Along with the new iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max models announced last week, Apple also revealed that the phones would gain the ability to shoot in the ProRes video format. A new report alleges that it will eat up a whopping 6GB of storage per minute.
As noted in the announcement for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, the two devices will introduce the ability to shoot in ProRes, what Apple calls an advanced video codec used widely as the final delivery format for commercials, feature films, and broadcasts. The benefit of the format is higher color fidelity and less compression.
Ray Wong of Input cited a conversation with Apple in which the Silicon Valley tech giant revealed that each minute of ProRes video shot on the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max would take up 6GB of storage.
FYI, 1 minute of ProRes Video shot on iPhone 13 Pros clocks in at 6GB
Use that information however you want
— Ray Wong (@raywongy) September 21, 2021
This is more than was previously expected by MacRumors’ Steve Moser, who cited iOS code which said that it would shoot at 1GB in 1080p and 4GB in 4K per minute.
— Steve Moser (@SteveMoser) September 21, 2021
That 4GB per minute of ProRes was more in line with what video professionals might expect coming from standalone cinema cameras, as forum conversations from a few years ago cite about 4GB per minute of 4K 10-bit footage in ProResHQ on BlackMagic cameras. Officially, Apple says ProRes 422 HQ has a target data rate of approximately 220 Mbps at 1920×1080 and 29.97 frames per second, but does not list expectations for 4K data rate.
The jump to 6GB per minute of footage would not be as notable if the iPhone had support for expandable or external storage like full-size standalone cameras do. Filmmakers of all levels who are shooting in 4K have come to expect the need for high-capacity memory cards and SSDs, but it’s possibly a different story for iPhone shooters.
As noted by DPReview, this high rate of storage consumption may be why Apple will limit ProRes recording on the 126GB capacity iPhone 13 Pro models to 1080p and reserve 4K ProRes recording for the higher capacity models. Basically, shooting ProRes at 4K on a lower capacity device would quickly eat up the entire storage capacity of the phone.
Whatever the case, one issue that is sure to come up is getting footage off the phone and onto an editing device. As the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max only support wired transfer with Lightning, moving that much data off through a connection that only supports USB 2.0 speeds could be a serious slog. Wireless transfer is also an option, but the limited speeds there don’t necessarily alleviate these concerns.
All this said, it’s unclear how much of a quality boost can be expected from shooting in ProRes on the iPhone 13 Pro series until it is released on devices later this year, but if it’s a big enough boost, it may be worth the hassle.
Image credits: Header image by Apple.