ProRes for Windows

Apple released last month a Windows decoder for their ProRes intermediate, visually lossless, codec. Quicktime 7.5.5 also includes the decoder, although there is no encoder for Windows.

This release is actually godsend, as it can help with the interoperability of various platforms. Here’s a scenario for video editor workers need to collaborate with Linux, Windows and Macs, but they don’t want to use uncompressed footage.

Mac: Final Cut Studio, Avid Codecs LE freeware, and the freeware Perian codecs installed.
Windows: Huffyuv, Avid Codecs LE freeware, Lagarith, and Quicktime 7.5.5 installed.
Linux: FFmpeg or Mencoder encoder installed.

Exporting from Mac to Windows: Use ProRes or Avid DNxHD.
Exporting from Windows to Mac: Use Huffyuv in YUY2 mode or Avid DNxHD.
Exporting from Linux to Windows: Use Huffyuv in YUY2 mode.
Exporting from Windows to Linux: Use Huffyuv in YUY2 mode.
Exporting from Linux to Mac: Use Huffyuv in YUY2 mode.
Mac to Mac: ProRes, Avid DNxHD, or the less good AIC.
Windows to Windows: Huffyuv in YUY2 mode, Avid DNxHD or Lagarith RGB/YUY2.
Linux to Linux: Huffyuv in YUY2 mode.

Exporting from Mac to Linux: You will have to either use uncompressed, or export with the Mac version of Lagarith (in RGB mode), load it on a Windows PC (which should also have Lagarith installed), and then use either a Windows video editor or mencoder that can read “Video for Windows” AVI files (so it can read your Lagarith Mac file), and export in Huffyuv in YUY2 mode. Then this Huffyuv file would be readable by Linux. Expect color shifts in all those re-encodings, although no major quality degradation.

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