Compare 50 Intermediate Codecs on One Page

This is a companion post to our mega-article on codecs: How to Choose the Right Codec for Every Project. Take a look at that if you haven’t seen it yet!

We’ve pulled together a list of the most common intermediate codecs used in video postproduction, so that you can compare codecs against each other. We’re talking intermediate codecs, so we’re not covering camera codecs. Each company publishes their own specifications in different formats, but we’ve scoured the Internet and brought them all into a single page. If you want to compare ProRes vs DNxHD, ProRes vs Cineform, DNxHD vs. DPX, or any other combination, you’ve come to the right place. This table can help you choose the right codec for each project.

Make good use of the filtering and sorting functions! Try typing “10-bit” or “4:2:2 10-bit” into the box below:


  • I chose to list 1080p and UHD since they are the most common image sizes, but all of these codecs can handle many other frame sizes as well.
  • I also threw in one flavor of h.264 for reference, though it is not a good choice for an intermediate codec!
  • For Variable Bitrate codecs, the numbers listed are averages, though the actual number may be slightly higher or lower, depending on the complexity of the project.

*ProRes can be created on a PC, but only using Scratch or Nuke (purchase necessary) or with unsupported (and sometimes buggy) reverse-engineered encoders. The rest of these codecs can be created on a Mac or a PC with any standard video software.

Is there another codec you wish I had included? Please let me know!

Want to write for the Blog? Shoot me an email at blog at frame dot io.

  • Just a note, many applications can write Prores on Windows these days. Apple started licensing the codec to companies about 3-4 years ago. On top of Scratch you can also write them with Resolve (free) and Nuke (NC version can write up to 1080p, commercial unlimited resolution). Adobe shouldn’t be too far behind.

    • David

      Thanks for the note! I’ve made an update to the post about Nuke. Unfortunately, Nuke is still quite expensive, and so if you’re an editing-focused shop, then paying that much just for ProRes export is not ideal. Resolve can decode ProRes on Windows, but you still can’t export ProRes (at least with the free version).

      Even if you already own a copy of Scratch or Nuke, inserting them into an editing workflow can be cumbersome, so DNxHD or Cineform can still be a much more practical choice for many Windows editors.

      If Adobe gets on board with ProRes export on Windows, that would change the game for many people. I doubt that Avid ever will, though…

    • David

      ProRes can be done for free on a PC with FFMPEG. Most people aren’t comfortable with command-line utilities anymore so it’s not gained any real popularity. However, there are plenty of free GUIs for FFMPEG out there too.

      • FFMPEG version is reverse engineered. It has a fair share of issues because of this. Lots of gamma shifts, color inaccuracy and only supports 1/4th of the available prores codecs.

      • Kevin Duffey

        Convert V4 (Dali) uses FFMPEG with a nice GUI front end.

  • Mark Cyril Bautista

    Great resource! This would surely help many assistant editors out there. I’m thinking it would be good to add a way to filter out items, say, i don’t want to see any 8-bit codecs. Also I think it would be nice to 12-bit, 16-bit DPX, EXR, TIFF and TGA sequences.

  • chris b

    Really nice….. one thing about Nuke prores writing… it’s convenient, but it’s Slow…

  • Perhaps adding TIFF to the chart and a new column showing which codecs support an alpha channel…


  • David Uebergang

    Perhaps an additional note or column about file sizes?

    • David Uebergang

      Ah I read this table first and posted before reading the original articles, there are some notes on sizes in there.

      • David

        Thanks for the note, David. It’s a good point – I forgot to mention the larger article on this page, so I added a note at the top.

  • Craig Berlin

    I believe DNxHR HQX is 10bit not 12bit.

  • Eric G

    Would love to see a column with decompression speed. Audio folks like codecs that are fast and light on the CPU during playback, as well as being able to scrub forward and backward quickly.

    • David

      That’s a great idea, though it’s a bit tricky to actually measure… hmm… I’ll think about how that can be included.

    • bobdvb

      Many people have looked at this and one of the biggest problems is that there are variances in the hardware acceleration used. For example Intel provides a QSV codec on most modern chipsets, but people don’t often use it, they often use a software codec instead and Nvidia graphics cards have nvdec available as well as the Cuda acceleration. Each has andkffa difpower profile!

  • Hagai Sharir

    I have 300 giga of material shot in eos-m.
    What tool is recommended to transcode from h.264 mp4 to DNxHD 175? (direct intermediate editing). the only tool I know is Handbrake which supports other codes (Video Encoders: H.265 (x265 and QuickSync), H.264(x264 and QuickSync), H.265 MPEG-4 and MPEG-2, VP8, VP9 and Theora) .

    • David

      Handbrake does work, though I’d probably recommend either Apple’s Compressor or Adobe’s Media Encoder.

    • Kevin Duffey

      Convert V4 (now called Dalis ( ) is really good. It supports transcoding from and to a lot of formats and you can batch/queue, as well as watch directories to auto-transcode when new files appear. It uses FFMPEG underneath though, so you could get that for free and try to figure it out.

  • DevilMind

    what is the difference between 3-MINOR vs 2-MINIMAL in lossyness? their is NO 1-NONE Lossyness in Cineform?

    • David

      The differences are complicated and somewhat subjective. It also depends on the particular images that need to be compressed. I created those general categories as a rough benchmark, but there unfortunately aren’t any agreed-upon benchmarks.

      Correct – there is no “zero lossyness” in Cineform or ProRes or DNxHR. All are compressed.

  • Kevin Duffey

    Adding RED RAW and CinemaDNG would be really good. CinemaDNG is used in a lot of BlackMagic gear now, and obviously REDCODE RAW for RED. Not sure what Arri uses but that too might be beneficial.

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  • Jamie Metzger

    You might want to specify that these are codecs for post/offline/finishing and not for capture. There is a big difference between them and while some camera’s can capture in ProRes 4444, not all can.

    • David Kong

      Good point, thanks Jamie. I’ll clarify.

    • David

      Great point, thanks Jamie. I’ll clarify.

  • Antoine Dorni

    Thank you for the article.
    I’m wondering how did you create ProRes 12 bit on Mac ? It’s written on the PR white paper that PR supports up to 12 bit but I’ve never seen an actual footage like that. Could you give a sample ? Thx

  • Malk

    Hey – you list all flavors of Prores as being 10 bit… I thought Prores 422 and, Prores 422 proxy, and Prores 422 LT were all 8 bit?

    • David

      It’s a common misconception that they are 8-bit, but they are actually all 10-bit codecs.

  • David, thanks for such informative article.
    Until know I believed that all ProRes with 4:4:4 chroma subsampling were carrying the alpha channel. According to your list only the uncompressed codecs are carrying the alpha channel, including those in 8-bit. Could you please clarify on this?

    • David

      Hi William, sorry, that was a miscommunication. When I said (no alpha), what I meant was that I was listed the bitrate that’s used when no alpha channel was present. I didn’t mean to imply that these codecs don’t support alpha channels, though I now see that that was confusing. I’ve made an edit that should hopefully clarify that.

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  • TMRW

    Do you have some more informations on XAVC, AVC-I, RED Raw and Arri Raw?

    • David

      We decided to focus this article on intermediate codecs – codecs used for the editing or online postproduction processes. The codecs that you listed are capture codecs. We’re hoping to produce another article that covers capture codecs as well, but it’s a much bigger job, since there are so many!

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  • Franco Pozo

    man.. I love gopro cineform

  • Franco Pozo

    loving cineform since day 1

    • Thomas Smith


      I don’t really know what cineform is.
      When do you use it and can you record it on a camera? Or just post?

      • David

        I don’t think that many (if any) cameras can record cineform. It’s an intermediate codec used for postproduction.

  • Robert A. Ober

    DNxHR variants can handle DCI 4K (4096×2160) and probably some other frame sizes.

    Also, you have not corrected the incorrect ProRes bit depths.

    • David

      Hey Robert, not only DNxHR but actually all of the codecs listed on this page can handle many other frame sizes. As you’ll read in our note, we decided to list these two to avoid distraction.

      Which ProRes bit depths are incorrect? The information in this article came directly from Apple’s ProRes white paper.

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  • Thomas Smith

    Is there a drifference between variable and constant in quality???

    • David

      Hi Thomas, yes there is a difference. There are two approaches. One approach is to keep the bitrate always the same, in which case the video quality may vary. Or you can vary the bitrate in order to keep the quality always the same.

      Also, note that quality is a somewhat complicated thing to measure, since it’s very subjective. When codecs talk about constant quality, they’re talking in numerical terms about the difference between the original image and the compressed image.