[Updated Mar. 8, 2020, with new advice throughout.]
Late in 2019, Adobe announced it will add support for the Apple ProRes codec family in Premiere for both Mac (which it has always supported) and Windows (which is new). What this means is that a future version of Premiere will probably change the Sequence settings to reflect this. For now, though, creating a ProRes sequence still requires creating a custom sequence. Here’s how to create a ProRes sequence in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
NOTE: Here’s an article on how to create a ProRes sequence setting in Adobe Media Encoder.
WHAT IS PRORES?
“Apple ProRes is a high quality, lossy video compression format developed by Apple Inc. for use in post-production that supports up to 8K. It is the successor of the Apple Intermediate Codec and was introduced in 2007 with Final Cut Studio 2. It is widely used as a final format delivery method for HD broadcast files in commercials, features, Blu-ray and streaming.
“ProRes is a line of intermediate codecs, which means they are intended for use during video editing, and not for practical end-user viewing. The benefit of an intermediate codec is that it retains higher quality than end-user codecs while still requiring much less expensive disk systems compared to uncompressed video. It is comparable to Avid’s DNxHD codec or CineForm which offer similar bitrates and are also intended to be used as intermediate codecs.” (Wikipedia)
All variations of ProRes have a video bit-depth of 10 bits or greater.
NOTE: Premiere does not ship with the ProRes codecs. The easiest, and cheapest, way to get them is to purchase either Apple Motion or Compressor. Either includes all the ProRes codecs. However, this may change now that Adobe has announced support for ProRes on Windows.
WHICH VERSION OF PRORES SHOULD YOU USE?
This depends upon the video you initially shot. (Remember, ProRes is designed for editing and master files, not for posting to the web.)
NOTE: Converting a lower-quality camera format, such as H.264, to a higher-quality format, such as ProRes 422, does not add more quality. It just means that you won’t lose any quality during the conversion.
THE FASTEST WAY
Codecs are assigned to the sequence, not the project. So, either create a new project or open an existing project.
The easiest way to create a ProRes sequence is to take an existing ProRes clip, with the frame size and frame rate you want to use, import it into the Project panel, then drag it on top of the New Sequence icon in the lower right corner of the Project panel.
This creates a new sequence that exactly matches the format of the source clip.
NOTE: You can also use this technique to create a ProRes sequence even when the camera master format is not ProRes. Create a new sequence using this technique and any ProRes clip, then remove the original ProRes clip after you have edited at least one additional clip into that sequence. Once you have at least one clip in a sequence, the sequence settings can’t be changed.
This is very fast way to create exactly the sequence format you need.
THE CUSTOM WAY
In the event you don’t have any ProRes clips to work with, not to worry. Here’s the process.
Choose File > New Sequence (shortcut: Cmd + N). As you can see in the screen shot above, there are no ProRes presets.
Since I’m going to change the video settings anyway, I’ll pick a format I know well – DV – NTSC, Widescreen 48kHz – because the audio settings are what I need for the new preset.
Click the Settings text button at the top of the New Sequence window
Set Editing Mode to Custom (located at the TOP of the menu). Then, select the frame rate of your camera source material in the Timebase menu.
NOTE: Changing frame rates never improves quality. Try, as much as possible, to shoot the frame rate you need to deliver.
In the Video section, enter:
In the Audio section, leave the defaults alone. ProRes uses uncompressed audio.
In Video Previews:
Here’s what my finished settings look like. Then, save your newly-created preset by clicking Save Preset.
Assign a name and description that make sense to you. Then, to apply these settings to your sequence, click OK, in the lower right corner.
Not only have you created a new, custom sequence, but you’ve also created a preset you can reuse anytime without going through these settings again. You’ll find it in the Custom folder of the New Sequences window.
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