Pro Tips, Tutorials

Social-Media Export Settings in Adobe Premiere Pro: The Ultimate Guide

social-media-export-2Wouldn’t it be great to have all of Premiere Pro’s video export settings for social media in one place? Well, you’re in luck! The tutorials below will show you how to best format and export your videos for YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram within Adobe Premiere Pro 2017.

Before you read on. My number one rule of thumb is:
Don’t export and upload the same video format on all platforms!

Instead, create specific renditions of the video for each platform. Think about how your users will engage and interact with the video on the platform you’re uploading to. Questions to ask yourself:

  • How will the user engage with the video differently on each social-media platform?
  • Will the user be watching with the audio on?
  • What is the video duration at which people stop watching?
  • Do you want the user to click on a link?
  • Do you want a video teaser to entice the viewer into watching the full video on YouTube?

These questions will help you determine how to design your video. For example, on Facebook, people usually discover the video within their feed without the audio on. So it’s a good idea to make the first five seconds of your video eye-catching and to include captions. As Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan wrote, “the medium is the message.” And the social media platform has a highly influential impact on the way people perceive the video’s message. So it’s important to think about the platform before you click the “export” button.

Now that you’re thinking about platform-specific content, let’s dive into the best ways to export that content in Premiere Pro.

Before we start, know that there are new solutions coming that will streamline social-media export workflows. Adobe is currently working on a beta for a “Social Publishing Panel,” which will streamline the social-media upload process and include cross-platform video analytics. The current build of the beta panel is confidential, but here are some things you can and should know:

  • You will be able to upload to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter from the panel. I submitted a request for upload to Instagram as well, so hopefully they will take this into consideration as they continue to build the panel.
  • It also includes a simplified export selection box and it automatically chooses the best render settings for that platform (so no need to worry about selecting the right preset or setting!)
  • You can add a video title, description, and tags, and select privacy and custom thumbnails from the panel.
  • You can also measure the video’s overall engagement, views, likes, comments, and shares across multiple platforms from within the panel.

Read more about the social panel here and if you want to sign up for the beta, fill out this application. The beta will be released to the public sometime in the next two months.

Last week, I produced one video tutorial a day for five days, each day focusing on specific export settings for a different social-media platform in Premiere Pro. I called it my “5 days of Social.” Below is the result of my endeavor, which I hope will aid your social-media video workflow.


1. YouTube

YouTube’s video player works in a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is standard for 1280x720p HD and 1920x1080p HD. But if you have video that is not 16:9 (such as 4:3, Traditional Television, 480p SD), it will process black bars on the left and right. These bars are popularly known as pillar boxes. It’s very rare that you will see pillar boxes on new videos on YouTube, but if you watch any videos from the 90s, they’ll be there.

If a video was shot in 480p (4:3), YouTube will add black pillar boxes on the left and right of the clip

When I export for YouTube, I select the “H.264” format, then select Premiere Pro’s preset “YouTube 1080p HD,” as I work in 1080p HD. But there are also four other YouTube presets, depending on the resolution of your video footage.

The presets will automatically adjust the video settings, bitrate, audio codec, and video codec to match the ideal settings for YouTube 1080HD uploads, but I recommend two updates to the Video Bitrate settings:

1. Change the Bitrate Encoding to “VBR, 2 Pass.” The first pass analyzes the video to determine which areas of the image need more compression than others, while the second pass executes video compression. It takes longer, but it will produce a better image.

2. Change the target bitrate encoding to 8 mbps. The lower the bitrate, the smaller the file size. (Do not go below 8 mbps.)

You can also auto-publish to YouTube by selecting the “Publish” tab within Premiere Pro’s export settings. Once you select the check mark next to “YouTube,” click on “Log In” to connect your YouTube account to Premiere Pro’s Media exporter. You’ll be able to select the video’s privacy, create comma-separated tags, and add a description. You can also opt to delete the local file after upload.

2. Vimeo

Just like YouTube, Vimeo’s player will also add black pillar bars to the left and right of 4:3 480p video. Premiere Pro’s export settings for Vimeo are identical to YouTube, except there are no Vimeo presets for 4k video yet.

However, Vimeo does accept 4k video. If you need to export a 4k video, start with YouTube’s 4k preset and adjust the bitrate settings to match Vimeo’s guidelines. I’d recommend a target bitrate of 30 mpbs and a maximum bitrate of 60 mpbs at a variable bitrate (VBR), 2-pass for 4k.

If you’re just exporting 1080p HD, choose the “Vimeo 1080p HD” preset and simply update the Bitrate settings to “VBR, 2 pass,” with a target bitrate of 10 mbps and a maximum bitrate of 20 mbps. This will achieve optimal results.

You can also auto-publish to Vimeo under the “Publish” tab. Scroll down and check the box next to Vimeo and then click on “Log In” and it will open up a window to connect your Vimeo account to Premiere Pro. Just like with YouTube, you will be able to select who can see or view the video and add tags and a description.

3. Facebook

Facebook is now a platform of discovery. Most videos on Facebook delight and entertain, and some videos are designed to lead users to another place on the web. I’ve seen a trend where companies or brands will create derivatives of full-length videos on YouTube to post on Facebook. Often, this will involve changing the aspect ratio to a square (1:1) 1080×1080 format, rather than sticking with the original 1080×1920 HD or 1280 X720 HD (16:9) ratio uploaded to YouTube. And unlike YouTube, the Facebook video player is not restricted to the 16:9 player, meaning it will not add black-bar pillars to the sides of square videos.

Before you export for Facebook, there two things to keep in mind: 1) Facebook videos must be shorter than 120 minutes (although I have no idea why anyone would ever upload anything at that length) and 2) The size of the file must be 4GB or less. The best video length for Facebook is 10-60 seconds.

Optimal Facebook Video Settings:

Format: H.264
Recommended Resolutions: 720p, 1080p, or 1080×1080
Recommended Aspect Ratios: Square 1:1 or Rectangular 16:9 or 16:9 (Mobile Phones)
Recommended Bitrate: Target: 6, Maximum 12
Bitrate Encoding: Variable Bit Rate, VBR, 2pass
Audio Codec: AAC (Advanced Audio Encoded)
Audio Sample Rate: 44,100 hz
Channel: Stereo

There is a Premiere Pro Facebook 720p HD (16:9) export preset for Facebook for 16:9 videos — which you should use if you want to export a video with a 16:9 ratio. But, as I mentioned before, many content creators are creating square-format videos for Facebook because it works better for viewing on the Facebook mobile app.

But before we create an export preset, you need to set up your sequence settings for a 1080 x 1080 Facebook video. Go to “New Item” in your Project Panel and select “New Sequence.” Select “Digital SLR 1080p24.” All you have to do is change the 1920 horizontal to 1080, then hit “Save Preset” and name it “Facebook 1080×1080.”

Once you’re done editing your video, it’s time to export. First, go to File > Export > Media, select the “H.264” format and select “Match Source – Medium Bitrate.” If you want to auto-publish to Facebook, simply click on the “Publish” tab and check the box next to “Facebook,” then hit the “Log In” button. This will pull up an authorization dialogue box asking you to give Adobe Media Encoder permission to publish your video to Facebook on your behalf. The only limitation with this is that you can only publish to your personal Facebook account — it doesn’t allow you to select a page that you manage as a destination for upload. (The new Social Publishing Panel, however, will do this.)

If you have a captioning layer, you can select the “Captions” tab and choose to “Burn the Captions into Video.” I would highly recommend burning your captions into Facebook, as most people watch Facebook videos with the sound off. The captions tab will refer back to the captioning layer you added to your sequence.

Next to the Preset selection box, click on the save button, which will allow you to save the current export settings as a preset and name it.

Save the preset as “Facebook 1080×1080.” You’ll also be able to save the Effects Settings or the Publish settings, but I recommend leaving those unchecked, because these will vary per video.


4. Instagram

Did you know that Instagram accepts three different aspect ratios now? This was news to me! Here are all the specs you need to know. Watch the video to follow along and learn how to set up all three aspect ratios in your sequence.

Video aspect ratio: Landscape (1.91:1), Square (1:1), Vertical (4:5)
Minimum resolution: 1800 x 945 pixels (1.91:1 landscape) / 1080 x 1080 pixels (1:1 square) / 864 x 1080 pixels (4:5 vertical)
Minimum length: No minimum
Maximum length: 60 seconds
File type: Full list of supported file formats
Video Format: H.264 video compression, high profile preferred, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan
Audio: Stereo AAC audio compression, 128kbps + preferred
Maximum size: 4GB
Frame rate: 30fps max, export frame rates should max sequence frame rate
Bitrate: No limit to bitrate file if you’re using two-pass encoding, as long as your file doesn’t exceed 1 GB. Otherwise, 8 megabits per second for 1080p and 4 megabits per second for 720p.

Since Instagram doesn’t let you upload videos from its desktop version, you need a way to move and save the video file onto your phone. I have an iPhone, so I send the video file to my cell phone using the iMessage app on my desktop. Once it arrives by iMessage on my phone, I then tap the file and save it to my camera roll. You can also use Airdrop on a Mac. If you’re using a PC, you can use Dropbox or Google Drive to share the file to your mobile device.

5. Twitter

Similar to Facebook, the Twitter video player will adjust to match the aspect ratio of your video, so you can upload square (1:1) or 720p/1080p (16:9) clips. Unlike Facebook presets, which are limited to Facebook 720p, Premiere Pro has two export presets for Twitter: Twitter 640×640 and Twitter 720p HD (16:9). If you want a higher-quality square video, you can use the same presets I set for the Facebook 1080×1080 video above. IF you have a 16:9 video, however, I just have a few tweaks to make your image better.

First, start with the “Twitter 720p” preset. Then, change the bitrate encoding to “VBR, 2 pass” and the Target and Maximum Bitrate to the following:

I also find that if you use the YouTube 1080p HD preset for Twitter video, it works out quite well, but overall, the Twitter video player is far less sophisticated than Facebook’s. It doesn’t give you the option for SD or HD playback, nor does it have captioning capability. Hopefully in the near future, Twitter will begin to enhance its video playback capability.

I hope you all found this guide useful. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments or contact me directly. I create a new video tutorial every week on my Premiere Gal YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe to keep up to date with all the latest trends.