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. 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.

  2. 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,…

  3. 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) )

  4. 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).

  5. 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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