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How to Fix Error Compiling Movie in Premiere

We’ve all been there before. You just finished a fire video, you tell your client that the video is on the way and they’re going to love it. Then, 85% into the export it crashes and premiere says Error Compiling Movie. And now you’re upset because you try to export again and again and you keep getting the same error. Hours go by and now you’re wondering how to fix the Error Compiling Movie problem and get the video out.

In this blog post, I am going to give you a handful of solutions on How to Fix the Error Compiling Movie warning in Premiere.

How to Fix the Error Compiling Movie Warning in Premiere

There are several ways  to fix the error compiling movie problem in premiere pro:

1.) Quit Adobe Premiere Pro and restart your computer.

2.) Switch your render from CUDA to Mercury Playback Engine Software only.

3.) Send Project to Media Encoder

4.) Move sequence inside of another sequence

5.) Find the problem area and modify the clip, Reexport Adobe After Effects Files (If dynamic linking is in use)

I have tried every single one of these and all of these have worked for me at random times. I know how frustrating it can be!!

Back in September I finally finished editing my short film ‘Cassie‘ (Click the link to watch it). After 6 months of post-production hell and procrastination, I was finally able to bring myself to a point in the edit where I was happy to just release it into the world. But there was just one problem.

Every time I clicked export in Adobe Premiere Pro the video would start exporting, then five minutes later it would stop. Then I would wait, then the computer would tell me “Error Compiling Movie”. I’m staring at my computer screen like, wtf is going on here? I would close out of Premiere and then open it back up and then try the same thing. This time it would go on for 6 minutes and then, “Error Compiling Movie”.

Now I started to freak out because I repeated the same thing over and over again at least 30 times (I am not lying). No luck, each time was another error. I thought to myself my hardware couldn’t be giving me this error so it had to be purely software base. After searching every corner of the internet and finding nothing that could help me I had to “science the shit out of this”.

Here are some solutions on how to fix The Error Compiling Movie:

1.) Quit Adobe Premiere Pro and restart your computer

If you get an error compiling movie notice for what you might think is for no reason then just simply try turning off your computer then turning it back on. This doesn’t work all Off and Onthe time but when it does it allows the premiere to open up with fresh ram so that there is a bit more memory to export the file. If restarting the computer doesn’t work it might not just be a memory problem it might just be a graphics problem. This is when you try number 2.

2.) Switch your renderer from CUDA to Mercury Playback Engine Software only

You just got a new graphics card and its helping you export faster. If you have no effects on a video then it might take you five minutes to export, maybe two. But, if you export with Mercury Playback Engine Software only it can take hours for the project to be exported.

When you have CUDA turned on Premiere uses your graphics card to render video files rather than the processor. This is why exports go faster. TURN IT OFF! After a certain point in time if your graphics card doesn’t have enough memory to finish exporting the video it will give up midway through and give you an error compiling movie warning.

If you switch to Mercury Playback Engine Software, your exports will take longer to finish but it should be less likely that you will run into an error as the computer will have all the cores of your processor and RAM at work.

We spent good money on our graphics cards and I’m not saying don’t use CUDA but it is something to think about if you are running into these errors.

How to switch between renderers

In Adobe Premiere if you want to switch between your renderers go over to the File tab then hover over to Project Settings a drop-down menu will appear to click on General. Once that’s done a popup box will appear on the screen and in the first section, it will be labeled Video rendering and Playback. Next to Renderer you can see if your project is running on CUDA or not and you can easily switch.

Adobe Encoder makes this a lot easier all you have to do is hover over renderer under your queue list and switch.

If all of that still doesn’t work then this is a step you can try that has no actual guarantee of working.

How-to-switch-Render.gif

3.) Move Your Sequence Inside of Another Sequence

For some reason when looking around online for a solution, even though I didn’t find much I did find one guy on YouTube that really quickly said that nesting your entire current project and bringing it into a new sequence can lower the risk of getting an error compiling movie. It didn’t work for me but maybe it can work for you? It worked for him.

4.) Send Project to After Effects or Media Encoder (Encoder is your better bet)

When I was working on my short film I got desperate. Nothing was working and this wasloki-ae one of my options. I figured if I can just take my entire project and dynamic link it to After Effects then I can trick premiere into exporting that then I would be gold… it was a dumb idea and my computer crashed in an instant. NOW WAIT, This might work if you dump one or two individual clips into After Effects. Then that would be a lot more reasonable.

A better way would also just be to send it to Media Encoder, but you still might get an error.

5.) Find the Problem Area and Modify the Clip, Re-export Adobe After Effects Files (If dynamic linking is in use)

When I try this way out there is an 85% chance that Premiere will successfully export the project.

The other solutions should have worked for you by now, but if they didn’t it might be because you are Dynamic Linking After Effects Files. You might have done some heavy VFX and used crazy plugins premiere can work with and it causes an error.

Solution:

Every time you get a warning Premiere will tell you where the error occurred. 9 times out of 10 it’s going to be wherever your dynamic link clip is starting.

Shut down premiere. Open up the Dynamic Linked After Effects file and go through all the compositions that you worked on. The solution is as simple as exporting all of the Dynamic Link Files to the format of your choice (MOV., JPEG Sequence, MP4, etc.) and then plugging them in the place of Dynamic Link Files in Premiere.

It defeats the whole purpose of having a Dynamic Link in the first place, yes. But when you do it this way it is less likely to make premiere crash because the data is compressed.

To retain as much quality as possible I export my files either as an Apple ProRes 422 HQ or 4444 (If I’m working with RED footage), Quicktime Animation, or a DNxHD file. I export them all into one folder and drag and drop in Premiere.

If you try and export the individual effects shots within After Effects and still get a warning, pay attention to your effects. You might have cranked your blur values to high or used a plugin that is CPU hungry like Red Giant Glitch effects.

I used this solution for all of the effects shots in my film and not only was playback more smooth I didn’t get any export errors.

Conclusion

I run into this problem almost every single time that I am ready to export a project. Just to be safe if I have a ton of VFX I export everything out first and then drop into Premiere. That way if that doesn’t work then I know I can try the other solutions I listed out and I know it’s strictly a premiere problem.

It’s not fun! Every time I get this error it makes me want to switch to Davinci Resolve but I love Adobe too much to do that.

If you guys haven’t already, follow the blog and follow me on Instagram. If you have any question follow me on Twitter and I’ll answer you as soon as I see it. If you like what you read be sure to check out more posts from me! Hopefully, this helps someone out there because this was killing me when it came to exporting my short film.

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Adler Lafleur View All

Owner, Founder, Director, Editor Producer of Kaylex Productions.
Full-Time freelance filmmaker from New Jersey.

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