I'm going to be editing more and more DSLR videos, most notably music videos for my band as we start releasing singles and want to know if there is an intermediate format for both cutting and exporting that rivals the kind of features found in ProRes 422 used in Final Cut?

Is it possible to use ProRes in Premiere Pro anyway (with the same advantages in editing speed and bit-depth)?

  • I-frame encoding/decoding for speed.
  • Higher sample depth for making image modifications.
  • Intended for 720p 60fps H.264 footage captured from Canon EOS 60D.

If ProRes itself can be used in Premiere Pro, I have all the tools I need to begin transcoding. Just wondering if anyone has some workflow/codec tips for using an intermediate editing/exporting format in Premiere instead of directly editing .MOVs.

I'm not using an overly powerful Mac but it seems to do the job with editing MOVs and AVCHD files directly (mostly using preview renders). 60fps shots and other HD with effects applied start to make it crumple without rendering previews. It's a MacBook Pro 13" 2.53Ghz Core 2 Duo, 8GB DDR3, 1TB internal 2.5" drive (slow).

I intend to use ProRes or similar footage on an external 7200rpm FireWire drive.

  • In Premiere, AVCHD (in an avi wrapper) is basically equivalent to ProRes. But I have used ProRes in Premiere, and it works great (but I am on a mac)
    – Colum
    Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 2:55
  • I am also on a Mac (13" MacBook Pro Core 2, 8GB DDR3, not the most powerful laptop...). I may just try converting a few clips to ProRes 422 and see how it handles it. Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 2:57
  • It should handle both well. And I use a Macbook (Late 08, 4GB, Core2 @2GHz) for editing. Dont complain :P
    – Colum
    Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 3:01
  • Not complaining :) Just stating a fact. Updated my question btw. Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 3:02
  • I would recommend ProRes if it works for you. AVCHD works great, it just does not like being worked with in real time. ProRes is natively supported by Mac, and has hardware acceleration.
    – Colum
    Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 3:09

2 Answers 2


There's a philosophical difference between delivery codecs (e.g. mpeg4, avchd), editing codecs (e.g. DNxHD, ProRes, Cineform), and capture codecs (e.g. r3d, DVCPROHD). While almost any codec can be used for each of these three stages, your workflow needs will help you decide which are best suited for each stage.

The question you seem to be asking, is "Which editing codec should I transcode to for an online edit?". Editing codecs are generally less compressed and larger on disk, to make playback simpler from a processing perspective. It's definitely possible to use ProRes in Premiere, and coming from DSLR (as of July 2011) 422 is probably (technically) overkill, but it is a reasonable default choice. Another editing codec option to consider is Cineform, since you can get the 1920x1080 codec for free now, as part of the GoPro Cineform Studio package.

There are even specialized tools to help you with transcoding batches of files, such as Magic Bullet Grinder. If you're concerned about editing speed, there's even a chance that Premiere and your computer will be powerful enough to slog through your capture files as-is without transcoding, saving you from this step altogether.

As always, try it for yourself, and test, test, test, your workflow before putting it into production.

  • 1
    On my MBP, it's actually not until I use 60fps footage or apply effects (such as colour filters) to clips that I need to render. I'll be giving ProRes a run to see how it works first then check out the CineForm Studio option considering it's free. Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 5:29
  • 1
    Color filters are the textbook example of heavy processing horsepower needs. Even if you're working with highly optimized modern plugins and software that use all your processor/graphics cores (e.g. Colorista II and Resolve), there's just a limit to how much math a computer can do in realtime. Millions can be spent to get real time performance in "any" circumstance, but it's usually more reasonable to settle for non-real time playback at some point, and disable the filters while editing. Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 5:42
  • I ended up just getting Final Cut Pro X in the end. Commented Jul 11, 2011 at 2:37

If you are going to be doing any serious work with your 60D, I strongly encourage you to stick with Final Cut Studio for your projects.

I work with a producer who shoots a 60D (amongst others) for music videos. We spoke with Alex Buono (DP for Saturday Night Live) about how he gets the quality with gets with the Canon. He uses a specific set-up to defeat a lot of the auto features of the camera, desaturate the image, and modify the contrast. After that, the footage goes immediately to ProRes 422 and is cut, then sent to Color for creation and "look creation."

Color is a huge component in getting the 8-bit color of the AVCHD to perform. Using the 10-bit colorspace of the ProRes 422 codec and the 32-but float capabilities of Color, Alex felt he was able to effectively increase the dynamic range of the footage. I agree with this because I've seen the differences with/without "the set-up" and with/without Color.

There is no right or wrong in creative endeavors, but there may be smart and smarter...

  • 1
    All your facts are true, but your suggestion to stick with an EOL'd editing program doesn't logically follow your facts. You can achieve the same color behavior from most varieties of editing codecs. Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 17:49
  • 1
    Premiere uses 32 bit floating point colour. DaVinci Resolve uses 32 bit YRGB (whatever that is). The fact that Color does 32 bits too isn't really much of a feature. And sure when you're grading footage use a 10-bit codec, but you're never going to get back any more dynamic range than the original 8-bit footage had.
    – stib
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 11:06

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