This Is Huge: Adobe Now Supports ProRes Export on Windows

This Is Huge: Adobe Now Supports ProRes Export on Windows

Premiere Pro and After Effects users were never able to export ProRes files on Windows computers but this limitation has just been lifted by the latest Adobe update.

“Please render the video in ProRes.” How many times did video editors hear this request from a client or an agency? At this point, Windows users have to politely explain why their PC cannot export ProRes due to artificial license limitation on Windows platform. In a kind but condescending tone, I usually propose to deliver the video file in Cineform or DNX as an alternative but there is always this Apple centric agency that only takes ProRes because it’s “the industry standard” and "we love paying three times the price for our computers" I think in my head but I have to bite my tongue not to say this.

At this point, I usually request help from my Apple user friends (yes, I have a few) to transcode the file for me. Some people found third-party software or plugins that can export ProRes but these applications are not official and can generate compatibility issue, encoding errors, and instability. You could also use Blackmagic Fusion on Windows, one of the only video software able to output ProRes.

But today, after many years of unfair PC discrimination, Windows users are now able to deliver ProRes files natively. With the latest Adobe updates, ProRes 4444 and ProRes 422 export is available within Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Media Encoder on Windows 10. Humanity rejoices. This is an excellent and unexpected move from Adobe and Apple.

Simply head to the Creative Cloud desktop application to update Premiere (version CC 13.0.2), After Effects, and Media Encoder.

Upon exporting, select QuickTime in the format tab and choose one of the ProRes presets. As a reminder, here is a summary of the different formats from the lowest to the highest level of quality:

ProRes 422 Proxy: This lowest setting is highly compressed for use in offline workflows that require low data rates but full-resolution video. It should only be used for editing as a Proxy file.

ProRes 422 LT: Better than proxy, this codec is a compromise between file size and quality. Reserved for low to medium quality projects.

ProRes 422: A high-quality compressed codec offering nearly all the benefits of Apple ProRes 422 HQ. This is the regular work horse Codec for most people. The perfect balance between size and quality.

ProRes 422 HQ: This format is just a higher data-rate version of Apple ProRes 422 that preserves visual quality. Ideal to render visually lossless files that can go through many generations of decoding and reencoding.

ProRes 4444: An extremely high-quality version for 4:4:4:4 image sources. This codec features full-resolution, mastering-quality 4:4:4:4 RGBA color with lossless alpha channel (transparency) of up to 16 bits.

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19 Comments

Dan Crowther's picture

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Keith Gresham's picture

Blackmagic RAW has apparently rattled a few cages. Can't think of any other reason for them doing this now when then could have done it years ago.

Oliver Kmia's picture

I have no information about that but I was thinking the same thing.

Ansel Spear's picture

Given that Windows users are advised to delete QuickTime from their systems (and Microsoft no longer supports it), is there a way to preview a ProRes encoded output that I'm missing?

Oliver Kmia's picture

Not sure to understand what you are asking. You want to play a ProRes file in Windows? Check Media player classic or VLC. Both are great and free.

Ansel Spear's picture

Well, I'm asking just that! Is there another way to view ProRes on a Windows box other than QT? I haven't got either MPC or VLC to recognise the ProRes codec.

Ansel Spear's picture

Ah! VLC is recognising ProRes now. Thanks Oliver.

Have you guys seen this re 8K editing: https://www.engadget.com/2018/12/13/nvidia-and-red-8k-video-editing/ sounds very promising :)

Oliver Kmia's picture

Yes, I'm working on it. Thanks.

Spy Black's picture

"At this point, Windows users have to politely explain why their PC cannot export ProRes due to artificial license limitation on Windows platform."

So, who's doing was this? Adobe? Microsoft? Apple? As far as I could tell, it was Apple. ProRes exists simply because for the longest time FCP (or possibly the Apple OS) couldn't work with the native software codecs that came out of cameras, so ProRes was created. I suspect Apple simply didn't want to spend on licensing fees, and/or possibly wanted to have their own tollgate in the Apple universe. Apple users had to spend countless hours transcoding back and forth because of it, while Premiere and other apps could directly work with native camera files.

There was never a need for ProRes otherwise, but of course it was hyped as some great format because it was an Apple thing, and it just soaked into the landscape. Eventually recorders were made that could write directly to it so you wouldn't have to waste time transconding, but again it was because FCP couldn't work with native files, but at least now it had some use otherwise. I suspect Blackagic's RAW has put a wrench in Apple's machinery however. Blackmagic hardware and software can be problematic, but I do like that they are a fly in both Apple's and Adobe's ointment. :-)

Oliver Kmia's picture

Correct, it's defintely something with Apple and Adobe. Most likely Apple wants to reserve its Codec to Mac users and/or Adobe was not willing to pay the licensing fee. Perhaps, Blackmagic rocked the boat which is nice.

Spy Black's picture

...seems more like Apple simply couldnt get FCP to work early on with native camera codecs more than anything else. Hence ProRes. It may have also additionally been tolling ProRes use to try to hamper Adobe and Avid, which could work with native codecs.

Tony Teofilo's picture

Probably a silly question. But is there any advantage to exporting to ProRes as opposed to Premiere's YouTube presets when posting to Youtube?

Spy Black's picture

Technically if you use YouTube optimized settings it wouldn't be re-rendered when uploaded, but YouTube's codec and compression settings are a moving target, so it's probably 6 of one, half a dozen of another. You can modify the YouTube settings to create higher or lower quality files as well.

Contrary to "Spy Black's" comments above, Apple developed ProRes for good reasons. The intent of Apple “ProRes” is to retain as much information from the source file but in a file which is far more manageable to edit. It is classed as an intermediate format because it is not the source file nor is it a distribution file type (e.g. H.264, H.265/HVEC). At the time of the development of ProRes, the industry did not have access to the high capacity low-cost storage we have today, nor the computer power. With the advent of 4K and 8K video production, it still has a place in today's production workflows. The presets you mentioned are used to optimize video files when being uploaded to Youtube.

Dissimilar to the "bag of hurt" that had been indicative of video codec licencing ProRes is easily licenced, and a direct result of this is that most video editing applications have support for it.
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT200321

Oliver Kmia's picture

No silly question. You can see the list of supported Codec by youtube here
https://support.google.com/youtube/troubleshooter/2888402?hl=en

But they recommend this
https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1722171?hl=en

There is no advantage of exporting in ProRes to upload on youtube. No matter what you do, Youtube is going to re-encode your video (and most likely lower the bitrate and quality) after the upload so uploading in ProRes is overkill especially if you have a slow internet connection as ProRes file can be very large (I just rendered a 1 minute 4k video and it's 3.5GB).

Personally, I would recommend to export in h.264 for youtube and if you can h.265.
h.265 will take more time to encode on Premiere but for the same image quality, the file will be smaller so you can upload it faster.

Does this get us Windows users any closer to ProRes RAW support?

Anthony John's picture

After spending 2 weeks trying to get my backdrops BMD videos working and liaising with my Mac friends i simply googled this. Updating codecs Tuesday after Holiday weekend. Thanks for advising. Appreciated, will let you know how my workflow goes from here on in.