WHY BYPASS THE PRORES DECODER?:
One of the new features of VEGAS Pro 14 is that it can natively play and render Apple ProRes files without the need for Quicktime for Windows. It does this using a file called mxhevcplug.dll, which is also used for decoding and encoding HEVC (H.265) files.
However there are still some issues with the MAGIX ProRes decoder:
- Audio may be much too loud (example).
- Projects with many ProRes files may open slowly (report).
- Audio sync may drift in some circumstances (link coming soon).
HOW TO BYPASS THE MAGIX PRORES DECODER:
1. Rename the folder containing the MAGIX ProRes codec. For example, rename...
C:\Program Files\VEGAS\VEGAS Pro 15.0\FileIO Plug-Ins\mxhevcplug
C:\Program Files\VEGAS\VEGAS Pro 15.0\FileIO Plug-Ins\mxhevcplug-RENAMED
3. Restart VEGAS Pro.
In VEGAS Pro 14 the native codec will now be bypassed and Quicktime will be used to decode ProRes files. You can verify this by looking at the "Plug-In" section at the bottom of the VEGAS file Properties window (accessed by right-clicking on a file in the VEGAS Explorer window then choosing "Properties", or right-clicking on a video stream on the VEGAS timeline then choosing "Properties" then "General" tab).
In VEGAS Pro 15, after you bypass the MAGIX ProRes decoder, your file might get decoded by the new so4compoundplug codec rather than Quicktime. That codec has its own issues, especially in early builds of VEGAS Pro 15 (e.g. 177 & 216), so you might also wish to disable that using this method.
DISADVANTAGES OF BYPASSING THE PRORES DECODER:
1. ProRes rendering (encoding) will be disabled while the plugin is bypassed.
2. HEVC reading and rendering will be disabled while the plugin is bypassed.
3. You need to have Quicktime for Windows installed. Many users have it installed anyway because some other Quicktime formats still require it. However some see it as a security risk since development was stopped and Apple withdrew support for it. I have not yet read of any reports of security breaches. The main risk seems to be in using the Quicktime Player, so don't. Use a native Windows media player or something like VLC or MPC-HC instead.
4. Quicktime decodes ProRes with incorrect levels. The contrast and gamma are excessive. This is not a new problem. It also did this in previous versions of Vegas.
5. The Quicktime codec will only decode 10-bit footage as 8-bit in VEGAS. This may result in lower quality and artifacts such as banding. The native codec will decode 10-bit footage as 10-bit (in a 32-bit floating point project).
FIXING THE LUMINANCE (16-235 FOOTAGE):
To make the Quicktime-decoded ProRes files decode correctly in Vegas with the same luminance as natively-decoded files, you can apply a Levels FX:
Or a Color Curves FX:
There is a Vegas Pro 12 project here that contains both of these FX on a single Color Gradient event. You can open this project in Vegas Pro 12-14 and save the FX as presets and then apply only one of them to Quicktime-decoded events (or media/tracks/video output). Thereafter you can of course apply further color corrections using the same or additional FX.
I have made these FX settings by eye, using the VEGAS Pro video scopes in an 8-bit project containing ProRes 422 video rendered from color gradients and test charts. They are very close but not exact. Note that these FX settings may be wrong for projects that have Pixel format set to 32-bit floating point in the Project Properties (read here).
FIXING THE LUMINANCE (0-255 FOOTAGE):
The above fix should work well for footage with levels between RGB 16 and 235, including "flat" footage shot with a log profile. However if you use Quicktime to decode ProRes footage with levels outside that range, shadows in the 0-16 range or highlights in the 235-255 range will be clipped and you can't recover that information with an FX. In such a case you can do one of the following:
- Reshoot, maintaining levels between 16 and 235 (change camera/recorder setting).
- Transcode to a different codec such as Cineform or XAVC-I using an external application.
- Use Quicktime-decoded ProRes audio with natively-decoded ProRes video as follows:
- Bypass the VEGAS Pro native codec to let Quicktime decode the file (as described above).
- Render the audio events to Microsoft WAV files.
- Reinstate the VEGAS Pro codec (rename it back).
- Ungroup audio from video on the timeline and delete the ProRes audio events, or just delete the audio track.
- Line up the WAV audio files on the timeline and group them with the video.
FIXING THE REPEAT FIRST FRAME:
If you allow the VEGAS Pro native codec to decode ProRes video and your footage has a non-whole-number frame rate (e.g. 23.976, 29.97 or 59.94fps), you can use this script to trim the 1 repeat frame from the beginning of all selected events.