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.

68 COMMENTS

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    • 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.

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