Contrary to previous information about 3rd party video codec support changing with the release of macOS Catalina, and the end of 3rd party codec support natively in the macOS, according to an Avid Press Release announced at IBC 2019 last weekend, Avid appear to be suggesting that there will be macOS support for Avid DNxHR and DNxHD codecs.
As part of their IBC 2019 coverage Avid announced improved end-to-end video editing workflows with ProRes integration for Windows and native support for ProRes RAW in Media Composer as well as native support for DNx codecs.
As part of this Media Composer press release, Avid state the following…
“Apple will provide 64-bit decoders for DNxHR and DNxHD codecs within the Pro Video Formats package that is available from Apple as a free download for all users. These integrations will allow content creators and post-production companies to natively create high-quality ProRes content regardless of their OS and save time during the creative storytelling process.”
They continued further down the press release…
“Finally, the continued availability of Avid’s DNxHD and DNxHR decoders for macOS is a tremendous benefit to content creators using Apple and Avid products and will ensure the longevity of content creators’ DNx material encoded in MXF and QuickTime files.”
Rob D’Amico, Director of Product Marketing, at Avid told us…
“This collaboration democratizes content creation by removing the boundaries posed by different operating systems and opens the door to a greater number of higher-quality delivery formats. Adding support for ProRes for Windows, native ProRes RAW and DNx Codecs is yet another way Media Composer deals with advancements in technology so editors can stay focused on creative storytelling.”
What Codecs Are Currently In Apple’s Pro Video Formats Package v2.1
The Pro Video Formats package V2.1 released in January 2019 provides support for the following codecs that are used in professional video workflows:
• Apple ProRes RAW and ProRes RAW HQ*
• Apple Intermediate Codec
• AVC-Intra 50 / 100 / 200 / 4:4:4 / LT
• DVCPRO HD
• XDCAM EX / HD / HD422
• MPEG IMX
• Uncompressed 4:2:2
The Pro Video Formats package also includes the following MXF support:
• Play MXF files in QuickTime Player and other supported macOS applications
• MXF plug-in and presets for use in Compressor 4.3 and earlier
What Now? What Will We Need To Do When macOS Catalina Is Released?
The simple answer is nothing. Do not update to macOS Catalina until Avid approves it. We understand that won’t take as long as macOS Mojave support took.
It is also interesting that with the upcoming Catalina release a number of brands including Avid are strongly recommending that you DO NOT upgrade to macOS Catalina until the various issues have been resolved.
Hopefully, by then, we will have more information and details on this “Pro Video Formats package”, which according to Avid will contain “64-bit decoders for DNxHR and DNxHD codecs from Apple as a free download for all users.”
Be aware that this announcement from Avid about Apple’s plans contradicts information from Avid and Apple that we reported in June 2019 and December 2018.
For your convenience, below is a summary of what we posted so you can compare the apparent changes…
Avid Pro Tools And Video Codec Support As Published In June 2019
Following discussions about what will need to happen to the Pro Tools code to be ready for macOS Catalina, we asked Francois Quereuil, Director of Product Management | Audio Workstations & Control Surfaces at Avid and he gave us this exclusive statement…
“We’re already working closely with Apple on ensuring timely support for all flavors of Pro Tools. Mojave was mostly about tuning performance and presented unique challenges, we anticipate that Catalina support will be more straightforward, with only a few 32-bit components to port to 64-bit, which is not a difficult process. As far as QuickTime is concerned, we are also working on solutions to ensure workflow continuity for our users.”
To be clear, it is our understanding that until Avid can make everything in Pro Tools 64-bit code, Pro Tools will not be compatible with macOS Catalina, and Pro Tools users will need to wait until Avid produce a Catalina compatible version of Pro Tools before they can upgrade their Apple Mac computers to Catalina. Also be aware, as we mentioned earlier in this article, the list of Apple Mac computers that will be compatible with macOS Catalina will be shorter, so do check that your Apple Mac computer will support Catalina, especially if you have an older Mac computer.
Avid Pro Tools And Video Codec Support As Published In December 2018
Anyone working with video, including those in audio post production we understand that Catalina will mark the end of native support at OS level for a huge number of video codecs including most significantly for Pro Tools users, Avid DNxHD. At the time, back in December 2018, Avid released this statement…
“Apple has released an article related to the future of codec support with Apple FCP X and identified that DNxHD and DNxHR will not be supported in future releases of that product. DNxHD and DNxHR within the QuickTime wrapper have been traditionally supported by various products on the MacOS platform either through native integration by various MacOS based applications, or through the plugin mechanism that the QuickTime 7 ™ libraries provided.
With the deprecation of the QuickTime 7 libraries, support for these formats is now based on each media application supporting these codecs natively using 64 bit compliant and performance-tuned libraries available through Avid, or each application vendors own implementation using the SMPTE VC-3 standards specifications that the DNx family of codecs are based on.
As such, for customers using Apple Computers and MacOS, this announcement does not affect Pro Tools and Media Composer, any other products that have chosen to implement DNxHD and DNxHR natively in the aforementioned manner, or, DNxHD/HR supported through MXF wrappers. DNxHD, DNxHR, Pro Tools and Media Composer will continue to be supported and will be compatible with the current and future release of Mac OS. We will continue to improve or introduce new features for DNxHD and DNxHR, proven by the recent release of DNxUncompressed option, and will support these new features on various operating systems, including MacOS.”
You can learn much more about all of this in our in-depth article Apple Announce End Of Native Support For Avid DNx Codecs - Avid Respond. Why This Matters For Pro Tools Users. It covers the story, issues and what is, and needs to be done, by developers and users alike.