Why Premiere Pro Does Not Support WebM

Why Premiere Pro Does Not Support WebM?

In my Adobe Premiere Pro review, I did not explain why Premiere Pro does not support WebM, and I just said it was fine to do that. Users disliked in the comments my acquiescence to that Adobe decision.

While included in Adobe´s product portfolio roadmap, Premiere Pro does not support WebM because it does not align with their strategic goals of focusing on their target audience which is high-end film production and mass broadcasting.

Period. WebM is an open source format used by small producers who are not the core target audience of Adobe portfolio.

Let´s delve into the reasons why Premiere Pro ACTUALLY does not support WebM and what you could be easily doing to solve this issue if DESPITE our advice, you want to continue using WebM.

Adobe Premiere Pro does not natively support the WebM format for a combination of technical, licensing, and strategic reasons:

  1. Licensing and Patent Issues: WebM is based on the VP8 and VP9 video codecs, which, while open and royalty-free, have been the subject of patent disputes in the past. Adobe might have been cautious about integrating a format that could potentially lead to legal challenges.
  2. Technical Considerations: Every format that is added to Premiere Pro requires development, testing, and maintenance. Adobe has to weigh the benefits of adding a new format against the technical debt it might introduce.
  3. Market Demand: Adobe tends to prioritize formats that are widely used in the professional video industry. While WebM is popular for web streaming due to its open nature and efficient compression, it might not be as commonly used in professional video workflows as other formats.
  4. Strategic Decisions: Adobe might prioritize formats that align with its broader strategic goals. For example, they might focus on formats used in high-end film production, broadcast, or other areas that are core to their target audience.
  5. Competition: WebM was developed by Google as a competitor to other formats. Given the competitive dynamics between large tech companies, there might be strategic reasons for Adobe to be cautious about embracing a format closely associated with a competitor.
  6. Plugin Solutions: There are third-party plugins available that allow users to import and export WebM files in Premiere Pro. Adobe might see this as a solution for those who really need the format, without having to natively support it.

It’s worth noting that software decisions like these are often complex and can be influenced by a combination of technical, business, and strategic factors. If native WebM support is crucial for your workflow, consider reaching out to Adobe with feedback or looking into third-party plugins that provide this functionality.

Alternatives to WebM To Use In Premiere Pro

Most YouTube streamers who follow our blog, actually use DaVinci, ok?

But Premiere Pro should be their preferred option if they simply decide to change their format.

If a streamer is looking to replace WebM with a format that’s compatible with Adobe Premiere Pro and retains good quality, here are some recommended formats:

  1. MP4 (H.264):
  • Pros: Widely supported, including in Adobe Premiere Pro. Offers good compression and quality balance. Suitable for both streaming and editing.
  • Cons: While it offers good quality, it’s not the best for heavy post-production work due to its lossy compression.
  1. Apple ProRes:
  • Pros: High-quality intermediate codec that’s great for editing. Supported by Adobe Premiere Pro. Comes in various flavors (e.g., ProRes 422, ProRes 4444) depending on the quality and file size you need.
  • Cons: Larger file sizes compared to H.264. Not all streaming platforms may support direct streaming in ProRes, so you might need to convert to another format for distribution.
  1. Avid DNxHD/DNxHR:
  • Pros: Another high-quality intermediate codec suitable for editing. Supported by Adobe Premiere Pro. Like ProRes, it comes in different quality levels.
  • Cons: Similar to ProRes, it has larger file sizes than H.264 and might require conversion for some streaming platforms.
  1. MP4 (HEVC/H.265):
  • Pros: A more modern codec than H.264, it offers better compression and can retain higher quality at lower bitrates. Supported by Adobe Premiere Pro.
  • Cons: More resource-intensive to encode and decode. Not as universally supported as H.264, especially on older devices.

For a streamer who also wants to edit their content in Adobe Premiere Pro, MP4 (H.264) is often the most straightforward choice due to its balance of quality, file size, and compatibility. However, if they’re doing more intensive post-production work (like color grading, visual effects, etc.), then an intermediate codec like Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD/DNxHR would be more suitable. They can edit in these formats for maximum flexibility and then export to H.264 or another format for distribution and streaming.

FNord WebM Plugin

FNORD is a plugin for Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Media Encoder that allows users to read and write WebM files. It essentially bridges the gap between Adobe’s software and the WebM format, enabling users to work with WebM files directly within Adobe’s ecosystem.

Here’s how FNORD WebM can be used in the situations we discussed:

  1. Editing in Adobe Premiere Pro:
  • With the FNORD WebM plugin installed, a streamer can directly import WebM files into Adobe Premiere Pro for editing. This eliminates the need to convert WebM files to another format before importing them.
  • After editing, the streamer can export the project directly to WebM format if desired.
  1. Post-Production Work:
  • If a streamer has footage in WebM format and wants to do color grading, visual effects, or other post-production enhancements, they can do so directly in Premiere Pro without converting the footage, thanks to the FNORD plugin.
  • This can save time and prevent potential quality loss from multiple conversions.
  1. Distribution and Streaming:
  • After editing and post-production, if the streamer wants to distribute their content in WebM format (for web embedding, for instance), they can use Adobe Media Encoder with the FNORD plugin to export directly to WebM.
  • This provides flexibility in choosing the right codec settings (VP8, VP9) and audio settings (Vorbis, Opus) for the intended audience and platform.
  1. Compatibility with Other Software:
  • While Adobe Premiere Pro doesn’t natively support WebM, the FNORD plugin ensures that streamers can still work with other software or platforms that prefer or require WebM format. This is especially useful if the streamer collaborates with others who use different software or if they distribute content on platforms that favor WebM.

In summary, the FNORD WebM plugin for Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Media Encoder provides a seamless way for streamers and video creators to work with WebM files within the Adobe ecosystem. It offers the flexibility to edit and produce content in WebM without the hassles of converting to and from different formats.

Does Premiere Pro Support MKV?

No, not directly, but well, there are ways to overcome this apparent lack of native support.

Long story short, simply convert it to MP4, which is a widely accepted container format and is for me the best one to use for small streamers, twitchers, youtubers, and all of us who have to record a tutorial or a video for someone.

Actually, MKV is a good container format, but nobody uses it in professional digital video editing workflows, or high-end video industry. I don´t see Avatar producers keeping MKV or WebM files in Adobe Bridge.

Maybe that is the reason why Adobe portfolio does not support it.

However, there are a few ways to work with MKV files in Premiere Pro and the first option I give below is the easiest and the one I recommend to do.

  1. Convert MKV to a Supported Format: Before importing into Premiere Pro, you can use third-party software like HandBrake, FFmpeg, or VLC to convert MKV files to a format that Premiere Pro supports, such as MP4 (H.264).
  2. Third-party Plugins: While not as common as plugins for formats like WebM, there might be third-party plugins developed in the future that allow MKV support in Premiere Pro. It’s always a good idea to check Adobe’s official forums or plugin repositories for any new developments.
  3. Rip the MKV: If the MKV file contains content from a DVD or Blu-ray, there are tools available that can rip the content and convert it to a format compatible with Premiere Pro.
  4. Demuxing the MKV: Some tools can demux (split) the MKV file into its individual video, audio, and subtitle streams. Once demuxed, the video and audio can be converted to formats that Premiere Pro supports.

Convert WebM To MP4 In Premiere Pro

Converting WebM files to MP4 for use in Adobe Premiere Pro can be done using various tools. Here’s a step-by-step guide using some of the most popular methods:

1. Using FFmpeg (Command Line Tool):

FFmpeg is a powerful, free, and open-source multimedia framework that can handle a wide variety of tasks, including format conversion.

Install FFmpeg: If you haven’t already, download and install FFmpeg from the official website or through a package manager if you’re on Linux.

Convert Using Command Line:

Open a command prompt or terminal.

Navigate to the directory containing your WebM file.

Run the following command:

ffmpeg -i input.webm -c:v copy -c:a aac -strict experimental output.mp4

Replace input.webm with the name of your WebM file and output.mp4 with the desired name for the converted file.

2. Using HandBrake (Graphical Interface):

HandBrake is a free and open-source video transcoder with a user-friendly interface.

  1. Install HandBrake: Download and install HandBrake from the official website.
  2. Convert Using HandBrake:
    • Open HandBrake.
    • Click “Open Source” and select your WebM file.
    • In the “Output Settings” section, choose “MP4” as the container.
    • Under the “Video” tab, you can adjust the codec and quality settings if needed.
    • Click “Start” to begin the conversion.

3. Online Conversion Tools:

There are various online platforms that allow you to upload a WebM file and download the converted MP4 file. Some popular options include:

  • CloudConvert
  • Online-Convert
  • Convertio

To use these:

  1. Visit the website.
  2. Upload your WebM file.
  3. Choose MP4 as the output format.
  4. Adjust settings if necessary.
  5. Start the conversion and download the resulting MP4 file.

Note: When using online converters, be cautious about uploading sensitive or private content, as you’re sending your files to a third-party server.

After converting the WebM file to MP4, you should be able to import and edit it in Adobe Premiere Pro without any issues.

Film Industry Does Not Support WebM

WebM is primarily designed for web streaming and is not used in high-end film production. High-end film and television production often prioritize formats that offer the highest quality, flexibility in post-production, and compatibility with professional equipment. Here are some of the formats commonly used in high-end film production:

  1. RAW Formats:
    • ARRIRAW: Used by ARRI Alexa cameras.
    • RED RAW (R3D): Used by RED Digital Cinema cameras.
    • Canon RAW: Used by certain Canon cinema cameras.
    • Blackmagic RAW: Used by Blackmagic Design cameras.
    • Sony RAW: Used by certain Sony cinema cameras.
    RAW formats capture all the data directly from the camera sensor without compression, allowing for maximum flexibility in post-production.
  2. Uncompressed Formats:
    • DPX (Digital Picture Exchange): A common format for digital intermediate and visual effects work.
    • OpenEXR: Developed by Industrial Light & Magic, it’s widely used in visual effects and animation for its ability to store high dynamic range data.
  3. High-Quality Compressed Formats:
    • Apple ProRes: A family of codecs that offer a good balance between quality and file size. Variants like ProRes 4444 and ProRes 422 HQ are popular in professional workflows.
    • Avid DNxHD and DNxHR: Developed by Avid Technology, these codecs are designed for work in the Avid Media Composer editing system but are also widely used elsewhere.
    • XAVC: Developed by Sony, it’s a codec used in many of their professional cameras.
  4. Intermediate Codecs: These are used during the editing process for smoother playback and are designed to retain quality over multiple generations of editing and exporting.
    • Examples include Apple ProRes, Avid DNxHD/DNxHR, and CineForm.
  5. Film Scans: For projects shot on actual film, the film is scanned and digitized into formats like DPX for digital editing and post-production.

I have a complete Adobe Premiere Pro review where I analyze all the features of this product.

We discuss if Premiere Pro supports MKV files and how to handle MKV files via Encoder. Anyway, we consider that the industry standard is that you convert MKV to MP4 and stick to that container format.

Also, if MOV files are supported and how to override the MOV glitch.

We analyze the situation related to the lack of support inside Adobe Premiere Pro for WebM format files and why Adobe does not support it. While we do not recommend the WebM format at all, I explain how to overcome this issue with the FNord WebM free software. The recommended approach is to go into industry standards and convert WebM to MP4 to use it in Premiere Pro. A bit related to this is the question about how to handle the VP9 codec in Premiere Pro, as it s a problem for YouTubers who want to export video produced and rendered there.

As there is no lifetime license anymore available for the Adobe suite, we responded to the question in the comments´ section about why Adobe Premiere Pro is so expensive, and, in general, why digital video editing software is so expensive.

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