ProRes RAW. Is it ProRes? Is it raw? What is ProRes even? How do I get it? Why do I want it? What do I do with it once I have it? Okay, okay! We heard you. ProRes RAW is an exciting and relatively new video format, but it brings with it an almost endless number of questions. I will start off by saying that it is well worth the effort since raw video can offer increased dynamic range and detail than standard formats. Also, you do have to be sure that every stage in your process supports ProRes RAW. If you follow along here, we will help get you from capture, through the edit, and, hopefully, to a finished video project.
ProRes RAW Explained
Before we get into the complicated meat of “What is ProRes RAW?” we are first going to break down a few key terms and concepts, especially since one of the more complex things to talk about in digital imaging is raw image data.
- Digital cameras and image sensors capture data using an array of photosites (commonly referred to, incorrectly, as pixels).
- The information recorded by the sensor is usually converted into a full-color image we can view on various devices.
- Raw image data is captured and recorded prior to this transformation by the camera into a viewable image.
- Some cameras can save this raw image data in a special file that can be read by advanced editing software (e.g. Adobe Photoshop).
- The benefit of working with raw data is more control and information during the editing stage—a desired trait for professional photo and video workflows.
- Raw files are generally larger than the compressed final images (e.g. JPEGs).
Next, let’s talk about your regular ol’ ProRes codec (short for “coder-decoder” and explain how a computer either writes or reads a file).