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Pro Tip: Exporting a Finished Video from Premiere Pro

Robbie Janney

Now that your edit is complete and ready for delivery, there’s one step left. Exporting a finished video with Premiere Pro is a required skill in any edit.

Getting the hang of exporting in Premiere seems difficult with all of the settings you are confronted with in the export tab. It’s really not as complicated as it seems, though – with a little knowledge about codecs and sequence settings, you’ll be firing off exports in no time.


Step 1: Open The Export Window

To export a video in Premiere Pro, go to File>Export>Media. You could also press the shortcut key Ctrl + M on PC, or Cmd + M on Mac. Make sure the sequence you want to export is selected when you do this.

Pro Tip: Exporting a Finished Video from Premiere Pro — Export Settings

This will bring up your Export Settings window. In this window, you’ll select your desired settings (or presets) for the video, before sending it to Media Encoder for exporting.

Step 2: Choose Your Sequence Settings

The first thing to think about when exporting a video is where the video will be delivered and how it’ll be viewed. Are you going to upload to YouTube and Vimeo? Compressing down the video so you can send it easily to a client? Or are you exporting a hi-res master version for presentation? The delivery destination is very important on deciding what the settings need to be. There are loads of useful presets already installed with Premiere Pro and Media Encoder. You can use these presets to quickly choose settings for your exported file.

Pro Tip: Exporting a Finished Video from Premiere Pro — Match Sequence Settings

If you want to bypass these custom settings and export with the EXACT settings of your sequence, you can select Match Sequence Settings at the top. That’ll change your export settings to exactly match your sequence settings. Although, I don’t recommend this because most delivery destinations require codecs other than your common editing or intermediate codec.

Pro Tip: Exporting a Finished Video from Premiere Pro — Presets

Step 3: Establish What Platform You Will Be Exporting For

For this example, we’ll be exporting from Premiere Pro to upload to YouTube. Premiere Pro also has presets for both YouTube and Vimeo that’ll export your project in the best recommended settings for both. However, for this example, we’re going to be exporting with custom settings.

Pro Tip: Exporting a Finished Video from Premiere Pro — H.264 Codec

Step 4: Select A Format and Codec

The best setting for web playback is the H.264 codec. So, we’ll select our format as H.264. That is also the most common codec for video exports through Premiere. For eighty to ninety percent of your exports, you’ll be using H.264.

Pro Tip: Exporting a Finished Video from Premiere Pro — Customize Settings

We’ll select a preset that matches our sequence and desired output. Our sequence is 1080p with a frame rate of 23.976 fps.

Step 5: Fine Tune Your Settings and Adjust Your Bitrate

Click the output name to specify an output name for the exported video file. To learn more about properly naming a file, check out this article. Make sure that Export Video and Export Audio are both checked so the file has both video and audio.

If you feel comfortable with changing settings to make them more customizable, you can do so in this window. Here’s my recommended settings for most of my videos exported in Premiere:

Pro Tip: Exporting a Finished Video from Premiere Pro — Maximum Depth

Click the Render at Maximum Depth box. This will increase your render time, but Premiere will take extra care in exporting your video in the cleanest way possible.

Pro Tip: Exporting a Finished Video from Premiere Pro — Bitrate Encoding

The bit rate decides how big your file size will be. If you need a small file size, you can trim down your bitrate to minimize size. For a master copy, you should export with a high bitrate to have the best copy you can export.

This is my regular export rundown: Change the Bitrate Encoding Settings to VBR, 2 Pass, then drag your Target Bitrate to your selected file size. The size will be shown at the bottom of the window. Make your Maximum Bit Rate double the Target Bit Rate. When you choose 2 pass, Premiere will run through your timeline twice to make sure that there are no corrupted frames and ensure that your export is clean.

Step 6: Finish Your Export Either in Premiere or Finish In Media Encoder

Now, you can select one of two Premiere Pro export options: Queue or Export.

Pro Tip: Exporting a Finished Video from Premiere Pro — Queue and Export

Selecting Queue will send you to Media Encoder, with the sequence added to a queue.

Pro Tip: Exporting a Finished Video from Premiere Pro — Media Encoder

Then, all you have to do is press the green play button at the top to start the export. This is good if you want to add multiple Premiere Pro sequences to export at the same time. This also allows you to continue working in Premiere Pro while Media Encoder exports in the background. This is the method of exporting I use most often.

Selecting Export simply exports the sequence right from that window. You won’t be able to use Premiere Pro while it’s exporting this way.

That’s it! You just exported your finished video.

Pro Tip: Exporting a Finished Video from Premiere Pro — Save Preset

Step 7: Save Your Settings For Future Exports

If you find yourself using a custom setting frequently, you can save your export settings as a new preset. Click the Save Preset button next to the preset dropdown in the export window. You can then name the preset whatever you like. Now you can use that saved preset in the future.

As you can see, exporting a finished video from Premiere Pro is super easy and very customizable. Want to streamline your exporting even more? You can also add additional output files from the same source sequence in Media Encoder — very useful for creating different file types and sizes of the same video.

Want more tips for using Premiere Pro? Check these out.