You spent hours on your latest epic video, arranged all of your effects in place, set up your render settings, press Render, and then- you get an error message.
Nothing deflates you quite like the inability to render your video project, so in this article we’re going to go over some of the common render issues in Premiere Pro and how to fix them.
Unfortunately, there will always be random problems that come up that don’t have a clear answer. But these should help with the most common problems that users run into. Cover photo by Tim Sullivan.
Answers For General Issues
Whether it’s a rendering issue or any general Premiere Pro issue, sometimes a restart is all it takes. Simply save your project, close Premiere Pro, then open it again. To be really sure, you can close all Adobe Creative Cloud services then re-open them. This will reset a lot of random issues. Restarting your computer can’t hurt either.
To more easily identify an issue, you can pre-render your timeline without actually exporting it. This will render out effects, and it will be pretty obvious when the issue is discovered, then you can troubleshoot more specifically.
GPU accelerated rendering can be fantastic if you have a graphics card that can help pull some weight, but it is also worth it to see if this is causing rendering issues. In your render settings, change your renderer to software instead of hardware.
If you are mixing footage of multiple file types, from different cameras, see if these are causing any issues in your timeline. While most issues having to do with file types, frame rate discrepancies, and different frame sizes are resolved by Premiere automatically, problems can still crop up now and then. Identify any irregular clips in your timeline and see if they are causing the problems.
If your Premiere Pro is out of date and you’re running into issues, update your software and see if that solves the problem.
Sometimes, errors can occur with a specific sequence. One way to get around this sometimes is to simply duplicate the sequence and export that instead! If all else fails, you can also create a new project, copy in your sequence, and try exporting. This will rule out any issues with the project file itself.
Corrupt Media or Missing Files
If you’ve moved a source file knowingly or unknowingly, Premiere Pro may give you an error while rendering (or maybe it just won’t!). The solution to this issue is to just find the missing file in your project bin and re-link it or replace it so that there are no missing files in your timeline. To prevent this issue from occurring, try not to pull assets from all over your computer. Instead, move the files (or make copies) that you’re going to use into one main project folder before importing them. This will greatly reduce your chances of accidentally moving or deleting a file from your project.
Write Location Issues
Sometimes a render issue will stem not from Premiere Pro itself but from your writing permissions. Writing refers to saving a file to a certain location on your computer. The first issue is just not having enough space. You can solve this by keeping plenty of room on your storage drives. Make sure you’re deleting unneeded files and projects.
Permissions will mostly crop up on work machines where certain server folders may have restrictions on who can access them or save files. If the location you’re trying to save to is giving you a permissions error, the best short term solution is to change to a folder that you do have access to, and then you can move the file to the proper location later. On a personal computer, you can usually change the security or permissions settings for specific folders. But there are more specific full guides for permissions on Mac and Windows that will help solve your issues.
You may also run into an issue in which Premiere tells you that you are trying to save a duplicate file. This just means that you chose a file name that already exists. Simply change the file name or append a “_1” (or something similar) to the existing file name.
Issues with Effects
Sometimes complex effects in your timeline can cause render issues. To confirm that this is the issue, you can turn on Global FX Mute and render your project with no effects. If it succeeds, then you probably have a troublesome effect somewhere. When it comes to identifying the problem, there might be some trial and error involved unless it’s obvious in the timeline. You may need to export each section of your timeline that has an advanced effect and see which ones succeed and fail.
You can also try to render the timeline without exporting, to see if that helps you find the problem. Once you identify the problem, look up the specific effect and see if there are common issues. You can also try to export that clip on its own, without the rest of the project interfering. Then insert that rendered clip into the final project to replace the original.
Try a Different File Type or Codec
If you really can’t figure out the rendering problem, then there is a slight possibility that there are issues with either the file format you chose to render in or the codec you used. Try a different one just in case – for example, H.265 instead of H.264. Perhaps there is some sort of driver issue. You should also try a versatile media player such as VLC Media Player to be sure the issue doesn’t lie with the default media player on your computer. These programs can sometimes be limited in their playback abilities. It is worthwhile to check with a more versatile program. In a similar vein, you may need to convert a source file to a more friendly format before editing with it.
Users have also reported issues with H.264 and H.265 specifically. These formats are great for exporting but not great for editing. So consider transcoding your editing footage to a different format first.