Exporting as H.264

Depending on which Mac OS you are working with, your export settings may vary. In some versions of Avid and Mac OS, H.264 is not natively available as an export setting. We have provided two ways to achieve an H.264 file below.

Exporting as H.264 in Avid

H.264 is an extremely common codec because it compresses your video to a manageable file size without sacrificing too much quality. Here's how to export an H.264 format file:

Navigate to File/Output/Export to file...


Name your file (above) and select "options" (below)

Note: Avid gives us some presets above the option button, but anything you choose there will be overridden by our choices in the next menu.


The first setting on the next menu will be "Export as" - select MOV.


Make sure that "Video" and "Audio" BOTH have check marks - if not, you will be missing one or the other. 

Click the drop-down menu next to "Codec Family" and select H.264



Check that your audio is set to stereo (unless you have intentionally mixed for mono or 5.1)

If your project settings were set to match your source footage when you started your project, then the rest of your settings (raster dimensions, aspect ratio, etc.) should be correct. If you need to check the source settings of your footage, refer to the Project Index available alongside your class projects in Google Drive. 

Click Save and you will be brought back to the Finder 'save as' page.

Double check that you have chosen the proper file name and target location for your file then click save again to begin exporting! This process may take a few minutes depending on the length of your edit. 

Alternate Export Setting

Updates to Mac OS software have created compatibility issues within Avid that prevent the encoding of certain file formats. If you are unable to export an Quicktime or H.264 file directly from Avid, follow these steps:

Use the typical Output/Export to File


Choose any preset in the 'export as...' window (we're changing this anyway). Then hit options. 


In the 'Export Settings' window, next to 'export as" choose "MXF OP1a"


Under Video Compression select Apple ProRes or DNxHR

Under Audio select 4800kHz, 16, stereo (unless you've mixed for 5.1 surround)


Click Save

Name your file and give it a location. (Notice the new .mxf extension)

This will give you an uncompressed MXF file which can be played by some programs but not Quicktime.


VLC Player is a great free video playing application that can handle more formats than Quicktime. This program should be able to play your MXF file smoothly. Here's the link if you need to download it: https://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html


In order to finish with an H.264 format file, continue with the steps below:


Transcoding MXF to Quicktime or H.264


If you are unable to download VLC, need a compressed file, or you are required to submit a Quicktime format file, you can transcode one using Adobe Media Encoder. This program is automatically installed if you have Premiere Pro on your computer. 


Open Adobe Media Encoder from Applications


Add your file to the queue by dragging it into the window on the right. 


Select a preset by clicking the dropdown arrow. H.264 is a great preset if you’re playing in quicktime or uploading to the web.


Or youcan customize your settings further by clicking directly on the blue text to reveal the familiar Premiere export settings window

alt_8_h264_zoom.png  alt_9_export.png

Be sure to rename your file so you don’t overwrite the original. Click on the blue text under "Output File"


Using the codec to organize your exports is a nice organizational tip. Choose the location for your export.


Click the green play button to start encoding your new file. 


Your progress will display at the bottom of the Media Encoder Window. The resulting file should be an H.264, perfect for easy playback on your computer or online. 

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