You may have already heard that Apple introduced a new ProRes format with its most recent software updates. The new codec is called ProRes 4444 XQ and as you probably guessed, it is the highest-quality version of Apple ProRes currently available.
Here’s an informational blurb straight from Apple about the new ProRes codec:
“The highest-quality version of Apple ProRes for 4:4:4:4 image sources (including alpha channels), with a ≈. 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.”
Final Cut Pro version 10.1.2 supports ProRes 4444 XQ and ARRI has announced that ALEXA cameras will also support the new codec. The update for ALEXA cameras will come with ARRI’s Software Update Packet SUP 10, which should be released next month (August). ARRI sates that the ALEXA XR/XT cameras will support ProRes 4444 XQ in both HD and 2K resolutions.
If you really want to geek out and learn more about the new Apple ProRes 4444 XQ, you can read Apple’s White Paper.