ProRes 4444 LogoApple just recently updated Final Cut Pro X, with better options for managing optimized, proxy, and rendered media, so that they can be stored anywhere outside of the library, and also all be deleted from inside Final Cut Pro X. In addition to the changes in FCPX 10.1.2, Apple updated Compressor and Motion, and they also launched a brand new codec, ProRes 4444 XQ, which promises even higher fidelity than ProRes 4444 at the cost of additional disk space.

Apple Kills Aperture & Updates Final Cut, Compressor, & Motion

Besides the updates to their video programs, Apple also killed off the photo program Aperture. For a quick overview of some of the changes, here are the guys from Ripple Training to explain:

And here's everything that's new in Final Cut Pro 10.1.2

  • Optimized, proxy, and rendered media can be stored at any location outside of the library
  • Easily delete optimized, proxy, and rendered media from within Final Cut Pro X
  • Used media indicators for Compound clips, Multicam clips, and Synced clips
  • Option to show only unused media in the Browser
  • Apply a standard (Rec. 709) look in real time to high dynamic range and wide color gamut video from ARRI, Blackmagic Design, Canon, and Sony cameras
  • Automatically apply an ARRI embedded 3D LUT from the new AMIRA camera
  • Support for Apple ProRes 4444 XQ
  • Improved speed and accuracy when synchronizing clips
  • Audio recording improvements including countdown and automatic Audition creation from multiple takes
  • Fast export of cuts-only projects containing XDCAM media
  • Export entire library as a single XML file
  • Selecting a library displays key metadata in the Inspector
  • Adjust relative and absolute volume of a clip or range selection
  • Create Keywords from Finder Tags when importing media
  • Option to sort events by date or name in the Libraries list
  • Import a clip by dragging directly into the Browser
  • Share 4K video to Vimeo

Media management has changed once again in FCPX, but these new changes should allow for a lot more flexibility in where you store your media. has a great rundown of the new features in Final Cut, which should make managing projects a little easier.

Here's what's new in Compressor 4.1.2:

  • Support for Apple ProRes 4444 XQ
  • Status display and improved responsiveness when using "Send to Compressor" from Final Cut Pro X and Motion
  • Improved performance and color accuracy when encoding H.264 source files from GoPro cameras
  • Fixes issues transcoding alpha channels in image sequences
  • Includes general stability improvements

And what's new in Motion 5.1.1:

  • Support for Apple ProRes 4444 XQ
  • Improved Sequence Text behavior for animating characters, words, and lines
  • Enhanced Contrast filter parameters for refined adjustments

New Apple ProRes 4444 XQ Codec

In addition to the software updates, Apple introduced the highest-fidelity codec in their lineup. This is what Apple has to say about the new ProRes 4444 XQ in their White Paper:

The highest-quality version of Apple ProRes for 4:4:4:4 image sources (including alpha channels), with a very high data rate to preserve the detail in high-dynamic-range imagery generated by today’s highest-quality digital image sensors. Apple ProRes 4444 XQ preserves dynamic ranges several times greater than the dynamic range of Rec. 709 imagery—even against the rigors of extreme visual effects processing, in which tone-scale blacks or highlights are stretched significantly. Like standard Apple ProRes 4444, this codec supports up to 12 bits per image channel and up to 16 bits for the alpha channel. Apple ProRes 4444 XQ features a target data rate of approximately 500 Mbps for 4:4:4 sources at 1920 x 1080 and 29.97 fps.

ARRI also recently announced that they will be supporting the codec in a new ALEXA update:

Final Cut Pro version 10.1.2 fully supports ProRes 4444 XQ for editing, compositing, rendering, and exporting. ARRI ALEXA XT cameras and ALEXA Classic cameras with the XR Module will gain ProRes 4444 XQ capability with ARRI's Software Update Packet SUP 10, which is scheduled for an open beta in July and a final release in August. ALEXA XR/XT cameras will support ProRes 4444 XQ in both HD and 2K resolutions. The ALEXA XR/XT cameras will be the world's first cameras capable of encoding ProRes 4444 XQ.

ARRI ALEXA ProRes-4444-XQ-Codecs_03

Below are some pictures showing the data rate comparisons of all of the ProRes codecs (it's supported on Mountain Lion 10.8 and above):



Here is ProRes compared to uncompressed at 1080p and 30fps:


The added fidelity from the new ProRes 4444 XQ codec should help with material that's going through multiple passes, and you'll still save on hard drive space instead of going completely uncompressed. It's also going to be beneficial as a capture codec, as evidenced by the fact that ARRI is using it in the next update to their ALEXA camera. We will likely see it supported by other devices, but for the time being, it probably won't find its way into anything that doesn't already do ProRes 4444.

For more on the new codec, check out Apple's ProRes June White Paper here. Check out the links below to download the updates for the Apple products.


[via TechCrunch &]