iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max receive Apple ProRes. What it is and why is it a big deal

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    Whether you are a filmmaker, a cameraman, or just love to record videos, the iPhone 13 gives you more creative options.

    Patrick Holland / CNET
    This story is part of Apple event, our full coverage of the latest Apple news.

    Apples iPhone 13 gets an exciting upgrade later this year. The company revealed four versions of the new iPhone at his September event, Mirroring last year iPhone 12 Collection with a standard, Mini, Pro and Pro Max Models. Among the iPhone 13 upgrades, one feature in particular will arouse the interest of all video recording enthusiasts: Apple ProRes.

    Continue reading: CNETs iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pros and 13 Pro Max ratings

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    Apple ProRes optimizes videos and is especially useful for people who make color grading or using editing software like Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro. (The feature earned Apple an Engineering Emmy Award in 2020.) The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max will be the first phones to support the Apple ProRes video codec. However, the feature is currently not available for testing and will be released later this year.

    ProRes video files have lower compression compared to the more common H.264 and H.265 codecs currently used on the iPhone. ProRes protects the image quality of the video while enabling fast encoding and decoding.

    There could be other benefits for ProRes on iPhone 13. Chances are, your iPhone will not only allow you to record videos in ProRes but also to edit, which is currently not possible.

    If iOS supports ProRes editing, it isn’t too great to imagine ProRes support on the iPad and its larger, more edit-friendly screen. If that M1 iPad Pro was released, a common complaint from reviewers and YouTubers was the lack of MacOS-like Pro apps like Final Cut Pro X. Perhaps the ProRes support is the missing piece? We will see. In the meantime, here’s everything you need to know about Apple ProRes.

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    The iPhone 13 could take video recording to a new level.

    Patrick Holland / CNET

    What is Apple ProRes?

    It is a video codec that Apple developed in 2007. ProRes can compress a video into a small file while preserving much of the image quality and color. It’s a widely used codec optimized for editing software like Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Davinci Resolve.

    Why should you have Apple ProRes on an iPhone?

    In recent years, video cameras such as the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K have been able to record video and save the file as ProRes on an SD card or hard drive. This speeds up editing as you don’t have to spend time optimizing the file.

    There are currently a number of people using iPhones to capture footage for movies and videos, whether professional or otherwise. filmmakers Steven Soderbergh made two feature films with an iPhone. I often complement videos that I take with a dedicated camera with footage that I have taken with my iPhone for CNET review videos. ProRes video would allow Soderbergh and other iPhone filmmakers to maintain better image quality and color, which would give them more leeway to adjust both in post-production.


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    Which iPhone 13 models support ProRes?

    Both of Apple’s new Pro models, the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, will receive support for ProRes videos later this year. That said, Apple followed the same playbook it did for the iPhone 12 when launching Apple ProRaw photos.

    What is a video codec?

    Pretty much all videos are compressed when you record them. Uncompressed raw video requires an enormous amount of storage space. A codec like Apple ProRes compresses this video into something smaller without degrading the image quality too much. Other codecs are H.264 and H.265, which are currently used on all phones.

    What is the difference between Apple ProRes and H.264 / H.265 video codecs?

    Imagine folding a sheet of 8.5 “by 11” paper to fit inside an envelope. To fit in a smaller envelope, you’ll need to fold the paper more. But the more you fold a piece of paper, the more creases it has.

    Video codecs work in a similar way, and H.264 / H.265 video uses more compression to create a smaller file. The disadvantage, however, is that the image quality is not as robust and it takes a long time to encode an H.264 / H.265 video.

    Apple ProRes uses less compression to retain more picture quality and color, and to encode and decode faster. But that means it has a larger file size. ProRes was intended for post production workflows such as editing and coloring. H.264 and H.265 are designed to be easier to share.

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