Here are quick directions on exporting a video in Adobe Premiere Pro to a compatible format (H.264/MP4) for playing on computers, tablets, smartphones and can also be used for uploading to YouTube and Vimeo.

Be sure to SAVE your Premiere Pro project before starting this process.

STEP 1 – Select the Sequence

Select the Sequence you want to export in the Timeline panel.

You’ll notice the border around the selected sequence panel turns to orange when selected.

Premiere Pro CS6 Timeline

STEP 2 – Export Media Settings

Select FileExportMedia… from the menubar.

Premiere Pro CS6 - How to get to export menu

STEP 3A – Export Settings | Format

On the right in the Export Settings window, Format: select H.264.  H.264 will create an MP4 video file that is playable on most computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Premiere Pro Export H.264 Format

STEP 3B – Export Settings | Presets

From the Presets dropdown, move your mouse to the bottom of the giant list of options and click on the black upside-down triangle to move down the list to the Vimeo & YouTube options.

Adobe Premiere Pro H.264 Presets

Based on your sequence settings, choose the best output.

[CLICK TO VIEW] Adobe Media Encoder H.264 Presets for YouTube and Vimeo.
[CLICK TO VIEW] Adobe Media Encoder H.264 Presets for YouTube and Vimeo.

STEP 3C – Export Settings | Output Name

Click on the Output Name to give the file a custom name and setup the save location on your hard drive.

Premiere Pro defaults to the last location an export was saved.  ALWAYS click on the Output Name to double check the save location, so you’re not left searching for the file later.

Premiere Pro Output Name

STEP 3D – Export Settings | Export or Queue

It is recommended that you only export a video when you are done with all your work and are not going to perform any more tasks on your computer.  The export process requires a lot of computer memory and it is recommended to close all other programs while this tasks is running.

OPTION 1 | EXPORT – Click the Export button at the bottom to start exporting the file.

OPTION 2 | QUEUE – If you know you want to keep working and export the file later, select Queue to send the export job to the Adobe Media Encoder program.  The Adobe Media Encoder allows you to export a batch of videos at a later time.

Premiere Pro Export and Queue Buttons

STEP 4 – Play Before You Upload

Before uploading the video to YouTube or Vimeo, be sure to play it on your computer to ensure the final product is of the highest quality you expect for your viewing audience.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Computer is slow or freezes when exporting.
    • Turn off all programs except for Premiere Pro.
      You might even try turning off some of those little programs that are running down by your clock that you know you don’t need running like Google Drive and Dropbox.  Be careful not to turn off your sound card or your video driver software! 
    • Shut down your computer and then restart it.
      When you restart your computer, turn off any background programs that you can think of or that you’re capable of turning off to free up memory.  Then start Premiere Pro.

If you have any questions or additional tips on exporting video in Adobe Premiere Pro, please leave a comment below.

61 COMMENTS

  1. Jerrad is amazing! I was having a problem converting a file from premiere pro file to an mpeg4 file. It was coming out very blurry. He helped me very quickly and is very knowledgeable! He emailed me back right away with an answer every time I had a question.
    Thank you so much Jerrad!! You rock!! You made an inexperienced premier pro user feel pretty confident in using the program!!

    • You’re welcome Liz. Thanks for visiting our website and for leaving the kind comments. I’m glad that I was able to help. I hope the resources I referred you to on our website and on AdobeTV.com were helpful. If you have any more questions about Premiere Pro, feel free to submit your question in the comments section at the bottom of our Adobe Video Editing Resources Page. Thanks again! :)

  2. i am planning to import an mp4 file to premiere cs6, do some modifications and then export it as mp4. will the quality go down?

  3. I am having a very strange problem with Youtube. This tutorial helped me a lot as far as exporting with the right format, but I still seem to have the same problem: when I upload the video to Youtube, the first few seconds of the video are very blurry, then it clears up. This is only in full screen mode. When it is not in full screen, the video is blurry the whole time. Please help! What am I doing wrong?

    • A few things could be causing this.

      1. When viewing on YouTube, at what quality are you viewing the video? Depending on your internet speed, YouTube will set the quality of the video to match the download speed of your internet. On the timeline bar. There are dials for sound, closed captioning, quality, and full screen. Some examples of the quality include 480p, 720p, and 1080p. Let me know this value.

      2. If your video quality is set to 720p or 1080p HD, you may want to pause your video at the beginning to allow your device to download enough video to create a buffer so the video can play while still downloading. HD video requires more data and if the internet is slow, you don’t want it to play and then pause when it catches up.

      Let me know if this helps or not.

  4. Thank you for your help. my machine tends to freeze during exporting a lot i have a 27 inch imac 16gigs of ram, 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. Why does media encoder freezes a lot even on a i minute video when exporting to any format?

    • Do you have any other programs running at the same time? When I do any sort of video work, I close out all unnecessary programs (browsers, word processors, email) and exclusively use the video editing program I’m tasked with using. Another thing you might try is shutting down your computer, wait 5 or so seconds after it has shutoff, and start the computer back up. Do you have all the latest Adobe & Apple updates for your computer? See if any of these tips help you get your video exported.

  5. Hey Jerrad. Thanks for your article. These youtube presets are missing on my machine. I was wondering if you knew where they are located on the disk or how I could get a hold of them somehow…

  6. Tnx, not a premiere expert but wanted to do some video composing quickly.. and donot know how to export the video as desired and not having time to go through the tutorials.. :)

  7. Dear Jerrad.

    Everything is ok when I playback the video using VLC. After uploading to FB and Youtube. No sound for my video. The source video is MOV.

    Kindly hope your reply soon.

    Thank you

    • For YouTube or Facebook, I recommend using H.264 as the video format.

      Also, have you tried playing the video using a different web browser, computer (without VLC Player), or a mobile device? VLC Player could be causing the problem.

      • Dear Jerrad.

        Thank you for your suggestion.

        The source video is mts. I edit and render to format h.264.

        Its working well when im playing on youtube via pc.

        Not working if im playing on youtube via handphone and via facebook.

        Im headache thinking this problem.

        Please advice me.

        Thank you,

        • When you upload a video to a service like YouTube and Facebook, the video will go through another conversion process by YouTube/Facebook to make the video ready for use with their media player. If the video is playing fine on your PC, I suspect that your phone software is in need of an update. Are you playing the video using the phone browser or the YouTube native app? What is your phone’s version number of the operating system? What about the YouTube app version number?

          • Dear Jerrad,

            Finally I resolved the issue, what I’m doing is ,

            1. Split the audio from the original video and converted it to MP3
            2. Increase the desibel to the highest , 6.02dB
            3. The original sound is stereo, so I’m off the left channel due to noise sound inside the soundclip.

            Upload to above setting as you taught.

            Resolved.

            Thanks Jerrad.

            Cheers from Malaysia.

  8. This didn’t help at all. I’ve done the exporting but how do I turn a premier pro video into an mp4 video file so I can put it somewhere on my computer and upload it to YouTube. YouTube doesn’t let you upload Premier Pro files so I need to make the video an actual video instead of just staying in Premier Pro! So frustrating.

    • When you export the video using the directions outlined on this page, you will end up with an MP4 video file saved somewhere on your computer. The final step will be to go to YouTube and upload the MP4 file.

  9. helpful …thank you … however I can’t find where the exported file ended up on my computer so I can upload it to your Tube. appreciate your help

    • I’m glad you found the resource helpful. To locate your missing file, just use the search function on your computer. Hopefully you remember what you named it. Maybe try the process again to see what name comes up by default and that may shed a clue on the name you gave your file the first time. Good luck! :)

    • The only way that could happen is if all of the following are true… you export the new file to the same folder as the original file AND the files share the exact same name AND the files are the same file format.

  10. I would like to capture about 90 mins of live standard video, trim the clip, then export to MP4 for Youtube, but need the export to take less than 5 mins. Is this possible? I have heard a lot about exporting taking hours. What will speed up the process? CPU, RAM, SSD drive, hardware encoder, special software?
    Thanks to anyone with input.

    • If you have a computer that has an Intel i7 class CPU, 16GB or > of RAM, a SSD drive (operating system drive Win/OSX) with more than 100GB of free space, and a graphics card that can take advantage of CUDA or OpenCL in PrPro, the export won’t take hours. I don’t think it can be done in less than 5 minutes. My advice is before you get started, go ahead and restart your computer (to freshen the RAM), make sure you close any programs (web browsers especially) and any background apps that could rob CPU and RAM from Premiere Pro, import and edit your project, export the YouTube MP4, and upload to YouTube. In my experience, the slowest part of the process is uploading to YouTube. Reply back once you’ve exported the project. I’m curious how long it takes.

        • Do you have the capability to bypass using Premiere Pro altogether and broadcast the event as a YouTube Live Event? I don’t know if you’re doing this for a job or as a one-time thing for a friend or something, but there is some equipment you can buy for your camera(s) and computer to stream the event live to YouTube. Once the event is over, you can do some lite trimming/editing with YouTube and have it available for your audience. If you need to do some detailed editing, download the video from your YouTube account, edit in Premiere Pro and then upload the new version. Check out this equipment on LiveStream.com – http://new.livestream.com/broadcast.

          • We do use Youtube Live, but when you try to trim the recorded video after the event and then save the changes it can take 3+ hours to complete processing the changes. We were trying to eliminate all this time if possible

          • Yeah, there’s really no way around it. You’re pretty much at the mercy of the program or the web service. Sorry I don’t have a better solution for you. Let us know if you find a work around.

  11. Hello Jerrad, I have a big problem with my expported mp4 files. I exported in full HD, 30 fps, H.264 format, the audio is AAC codec. However in the final exported file the audio sounds desasterously. In the timeline I used uncompressed wav files, but I also have the same problem if I use mp3. It is not possible to listen to it, it is a desaster. What am I doing wrong?

    • Hey Adam! First don’t change anything on your Premiere Pro timeline until I tell you. Open Adobe Audition and import your audio file, preview the audio to see if there are any issues, if all is good – export a new file. Then import the new audio file into Premiere Pro, right-click on the old audio in the timeline and do a Replace file and select your new audio file. The new audio file should replace your old audio exactly – (cuts and all if you made any previously). Let me know if this worked or not.

  12. So, when I export in the H.264 format, it takes forever and when I try to do a playback in preview, it’s black. No video, no titles, nothing. The export is the full length of the sequence, just all black. I made sure that all the tracks I wanted to export were selected, that my playhead was at the beginning of the sequence and the export settings were the same as sequence’s clips before I exported. I don’t know what’s going on and why my video isn’t showing up in the completed, exported video. Please help!!

    • What kind of file(s) are you trying to export to H.264? Are you editing in Adobe Premiere Pro? Do you have all other programs turned off while you’re editing/exporting? If not, that would explain the slowness.

  13. Hello Jerrad! I am creating a series of videos that all have the same opening. So, I need to do some edits on opening regularly and export it for several times. The problem I face, is sometimes the output does not have any video. it only exported the audio. I export to H.264 to have MP4.

    • Hey jour4270! Without seeing what’s happening when you export, I’m just going to make a couple of guesses.

      – If you can’t see the video when previewing it on the timeline, re-enable it by clicking the eyeball if it has a slash going through the eyeball.

      – When exporting, at the top of the Export Settings beneath the file Output Name, you’ll see check boxes for Export Video and Export Audio. Make sure they’re both selected.

      – Check the Video tab at the bottom of the Export Settings to see if something is set wrong.

      Can you preview the video from the Export Settings screen? If so, try choosing a option on the Preset dropdown and don’t change anything else just to see if it exports. If you’re configuring anything else after selecting a Preset, maybe that’s what’s causing the problem.

  14. I am an amateur pro that has been making video content for many years and this website has helped a whole lot. I admit that I am a bit of a dope and extremely unorthodox, guilty of not exploring the many types of software that I use on a regular basis. Very much more of an artist than a techy but have lots of experience… that single tip matching the frame rate to the final export codec is huge. Bing! Hello dummy, get it together… I have investigated this problem many times and never quite found the answer. This information is like the holy grail of youtube video presentations… I love you! thank you, thank you! Quino from Big Mountain

  15. There are no programs running in the background. My computer freezes or slows every time I attempt to export, about halfway through. It’s never done this before. I have to manually shut down my computer every time. This is getting really frustrating.

    • Hey John! Make sure on the Format option that you choose "H.264" and not "H.264 Blu-ray." If you did choose H.264 and you still only have 15 or so presets, you may need to reinstall the software to fix the issue.

  16. Hi Jerrad, I wonder if you can help me? I am a first time PP CC user and I made a movie which included some HD video clips and high quality still images along with a sound track. I want it to be played back on an iPad.
    I have exported it using a number of different settings ranging from the Ipad 1080 setting toYOUtube 1080 hd. When I play back the exported files in quicktime the picture is tiny and hardly viewable. I made the same movie using iMovie using the identical source material and that movie when exported, played in the full screen. Given the difference in sophistication of the programs I can only assume I am making the wrong export choices.
    Appreciate any guidance you can give me.
    Thanks
    Thom

    • Hey Thom! Check the Project Settings in Premiere to see if you have DV or HDV set. If it's DV, you'll need to change it to HDV. Also, you'll need to change your Sequence settings for each sequence to match the HD footage. Let me know if this helps or not.

      • Hello Jerrad, am seeking ur help, i want to make motion graphics like that of CNN, BBC and many other tvs. I want to create a 3D text(kib entertainment) with a sound and moving in a 3D environment. Thanks

  17. Oh my god, thank you. I was going nuts trying to figure out why my audio wouldn't export. I ended up just starting the export from scratch with this tutorial and it works fine now. I'll come here first from now on instead of spending hours digging through craptastic forums. :)

  18. I.m having an error code # 36 when I try to upload an exported video from Premiere Pro to my connected external hard drive. It states that some data cannot be read or written? If anyone has a solution for this, please let me know. Thanks, Colleen

  19. The update for Premeire Pro now has a 4K option for quality rendering. I shot with a gopro at 2.7k and 4k, would saving it in that format affect uploading it to Vimeo? Also, what bitrate do I need for uploading to Vimeo?

Leave a Reply