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Prores vs H264 Full Review in 2022

by Christine Smith • 2022-08-19 16:24:37 • Proven solutions

If you are planning your career in the field of video editing, it is imperative to know which codec, ProRes vs H264 works better with a post-production tool. Here you will learn some of the important differences between ProRes and H264 codecs and which one should you choose in order to make your editing process simpler and less resource-intensive. By the time you have finished reading this, you will have a fair idea about the two codecs, when and why you should choose one over the other, and how you can convert H264 to ProRes with one of the most efficient conversion tools that are available today.

prores vs h264

Part 1. Comparison table for ProRes VS. H264.

To scratch the surface, ProRes files are loosely compressed, and your GPU finds it easy to process them during both editing and playback. This is not the case with H264 files, and they do require more processing than ProRes.


Developed by Apple Inc., ProRes is a codec that was released in 2007 along with Final Cut Studio 2. ProRes uses QuickTime (MOV) format that, as mentioned above, makes the files gigantic in size that further occupy a significant amount of space on a disk. However, ProRes files come with a plethora of benefits, some of which are listed below:

  • Reduced GPU Overhead – Because ProRes files are already loosely compressed, your computer’s GPU doesn’t have to put additional efforts to decompress the data for processing when footage is opened in a media player or imported to a post-production program for editing.
  • More Colors – ProRes is a 10-bit codec. This means that in contrast with others, ProRes files have more shades while working with Color Grading options in a post-production tool.
  • I-Frame Approach – In ProRes, each frame of footage is compressed individually (I-frame). This is the reason the files are big. However, such type of approach puts less load on the GPU as it doesn’t have to decompress complex compression architecture while editing.

prores h264


With the first version that was approved and released in 2003, H264 (technically written as H.264) codec is a product of two entities that joined hands for the purpose. H.264 offers a high compression ratio, and therefore the files are small in size that uses less space on your storage devices. However, there are certain downsides of H264 format that many professionals who use post-production tools like Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro, etc. don’t appreciate much. Some of such disadvantages (from video editors’ perspective) are listed as follows:

  • Increased GPU Overhead – Due to the high compression rate, while editing (and even during playback), the GPU works more extensively to decompress the H264 files. This reduces the performance of your computer.
  • Limited Colors – H264 is an 8-bit codec. This means, as compared to ProRes, H264 files have fewer color grading options while working with post-production software. Therefore the editors may not be able to produce the expected quality output.
  • GOP Approach – GOP stands for Group of Pictures. H264 codec compresses a group of pictures to form a complex architecture that, even though it reduces the overall file size, requires more inputs from the GPU to decompress and process while editing.

The following comparison table summarizes all the points given above explaining ProRes vs. H264:

ProRes H.264
Developed by Apple Inc. Jointly Developed by Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) and Moving Pictures Export Group (MPEG)
Low Compression Ratio High Compression Ratio
Works with QuickTime Movie Format (MOV) Works with Almost All Major Formats (MP4, M4P, M4V)
10-bit Codec 8-bit Codec
Less Overhead on Processor and GPU Processor and GPU Intensive
I-Frame (Individual Frame) Compression GOP (Group of Pictures) Processed Collectively

Part 2. How to convert H264 to ProRes with Wondershare UniConverter.

Even though most used post-production applications allow H264 to ProRes transcoding using their built-in export features, sometimes the process takes a significant amount of time, or the settings box has numerous confusing options that newbies find hard to understand. Wondershare UniConverter (originally Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate) bridges this gap by providing one of the simplest user interfaces, and the pre-configured presets that you can use to transcode H264 or any other video format to ProRes without any hurdles or complications.

video converter logo Wondershare UniConverter - Best Video to ProRes Converter

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  • Convert H264, MP4, MOV, AVI, MTS videos to ProRes codec, and other 1000+ video formats, etc.
  • Convert H264 video files with optimized presets for Final Cut Pro, iMovie, iPhone, iPad, and more devices.
  • 30X faster conversion speed than any conventional converters.
  • Edit H264 video files with trimming, cropping, cutting, merging, adding subtitle, etc.
  • Burn H264 videos to DVD with customized free DVD menu templates.
  • Download or record videos from 10,000+ video sharing sites.
  • Industry-leading APEXTRANS technology converts videos with zero quality loss or video compression.
  • Versatile toolbox combines video metadata editor, GIF maker, cast video to TV, video compressor and screen recorder.
  • Supported OS: Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista, macOS 11 Big Sur, 10.15 (Catalina), 10.14, 10.13, 10.12, 10.11, 10.10, 10.9, 10.8, 10.7, 10.6.
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The process given below explains how to convert H264 to Apple ProRes in easy steps:

Step 1 Click the add files icon and import an H264 video.

Launch Mac version of Wondershare UniConverter on your macOS, confirm that the Converter tile is selected from the top, click the add files icon in Wondershare UniConverter icon from the center, use the box that appears to go to the container that has the file you want to transcode H264 to ProRes, select the video, and click Load to import the clip to the app.

import h264 videos

Step 2 Go to editing and select ProRes.

Click and open the Output Format: menu at the bottom left corner of the window, and go to the Editing tab (only present in the Mac variant of Wondershare UniConverter). Select ProRes from the list of available formats on the left, and choose an appropriate resolution from the right (Same as source is selected here). Note: Optionally, you can also click the Edit icon at the right side of any of the resolution presets to open a box where you can manually make adjustments to create a custom preset of your own.

select prores

Step 3 Choose an output folder and convert H264 to ProRes.

Use the Output field at the bottom of the window to select a folder you want to save the converted file to, and click the Convert from the right of the imported video to transcode H264 to ProRes with Wondershare UniConverter.

convert h264 to prores


When comparing ProRes vs. H264, the former generates large files than the latter. While the smaller files created by H264 codec are economical to your storage media, they are processor and GPU intensive and put overhead on the hardware. On the other hand, the ProRes files, even though consuming a huge amount of space on your disk, don’t require the GPU to de-compress the information while using any post-production tool for editing. Therefore, as a professional video editor, every time you are asked to choose ProRes vs. H264, you should always prefer ProRes, and use the most recommended tool Wondershare UniConverter for quick and easy H264 to ProRes conversion.

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Christine Smith

Christine Smith

chief Editor

Resource > Other Formats > Prores vs H264 Full Review in 2022

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