The Fastest Way to Export H.264 for YouTube from Adobe Premiere Pro, Media Encoder and After Effects

by Antoine on May 15th, 2020
Full tutorial on the fastest way to export H.264 to Youtube in Premiere Pro, Media Encoder and After Effects using our plugin, AfterCodecs

What is AfterCodecs?

AfterCodecs is a new native plugin for the whole Adobe CC Video suite, working on both OSX and Windows. It brings fast and efficient codecs to After Effects’ render queue and a new "format" choice in Premiere Pro and Media Encoder's "Export" Window. AfterCodecs also removes a lot of the limitations that are found in regular Premiere Pro and streamlines certain workflows, like uploading to Youtube.
With over a billion daily watch hours YouTube is by far the largest video streaming website. Uploading to YouTube is something many people do every day. However, their compression algorithm and technical delivery specifications are fairly complex, which can make it difficult to set up your video export correctly for YouTube.
AfterCodecs streamlines this process by offering features that help YouTube process the video faster as well as a dedicated export preset with all the recommended specifications. These features can save you a lot of time if you upload regularly and this guide will show you how to use them.

How to export H.264 for YouTube from Adobe Premiere Pro and Media Encoder

In Premiere Pro select the sequence you would like to export and go to File>Export>Media, this will open your export settings. In Media Encoder, once you have a sequence queued for export, click on the button in the format column to open your export settings. From this point onwards the process is exactly the same for both applications. Select “AfterCodecs" in the Format drop down menu then, under the video tab, select the .MP4 format (you can select .MOV even if YouTube recommends .MP4 it will also work). Click on “Open AfterCodecs Settings”
PPro Export settings

Selecting your AfterCodecs settings

In the video codec dropdown menu select H.264 Youtube Upload. This preset follows the recommended YouTube video specifications for bitrate, colour and audio. Depending on your sequence’s resolution, framerate and other specs AfterCodecs will automatically adjust export settings. The only parameter that you can change is the encoding speed, making the process a lot simpler.
H264 Youtube settings
This slider affects compression optimisation, meaning lower render speeds will result in smaller files and faster speeds in larger files. Speeds of 7 or above should only be used for quick previews as they will produce lower quality files. You can also select your audio bitrate manually if you wish to do so.
At the bottom of the encoding tab you will see a feature called “Fast Start”. This is an AfterCodecs feature that optimises your video for web streaming. It will allow your video to start playing quicker online and it also means Youtube will process it faster, making it available sooner after uploading. It causes a slight increase in render time, but the time saved in Youtube processing more than makes up for it.
Fast Start
Once you have selected your desired settings click OK on the AfterCodecs menu. If you’d like to upload as quickly as possible you can also use this in conjunction with Premiere Pro’s direct YouTube upload feature under the “Publish” tab.
Click export in PPro or the play button in AME and you’re done!

How to export H.264 for YouTube from After Effects

Firstly, add your composition to the After Effects render queue. In the render queue tab, click on the button shown on the right to bring up your output module settings.
AE Render queue
Select AfterCodecs .mp4 from the format dropdown menu and click on “Format Options” to open the AfterCodecs settings (you can select AfterCodecs .mov even if YouTube recommends .MP4 it will also work).
AE Output module
For all information required on setting up your export, please refer to “Selecting your AfterCodecs settings” earlier in this article.
Once everything is configured to your liking, click OK on the AfterCodecs settings menu. Click OK on the output module settings.
Click render in the After Effects queue and you’re done!

Install and try for free AfterCodecs from here ! 500 Frames trial included as well as the full version if you have a license