Stocksy accepts the most common and broadly supported codecs used in post-production for our video product offering: Apple ProRes and H.264. Do you know when you should use each of these?
Since our video product is intended for post-production in an intermediate workflow, we want to make sure to choose the right codec depending on the source footage we’re working with (aka ‘capture codec’).
The main goal for our deliverables is to preserve the best possible quality with minimal data loss. The main factors that will help you decide are storage and editing speed.
H.264 is the most common and widely used codec meant for various end-uses such as broadcast or web-based distribution. It has little flexibility in color grading and editing due to compression, bitrate, and processing speed. Use this for your graded exports if your footage was shot in an 8-bit capture codec (like h264) and you want to keep a balance between quality and smaller file sizes for low bandwidth upload speeds. Make sure to export using the minimum target bitrates of 20Mbit/s for 1080p resolutions and 45Mbit/s for 4k. If your h264 exports have banding issues (such as in a clear blue sky), try exporting in a ProRes 422 codec instead.
ProRes 422 is the most popular codec in the professional post-production community because of its flexibility in editing, color grading performance, high-quality compression, and bit rate. ProRes 422 has a 10-bit depth, making it ideal for displaying a more comprehensive range of colors than an 8-bit image where artifacts or banding can occur. Use this codec to deliver graded videos from cameras capable of recording at least 10-bit color depth.
ProRes 422 HQ
With the same qualities as the ProRes 422 codec, ProRes 422 HQ offers a higher data rate compression with lossless image quality integrity. This codec is ideal for color grading flexibility at the same 10-bit color depth as ProRes 422. Use this codec to deliver your ungraded videos from qualified cameras that shoot in a log source format.
Prores 4444 is generally used for motion graphics, VFX, and composites or clips with alpha channels. This codec offers a high-quality image practically indistinguishable from the original source. It has a wide dynamic range and a color depth of 12-bit. Although ideal for a lossless image, reproduction can be taxing on processing power and results in significantly big file sizes. Use this codec for the ungraded log uploads if you filmed your source with professional video cameras such as Arri, RED, etc.
ProRes 4444 HQ
ProRes 4444 HQ is Apple’s top-quality codec with a high data rate, including alpha channels. This codec can preserve many stops of dynamic range, making it possible to display great detail in the shadows or highlights. At the same 12-bit color depth as ProRes 4444, ProRes 4444 HQ is highly flexible in color grading and post-processing, making it the perfect choice for CGI work and compositing. Use it only as ungraded log deliverables if filmed with high-end professional cameras.
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