Stop the presses! Apple has finally (finally!) given non-Final Cut Studio 2 installed machines the option to playback their proprietary compressed HD codec ProRes 422. The Apple ProRes QuickTime Decoder 1.0 for Mac is now available for install and there’s even an Apple ProRes QuickTime Decoder 1.0 for Windows. From the Apple website:

The Apple ProRes QuickTime Decoder software allows both Mac and Windows users to play Apple ProRes files through QuickTime. Apple ProRes is a visually lossless format that provides uncompressed HD quality at SD data rates. It is an excellent choice for mastering and can easily be transcoded to distribution formats like H.264. With new support for playback on both Mac and Windows computers, Apple ProRes can also be used for review and approval of Final Cut Studio sequences.

Ever since Apple released the new codec as part of Final Cut Pro 6 at NAB 2007 we’ve all wanted to be able to use ProRes on other machines besides our FCS installs. While Avid has released their competitor DNxHD as a standard that can be installed on any machine, ProRes has remained locked inside Final Cut Pro. There have been calls to “let ProRes go pro” but so far it hasn’t happened. Until now, without FCP installed on your Mac you haven’t beeen able see ProRes. This release at least gives the option of playing back an edit on a non-FCP machine. This is good if you have review machines on your network as your probably not going to email a half-hour ProRes edit across the country! Something is better than nothing I guess. But this release of a ProRes Quicktime Decoder is a good time to make another call for Apple to totally release the codec. I would love to be able to edit in ProRes and then send the edit to a Quantel eQ or Avid DS for finishing. Or send the whole edit to an Adobe After Effects artist for compositing and effects. I don’t really see what Apple gains by keeping this one video editing codec so locked down. Maybe this release is a first step. Or maybe this release will allow more than the Apple description says. If you’ve installed the Decoder on some non-FCP machines then please comment below on the functionality.