Quicktime: Apple ProRes

Quicktime: Export as Apple ProRes

This guide will give you step-by-step instructions to exporting your video as a Quicktime movie using the Apple ProRes codec’s.

You should use the Apple ProRes codec’s when you wish to re-use your footage (e.g. for editing again at a later date or for archiving) or if you are transcoding from AVCHD. Apple ProRes supports High Definition (HD) and Standard Definition (SD).

The file size varies depending on which codec you choose, the duration of your video and its dimensions, 1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080 for example.

Apple ProRes 4444
Ideal for animation, motion graphics at cinema quality and footage with an alpha channel. As with the Animation codec, it will be a larger file size than most other codec’s. It supports 4:4:4 colour spaces (RGB and Y’CBCR) and 12-bit pixel depth, with a lossless alpha channel.

Apple ProRes 422 (HQ)
Ideal for animation at a slightly reduced file size or working with video cameras that record to a 4:2:2 colour space. This codec supports full-width at 10-bit pixel depths.

Apple ProRes 422
Similar to Apple ProRes 422 but at a significantly lower data rate.

Apple ProRes 422 (LT)
Ideal for transcoding AVCHD for editing in Final Cut Pro and multi-camera editing. This codec supports full-width, 10-bit sequences.

Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy)
Supports full-frame, 10-bit, 4:2:2 at HD data rates below 36Mbps. This codec is ideal for drafts.

All Apple ProRes codec’s are frame-independent and VBR (Variable Bit Rate)

Note: Check your frame size before exporting to Quicktime.

How to access the Quicktime Export Options:

Final Cut Pro/Final Cut Express –
File > Export > Using Quicktime Conversion
File > Export > Quicktime Movie – (Cmd+E)

iMovie HD –
Share > Quicktime, then choose Compress movie for: Expert Settings

iMovie 08/09 –
Share > Export using Quicktime

Quicktime Pro –
File > Export

After Effects –
Composition > Add to Render Queue – Output Module > Format Options

Guide for Final Cut Pro

  1. Name the file, choose where to save it.
  2. Choose File for Format/Export and click Quicktime Movie…:
  3. Click on Current Settings drop down menu to view codec options:
  4. A list of codecs will emerge. Scroll to an appropriate Apple ProRes Codec:
  5. Under Include, click the Audio and Video drop down menu. This allows you to export Audio and Video, Video Only or Audio Only:
  6. You can include Markers if you are working in Final Cut Pro. Press Save when you are ready to create a Quicktime file.


Q: What is a codec?
A: The codec is the format that the video/audio is encoded (saved) as. Quicktime itself is not a format, it is a container or wrapper for various audio and video formats. Therefore a Quicktime movie could be encoded in a variety of formats, e.g. DV-PAL, Animation, H.264, etc.

Codec is short for Coder-Decoder. When saving, the data that represents the video/audio is encoded as a particular format. When the file is played back, the data is decoded using the same format. The player needs to know what the format of the file is to be able to successfully decode (play) it.


Apple's Quicktime webpage
Apple's Quicktime tutorials
Apple's Quicktime support page
Quicktime User Guide

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