In this article, we provide advice on what to do to prepare for the release of Catalina “in the fall”. With the announcement of macOS 10.15 Catalina at the WWDC on June 3rd 2019, we now have initial confirmation from Apple about which Mac computers will be supported with macOS Catalina.
The second issue is that macOS 10.15 will be 64-bit only, as promised on the release of macOS Mojave. Consequently, replacements will need to be found for any 32-bit applications, which you are still using that developers choose not to update to 64-bit applications.
Finally we look at what needs to be done to continue working with video files and codecs, as native OS support of a number of 3rd party codecs will end with the release of Catalina and then there is the question of what changes will Avid need to make to Pro Tools to drop any remaining dependence on 32-bit code like QuickTime. We have an exclusive statement from Avid.
This article has been superseded by several articles that have much more up to date information. We recommend you read these…
Avid Pro Tools And Video Codec Support
There has already been discussions about what will need to happen to the Pro Tools code to be ready for macOS Catalina, with differing opinions of what Avid needs to do. Rather than speculate, to get a clearer view, 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.
The other issue for anyone working with video, including those in audio post production is that Catalina marks 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. If you are using video files in your workflow and plan to update to Catalina then we recommend that you read this article.
With Apple dropping native OS level support for a number of 3rd party codecs with macOS 10.15, we will need to find alternative workflows for converting and viewing videos using, soon to be unsupported video codecs, like Avid’s DNxHD.
To help, we have already produced an article Two Ways To Create Pro Tools Friendly Avid DNxHD Video Files Without Using MPEG Streamclip - Expert Tutorial in which we show two possible ways to continue working with Avid DNxHD files outside of Avid products.
With Catalina you won’t even be able to play an Avid DNxHD video outside one the apps like Pro Tools, Media Composer, Adobe Premiere etc, We have discovered a low cost video player app that will be able to play video files using, most if not all, of what will be unsupported video codecs Optimus Player - Is This The Alternative To QuickTime 7 You'll Need To Be Able To Play Avid DNXHD Video Files In The Future?
Our Advice - Be Prepared - Find Alternatives And Update Now - Don’t Leave It To The Last Minute
If you have old software you like to use and never update, it’s possible they are 32-bit apps and they won’t work in macOS 10.15 Catalina. We recommend that need to find replacements for these apps now and get used to them BEFORE you need to upgrade to macOS Catalina.