Skip navigation

Best Premiere Pro Export Settings for YouTube

Export settings in Premiere Pro for YouTube explained.

Understanding the Importance of Export Settings

When you're editing a video in Adobe Premiere Pro, knowing the best export settings is crucial. It ensures the highest quality for your YouTube videos. Your audience demands crisp, clear video, and the right export settings in premiere, can make that happen.

The Role of Bitrate in Video Quality

The quality of a video is largely determined by its bitrate. The bitrate is the amount of data processed per unit of time. High bitrate results in high quality and large file size. Low bitrate leads to lower quality but smaller file size.

Delving into Bitrate Settings

Bitrate settings come in two types: Constant Bitrate (CBR) and Variable Bitrate (VBR). CBR keeps the bitrate the same throughout the video. VBR adjusts the bitrate as needed, improving the quality while keeping the file size in check.

Embracing Match Source Adaptive High Bitrate

Match Source Adaptive High Bitrate is an option in Premiere Pro that adjusts the bitrate to match maximum bitrate of the source video. It helps preserve the video quality while optimizing the file size. This setting is ideal for uploading to YouTube, where maintaining high quality is key, but large file sizes can be an issue.

Tackling Basic Video Settings

When setting up your export settings in Premiere Pro itself, start with the Basic Video Settings. Set the width and height to match your source video. For most YouTube videos, a frame rate of 30 fps is sufficient. For more cinematic content, consider using 24 fps.

Resolution and Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio of your video can affect how it is displayed on different devices.

YouTube supports various aspect ratios like 16:9 (widescreen), 4:3 (standard), and 1:1 (square).

Be mindful of your target audience's likely viewing devices when choosing your aspect ratio.

For instance, if they're likely to watch on mobile, you might want to consider a vertical video format.

Employing Advanced Bitrate Encoding

Next, dive into the Bitrate Encoding settings. Here, you'll find the Match Source Adaptive High Bitrate setting. This setting is ideal for a YouTube video as it balances quality and file size, adapting the bitrate as needed.


Bitrate refers to the amount of data processed in a given amount of time. Higher bitrate typically means better quality but also results in larger file sizes. For YouTube, the platform recommends a bitrate of 8 Mbps for HD content and up to 45 Mbps for 4K content.

Opting for Maximum Render Quality

In the Video tab, there's a checkbox for Maximum Render Quality. Check this box to ensure the best possible quality during the exporting video process. This can increase export time, but the result is worth it.

Video and Audio Codecs

A codec is used to compress and decompress a video or audio file. YouTube recommends using the H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec for the best compatibility and quality.

Frame Rate

Matching the export frame rate with your source video's frame rate is usually a good idea to avoid frame drops or stuttering. YouTube supports a range of frame rates from 24 to 60 frames per second.

File Size and Length

YouTube does have restrictions on video length and file size. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the maximum file size is 128GB and the maximum length is 12 hours. However, these limits may have changed, so it's always a good idea to check YouTube's current guidelines.


Before uploading your export video to YouTube, it can be beneficial to watch your exported video in its entirety. This allows you to check for any issues, such as video stuttering, audio synchronisation problems, or unexpected quality loss.

Remember, the goal is to ensure that your audience has the best viewing experience possible, so take the time to fine-tune your settings and check the quality before uploading.

Perfecting Audio Export Settings

The Audio Format and Audio Codec settings also play a part in the quality of your exported video. AAC is the recommended audio format for YouTube. A sample rate of 48,000 Hz is ideal for stereo audio quality.

Finalizing Your Premiere Pro Export Settings

Once you've fine-tuned all these settings, you're ready to export finished video. Navigate to the Export Menu, select your settings, and click Export. You've now created a high-quality video ready for uploading to your YouTube channel.

What are the best export settings in Adobe Premiere?

The best export settings in Adobe Premiere depend on your video's purpose. There are two ways to export your video for YouTube: using an export preset or manually selecting your settings.

Using an export preset

  1. Choose Export from the header bar at the top of Premiere Pro or select File > Export > Media File from the Export menu.
  2. Select YouTube from the list of destinations on the left and enable the switch to access all settings.
  3. In the Preset drop-down menu, choose YouTube 1080p Full HD. If you don't see this in the Preset drop-down list, click More Presets to open the Preset Manager dialog box and search for the preset.
  4. Click export. This will automatically choose the best export settings for YouTube, making the entire process simple​1​.

Manually selecting your settings If you prefer more control over your export, you can manually select your settings. The best Premiere Pro export settings for YouTube are generally:

Video settings

  • Format: H.264 (.mp4)
  • Frame sizes: Depending on your video's resolution, choose among UHD (3840 x 2160), Quad HD (2560 x 1440), Full HD (1920 x 1080), HD (1280 x 720), or SD NTSC Wide (854 x 480).
  • Frame rate: Match the frame rate of the source video.
  • Target bitrate: 8 Mbps (45 for 4K)
  • Bitrate encoding: VBR, 1-pass
  • Field order: Progressive
  • Aspect: Match the aspect of the source video

Audio settings

  • Audio format & codec: AAC
  • Sample rate: 48 kHz
  • Audio channels: Stereo

After exporting your project with these settings, you'll be ready to create and upload directly to YouTube​

Adobe Premiere Pro Export Settings FAQ

What does match source high bitrate mean?

Match Source High Bitrate is a setting in Premiere Pro that automatically adjusts the bitrate of the the exported video file, to match the quality of the source video.

What does adaptive high bitrate mean?

Adaptive High Bitrate means the bitrate changes during the video depending on the complexity of the video frames. It helps to optimize the quality and the file size.

Should I use adaptive high bitrate?

Yes, using Adaptive High Bitrate is beneficial when uploading videos to YouTube. It helps maintain high video quality while managing file size.

What should my target bitrate be?

The target bitrate depends on the quality and resolution of your video. For 1080p video, a target bitrate of 10-12 Mbps is often used.

Is Adaptive High bitrate good?

Yes, Adaptive High Bitrate is good for preserving video quality while managing file size.

What is the best format to export in Premiere for YouTube?

H.264 is the best format to export videos in Premiere Pro for YouTube. It provides high-quality video and is widely supported.