For years there has been a void in the media business. For one thing Apple left the playing field at the top of its game by both killing SHAKE the industry standard for visual effects and compositing at the time and Final Cut Pro 7 which also was the industry standard for editing at the time of its death. The only thing I can compare these two events to is the time when the Death Star destroyed Alderaan in the Star Wars saga A New Hope and Obi-Wan Kenobi said “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.” It’s no secret in the industry that Apple made a major mistake and we won’t mention the small black trashcan that they call a Mac Pro. Oops… I guess we mentioned it.
What is important to note is the influence these two softwares and Apple had on the entertainment industry. Apple Pro Res was a blip in terms of codecs. It was a small format in an ocean of formats all providing different advantages and features. Anyone from the old easy HDV days will tell you that Apple Intermediate Codec was a life line when all video was presented in interlaced hell and AVIDs often failed at their outputs due to mixing media while Final Cut Pro 5/6/7 could literally take a beating with anything your threw at it. Once progressive video came into play there needed to be a new formate to meet the needs of editors, videographers, and visual effects artists. Apples Pro Res came to save the day with its single image per frame and its variable quality and frame rate. It soon became an industry favorite for everyone in Hollywood and around the world. So once Apple destroyed its connection with the industry buy killing two of its best softwares, completely egging its hold on the film industry by providing it with a black trash can to edit on, and basically saying F-You to anyone who loved, cherished, and in some cases worship the brand as an underdog. There was this residual residue of a codec that stuck around.
Apple Pro Res is not just a simple format. Many of you out in the cosmos have heard of H264 which basically is the standard for video compression when we upload our blooper videos or greatest opus’s of animation to YouTube. MP4 is another term for the codec. But many people often have no idea what they are editing in or have even heard of a codec in Apple Pro Res. for one thing this Apple codec is used everywhere. Did I mention that earlier? What’s weird is when Apple killed their products they didn’t count on everyone including the competition using their compression format. This is because they focused mainly on where the money was and that was the iPhone which utilized H264 formats. Now fast forward and everyone from Avid to Adobe (on Mac) has Apple Pro Res Codecs built into their systems. So the announcement of Adobe bringing Apple Po Res to Premier is a very big deal. Mainly because Windows is Apples competition in a lot of arenas and since Apple left the playing field in many ways it looks as if Window’s and PC’s are taking over the film and animation market where Apple abandoned it when they were on top.
Yes, I know PC’s and Windows have been over powering Mac’s for some years now in terms of GPU rendering CGI elements and processing power. Us classic Apple fans still hold onto and upgrade our 2010 Multi-core Power Intel Mac Towers with as much as they can take. But to allow a codec to slip into a PC users hands that has been exclusively an industry standard of Hollywood Mac filmmakers is a big deal. Add to this Premier has slowly been taking over the industry and is now the industry standard in the television industry. So this marks the end of an era, it’s an added nail in the coffin of Apple’s film devision, and it’s a welcomed addition to allowing more affordable editing and visual effects tools while still complying with industry standards and practices.
So here’s really what you should know for those newbies who are just scratching their heads right now. Apple Pro Res comes in a number of flavors. There’s Apple Pro Res Proxy which you use when editing or doing VFX but want to still maintain the closest resolution you can without a final output compression. Then there’s the Apple Pro Res LT which is a light version you send to clients for review. Next we have just good old Apple Pro Res 422 which often is the delivery format for small production houses that either feed to the web or online content providers and sometimes to television networks. And finally we have Apple Pro Res 4444 which is the highest uncompressed version of the codec and allows you the least amount of degradation and degeneration while providing high quality and resolution for delivery. I know, I know there is someone geek or nerd out there saying “Oh you missed this” or “no, that’s not all the information.” Okay slow your roll bastion of completely overwhelming information that drives normal people to cower in a corner and cry. This is just a simple comment on the epic event that just happened.
What’s important here is that you reader if you haven’t already done so is to take note and be ready to start delivering all your work in Apple Pro Res codecs. It’s the industry standard for a reason. There’s a lot to be said about industry practices and this simple rant about a loved and favored codec will not do justice in terms of the true under the engine technology. Just know that if anyone asks you to deliver something in Hollywood or professionally you can now expect it to be one of the many Apple Pro Res codecs. Now Go Out There And Make Something!!!