What encoding setting should I use?

A question that is often posted to user forums and Adobe’s community help regards what settings to use when encoding video for different types of content.

Without knowing the specifics about a user’s video requirements, such as the desired dimensions of the video and the bandwidth requirements they want to adhere to, it’s difficult to give hard numbers. However, more than likely one of the encoding presets that Adobe Media Encoder ships with will give you the video quality you’re looking for.

When exporting with Adobe Media Encoder, choosing a format (such as F4V for Flash video) automatically makes available a list of associated presets designed for particular delivery scenarios. Selecting a preset, in turn, activates the appropriate options in the various settings tabs (Video, Audio, and so on). In most cases, one of the provided presets matches your output goals.

For those of you creating web sites using Flash video, you will find a table of the F4V and FLV encoding presets at: F4V and FLV encoding presets

In addition, there is a Flash video bitrate calculator developed by Robert Reinhardt to help you determine the optimal bitrate at which to encode Flash video files.

One area of encoding settings that causes confusion is setting the key frame distance (also known as the key frame interval). In general the default value for the key frame distance provides a reasonable level of control when seeking within a video clip. If you select a custom key frame placement value, be aware that the smaller the key frame distance, the larger the file size.

If your footage has a lot of scene changes or rapidly moving motion or animation, then the overall image quality may benefit from a lower key frame distance. In general, a higher key frame distance produces better image quality because data is not wasted describing the areas of an image that remain unchanged from frame to frame.

Adobe Flash-Ajax Video Component

Recently made available on Adobe Labs is the Flash-Ajax Video Component, a small, open source Flash component that you can use to provide video playback within an Ajax application. It exposes all of the formatting and video playback controls necessary to build a video player customized entirely using HTML and JavaScript.

Key features of this component are:

  • One line instantiation makes it trivial to integrate video playback within an HTML and JavaScript interface.
  • Simple APIs provide the ability to manipulate video size, position, and scaling prior to or during video playback.
  • Video playback parameters such as playback, video seek, cue points, and audio control allow sophisticated programmatic integration with Ajax applications.

To learn more about the Adobe Flash-Ajax Video component, visit its web page on the Adobe Labs website: http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/Flash-Ajax_Video_Component

Adobe Media Encoder CS4 Video Tutorial

Tom Green has authored a video tutorial for CommunityMX using Adobe Media Encoder CS4 to encode content in the FLV format for use with Flash. The tutorial covers the main aspects of the Adobe Media Encoder interface, while highlighting some of the key features such as integration with After Effects and Premier Pro, and the use of 2-Pass Variable Bit Rate encoding.

Be sure to check out Tom’s other contributions on CommunityMX, as he has written extensively on Flash, Fireworks, and other topics involving web development and video.

To view the tutorial, see Adobe Media Encoder CS4 on CommunityMX. To learn more about Tom Green, and to see a list of articles he’s authored for CommunityMX, see his profile page.

Get the most from Community Help

As many of you have come to discover, with the release of Creative Suite 4, Adobe introduced a new, community-based model for Help content. Community Help provides user comments and expert moderation on the Help pages themselves, along with optimized web searches that focus on Adobe-approved content for each application.

For a visual explanation of all the options for browsing, searching, and filtering content, check out the following content:

Community Help video

Community Help instructions

Adobe Media Encoder tutorials

The following tutorials and articles should be of interest to those of you creating video content for use with Flash Player or Adobe Media Player for web-based audiences:

Creating FLV and F4V Files

Learn to create and optimize FLV files in Adobe Media Encoder, After Effects, and Adobe Premiere Pro.

Exploring Flash Player support for high-definition H.264 video and AAC audio

Flash Player 9 Update took a step into the high-definition (HD) video realm in a major way by adding MPEG-4 video to its already impressive ranks of video support. MPEG-4 utilizes crisp, powerful H.264 encoding and is an industry standard for video, which includes high-definition (HD) delivery. It is also the standard for HD content online and on devices such as your home television.

To pair with the excellent visual power of H.264 encoded video, Flash Player 9 Update also supports HE-AAC audio, which is the higher quality successor to MP3. Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) is a high-efficiency (HE) and high-fidelity (HiFi), low-bandwidth audio codec that can be used with or without video.

Flash video learning guide

Created for the release of Flash CS3, but still providing valuable information for Flash CS4, this learning guide introduces core concepts of video on the web, and provides you with tools for developing your skills.

I’ll add to this list as new tutorials and educational articles involving Adobe Media Encoder and other video production tools become available.

Bug: Bitrate changes on export from Premiere Pro or After Effects to Adobe Media Encoder

There is a known bug when exporting from Premiere Pro or After Effects involving modified bitrate values. If you modify the bitrate value of an encoding preset, the default bitrate for that preset will replace the custom bitrate you specified.

As a workaround, you can:

Manually change the bit rate of the video file you are exporting to the desired value once the file is in the Adobe Media Encoder encoding queue…


Add your video to the list of files to encode from Adobe Media Encoder itself. You can drag a file into the list, or click the Add button and select a file on your computer.

Note: To add Adobe Premiere Pro sequences or Adobe After Effects compositions to the list of files to encode, you must use the File > Add Adobe Premiere Pro sequences or File > Add Adobe After Effects Compositions menu commands. These file types cannot be dragged into the list of files to encode.

For more information see, Workflow for exporting files in the Adobe Premiere Pro help.

Adobe Media Encoder CS4 documentation

Adobe® Media Encoder CS4 is a video and audio encoding application that lets you encode audio and video files into a variety of distribution formats for different applications and audiences. These video and audio formats are more-compressed formats such as:

  • Adobe® FLV | F4V for use with Adobe Flash Player
  • H.264 used for Apple® iPod®, 3GPP mobile phones, and Sony® PSP®
  • MPEG-1 used in CD-ROM authoring (Windows only)
  • MPEG-2 used in DVD authoring (Windows only)
  • Apple® QuickTime®
  • Windows Media (Windows only)

Adobe Media Encoder accommodates the numerous settings these formats offer, and also includes preset settings designed to export files compatible with particular delivery media. Using Adobe Media Encoder, you can export video in formats suitable for devices ranging from DVD players to websites to mobile phones to portable media players and standard- and high-definition TV sets.

The Adobe Media Encoder CS4 documentation is available on the Adobe web site. You can access the documentation at the below link: