How to Export Video Using Adobe Premiere Pro

How To 11 min
Exporting a video with appropriate settings that reduce file size and maintain quality is vital to transmitting your video media to Defense Media Activity (DMA).

Andrew Carlson, of DMA - Navy Production, demonstrates how to export video using Adobe Premiere Pro. He breaks down export video settings and how to use them. He also recommends options when you are in the field on a WiFi hotspot and when you are at an installation at a desktop. Follow along with the steps below.

  1. Click on the timeline. The gold highlight will indicate the active selection.
  2. You can also click on "Footage" or "Sequence" from inside the project window. The light gray shading will indicate it is the active selection.
  3. Click on "File" from the drop-down menu at the top of the screen in the menu bar.
  4. Select "Export" then "Media." The keyboard shortcut Ctrl + M or Cmd + M for a MacOS will accomplish the same task. This opens a new dialogue window.

This menu is found at the bottom of the screen. "Work Area" is the default. The work area, or sequence, is defined in the timeline. If you export with this setting, you will only output the sequence, or portion, of RAW footage shown with the gold highlight.
To do this, input new in and out points on the slider.

  1. Scrub through the footage.
  2. When you get to the desired point, click on the "set in point" icon to set a new in or out point.
  3. The Source Range will now display "Custom."

The time display indicates the exact time of the portion of the clip to be output. This feature is used for RAW footage that should be output as a single shot or series of shots.

Change source range to "Entire Sequence." This selection allows the entire sequence of footage to be output.
The last settings used are stored as the default. For Adobe Premiere Pro and higher, the "Match Sequence" setting is very useful. When this is selected, Premiere will look at the original source and output the file using the native format codec and size. Whenever feasible, use this option to export the highest possible quality.

In the "Format" drop-down, select H.264. Premiere will select the program setting that most closely resembles the source. Use this option if it is not possible to export a file in its native format, due to size considerations or because the end user or playback platform can't accept the native format of the footage or sequence.

  1. Select the "Video" tab in the middle of the Export Settings panel.
  2. When the file size of the exported file matters, select "VBR (variable bitrate) 2 Pass." This setting is recommended when exporting while on a boat or in the field on a mobile hotspot.
  3. Set target bitrate to 10 Mbps.
  4. Set maximum bitrate to 50 Mbps.
  5. A 2 pass will play through the entire clip, the first pass analyzing the clip, and the second pass transcoding the clip. For this reason, a 2 pass encode will take twice as long as a VBR 1 pass or CBR (constant bitrate) but will result in a superior quality file. Check the estimated file size at the bottom of the Export Settings panel.
  6. For a VBR 1 pass, input the two parameters: a target and a maximum; analyzing and adjustments are made on the fly.

A CBR is used when time is of greater concern than file size. With this option, only one number is input, and a file will be output using that parameter. When exporting from headquarters, use the native format, or a VBR with target bitrate from 30-50 or a CBR of 50.

  1. Select the "Output" tab at the top of the screen. This will display how the clip will look after the settings have been modified/applied.
  2. Scroll/scrub through the footage in the timeline at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Ensure there are no distorted subjects (stretched or flattened) in the footage. If these distortions are present, the file is anamorphic and unfit for output.

  1. Click on the "Output Name" field in the Export Settings panel. The default is the name of the clip/sequence.
  2. Enter the desired name in the Save As field.
  3. Select the device/folder to which the file should be saved. The default is the last file location used.
  4. Click "Save."

  1. Locate the "Preset" drop-down menu at the top of the Export Settings panel.
  2. Click on the "Save Preset" icon. This icon resembles a floppy disk.
  3. Enter a name for the preset in the dialogue box that opens.
  4. Click "OK."

This preset will be saved to the user settings (or top portion) of the preset drop-down to be used in future export sessions.

Click on "Export" at the bottom of the screen.

H.264 is a complicated transcode. The file, with a a VBR 2 Pass, will take twice as long to transcode as the length of the file. So a file of one minute will take two minutes to transcode.

Adobe product screen shots reprinted with permission from Adobe Inc.

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