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Apple ProRes 4444 XQ

Apple introduced another codec to the ProRes family last week, ProRes 4444 XQ. This codec is geared towards high-end visual fx as the codec supports 12 bits per image channel, 16 bits for the alpha channel and carries a data rate of about 500mbps for 1080p30. From Apple's White Paper:

The highest-quality version of Apple ProRes for 4:4:4:4 image sources (including alpha channels), with a very high data rate to preserve the detail
in high-dynamic-range imagery generated by today’s highest-quality digital image sensors. Apple ProRes 4444 XQ preserves dynamic ranges several times greater than the dynamic range of Rec. 709 imagery—even against the rigors of extreme visual effects processing, in which tone-scale blacks or highlights are stretched significantly. Like standard Apple ProRes 4444, this codec supports up to 12 bits per image channel and up to 16 bits for the alpha channel. Apple ProRes 4444 XQ features a target data rate of approximately 500 Mbps for 4:4:4 sources at 1920 x 1080 and 29.97 fps.

Note: Apple ProRes 4444 XQ requires OS X v10.8 (Mountain Lion) or later.

This is welcomed news for vfx pros in a ProRes-centric workflow. However, I would imagine most doing work at this level are in a DPX sequence workflow. But having the additional option may prove to be helpful for some shops.

See also Larry Jordan's article on the new ProRes XQ codec.