Converting video files to other file formats can be a very messy and time consuming process if you don’t use the right tool.  There are websites out there that can convert videos to different formats, but you may not get back the quality you started with and the video may be cut short if the website only converts the first 5 or 10 minutes of video before you have to pay to get the premium service. Plus, they may watermark their logo in the middle or the corner of the video and who wants that!

The EVSC is blessed to have in many of the high school computer labs the Adobe Creative Suite 6.  Part of the Adobe Creative Suite are video programs for editing video, creating special effects, producing DVDs from student produced work and other video tools.  Adobe Media Encoder is part of this video editing suite and is responsible for encoding video files to the proper format to ensure they play on different devices videos are watched on today.

This tutorial will show you how quickly and easily you can convert your videos using Adobe Media Encoder. Let’s get started!

Convert Your Video in 5 Easy Steps

Click the "Add Source..." button.
Click the “Add Source…” button.

STEP 1: Load a Video File into the Adobe Media Encoder Queue.

Click the “+” button in the queue panel to add your video to the queue.


Choose a file format.
Choose a file format.

STEP 2: Choose a file format.

Choose a format that is compatible with the device you want to play the video.  For example, if you want to watch your video on your Apple iPad or iPhone, you can either choose H.264 or Quicktime.  Both are great quality formats, but the best bang for the buck I would recommend would be H.264 which will give you a smaller file size for the same quality.

Below the picture you’ll find additional information to guide you with your decision.

If you're looking for a format that will work on just about anything, choose H.264.
If you’re looking for a format that will work on just about any device, choose H.264.

Popular Video Formats Explained

F4V | FLV – Adobe Flash Video

To play a Flash Video on your computer will require you to download and install a separate program like VLC Media Player (Windows/Mac). Currently Apple Quicktime and Windows Media Player do not support Flash Video.

Flash Video is not supported on Apple iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad devices. There are some browser apps you can download that claim to play Flash Video, but there are no guarantees the content will display properly in the browser depending on the video player used on the website.

As of June 29, 2012 – Flash Video is no longer supported on Google Android devices and Adobe Flash Player is no longer available as a download on the Google Play Store.

H.264 – MPEG-4 Video (MP4)

H.264 is currently the most common video format used for recording and distribution of video on the Internet. Video websites such as YouTube and Vimeo use this format along with a host of other websites. H.264(MP4) videos play nicely on computers, tablets, and most hand-held devices without the need to install additional applications or plugins.

NOTE: Adobe Media Encoder has H.264 Presets available for YouTube and Vimeo so there’s no guess work when you want to get your video ready for these websites.

If you want to choose a format that will reach the most devices, choose H.264.

MOV – Apple Quicktime Video

MOV is Apple’s video format that plays using the Apple Quicktime video player. Quicktime is the default video player in Apple’s operating system (OSX) so there’s no need to install additional software to view an MOV video. To view an MOV video on a Microsoft Window’s computer will require you to download and install Quicktime from Apple’s website.

Choose a Quality Preset.
Choose a Quality Preset.

STEP 3: Choose a Quality Preset.

Something you need to know before choosing the quality preset for your new video is the original video’s horizontal and vertical resolution and the frame rate.  Adobe Media Encoder has made finding this information very easy.  Just click on the words listed in the Preset column to launch the Export Settings window – as seen in the pictures below.

Just click on the words in the Preset section to launch the Export Settings window.
Just click on the words in the Preset section to launch the Export Settings window.

Media Encoder Export Settings Window
Export Settings Window – Resolution and Frame Rate information available on source footage.

[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.
As you can see, the resolution of our footage is 1920×1080 and the frame rate is 29.97 frames per second.  This is 1080p High Definition video which is the highest quality video at the present time.  Since it’s at the top on the quality scale, I can choose any HD resolution for my converted video: 1080p or 720p.

  • If you choose 720p over 1080p, make the decision based on the fact that the original video is 720p or you need a smaller file size.
    • For file sharing with others, I have found that the Vimeo 1080p gives a smaller file size than YouTube 1080p.
    • If you’re going to upload the video to YouTube, it’s best to use the Presets for YouTube.
  • If you choose a lesser frame rate, be warned that the quality of objects moving in the film will be reduced.  Reducing frame rate is like cutting 4-6 frames per second out of your film.  I’m sure you’ve heard the term “cutting room floor” which refers to unused footage by folks in the motion picture industry.  Well, reducing the frame rate is like this except you’re doing it 4-6 frames every second of your video and you don’t get to choose which frames get dropped to the cutting room floor!

You can either (A) choose your Preset in the Export Settings window and press OK… OR… (B) press the Cancel button and choose from the Preset dropdown menu in Adobe Media Encoder.

You can choose the Preset from Adobe Media Encoder or from the Export Settings Window.
You can choose the Preset from Adobe Media Encoder or from the Export Settings Window.

Standard Definition (SD) video cannot be converted to High Definition (HD) video in the hopes that it will make it look better.  In fact, the video will probably look worse as the pixels will be more pronounced. If you need tips on enhancing your video, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post and we may make a future post on the topic.

Choose location to save your file.
Choose location to save your file.

STEP 4: Choose Location to Save File

Click the output file path text to check folder to verify saving location on your hard drive and to change the new video file’s name.

Click the output file path text to check folder to verify saving location on your hard drive and to change file name.
Click the output file path text to check folder to verify saving location on your hard drive and to change file name.

Start converting the queue.
Start converting the queue.

STEP 5: Start Converting the Queue

To start converting your videos, simply press the Green play button located in the top-right corner of the queue.

Press the Green play button to start converting the queue.
Press the Green play button to start converting the queue.

Watch your video while the progress bar moves across the screen.
Watch your video while the progress bar moves across the screen.

While the video is converting, you can see a preview at the bottom.  The preview may be fast or slow depending on the length of the video and the power of your computer.   If it’s working fast, the preview will look like when you fast forward through a DVD video at 2X or 4X or faster depending on your computer.

If the conversion is slow, the preview will hang for a bit.  Just give it time and let it operate.

If the conversion freezes or is so slow that it’s taking too long, stop the conversion by clicking the red stop button at the top by the play button and then restart your computer.  A fresh restart will clear out the memory and allow for Adobe Media Encoder to have the maximum amount of memory.

QUICK TIP #1: Before starting the conversion process, if you have more videos you want to convert, it’s best practice to repeat Steps 1-4 and add them to the queue.  The conversion process can take a long time depending on the length and quality of the video.  Once you start the queue, you can pretty much walk away from your computer and let it work while you do other things.

QUICK TIP #2: Close any programs that are running before starting the conversion process.  Close web browsers, your email, word processors, and any background apps that hog memory…. EVERYTHING.  Close as much as you can that you know how to turn off before starting.  It will make Media Encoder less likely to crash and increase its ability to work faster.


BONUS STEP: How to View the New Video

This is not a step that’s needed in the conversion process, but it’s a step that will save you some clicking if you want to quickly get to your new video.

Just click the link to launch a window showing the file's location and double-click the video to watch!
Just click the link to launch a window showing the file’s location and double-click the video to watch!

If you have any questions or comments about this post or working with video in general, please leave a comment below!


  1. Hi Jerrad, hoping you can help. I am trying to convert the first of three large wmv files to MP4. This is the Adobe Media Encoder file import failure message:

    “03-21-20_NSA101_Part1.wmv could not be imported. The source file has a bad header. Please check that it is a valid file.”

    How I got here: I received the 3 videos of my workshop in MP4 format, but then I made edits (added titles, instructional captions, and credits) using Windows Movie Maker. I made the necessary edits and in the process files were converted to WMV and doubled in size. I went from a total of 21GB to 42GB.

    Video Part 1 = 55 minutes; went from 3.94GB as MP4 to 7.94GB as WMV
    Video Part 2 = 116 minutes; went from 8.33GB as MP4 to 16.8GB as WMV
    Video Part 3 = 109 minutes; went from 7.84GB as MP4 to 16.9GB as WMV

    I need to reduce the size so that all three files can fit onto a single 32GB USB. And I was told by my videographer that to do this requires converting the files back into MP4. To my understanding the files are valid. Each of the videos play just fine on my computer.

    But I cannot add them to Adobe Media Encoder in order to convert to MP4, nor can I load them to PremierePro to try to re-save as MP4 without the “bad header” error messages.

    Advice on how to successfully achieve file size reduction and conversion to MP4?

    Thanks for your help.

    • You can try a website called If a website like this can’t convert the files bc they give you an error too, it may be that your files are corrupt. Windows Movie Maker doesn’t have the best reputation for exporting files that are compatible with other video editing programs. You may need to start over and do your editing in Adobe Premiere Pro or Adobe Premiere Rush (new quick and easy editing program).

  2. Terrific step-by-step instruction with Media Encoder, as I am planning to post audio programming, podcasts, on youtube. My question, actually my need is, how do I “skin” the now-black player with a photo or illustration? This is actually the missing link in the process of posting audio-only on a video site!

    • If you’re posting a video file (mp4?) which technically only has audio, you should go into Adobe Premiere Pro and put a photo or illustration on the video section of the timeline. Then export again as a mp4.

  3. I have been searching all over the internet and talking to tech support for a solution to my problem: how to get MP4 videos to play in an interactive SWF (exported from Adopbe InDesign) as a stand-alone presentation on a PC. The videos play fine on my PC but do not play on other PCs in my office or at home. I haven’t put your tips into practice yet but I’m pretty sure that your tips in this article are what I have been searching for. Can’t wait to get back to my office and see if this works. You have provided some much needed information and helpful tips that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else despite hours of internet searches and time spent talking to Adobe tech support. Thanks for the great article!

  4. Hi there! This may have been answered in the comments, and I didn’t see it, but I am trying to turn a .mp4 into a DVD playable file (from what I’ve seen, that seems to be MPEG2), but for whatever reason when it rendered, it split the audio and video file, so now I’m unsure how to burn it to a DVD so it plays the audio with the video. Any suggestions? I feel like I am missing a step, but I’ve read through the steps a few times, and not sure if I have tunnel vision or user error. Thank you!!

    • You need to use Adobe Encore CS6 to create a DVD with the correct file format. If you have Adobe Creative Cloud, go to your CC app, click the arrow on the right side of the open button on Premiere Pro and you can choose “Other Versions.” Install Premiere Pro CS6. Encore CS6 will install along with it. And it’s ok to have both versions of Premiere Pro on your computer.

  5. I am having a problem with some files. On the project file of the video I want to submit is perfect but when I see the full video on the Encoder, some files aren’t there. So while the video is playing, the files that the Encoder can’t ready it just shows the file in a red box. Please help

    • Sounds like one or more your video assets is not present or is missing somehow. If you made the video in Premiere Pro, check your Project Panel where your files are listed to make sure they can all be viewed. If you notice any files having problems, Premiere Pro will help you reconnect those assets to files on your computer and/or external drive. When creating a video using Premiere Pro, it’s always best practice to keep all your project files in a folder on an external hard drive organized into subfolders (images, videos, clips, audio, music,…) and files renamed BEFORE importing into a Premiere Pro project. Renaming a file later using Windows Explorer or Mac Finder can cause assets to become disconnected in your Premiere Pro project and have to be re-linked again.

  6. Thanks for this! However, whenever I play back the converted file (even in the preview) it’s just a red screen in many languages saying media offline. How can I fix this?

    • Sounds like a computer software issue. Check to see if the following are updated to the latest version: Operating System (Windows Updates or macOS Updates), Adobe Media Encoder CC (2017), Flash Player, and any other plugins you may have running on your computer that deal with playing videos such as DivX. If you don’t have DivX or any other video plugins installed, you don’t have to install them to play videos as long as you’re using the latest computer software Windows 10 or macOS. Just make sure all your computer software is up-to-date as possible. All it takes is one piece of software that conflicts with something else to cause everything to get bent out of shape!

  7. Jerrad…..for whatever reason, my inquiry brought me to this site but you were not addressing my inquiry. I have an Encoder F4v/flv trans-coded Premiere Timeline file uploaded to Google Drive in 1080p, but it won’t play in a resolution greater than 360 when I bring up Google Drive on the Web. !! Yet, using another desktop shortcut for my Google Drive account, the file easily plays in 1080p using WMP. What’s going on – – because this seriously interferes with my ability to SHARE the file with others from GD in the HD resolution they should be receiving, since that sharing option is available only from “Google Drive on the Web”, and not from the desktop shortcut to my GD account.

    • Hi Bob! F4V/FLV are Flash video file types and the problem you are experiencing with your web browser stems from the fact that browsers are starting to turn off Flash Player, Java, and other plugin support by default unless the user goes into their browser settings and turns them back on. I recommend exporting the video using H.264 (mp4) which is pretty universal these days. MP4 doesn’t require a specialized plugin to play in a web browser or a video player software.

  8. Thank you!! I have never used Media Encoder before and do not know much about videos and quality. Your instructions were so easy to understand and you helped explain the settings too! Perfect! Thank you so much!

  9. This all seems involved and not so simple. All I want to do is convert my mp4 videos to jpeg to have in bridge or send to family via fb or forward from phones. Not certain this software allows me to do that without getting super involved. I have cs5 on windows 7

    • Are you wanting to share the videos or an image from the video? The MP4 file format is a video file and JPEG file format is for still images. If you’re wanting to change your video to a series of still images (with no audio), there’s software out there newer than CS5 that can do it.

      If you’re wanting to share the MP4 videos (as videos) with family and friends, Facebook and YouTube are great places to do that. And they’re free and there’s no limit on the size of the file you can upload.

  10. Can you please help me? I'm trying to convert my .MOV video into an .FLV, so I followed the steps and went to the list of formats, but mine doesn't have the FLV option. I don't know why. Please reply if you can. Thanks.

    • The current version of Adobe Media Encoder CC does not have FLV as a format anymore. This particular post was written back when my school district was using Creative Suite 6, so I need to update it to reflect the current options. It's now on my to-do list. Thanks!

  11. HI, i have a video that is in mp4 format and i am trying to import it into premiere pro and the video imports but the sound does not. how do i fix this?

    • Hi Amber. So when you double-click the mp4 file in your Project panel where your files are, does it play with audio there? If not, then it might be a plugin on your computer that's causing the issue OR it could be that you need to uninstall Premiere Pro and reinstall the program.

  12. I have a 720 x 480 video, but when I import it into Media Encoder, it changes to 520 and cuts off the other 200. Is it the way I'm importing, or any settings I can change? Thanks!

    • Not sure. If it's actually cutting/cropping away 200 pixels of video and not rescaling the video to 520 x (something else), then there's something going on with your computer and/or software. Check to see if it does this with other mp4 videos. If it does, do you have any video/audio plugin software installed that may be causing the issue? The last resort I would say would be to uninstall the Media Encoder and reinstall.

  13. When I export my video using Media Encoder on Adobe After Effects, I lose all of my effects.

    The reason I am using Video Encoder is because when I export using the Render queue, I receive the error message: An output module failed. The file may be damaged or corrupted. (-1610153464). Do you know anything about this?

    More importantly, is there any way to export using Media Encoder while keeping all of the effects?

    Thank you!

    • You can export After Effects compositions in the latest version of Media Encoder CC 2015.3 so it should work. Depending on your computer and the other software on it, there's a whole host of things that could be causing the issue… need more RAM memory, too many programs running, software applications are conflicting with each other, virus / malware, software needs updating or to be reinstalled,…

  14. Hi Jerrad,

    The video does render, but I lose the effects that I used… Any way to keep them?

    (The reason I'm user Media Encoder to render in the first place is because when I render in the render queue, I receive an error message thataAn output module failed and that the file may be damaged or corrupted. (-1610153464) )

  15. Hey I have a question, do you maybe know why my monitor is moving or turbulating when I put a WMV (Microsoft Encoder) file into my Adobe Premiere Pro cc? Thank you x

    • That issue could be caused by many things. What is your default program for opening/viewing WMV files on your computer? Is it running at the same time Premiere is open? Does it need an update? Do you have any video plugins installed like DivX? Is Google Chrome running? Sometimes Chrome has caused some KB shortcuts to stop working in Photoshop. Fully closing the program fixes the problem.

      • Dear Jerrad, thank you for your amazing quick response. I am not sure on which program my WMV files open. It's automatic and I am using Windows 10. And yes I have installed DivX is that bad? And Yes google chrome was also running? Does that means that when I am working in Adobe Premiere Pro cc no other program can be open? x

        • I think DivX is ok to have installed. When I video edit, I usually restart my computer to refresh my system's RAM memory and go straight to PrP and edit. I stay away from browsers and other programs because sometimes once I have started one, even though I may later close it out, sometimes something from the program still runs in the background. I just like to maximize my RAM to make editing as problem free as possible.

          • Thank you for the tip. Do you think I should first encode my WMV file via Adobe Encoder into MP4 before importing it into Adobe Premiere?

          • Give it a shot and see if that improves the experience. If you lose any quality with MP4, try an AVI instead (Windows Only). If you're on a Mac, you can try Quicktime (MOV).

    • Phil – I’m not sure if it’s this way in CS6, but in the latest Creative Cloud version of the Media Encoder choose FLV or F4V as the format and under Preset choose 1280×720 (720p) or 1920×1080 (1080p).

  16. I found this information very helpful. When working with students, they sometimes click first and ask second and this will help to get them back on track.

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