes 422 with roughly 70 percent of the data rate.
  • It offers visually lossless preservation of high-quality professional HD video but at a smaller file size compared to Apple ProRes 422.
  • It supports up to 10-bit video sources and has a target data rate of approximately 102 Mbps at 1920×1080 and 29.97 fps.

ProRes 422 Proxy

  • An even more compressed codec than Apple ProRes 422 LT, designed for use in offline workflows.
  • It provides roughly 30 percent of the data rate of Apple ProRes 422 for efficient editing and low storage costs.
  • Ideal for multicam editing and on-set previsualization, or other workflows requiring low data rates but full-resolution video.
  • It supports up to 10-bit video sources and has a target data rate of approximately 45 Mbps at 1920×1080 and 29.97 fps.

ProRes File Sizes

ProRes files are significantly larger than those produced by many other codecs. This is because ProRes is a less compressed codec, meaning it retains more information from the original video. While this leads to larger file sizes, it also results in higher quality videos.

According to Apple, ProRes files can be up to 30 times larger than HEVC files. This means that if you’re storing your files on your device or using iCloud Photos to store your photos, you might run out of space more quickly than you expect.

Additionally, iCloud has limits on file size, which could be a consideration if you’re using this service.

My advice? Invest in a decent-quality external SDD for storing your ProRES files. This will free up room on both your iPhone and your computer.

ProRes 422 LT

ProRes 422 LT is a more highly compressed codec than Apple ProRes 422, with roughly 70 percent of the data rate and 30 percent smaller file sizes. This codec is perfect for environments where storage capacity and data rate are at a premium. The target data rate of Apple ProRes 422 LT is approximately 102 Mbps at 1920 x 1080 resolution and 29.97 fps.

ProRes Variants and Their File Sizes

Different variants of ProRes produce different file sizes. For instance, ProRes Proxy, the lowest quality variant, produces the smallest file sizes. On the other hand, ProRes 422 HQ, the highest quality variant, produces the largest files. The other variants, ProRes 422 and ProRes 422 LT, offer a balance between file size and quality.

Conclusion

While ProRes offers excellent quality and performance, it does produce larger file sizes compared to other codecs. This is something to keep in mind when planning your storage needs. Is it worth shooting in ProRes? Absolutely! The superior quality and ease of editing that ProRes offers make it totally worth using if you want the best-looking content possible.

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin is a leading UK technology journalist with a focus on consumer tech trends and data security. Renowned for his insightful analysis, Richard has contributed to Sky News, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 2, and CNBC, making complex tech issues accessible to a broad audience.

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