Solving the Unknown Error Compiling Movie in Premiere Pro CS6/CC

Solving the Unknown Error Compiling Movie in Premiere Pro CS6/CC

Here’s a quick tip for those who encounter Adobe’s extremely frustrating “unknown error” when compiling a project. You know, this ugly thing:

The best way I’ve found to locate the offending clip when you’re dealing with a particularly complex project is to attempt to export it as an AVI file. Once you’ve done that, it will either resolve the problem (and you can encode the exported uncompressed AVI as needed in handbrake or something else), or, it will quit prematurely without an error. However, the length of the AVI file will give you a very good idea of where the offending clip is.

So for example, I had a complex project that was about 6 minutes 34 seconds in length. I was having a hard time finding the clip causing me grief so I exported it as an AVI file. When I did, it stopped well before finishing but didn’t throw any errors.

I opened the AVI file and it was 40 seconds long, roughly, though it was corrupt and wouldn’t really play aside from the audio. Low and behold, it was a warp stabilized clip at 39ish seconds that was causing me trouble.

Hope this helps you if you’re currently pulling your hair out as I have many times.

Update: If you haven’t updated to CC 2015.4+, you should if you run into this issue often. The kind folks at Adobe have finally implemented an actual error message that will tell you what and where the error occurred.

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