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Exporting Frames, Clips, and Sequences in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5

Using the formats

Let’s reverse this approach and take a user-centric view, identifying the use of the video and then pointing toward a format and preset. There are few absolutes, but these should get you in the ballpark. Just to state the blindingly obvious, try whatever option you choose with a short file first to test the workflow, before going live with it.

  • Uploading to a web site for Flash deployment: When you choose the FLV|F4V format, choose an FLV preset for producing the file with the older On2 VP6 codec, and choose F4V for the newer, higher-quality H.264 format. If you don’t know which format to use, go with F4V. In terms of resolution, the 720p Source, Half Size presets in both F4V and FLV formats encode your video at 740×360 (for HD source), which is a nice conservative resolution that should look quite good. Check with your web administrator for the format, resolution, data rate, and other details.

  • Encoding for DVD/Blu-ray: Use MPEG2 for both, namely, MPEG2-DVD for DVD and MPEG2 Blu-ray for Blu-ray Discs. MPEG2 looks indistinguishable from H.264 in these high-bit-rate applications and will encode much, much faster. Better yet, input your sequence without rendering in Encore (choose File > Adobe Dynamic Link > Import Adobe Premiere Pro Sequence).

  • Encoding for devices: Use the H.264 format for current devices (Apple iPod/iPhone, Apple TV, and TiVo), as well as some generic 3GPP presets; use MPEG4 for older MPEG4-based devices, and use Windows Media for Zune. When encoding for smartphones, find the manufacturer’s specifications, and make sure the files that you produce don’t exceed these specs. As you’ll see, Adobe Device Central can help in this regard.

  • Encoding for uploading to user-generated video sites: H.264 has presets for YouTube and Vimeo in wide-screen, SD, and HD. Use these presets as a starting point for your service, being careful to observe resolution, file size, and duration limits.

  • Encoding for online video platforms (OVPs) such as Brightcove and Kaltura: Typically, H.264 is the highest-quality format. Check the recommendations and requirements of your service provider, and check the YouTube and Vimeo presets as a guide.

  • Encoding for editing in other applications: Export to Final Cut Pro XML (File > Export > Final Cut Pro XML) for Final Cut Pro, and try the AAF format (File > Export > AAF) for Avid Media Composer. If these options don’t work, use either QuickTime or Microsoft AVI format for SD files, using the DV codec. For HD formats, try creating a file by selecting the Match Sequence Settings check box, which will render in your acquisition format (if that’s what you used for the sequence). If that option isn’t available, encode in high-resolution, high-data-rate H.264, using the QuickTime format for Final Cut Pro; however, there are no presets, so you’ll be on your own when it comes to choosing encoding parameters. For other applications, use the H.264 format, which most editors now support.

  • Windows Media or Silverlight deployment: The Windows Media format is your safest option, though more recent versions of Silverlight can play H.264 files. If producing H.264 for Silverlight, follow the Flash rules provided earlier, since Silverlight should play any file produced for Flash.

In general, the Adobe Premiere Pro presets are proven and will work for your intended purpose. Don’t adjust parameters when encoding for devices or optical discs, because changes that seem subtle can render the files unplayable. Even with other presets, resist the urge to tinker unless you know what you’re doing from an encoding perspective. Most Adobe Premiere Pro presets are conservative and will deliver very good quality using the default values, so you probably won’t improve the output by tinkering, and you could even degrade it considerably.

Now let’s work through a specific example of producing a file for a mobile device.

9. Exporting to mobile devices | Next Section Previous Section