Error compiling movie. Unknown Error. Ugh

Error compiling movie. Unknown Error in Adobe Premier CC?

We all know Adobe Premier CC to be a temperamental little so-and-so. Just yesterday I got a lock up that only CTR+ALT+DEL would break me out of. I returned to have lost 3 hours of video editing. Auto-save did in fact save the day. If you go to file > preferences > auto save, it should be set to default of every 15 minutes. If you’re not sure what auto save is set to, go check it now to be safe hen working with this “hand grenade” of a program.

Now if you’re reading this, then you have a screen with the image above on it now. You have tried to export your project to an MP4 or AVI and Adobe Premier CC is laughing at you with the useless Unknown error in your face.

Here is the short and sweet returns from my research and the fix that did work.

The main, and time consuming suggestion you will find online is:

Remove each clip, starting with the latest you have added and try to export it again to hone in on the problem file. You can delete right from the bin, try it and then CTRL+Z to put it back when it is not the culprit. This didn’t do it for me. If this does identify it for you, replace the file with a new one in a new file type and try again. Change MP3 to WAV, JPG to PNG, etc.


Before you spend time destroying and restoring your creation looking for the issue, try this instead.

Click FILE > NEW > Sequence.


Go to you main project and CTRL+A > CTRL+C to copy the entire thing.

Now paste CTRL+V the entire thing to your new sequence.


Export your new sequence.

Same files, same output, but now it will work.

Like most unknown errors in the world the cause will go unknown and stay unknown as long as there is a way to move on from it.


Just to save you time I have included the other common Adobe Export errors from the adobe help site here below. If you have something other than “unknown”, I envy you.

Solutions for this issue depend on the string that follows “Error compiling movie.”

•”Disk Full.” – Make room on the hard disk that you’re exporting to, or choose a hard disk with adequate space.

•”Duplicate file.” – Make sure that the name and destination specified for the output file is unique.

•”File not found.” – Check that all input (source) files are linked.

•”I/O Error.” – Check that the hard disk has adequate room and you have permission to write to the specified output location.

•”Unable to save file. Destination file is in use by Premiere.” or “Destination file is in use by Adobe Media Encoder.” – An application is using the destination file. For example, the destination file can also be in use as an input file for another operation.

•”Invalid output drive.” – The specified hard disk can’t be written to or found. Choose another output location.

•”Out of memory. To maximize available memory, set the rendering optimization preference to ‘Memory.’” – See Optimizing rendering for available memory.

•”Unable to create or open output file.” – Check that the hard disk has adequate room and you have permission to write to the specified output location.

•”You do not have permission to create or delete the output file.” – Choose a destination folder for which you have write access, or change permissions on the destination folder such that Adobe Premiere Pro has write access.

•”Codec compression error. This codec may be unable to support the requested frame size, or there may be a hardware or memory problem.” – Try an unconstrained codec, such as none in an AVI container or Animation in a QuickTime container to determine whether the frame size is the issue.


About author

Todd Kron

of Sellaholics is a veteran of Analytics, PPC, Display, video, UX, conversion optimization, affiliate programs, web design and web programming since 2002. My background includes affiliate sales to 6 figures, director of a web design agency, and currently the digital manager for a leading energy company located in Huntersville, NC. From search to sale 1000 different ways is my background. Sellaholics is a Google Partner Agency.