Adobe Media Encoder explained

If you have exported a video using Adobe Premiere Pro or Adobe After Effects, you have used Adobe Media Encoder. Surprising right? The application serves as the primary encoding engine for Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Audition, Adobe Character Animator and Adobe Prelude. 

Additionally, Adobe Media Encoder can serve as a powerful stand-alone utility for your editing workflow. We will explore when and how to use Adobe Media Encoder to help you deliver audio and video in its most optimized formats. 

What is Adobe Media Encoder?

Adobe Media Encoder is a processing application that transcodes your video files into their final viewing format. 

Though you can download Media Encoder by itself, if you have a subscription to Adobe Premiere Pro or Adobe After Effects, Adobe Media Encoder is already included with any of those subscription packages. That is because Adobe Media Encoder is the engine that encodes the footage that you export inside these programs.  

Media Encoder has four panels. 

Media Browser

The appropriately named Media Browser panel allows you to browse media on your computer or any attached device. This is where you can locate local media that you want to add to the queue. 

Queue panel

The Queue panel is where all encoding jobs are listed. You can change the order or priority of files within this panel. 

Encoding panel

The Encoding panel monitors the progress of all current encoding jobs. This panel shows a video playback window displaying frames of the encoding media. There is also a blue progress bar showing the level of completion your video is at. 

Preset browser

The preset browser allows you to find a preset that best fits the destination of your final video. These presets allow you to optimize your video for a wide range of screens, from social media platforms to designated mobile or broadcast devices. Additionally, you can also create your own ingest presets to use with Premiere Pro. 

How it works

Use Adobe Media Encoder’s media browser to find the file you need to process. Once you locate your file, drag the source file to the queue and choose a preset from the preset browser or set a custom one. Click the change the output name or destination. Press the green play button in the queue panel’s top right corner and Adobe Media Encoder will process your video. You can check the progress of each export in the Encoding panel. 

If you are editing inside Adobe Premiere Pro or Adobe After Effects, the quickest way to access the Media Encoder is when you are ready to export your video. Choose File > Export > Media. Once Premiere Pro opens the Export Media dialog box select the file format you want for your video. You can also select the best optimized preset for where your file’s uploaded to.  

Once your settings are ready, instead of selecting export, select Queue. This will trigger Media Encoded to open up and your video will show up in the encoding queue. Select the green play button to start encoding your video. 

The process is similar for Adobe After Effects. In Adobe After Effects, choose File > Export > Add to Media Encoder Queue. Select your presets and select the green play button to start encoding your video.  

When to use Adobe Media Encoder

Anytime you are exporting a video, you are utilizing Adobe Media Encoder. However, there are some additional situations that allow you to utilize Adobe Media Encoder for the powerhouse that it is. 

Background exporting

When exporting a video inside of Adobe Premiere Pro or Adobe After Effects, you are unable to continue editing until the export is complete. However, if you choose to queue your video, that will send your video to Media Encoder. Once you confirm your export presets and output destination, your video will start exporting. You can then continue editing simultaneously inside your editor of choice. Depending on your computer specs, this may slow down your editing and you may experience some lag. If your computer can handle this level of processing, this is definitely a feature worth taking advantage of.

Batch exporting

With the rise of multiple video platforms, more editors have to deliver the same video in multiple formats. Instead of waiting for each video to export individually, you can use Adobe Media Encoder to batch multiple export videos at once. 


If you need to export multiple clips inside Premiere Pro, you can send each clip to Media Encoder by marking your clip’s in and out point, choose File > Export > Media and select queue. Continue this process until Media Encoder receives all of your clips. Once all your clips are there, you can select the green play button and all your clips will be batch exported to your desired destination. 

Different versions of the same video

Once your video is inside of the queue, go to the preset panel and find the desired preset you want for your video. Drag that over to the queue and you will see the preset show up below your queue. You can continue this process for however many different formats you need for that video. This is particularly helpful when you want to optimize transcode videos for different social media formats. 


One of the best ways to speed up your editing process is to utilize proxies in your editing workflow. We talk extensively about proxies here, but in short, proxies are low-resolution versions of your video files that take the place of larger-resolution video files in your timeline. The low-res files render faster in your video editing software while still maintaining the larger resolution footage once you’re ready to export the final video.  

Premiere Pro will automatically send your clips to Adobe Media Encoder and create proxies that’ll automatically attach to the clips inside your project window.

Converting file types

You can use Adobe Media Encoder to format and convert multiple audio or video files into a variety of formats in a single queue. 

To set the file’s format, import the audio or video file directly into the Media Encoder. Once there, you can choose what file type the media encoder will encode them as. After selecting the file type, the Media Encoder will export the file to your destination of choice.

Keeping the creation process smooth

Media Encoder is a powerful program that allows you to not only output your videos to their final formats. It also allows you to speed up your workflow by exporting in the background, creating proxies, and converting files to different formats without even needing to open an editor. It’s definitely something to include in your editing process to help the creation process go smoother.

Ricky Anderson II
Ricky Anderson II
Ricky Anderson II is a Texas-based video producer and editor with over 10 years of experience in creating engaging and entertaining videos online.

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