Since the launch of ProRes 422 in Final Cut Pro 6, I’ve been vocally disappointed that Apple didn’t choose to license Avid’s DNxHD family of codecs instead of developing their own competing (and almost identical) ProRes 422. Right down to the data rates used, the two codec families are very similar.
Except DNxHD is truly cross platform including *creating* files on Windows. Apple might not want to acknowledge it but the best high end compositing apps (Nuke et al.) are Windows and many of the highest end 3D apps are Windows only. That’s the world Apple’s customers live in and not having a way to create ProRes 422 on Windows is still a failing of that codec family. DNxHD codecs can carry alpha channels in all versions. Plus, if Apple had adopted DNxHD then media would be (sort of) compatible between Final Cut Pro and Media Composer. (A rewrap from MXF to QuickTime would be required, or the use of RayTools to read MXF natively into Final Cut Pro.)
But with the release of Final Cut Pro 7 and the new ProRes 4444 codec, I can see why Apple wanted to “do their own thing” as it were. They get to control the future of the codec family without involving third parties.
There’s no DNxHD 444 codec. There is now a ProRes 4444 codec and there is now alpha channel support for those who want it. (Admittedly I’d like to see alpha channel support in the 220 and 140 Mbit versions as well, but perhaps I shouldn’t be greedy.)
While it only duplicated DNxHD functionality (and really the new 45 Mbit Offline codec in ProRes duplicates the similar DNxHD 36 codec) it didn’t make sense to have competing offerings.
Giving us more than DNxHD does, makes up for the duplication.
But please, Apple, give us a way to create those files on Windows. I’m no Windows fan but this is the real world and Windows exists in media creation.