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Best Premiere Pro Export Settings for YouTube

Export settings in Premiere Pro for YouTube explained.



At HiLo Media, we create tons of content that gets delivered via social media, mostly to YouTube. We use mostly Adobe apps to create and edit our content and deliver final mov file exports from Adobe Premiere Pro.

I get asked a lot . . . "What are the Best Premiere Pro Export settings for YouTube?"

Luckily Premiere Pro makes it easy to render your full video at maximum depth and export high quality videos via their export presets, which usually represent the best export settings.

The best way to export from Premiere Pro yields a high quality video, a file size and a video format appropriate for your delivery medium.


But it's also a good idea to understand what's happening under the hood so you can tweak the settings in Premiere Pro and export the best quality mov video for the content style you're producing. And avoid a Premiere Pro bad quality export.


First off, if you don't yet own
Premiere Pro or any of the Creative Cloud applications, use my links to save some money and support this site at the same time.


Related Post: What is Adobe Premiere Pro?

Here's how to export a video in Premiere Pro.

Default Premiere Pro Export Options for YouTube

You can see the default YouTube upload settings in Premiere Pro by going to Export / Media or by going to the Export Window, new in Adobe Premiere Pro for 2022. This will launch the export settings page.

In the export settings dialog box, if you choose the YouTube export settings, it defaults to H.264 / Match Source - Adaptive High Bitrate using basic video settings. Below the main settings are Publishing settings for YouTube, but we won't worry about that now.


Match Source denotes the frame size and frame rate will be the same as the source timeline. So if you're editing a 1080P pixel aspect ratio timeline at 24 fps frame rate, that will be the same in the resulting file export media. Same goes for ultra-HD like 4K content. It will match the size and frame rate.

Adaptive High Bitrate denotes that the Premiere Pro encoding process will choose a Variable Bitrate (VBR). This preset defaults to a target bitrate of around 15 Mbps. The "variable" part means the encoder will analyze the file and use up to 15 Mbps bitrate (maximum) depending on the demands of the source material

What does bitrate mean?


It is the bits per second of a streaming format. If you were to embed the file on a web server, it would determine how the exported video file would play back based on the server speed and the internet speed of the viewer.


Back in the "old days", internet connections were slow so we had to create smaller videos with smaller bitrate settings.


The default video settings in Adobe Premiere Pro are likely fine for most source material. But there are some ways you can improve the output quality of the export file. More on how to change the bitrate in Premiere Pro further down the article.

What Does "Render At Maximum Depth" mean?


Checking this box in the export settings window will make Premiere Pro render at maximum bit depth supported by the format or video settings defined regardless of the bit depth of the source footage. These are the best rendering settings for Premiere Pro.

Check this box if you'd like to ensure that things like motion graphics are rendered at their maximum bit depth. This is a key setting for the highest quality render in Premiere Pro.

What Does "Use Maximum Render Quality" mean?


This setting in the Export Window tells Adobe Premiere Pro to export using better quality scaling but will take longer to render.


Maximum Render Quality
maximizes the quality of motion in rendered clips and sequences. Selecting this option often renders moving assets more sharply. Use this for the highest resolution export from Premiere Pro.



What are the Bitrate settings?


Adobe Premiere Pro sets the bitrate of the final output media by using one of three methods:


CBR
means "Constant Bitrate" and will use your Target bitrate setting and encode a constant stream at this bitrate.


VBR
means "Variable Bitrate" and will use the Target bitrate as a guide to encode the media file. The bitrate, and resulting file size, will vary depending on the source material. When VBR is set to 1 pass, Adobe Premiere Pro will analyze the file and encode the file in one pass.


VBR 2-pass
is a Variable Bitrate setting that will use both the Target bitrate and Maximum bitrate and will analyze the video in the first pass and encode it in the second pass. This will create the best-quality output as determined by bitrate but, obviously, will take twice and long to encode.

Adobe CBR vs VBR

Use CBR when you'd like a reliable sized output. Use VBR for higher quality streams. Variable bitrate encoding allows for a higher video quality compared to file size.

What are Good Target Bitrate Settings for YouTube videos?


YouTube recommends a bitrate of around 10 Mbps for 1080P video at standard frame rates (24 fps, 25 fps, 30fps).


For 4K material (2160P), your target bitrate might out of Premiere Pro be more like 45-55 Mbps.


For higher frame rate material (48 fps, 50 fps, 60 fps), you can generally add 50% to the target bitrate settings and be fine.


In general, just experiment with bitrate in Premiere Pro and see what your output file looks like. Pay close attention to segments with lots of video information: fast-moving elements, or complex elements like trees or water. These are the places where you'll see the information break down if your bitrate encoding isn't high enough.


You certainly could aim for a higher bitrate in general, but this will result in a larger file size. If you've got a massive internet connection and uploading huge media files isn't an issue, err on the side of higher bitrate encoding.

A bit about file formats


These export preset settings export QuickTime H.264 out of Premiere Pro.

What is an H.264 video file?

H.264 is one of the industry standard quicktime codecs that's used by smartphones, DSLR cameras, GoPro, etc. It is a type of MPEG-4 video.


The advantage of H.264 video mov format over more common formats like Quicktime (.Mov), MP4 (.Mov) and Quicktime-compatible (.Mov) is its enormous storage requirements, the fact that it can handle a much higher quality at a given video compression bitrate than the more common formats and its high dynamic range, making the file appear brighter, clearer or more vibrant than it really is. The downside of H.264 format over other formats like Quicktime (.Mov), MP4 (.Mov), and Quicktime-compatible (.Mov) and Quicktime-compatible (.Mov) are the higher power requirements, which make the export process slower and less reliable.


I generally export QuickTime H264 from Premiere Pro on my Mac. If you are on Windows, you might more likely export MPEG4 from Premiere Pro.

A Bit About Estimated File Size

In the export page, at the bottom info panel in the output section of the video tab, there is an Estimated File Size calculation. This is what it says, an estimate, and will rarely be exactly what Premiere Pro estimates it to be.

This gives you a starting point if you need to export video to a medium that has a file size requirement.

This is less and less important now. Years ago streaming video needed to have a small file size. Or videos encoded for DVD or CDROM had to be able to fit on a physical disc with size limitations.

Is Adobe Media Encoder Any Different Than Premiere Pro?


No, both Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Media Encoder use the same engine for exporting video. The main difference is using Adobe Media Encoder allows you to export videos and continue working in Premiere Pro during the exporting process. Just shoot your videos over to the Adobe Media Encoder queue and go back to video editing!

Premiere Pro Export Settings Frequently Asked Questions


What does match source high bitrate mean?


Match source high bitrate is a Premiere Pro export setting that tells the video encoding engine to match the source file bitrate during the exporting process. This allows you to maintain higher-quality video output while also preserving the source file's resolution and frame rate.


Why should I use a match source high bitrate?


If you are looking to create high-quality, professional-grade videos for platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, then match source high bitrate is the export setting for you.

This setting will ensure that your exported video maintains the source file's resolution and frame rate while also using a higher bitrate, which results in better image quality and more vibrant colors.

Additionally, using match source high bitrate allows you to continue working on your project while the video is being exported, giving you more flexibility and control over your workflow. Overall, if you want high-quality videos that look great on any platform, then match source high bitrate is the setting for you.


What does adaptive high bitrate mean?


Adaptive high bitrate is another Premiere Pro export setting that aims to optimize video encoding for different viewing conditions.


This setting adjusts the bitrate and other encoding parameters based on factors like frame rate, resolution, and content complexity, to deliver the best possible playback quality under varying network conditions.


As a result, adaptive high bitrate can be a useful tool for optimizing video playback quality under different viewing conditions. However, it can also be somewhat more complicated and time-consuming to use than other Premiere Pro export settings like match source high bitrate.


So it is important to carefully consider your specific needs and goals before choosing the appropriate export setting for your videos.


Should I use adaptive high bitrate?


If you are working on videos that need to be optimized for playback under different network conditions, then adaptive high bitrate may be the right Premiere Pro export setting for you.


However, if you are looking for faster and simpler exports, or don't have specific requirements for video playback quality under different network conditions, then match source high bitrate will work fine.


What should my target bitrate be?


There is no universal "best" bitrate for Premiere Pro exports, as this will depend on several factors, including your source file format, resolution, and content complexity.


As a general rule, you should aim for a bitrate that is high enough to maintain quality while also being low enough to ensure smooth playback.


What is match source high bitrate?


Match source high bitrate is a Premiere Pro export setting that is designed to optimize video encoding for maintaining the quality and resolution of the source file.


This means that if you use match source high bitrate, your exported video will look and play back just like the source file.


As such, this setting is ideal for professional-grade video content that needs to be optimized for platforms like YouTube and Vimeo.


If you are looking for high-quality, professional-grade videos that look great on any platform, then match source high bitrate is the setting for you.


What is a good bitrate to export?


There is no definitive "best" bitrate for Premiere Pro exports, as this will depend on several factors, including your source file format, resolution, and content complexity.


As a general rule, you should aim for a bitrate that is high enough to maintain quality while also being low enough to ensure smooth playback. In general, a bitrate of around 8-10 Mbps is a good starting point for most projects.


However, to get the best results, you may need to experiment with different bitrates and encoding parameters until you find the settings that work best for your particular content.


Is Adaptive High bitrate good?


There is no definitive answer to this question, as the "best" export setting for your Premiere Pro project will depend on several factors, including your source file format, resolution, and content complexity.


That being said, adaptive high bitrate can be an effective tool for optimizing video encoding under varying network conditions.


What should target bitrate be for 1080p?


There is no definitive "best" target bitrate for 1080p videos in Premiere Pro, as this will depend on several different factors, including your source file format and resolution.


As a general rule, you should aim for a target bitrate that is high enough to maintain quality while also being low enough to ensure smooth


Does target bitrate increase quality?


There is no definitive answer to this question, as the relationship between target bitrate and video quality will depend on a variety of different factors.


That being said, increasing your target bitrate may improve video quality for complex or highly detailed content, particularly if you are working with high-resolution files or multiple streams of video. However, it may also increase the file size, which can impact playback performance and require more bandwidth for streaming and downloading.


As such, there is no single "best" target bitrate for your Premiere Pro videos, and you will need to experiment with different settings until you find the one that works best for your particular content.


How do I change the target bitrate in Premiere Pro?


In general, you can typically find the target bitrate settings by navigating to File > Export > Settings or Project Settings > Media Encoder.


From there, you can select the "Settings" tab and adjust your video encoding parameters accordingly.


Regardless of how you change your target bitrate in Premiere Pro, it is important to note that you may need to experiment with different settings and encoding parameters until you find the best configuration for your project.


What does target bitrate mean?


Target bitrate refers to the maximum amount of data that can be processed by a video encoding algorithm.


When exporting videos in Premiere Pro, your target bitrate will determine how the quality and resolution of your source content is maintained during the video encoding process.


It can also impact playback performance, file size, and network bandwidth requirements.


What format should I export for YouTube?


There is no single "best" format in the export settings for YouTube, as this will depend on a variety of different factors, including your source file format, resolution, and content complexity.


That being said, in general, you will typically want to choose a high-quality format with good compression and minimal artifacts or effects. Some good options to consider include MPEG-4, MOV, and WebM.


When developing proper export settings for YouTube, it is also important to test your content in a variety of different browsers and devices to ensure optimal playback quality and performance.


This can involve using the YouTube encoding presets or adjusting your settings accordingly.


What format should I export my video in Premiere Pro?


There is no single "best" format for exporting videos in Premiere Pro, as this will depend on a variety of different factors, including your source file format, resolution, and content complexity.


That being said, generally speaking, you will want to choose a high-quality codec that can minimize artifacts or other visual degradation while also maintaining good compression and file size. Some good options to consider include MPEG-4, MOV, WebM, and H.264.


When exporting your video files in Premiere Pro, it is also important to test them on a variety of different devices and browsers to ensure optimal playback quality and performance. This could involve using the YouTube encoding presets


What bitrate should I export 4K video?


There is no definitive answer to this question, as the bitrate that you should use will depend on a variety of different factors.


That being said, in general, you will likely want to choose a relatively high bitrate when exporting to a 4K video clip. This can help maintain good video quality and minimize compression artifacts or other visual degradation.


Other things to consider when choosing a bitrate for 4K content include your source file format, resolution, and encoding parameters. Additionally, it may be helpful to experiment with different settings and perform quality tests until you find the settings that work best for your particular project.


Some good options to consider when exporting 4K video in Premiere Pro include the H.264 codec with a bitrate above 60 Mbps, or the WebM format using VP9 encoding.


Ultimately, the best bitrate for your project will depend on your specific source material and desired output quality, so it is important to experiment and test different settings until you find what works best for your needs.


What are the Best Audio Export Settings?


There is no single "best" audio export setting, as this will depend on a variety of different factors, including your source file format, bitrate, and audio quality.


That being said, in general, you will typically want to choose a high-quality audio format that can minimize compression artifacts or other degradation while also maintaining a good signal-to-noise ratio.


Some good audio export settings to consider when exporting audio in Premiere Pro include WAV, FLAC, or MP3, depending on your specific audio format requirements and the type of content you are working with.


FLAC is an audio codec that is considered lossless when you export audio.

Troubleshooting: Is your Adobe Premiere Pro Video Quality Poor?

If you have poor video quality exporting out of Premiere, there are several things you can try to improve it. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Check the source footage: Make sure that the original footage you are working with is of high quality. If the source footage is poor, there is not much you can do to improve the final video.
  2. Adjust the resolution and frame rate: Make sure that the resolution and frame rate of your project match the resolution and frame rate of your source footage. If they don't match, you can change them in the "Sequence Settings" menu.
  3. Check the compression: Make sure that the compression settings for your video export are set correctly. You can find the compression settings in the "Export Settings" menu.
  4. Use effects and filters carefully: Some effects and filters can degrade the quality of your video. Use them sparingly and adjust the settings to minimize the impact on the quality of your video.
  5. Use high-quality export settings: When you export your video, make sure to use high-quality export settings. You can choose from a range of preset options in the "Export Settings" menu, and you can also create custom export settings.
  6. Check your hardware: If you are rendering with your computer, make sure that your computer is powerful enough to handle video rendering.
  7. Try using a different codec: Some codecs are more suitable for certain types of videos than others. Try using a different codec to see if it improves the quality of your video.
  8. Check if your footage is interlaced, deinterlace it.

By trying these tips, you will export high quality video out of Premiere Pro.

What are the Best Settings for Character Animator Export To Premiere Pro?

When exporting from Adobe Character Animator to Adobe Premiere Pro, there are a few settings that you should consider to ensure the best quality for your final video. Here are some suggestions for optimal export settings:

  1. Video Codec: Use a high-quality video codec such as H.264 or ProRes. These codecs will ensure that your video maintains its quality during the export process.
  2. Resolution: Match the resolution of your Character Animator project to the resolution of your Premiere Pro project. If you plan to use your video on the web, consider exporting at a lower resolution to keep file size down.
  3. Frame rate: Make sure that the frame rate of your Character Animator project matches the frame rate of your Premiere Pro project.
  4. Bit rate: Use a high bit rate (e.g. 50 Mbps) to ensure that the video retains its quality during the export process.
  5. Audio: If you have added audio to your Character Animator project, make sure to export the audio as well. This will allow you to edit the audio in Premiere Pro.
  6. File format: If you are using Premiere Pro CC 2019 and later, you can export your animation as an .aep file (After Effects project) and import it into Premiere Pro. This way you can edit your animation and add effects and transitions in Premiere Pro.
  7. Layers: In Character Animator, make sure to organize your layers in a way that makes sense for your final edit. This will make it easier to edit your animation in Premiere Pro.

By following these settings, you should be able to export high-quality video from Character Animator to Premiere Pro.