PostHeaderIcon For Better or Worse… QuickTime Exits the Scene

With the introduction of Imagine Products’ PrimeTranscoder, the QuickTime-based paradigm introduced over 25 years ago may finally be changing for video and web-publishing professionals. Foregoing the aging QuickTime engine, PrimeTranscoder utilizes Apple’s latest AVFoundation technology instead, taking ample advantage of GPU acceleration and core CPU distribution, among other tricks. To its credit, PrimeTranscoder supports virtually every professional camera format, from Avid, GoPro, and RED, to MXF, 4K and even 8K resolution files. Underlying this greater speed and efficiency, support for these codecs is completely native, sharing the 20 or so different types also supported inside Imagine’s HD-VU viewer.

Since 1991, Apple’s QuickTime engine has served as the de facto go-between for translating digital media files, enabling manufacturers like Sony, Panasonic, and others, to encode/decode their respective codecs on user devices from editing platforms to viewers. Abandoning the QuickTime engine, PrimeTranscoder is leading the charge, offering the ability to process ProRes and H.264 files more quickly and efficiently, but there is a downside as well. Foregoing the old but versatile QuickTime library greatly complicates support for certain popular legacy formats like MPEG-2. MPEG-2 is still used widely for preparing DVD and Blu-ray discs, especially in parts of Africa and South Asia where Internet connectivity is poor or nonexistent. MPEG-2, like most legacy formats, is not currently supported in PrimeTranscoder.

PrimeTranscoder is a new application, and still early in its development.  Indeed one key legacy format, Avid DNxHD, has been added to the latest PT release, which Imagine says, without a QuickTime translation, required quite a back flip to accomplish. Like it or not, shooters, producers, and content creators of every stripe, are transcoding more files for a multitude of purposes – for dailies, for streaming, for DVD, for display on a cinema screen. Letting go of the legacy stuff, for all of us, is very hard to do.

PrimeTranscoder’s main window is simple and intuitive. No need to consult a manual or quick-start guide.


Legacy’ formats contained in the QT library like MPEG-2 (for DVD and Blu-ray) are not supported in PrimeTranscoder. The latest PT update does support Avid DNx, so where there’s a will, there’s a way to support the old formats.


Comments are closed.