Ever needed to quickly convert a video or audio file into a different format, and searched around for an app to do it quickly? Perhaps you found an app, but wanted one with more options or that could handle the job better. If you own Adobe Creative Suite or have a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud – as nearly 70% of our readers said they do in our poll this week – then you’ve got a great media converter ready to use: Adobe Media Encoder.
Let’s take a quick look at one of the least well-know members of Adobe’s Creative Suite family of apps, one that’s included in ever single edition of Creative Suite but that’s never usually mentioned alongside the likes of Photoshop and Illustrator. It just might be the best media tool you never knew you had.
The Tiny Adobe App That Could
If you have Creative Suite installed on your computer, press CMD+space and type in “Media Encoder”, then hit enter. Voilà. There’s the one Creative Suite app you usually never hear mentioned. It’s technically a sidekick to Premiere Pro, but Media Encoder is included with every edition of Creative Suite. It’s quite the nice little tool to have around, even if you won’t use it all the time.
Media Encoder lets you drag-and-drop files into the queue to convert them to another media format. Or, even better, you can drag a folder into the Watch Folders section, and every media file in the folder or added to the folder later on while the app is running will automatically be converted to your default preset without any extra action. It’s about the simplest way to convert your camera videos to something that’ll play on any device, downsize HD videos to take up less space on your phone, rip audio out of a video, or just get all of your video files in the same format and size before uploading them to your site.
There’s more features you can tweak if you click on the export format name, which opens the Export Settings window. Here, you can set specifics on how you want the video converted, and can even trim the beginning and end of the video or crop it down to the size you want. You can add a Gaussian blur to the video from the Filters tab, though that’s the only effects you can add to videos. You can also add any metadata you want to the exported media files, and add your FTP server info to automatically upload the converted video to your website.
The Formats You Need
Adobe Media Encoder is serious when it comes to media. It’ll almost take anything you can throw at it: files from other Adobe apps, dozens of standard video, audio, and image formats, and more extreme formats like RED video files. The formats it can output are a bit tamer, including standard .mp3 and h.264 formats, but still, there’s enough versatility in there to take almost any media file you want and turn it into almost any other media format you want. You can turn a video into still images, rip the audio from a Flash video, or just resize your video files into something that’ll play on any device and screen imaginable. The only thing missing is support for Windows Media files and open-source formats like OGG and WEBM.
With all the formats it supports, if Media Encoder doesn’t have the precise settings you’d like to use, you can create your own new preset. It’s a mix-and-match media setup that can work just like you want. It can include anything and everything you’ll find in the Export Settings, giving you a way to, say, make a new setting for video with specific size and format specifications along with a unique FTP server to upload the files to. Then, you can make a new preset for a different site, with its unique needs and FTP settings. There’s no way to make a bulk preset – one that would export one video into multiple formats at one time – though.
Or, you likely don’t even have to go to that much trouble. Adobe regularly releases new presets on their blogs for various new popular screen sizes and formats, so you can now download presets for, among other things, 4k screens and the Kindle Fire and Nook.
Obviously, this is a space where Adobe is far from the only player in town, and it’s guaranteed to not be the only player even on your Mac since QuickTime has basic export options built in. You’ll need to go searching for another option if you want more than just a way to export for an older iPhone or Apple TV, or rip the audio from a video, but there’s a number of other options. There’s the free Miro video converter, which is a great free converter for doing simple format converts for different devices, and Apple’s own Compressor 4 media encoder which for $49.99 is even more feature-full than Adobe Media Converter, though at the expense of simplicity. But if you do have Creative Suite, Adobe Media Encoder likely is the best option you already own.
Adobe Media Encoder isn’t enough reason to go buy a copy of Creative Suite, or subscribe to Creative Cloud, but it is a very nice little extra if you already have Creative Suite. It’s especially nice that it’s included in the basic Creative Suite that doesn’t actually include any video apps (though, that said, Photoshop itself is a basic video app these days).
If you have Creative Suite and have never used Media Encoder, go give it a try. Almost anyone would be able to find a use for it sometimes.