The Apple ProRes video codecs have become quite popular for a range of applications. They are being used during editing, as intermediate codecs, for archiving purposes and as festival screening copies. Their greatest feature (next to the great image quality with acceptable file sizes) is that you can turn off "Automatic Gamma Correction" in the encoder settings. This means that image contrast and saturation will not change. Whereas most Quicktime Codecs will change your gamma! You might have noticed that your movs look different depending which operating system and software video player you use.
The downside of ProRes is that you need to buy Final Cut Pro or Compressor to be able to use it. But there is a legal workaround for this! The Apple ProApps Codecs are available for free on the Apple support website: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1396
The codecs are embedded in a package file that can only be installed if Final Cut, Motion or Compressor are already installed on your mac. So you will have to install them manually! For this to work you can download the free software "Unpkg" here: http://www.timdoug.com/unpkg/
Drag and drop the ProApps package file onto the "Unpkg" interface. This will unpack them. Afterwards you can copy / paste all the codecs to Macintosh HD/Library/Quicktime. Now you can export ProRes from within your favorite editing and compositing software on OSX for free!