Encoding ProRes on a PC, possible?

Recently, I’ve upgraded my PC from an old 2008 AMD+ 3.4Ghz Quad-Core with a full 8Gb of DDR2 RAM. No need to say that for anything above HDV editing, it was very demanding for such a machine. So, I decided to turn to Intel and upgraded to an i7-6800k 6-core 3.4Ghz and started with 32Gb of DDR4 RAM. This is easily capable of editing 4K footage, even if I’m only editing FullHD video at the moment.

To make things easier on the machine, most NLE can rely on more friendly encoded videos, in DNxHD or ProRes flavor. It’s a lot easier to work with than native AVCHD and it’s a must when you’re working with RAW video. So, in most cases, you need to transcode your video before you start editing.

I’m using AVID Media Composer to edit my footage. I have the option to AMA (Avid Media Access) link to the videos and edit from them directly. Only problem, when you AMA link the AVCHD footage from the C100, while it works and you can edit them, the audio waveform aren’t displaying. Annoying thing, so you would have to import the video to get rid of that issue.
When you import the videos, AVID transcode the videos to DNxHD or DNxHR format, at a desired profile/bitrate. But even if DNxHD is easier to edit, it’s still heavier than, let’s say, the native h.264/AVCHD of the C100, which is 24mbps. Then, the other most popular format is ProRes, but it’s a Mac codec. There are decoders available to allow the file to play on either QuickTime or other players and you can edit the ProRes format in Media Composer or any other NLE, as long as you have the decoder installed.

But usually you can only encode to ProRes on a Mac. What can you do if you are on a PC, like me? Well, Cinemartin.com has a software that can handle that, called CINEC but the cheaper version is the PRO and it’s like 299€. There is always ffmpeg or ffmbc that can do it for free, so it’s good news? Not necessarily. Well, ffmpeg and ffmbc are command-line based, so it’s not user friendly at all. Just click the links above and you’ll see, you have to know in which path you’re getting yourself into!
There’s a GUI available, hopefully, which is AnotherGUI:

You can see, if you want to modify a profile, you have to enter the correct syntax to tell the encoder what to do:

Here’s the .XML profile if you want to try for yourself:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-16″?>
<AnotherGUI_Presets_ver.03>
<Preset>
<UUID>2706ef6d-9ec1-41c8-93f7-72b333223bcb</UUID>
<Executable>ffmpeg.exe</Executable>
<Name>ProRes 422LT</Name>
<Category><![CDATA[FCP]]></Category>
<Description><![CDATA[]]></Description>
<Arguments><![CDATA[-i “<SourceFileName>” -y
-vcodec prores -profile:v 1
-acodec pcm_s16le
“<OutputPath><OutputFileName>.mov”

// ffmpg has different prores encoders “ProRes”, ProRes_Kostya”, “ProRes_Anatoly”
// They have different SYNTAX, quality and preformance
// Some info here http://ffmpeg.org/trac/ffmpeg/wiki/vfxEncodingGuide#ProRes
// and here http://codecs.multimedia.cx/?p=388]]></Arguments>
<Arguments2><![CDATA[]]></Arguments2>
<Postprocess><![CDATA[]]></Postprocess>
</Preset>
</AnotherGUI_Presets_ver.03>

(copy&paste the code above in bold into notepad, then save and change extension from .TXT to .XML)

Then problem solved? Yes and no! It’s still easier to use with the GUI, but recently, I had to batch process a bunch of videos from the C100. I imported all the videos in AnotherGUI, selected the right ProRes profile, hit start and went to sleep. Easy enough, right! When I came back, there were 3 videos that weren’t able to be processed. I did a research with the error description, but nothing very helpful was found. I imported the videos from the SD card (again) in hope this would fix the problem with a fresh video imported. No luck, it still wasn’t working. So I was stuck with 3 videos, in the wrong format. The other “option” was the Cinec software from Cinemartin, but at 299€, which wasn’t even an option to start with. I was stuck with no solution…

I started to search a bit more, and remembered that I read an article a while back about a software called FootageStudio:
It might look similar to PavTube softwares that states to convert footage to NLE-ready format:

Personally, I never been tempted to try that PavTube software, but in any way, it’s only 35$.

FootageStudio is a very simple, user-friendly software and it works like a charm! Only downside, it’s not free, but good news, it’s affordable! This software is only 129,99$. While it may be in the 3 digits numbers only to transcode videos, there’s a lot of features like Noise Reduction, Framerate, Color Space and/or Resolution Conversion, etc. It’s a very powerful all-in-one software that can let you process your footage easily. So, on the long run, it’s a very smart investment.

The software is so simple, you only have the minimal options up there, like import or capture:

The interface is simple, and all you need is clearly identified, without specific terms that no one would understand!

You can process pretty much all kind of video format up to UHD resolution, no matter what color space, bit depth, framerate or even compression codec in nearly every container! You can even import a video, trim it with frame accuracy before you process/convert it. There is no video, so far, that I haven’t been able to process or convert with FootageStudio 4k. It’s impressive, when you know that other software are often unable to read certain types of video, or can’t read a video depending on the extension/wrapper.

They even have a section with tutorials, with step-by-step procedure for specific tasks, like bit depth upsampling or framerate conversion.

There is an option for slowmotion and I’ve tested it with a 720/60p video, shot at 1/120th. I’ve been able to slow it down by 6x the original speed and it was perfectly usable and best of all, without processing artifacts. That option is really nice, especially if you don’t have plugins like Twixtor for After Effects. Again, this software is an all-in-one solution for a couple of post-production tasks and at the 129$ price point, it makes it very interesting.

So, if you’re not on a Mac, and you need to convert videos into ProRes format for various reasons, now you know you can and with multiple options! You can try AnotherGUI which is free and uses command-line processing to see if it fits your needs. As it’s not very intuitive, maybe more people will tend to try FootageStudio 4k which is a lot more user friendly and easy to use or PavTube because of the lower price point.

I hope this helped you and put some light on the ProRes encoding on Windows.
If you have any questions or comments, please drop them in the section below and we’ll answer as soon as possible!

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