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Adobe Premiere Pro CC - Essentials Training

File types & codecs to use in Premiere Pro

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hey there, this video we're going to talk about the main file types to use, mp4s or mov files. We'll also look at codecs, what they are, and what the main ones you'll use are. We can export anything, I'm going to export something a bit smaller. I'm going to use Clouds HD, make a sequence from the clip, and I'm just going to export this straight out like this. I'll do some basic editing, just make it smaller so it doesn't take so long, even smaller. 

So now I want to export it, remember 'Command M' on a Mac, 'Ctrl M' on a PC. You must have your Timeline selected. Let's talk about the two file types. The main ones are, there is lots, it's outside of the scope of this course really to go through everything, but the main ones are h.264, which is going to give you an mp4, and then a QuickTime video, it's going to give you a .mov. If you're on a PC, occasionally you might get asked for an avi. It's not in this list here because I'm not on a PC, and it's PC only. If you're on a PC and you can't see QuickTime, often you need to install the free QuickTime Player, and often that will give you the kind of codecs and things, that you need to make this work. 

So let's do it twice, let's send the-- let's do the one that we've been doing, h.264, let's add it to Media Encoder, and then I want to duplicate it, select it, duplicate it, and this one here, we're going to change to QuickTime, where are you? Doesn't really matter if you change it in here, or in Premiere, when you're kind of passing it over, it doesn't matter. Now we've talked about mp4s quite a bit, and how to like lower the Bitrate, QuickTime's are a lot bigger in terms of file sizes, but the codec, which we'll talk about a little bit more in a second, is what you need to pick.

Now in this case you could pick Match Source, or often you get asked for this one here, the ProRes 422. I'm going to 422 HQ, that's what I get asked for a lots from different people. So that's the other one we're going to discuss. So let's export both of these to the right files. So you can-- I go into my Renders file, this is going to be called, actually just leave it the same name. Same with this, you're going to the Renders file. Renders, there you go. Let's put it one after it, we end up with loads of these, the underscore ones. Let's click 'Play', and I'll see you in a second. 

It's exported them, nice and quickly, because they're so small, but you can see the difference, the mp4 and the mov. So the mp4 is the super compressed file, it looks great when you play it, but the quality, well, the compression is very heavy. So for a video purist, people don't like mp4s, because they use a codec called h.264, which is very heavily compressed. Keeps the file sizes small, and the reason we can watch video online now, is because of the h.264, which is wrapped up in this mp4. I'm getting ahead of myself with codecs but mp4s, small, movs, really big. They get blown out to Gigabyte files. 

Now why would you use an mov? An mov, especially if you're using that codec that we just used, the ProRes 422, is not as aggressive when it comes to, like shrinking it down and pulling out bits it doesn't need. So the file size becomes bigger, but the Pro is often like, if I'm ever having problems with video, you know, looks good in Premiere Pro, and I export it, and the colors are a bit strange in mp4s, it's because of the compression, and I'll switch to this mov using this codec, and often the quality will be great again. The big drawback though is that, the file size are ginormous. So let's move on to talking about codecs. 

So what is this codec thing I'm talking about? Basically this first one just gives its name, mp4 or mov. What's really happening is the type of compression that gets used within of these. Basically these are considered wrappers, they're just names. Inside of it you can have different kinds of compression going on. We're not going to get all the way into it, but in terms of an mp4, it uses a codec very often - doesn't have to be - of h.264, that is the poorly named codec, that compresses the file to make it look good, but also have a really small file size. That will change over time. There's this newer one here, the h.265. 

Now, it's not very common now, why wouldn't you just use that new one? It's mainly because of the players. So let's say that I'm looking-- I'm watching a video on my phone, if I start using random codecs, that I just go through here, and just pick some random one from in here, the phone's going to go, "I don't know what that is, I know what an h.264 codec is," and I'll happily play that, but I might not play the newer version or the older version. The type of encoding that keeps it small, but the actual thing playing it needs to understand it as well, and that is super common, and super small, and super good quality. QuickTime's the same, if I duplicate that one, QuickTime is the .mov, it's just a wrapper, inside of that though there's lots of different options, and people will-- like I get, professionally, I get asked for, "Can you send me a mov with a ProRes 422 codec, please, HQ", and I do that all the time, and send it out, because people want it. 

It's uncompressed, the file footage is as good as they can get it from me. If I send them an mp4, they've lost the ability to, they've lost some of the content in there because I've kind of, squished it down and got rid of the bits that I don't need, whereas something like ProRes is keeping the quality in there, so that the person on the other side can, I don't know, have as pure a video as they can get, and that's probably the most common at the moment, but you might get asked for animation, or, what else is in here? 444, this Cineform one, just whatever they ask for, give it to them. 

So those are the two main file formats. So mp4 and mov, and within them we are probably, most commonly going to use h.264 for the mp4, and there's Apple ProRes 422, for a QuickTime video. You might get asked for something else, and then you just got to work through what format it is, which file format it's going to be, and then which codec, and ask people, "What codec do you want?" If they have no idea, "What do you mean?," just give them an h.264, mp4, and the world will be fine. 

All right, how are you doing? How is this all going, is it going into your brain? You might have to watch this section a few times over, or you might ignore all of it and just go to h.264 Match Source, and forget this ever happened. It's kind of exhausting talking about it, I enjoyed like trying to demystify, but it is tough, it's a weird old world of wrappers, and codecs, and 4K, HD. It can get a little heavy going, and if you do find it heavy going now, you're sitting there, leaning back, going, "Wow, I need a strong cup of tea," then you're not alone. It is a little bit painful to learn about, and you won't be expected to kind of know all of this all straight up. Basically you'll get a job, you'll figure out what they need, and if they don't ask for anything just give them mp4, and if they ask for something specific you rush around with your hair on fire, Googling stuff, or coming back to this video to talk about codecs, but anyway that's a good place to wrap up. Take a deep breath, maybe go for a jog, go for a walk, and I'll see you in the next video.