In a surprise update ahead of NAB, Apple has introduced a brand new video format called ProRes RAW. The format was introduced alongside an update to Final Cut Pro X, which also added advanced closed captioning tools for professional filmmakers.
The captioning tools are neat—they allow video editors to more easily create, view, edit, and deliver captions, with support for both the CEA-608 and iTT formats—but this feature will no doubt be overshadowed by the much bigger news: the introduction of ProRes RAW.
As the name suggests, ProRes RAW is an evolution of the Apple ProRes video codec. Apple claims that ProRes RAW "combines the visual and workflow benefits of RAW video with the stunning performance of ProRes." By pulling RAW data from the sensor, video editors will have a lot more dynamic range flexibility—important as more and more displays, including Apple's own iPhone X, become capable of displaying true HDR—all while taking advantage of the space and performance benefits of a compressed ProRes file.
In fact, Apple claims that ProRes RAW files take up less space than ProRes 4444. And since it's Apple's format, it has been performance optimized for macOS so that you can play full-quality 4K ProRes RAW files on your current MacBook Pro or iMac in real time without rendering.
The format drops today, and already Apple has made inroads into the professional community with Atomos and DJI. ProRes RAW compatibility will be made available as a free update for Atomos Shogun Inferno and Sumo19 users, and as "a free update for users with the RAW activation package" for the DJI Inspire 2 Drone and Zenmuse X7 camera.
Once updated, Final Cut Pro users will be able to work natively with ProRes RAW and the ProRes RAW HQ files created by the two Atomos external recorders mentioned above.
To learn more, check out the full press release below; or, if you're feeling exceptionally brave and nerdy, you can read Apple's full white paper on the new format here. Final Cut Pro X version 10.4.1 will be available as a free update to current users ($300 USD for new users) starting April 9th.
Final Cut Pro X update introduces ProRes RAW and advanced closed captioning
Apple is introducing a new update to Final Cut Pro X, the most popular version of its professional video editing software, with more than 2.5 million seats. Final Cut Pro 10.4.1 introduces a groundbreaking format from Apple, ProRes RAW, which combines the visual and workflow benefits of RAW video with the performance of ProRes. The update also adds advanced closed captioning tools that allow video editors to easily view, edit and deliver captions from right within the app. Apple is also adding complementary new features to Final Cut Pro companion apps, Motion and Compressor.
ProRes RAW is a new format from Apple that offers the quality and workflow advantages of RAW with the stunning performance of ProRes. With ProRes RAW, editors can import, edit and grade pristine footage with RAW data from the camera sensor, providing ultimate flexibility when adjusting highlights and shadows — ideal for HDR workflows. And with performance optimized for macOS, editors can play full-quality 4K ProRes RAW files on MacBook Pro and iMac systems in real time without rendering. ProRes RAW files are even smaller than ProRes 4444 files, allowing editors to make better use of storage while providing an excellent format for archiving.
Final Cut Pro editors can work natively with ProRes RAW and ProRes RAW HQ files created by Atomos recorders. The format will be available as a free update for owners of Atomos Sumo 19 and Shogun Inferno devices. The format will also be available as part of a forthcoming upgrade package to users of the DJI Inspire 2 drone and Zenmuse X7 Super 35mm camera system designed for aerial cinematography.
Closed Captioning Tools
As closed captioning becomes increasingly important around the world, Final Cut Pro now includes powerful closed captioning tools for professional filmmakers, YouTubers and students looking to add captions to their projects without the need for expensive third-party software or services. Users can import closed caption files directly into their project or create them from scratch. Captions appear in the viewer during playback and can be attached to video or audio clips in the timeline, so they automatically move with the clips to which they’re connected. An all-new captions inspector makes it simple to adjust caption text, color, alignment, location and more. Users can even create captions in multiple languages within the same timeline and easily share captioned videos to YouTube and Vimeo. And in the share window, a new Roles tab displays titles, video and audio roles in a single consolidated interface, making it easy to configure roles and closed captions when sharing.
Motion 5.4.1 and ProRes RAW enable motion graphics artists to take full advantage of RAW image quality with superb performance and flexibility when designing graphics and effects. Compressor 4.4.1 gains support for closed captioning with comprehensive controls to view, adjust and deliver captions as part of a batch or iTunes Store package.
Pricing and Availability
Final Cut Pro 10.4.1 will be available on April 9 as a free update for existing users, and for $299.99 (US) for new users on the Mac App Store. Motion 5.4.1 and Compressor 4.4.1 will also be available on April 9 as free updates for existing users, and for $49.99 (US) each for new users on the Mac App Store. Education customers can purchase the Pro Apps Bundle for Education for $199.99 (US). For more information, please visit: apple.com/final-cut-pro.