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9 Most Common Reasons Why Premiere Pro Keeps Crashing

and how to solve them

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Adobe Premiere Pro has had a bit of a bad reputation over the years and if you’re reading this then you know why. The fact that Premiere Pro keeps crashing has had loads of people screaming “I’ve had enough” and threaten to drop Adobe for DaVinci Resolve or Final Cut Pro.

However, I hardly ever have issues with Premiere, especially since the 2019 and 2020 versions. I’ve found these the most stable Premiere’s yet! And if Premiere Pro does crash, I have a pretty good idea why and can make sure it doesn’t do it again.

So, what’s my secret? Well, Premiere just likes you to do things strictly by the book. So, I am sharing with you some of my secrets as to why Premiere might be crashing so you can make it stop! It’s nothing difficult, just standardised technical workflow.

 

 

 

FILE FORMAT

VIDEO CODEC

Okay, this is THE most common cause for Premiere crashing: The file format of the video files you are editing with.

In short, there are just two video file formats that Premiere plays nice with 100% of the time – ProRes if you’re working on Mac, and DNx if you’re on PC.

MP4,AVI etc etc are DELIVERY formats, ProRes and DNx are EDITING formats. Try to edit with any video that’s in a delivery format and you may encounter problems in Premiere.

That being said, I have successfully edited some long form content using .mp4s and .movs compressed using h.264. But with this being an article about eradicating crashing in Premiere completely, I don’t recommend it.

I will go into more detail on the intricacies of the perfect video editing workflow in another article.

SOLUTION: Transcode your footage in Adobe Media Encoder to ProRes or DNx.

 

VARIABLE FRAME RATE

The next biggest major cause for Premiere to crash is because of Variable Frame Rates (VFR). Standard frame rates are a constant 24/25/30 etc. frames per second. Variable frame rates constantly change during playback. Some footage shot on small handheld devices like mobile phones record in variable frame rate because it doesn’t have the processing power to keep the frame rate constant. Premiere expects the frame rate of the footage to be constant so when it turns out it’s not it’s freaks out and crashes.

To figure out if your footage if variable frame rate or not, right click it in the timeline and select Properties. Alternatively, you can select the footage, and click File > Get Properties for > Selection. Then you’ll get a window telling you if it’s VFR or not.

Properties panel in Premiere Pro indicating VFR footage

 

SOLUTION: Transcode your footage in Adobe Media Encoder to ProRes or DNx.

 

AUDIO FORMAT

There are only three formats of audio that Premiere will play nice with 100% of time – WAV, AIFF/AIF and AAC. I personally always use WAV.

PLEASE STOP EDITING WITH MP3s. Everything will work fine with Premiere until it doesn’t, and you won’t be able to figure out why.

SOLUTION: Transcode to WAV/AIFF/AAC using Adobe Media Encoder before you import.

 

 

 

IMAGES

Do you have images in your project? If they are in the wrong format it can cause Premiere to crash, even if they’re not on the timeline!

Three main things to keep an eye out for: Resolution, Size and Format.

 

IMAGE RESOLUTION

The pixel resolution of the screen is 72dpi (print is 300dpi). If you try to work with an image that is above 150dpi then Premiere will struggle to process it and just give up.

SOLUTION: Make sure all images you import are 72dpi.

 

IMAGE SIZE

The basic dimensions of your images are important. If it’s too big and you don’t have the computing power for Premiere to process it then it’ll give up the ghost. The optimum size depends on the spec of your machine. I highly recommend sticking to the dimensions of your final video, so if your final video is in HD make sure the image is not much bigger than 1920 x 1080 pixels. Realistically, if your machine can handle 4k just fine then it’ll handle a 4k sized still image.

SOLUTION: Resize your image to the same size as your final video before importing into Premiere.

 

IMAGE FORMAT

Premiere Pro supports 8bpc and 16bpc still-image files in all of these formats. Just make sure it doesn’t have a thousand layers in the psd or tiff file. If the file size seems suspiciously large (25MB+) then it may be in a format that’s bigger than it needs to be for what you’re doing. An image that’s too big for your computer spec will slow it down until Premiere crashes.

SOLUTION: Reformat to the spec you need for the video you are creating and no bigger. Make sure you flatten or reduce layers in a layered image file to a reasonable level.

 

 

 

COMPUTER SPECS

Okay, there’s no escaping the fact that if you have a machine with a low spec it’s gonna struggle with some tasks. If Premiere runs out of juice to complete a task it gives up and dies. So how can you avoid this when you can’t afford the latest spec machine?

 

HARD DRIVE SPACE

Make sure you’ve got enough space on your boot drive. You want something like ~40% free space on a HDD to prevent bottlenecks in processing. Use an SSD and you don’t have to worry about free space. Ideally you would be editing from a separate SSD to your boot drive.

SOLUTION: Free up 40% space on your HDD boot drive and have all of your assets you are editing with on a separate SSD.

 

FILE FORMATS

It’s tempting to think that using file formats with a smaller size will be easier on your machine, but it’s not. Smaller file formats usually require your machine to ‘uncompress’ the files on the fly, kinda like how it would ‘unzip’ a .ZIP file, but constantly. This is pretty processor intensive. Mp4s and mp3s are the usual suspects that cause a slow machine to crash.

SOLUTION: Follow the solutions above for transcoding media to the correct format (ProRes/DNx/AIFF/WAV/AAC etc)

 

RAM

Unfortunately, you’re gonna need to spec your machine to solve this one. Anything less than 8GB of RAM could slow down Premiere in complex projects to the point where it just gives up. This isn’t gospel but is definitely advised.

SOLUTION: Get yourself at least 8GB RAM for your machine.

 

 

 

Has this has helped you solve Premiere crashing? If it has, let me know below in the comments!

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