Finding the Balance Between Video File Size and Quality in Adobe Premiere

by Joe Laudato

Exporting video: a simple task. What could possibly go wrong? It turns out that the process is a bit trickier than it seems. Here are a few important bits of information crucial for exporting video destined for a HTML5 website.

To begin with, click “Export > Media…” under the “File” tab (alternatively, the shortcut is CTRL+M). If “Media…” is grayed out, then click your “Sequence” work area so that it is highlighted gold:diy1

Now the “Media…” option should be clickable. Upon selection you will be presented with the “Export Settings” window. Below the frame which displays your video is an orange bar which represents the selected area that you will export:


You can click and drag the gray triangles in order to adjust the selection, and move the orange bulb to shift your viewing frame in the box above.

To the right of your viewing frame and selection modifier is an intimidatingly large array of different settings, only a few of which need to be modified.


The important point about exporting for HTML is finding a balance between file size and visual quality. Since MP4 is a video codec that works with HTML5 in IE, Chrome, and Safari, I’ll use it as an example of the size-quality balancing process. Still in the Export Settings window, aim to the right side under the “Export Settings” tab. Set “Format:” to “H.264” and then open the scroll down menu for “Preset:” and scroll downward to select a Youtube preset, e.g. “Youtube SD 360p Widescreen 25.” At this point your window should look similar to this:diy

The estimated file size for my video, a length of only 1 minute and 19 seconds, was a whopping 10 MB. To drastically reduce this value, scroll down in the “Video” tab to “Bitrate Settings.”


Now lower the “Target Bitrate [Mbps]:” value. Setting it as low as “.26” reduced my file size to 3 MB from 10 MB. The lower value you choose, the lower quality your video will be. Export and experiment with several different values to find the right size-quality balance for your particular clip.

Video Tag Compatability

IE 9+: MP4

Chrome 6+: MP4, WebM, Ogg

Firefox 3.6+: WebM, Ogg

Safari 5+: MP4

Opera 10.6+: WebM, Ogg

~ by jtl29 on March 18, 2013.

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