How To Export Videos In Premiere Pro

So you’ve finished editing your video and you’re ready to send it out into the world. But what do all those different settings mean?

It isn’t hard to export a video in Premiere Pro, but there sure are a lot of options to choose from. Which settings are important and which should be ignored?

In today’s tutorial we’ll be diving into the best video settings for exporting your films, as well as a step by step for exactly how to export your videos in Premiere Pro.

If you haven’t yet grabbed a free demo of Premiere Pro, go ahead and do that now so you can follow along.

If you’d prefer to follow along with a short video tutorial, you can find that below.

1 | Set IN and OUT Points

If you don’t designate any in and out points, your entire timeline will be exported. This is totally fine if you want the entire timeline to be exported.

However, if you only want a portion of your timeline to be exported then you need to tell Premiere where to start and end the export.

Set your blue cursor where you want your final video to start and hit ‘I’ on your keyboard to set an in point. Toggle your cursor to where you want the video to end and hit ‘o’ on your keyboard. You can always reset these points by hitting the keyboard shortcuts once again in different spots.

set in and out points premiere pro

2 | Open the Export Window

With your in and out points selected you are now ready to send your video into the export window.

To do this click File —> Export —> Media

The keyboard shortcut to open this window is ‘Command M’. I use this one often.

Note: Be sure that you have your desired sequence selected for export in your project panel, otherwise the Media option will be grayed out.

export menu premiere pro.jpg

3 | Select the Desired Video Format

In most cases you will want to choose H.264. This will be the right option for just about any online video like youtube, vimeo, blogs, etc. It will export your video as a .mp4 extension.

There will be more presets to choose from in just a moment to make your selection even more specific.

I do from time to time use the ‘Quicktime’ option. This is a great option if you want very high quality clips in the Apple ProRes format. If you do choose this option, remember that your file size will be quite large, but again, it will be great quality. This is the setting I use for exporting my stock footage clips.

Premiere Pro Video Format List

4 | Choose the Desired Video Preset

Premiere Pro gives a great number of presets to choose from that will automatically give you the best settings for all these common scenarios. I recommend finding the closest option to what you’ll be using your video for.

If your footage is shot in 4K, you can simply choose the Youtube or Vimeo 4K settings. If your footage is shot in HD, you can choose the Youtube or Vimeo HD settings. Pretty straightforward here.

Video preset options premiere pro

5 | How to Use Match Source

If you continue to scroll down, you’ll find the Basic Video Settings. If you’ve selected a preset, these options will already be selected for you and you can leave them as is.

If ever these settings get changed or you want to reset them, simply click the ‘Match Source’ button and this will reset your Width and Height to match the size of your sequence.

Also be sure to always check ‘Render at Maximum Depth’. This will take longer to export your file, but the quality will be better. The only time you wouldn’t check this box is if you’re in a hurry or not concerned about the look of the video as much (quick rough drafts).

match source and render at maximum depth

6 | Bitrate Settings: VBR, 2 Pass Explained

Skip on down to the section for Bitrate Settings.

Here you’ll want to choose the option for VBR, 2 pass. This again will take longer, but your video will look better and I’ll explain why.

If you’re interested here are the three options explained in more detail and why I always choose VBR, 2 Pass.

What do CBR and VBR Stand For and Why You Should Use VBR, 2 Pass:

CBR stands for Constant Bit Rate and VBR stands for Variable Bit Rate.

With CBR, the computer encodes your entire video with one pass at a constant bit rate. This can cause issues if you have scenes that are more complex than others. While your simple scenes will look fine, the scenes that have the most data (color and detail) will not look as good as they could.

With VBR 2 pass, the first encoding pass will scan through your video once to find out how much data is happening in each frame of your video. Some areas have more data than others. For the second pass, the computer goes through and encodes the video. It spends more time encoding the complex, detailed portions of your video (making them look great) and saves time on the more simple portions (they will still look fine, they just don’t need as much attention).

Though it takes more time, VBR 2 Pass is the best option if you want to maximize the highest quality render of your video.

Bitrate settings premiere pro

You can also adjust the range of your bitrate settings. You may want to play with these numbers if you’re trying to keep your overall file size within a certain range. The estimated file size is found at the bottom of the export menu.

target and maximum bitrate settings for premiere pro

7 | Queue or Export Your Video

Once you are happy with all your settings, simply click queue or export to get your video going.

If you are exporting one video and that’s it, simply click Export.

If you plan to export multiple videos, it may make more sense to click Queue. This will automatically open up Adobe Media Encoder where you can set up an export of multiple exports back to back.

This is extremely helpful when I am exporting multiple stock clips all at once and instead of having to export each individually, I can set up my queue and come back later with all of it done for me.

8 | Save Your Export Settings as a Custom Preset

You’ll save yourself lots of time by saving your settings that you use most often. And it’s so easy to do.

Click the little icon with a down arrow that’s right next to the Preset dropdown menu.

save export preset in premiere pro

You will then have the option to rename your custom preset however you wish and click ok.

how to create custom export presets premiere

Next time you open up your export window, you’ll see your custom presets pop up in the dropdown window so you don’t have to manually enter your desired export settings each and every time you export a new video.

custom 4k preset export in premiere pro

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Let me know in the comments below what other topics you’d like to learn about.

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