[Fixed] HEVC Video 'Codec Missing or Unavailable' on Premiere Pro - HEVC Codec for Premiere Pro

By Cecilia Hwung | Last Update:

Easiest way: converting HEVC to Premiere friendly format with VideoProc Converter.

When Adobe Premiere Pro users attempt to import HD/4K videos captured by iPhone 8, DJI Phantom/Mavic drone, Canon XF 705 camera, or other devices, they may receive an error message saying 'codec missing or unavailable'. The missing codec probably refers to HEVC which is the successor to the widely used H.264. HEVC is getting increasingly popular and becomes the preferred codec to encode 4K recordings. However, the well-known Adobe Premier Pro doesn't seem to keep up with this trend. It still cannot be fully compatible with HEVC videos. Windows 10 media players can't open HEVC and even VLC runs into choppy playback issue when playing HEVC video.

Troubleshooting page for HEVC video playback errors >

The latest Premiere Pro 2020 is hard to read H.265/HEVC 10-bit Videos shot in Dlog-M according to a growing mass of user reports. This is actually a known issue cause by long-GOP codec. The common ways to fix it out is upgrading your PC/graphics card and transcoding the long-Gop souce video to lossless ProRes or CinForm. Keep reading to find detailed solutions.

HEVC-encoded video import error: codec missing or unavailable

If you're using a trial version of Adobe Premiere Pro CC, it is no surprise that you see "this file requires the hevc codec", "codec missing or unavailable" or "this file requires the hevc codec which is included with a creative cloud membership". error. This is because trial version doesn't recognize HEVC files. Only licensed Adobe Creative Cloud members can use HEVC codec. If you're a licensed user but still can't import HEVC videos in 4K or 1080p, you can try transcoding HEVC to H.264 or other Premiere Pro supported format. Below are 3 solutions to solve HEVC codec missing or unavailable on Premiere Pro.

Solution 1. Download and install HEVC codec for Premiere Pro

Step 1. Open Adobe Premiere Pro and enter your license.

Step 2. Import your HEVC-encoded video into Adobe Premiere Pro, and then you may receive a prompt as shown in the picture. (Some users might not get this message.)

Adobe Premiere Pro opens a prompt to require installing HEVC codec

Step 3. Click OK to perform HEVC codec installing.

Step 4. Restart your computer.

Once done, Adobe Premiere Pro should be able to import your HEVC footage without popping up codec missing error. However, not everyone can install HEVC codec successfully.

"Yeah I got that popup and pressed OK, but I got some error. It says 'The importer reported a generic error'."
"So I clicked OK and got a message saying the codec was missing."

And, the import error may still persist even if you have managed to install HEVC codec. What's more, installing new codec may cause new problems. It may lead to codec conflict and failure of reading some files.

Solution 2. Upgrade your Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere Pro extends the support for HEVC files with the release of Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015.1, but doesn't support QuickTime (MOV) wrapped HEVC files until the arrival of Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2018 (12.0.1). Therefore, if you need to import HEVC files in MOV format, may be from your iPhone, into Adobe Premiere Pro, make sure you're using version 12.0.1 or later. Below are the steps to upgrade Premiere Pro to the latest version.

Step 1. Save your work and close your Adobe apps, or you will receive a warning to close.

Step 2. Open Adobe Creative Cloud desktop app, click Apps tab, and then you will see those installed Adobe apps including Adobe Premiere Pro CC. When there're available update versions, you'll see Update buttons next to the apps.

Step 3. Click Update next to Adobe Premiere Pro CC. If you want to update all apps, you should click Update All.

Upgrade Adobe Premiere Pro to avoid HEVC codec missing error

Step 4. Set Advanced Options.
▪ Select or deselect Import previous settings and preferences. If this option is checked, settings and preferences of your previous version will be moved to the new version.
▪ Select or deselect Remove old versions. If this option is checked, your previous version will be removed.

Step 5. After finishing all settings, click Update to start upgrading Premiere Pro CC to the most recent version.

If you fail to update Adobe Premiere Pro CC, see if the solutions to troubleshoot Creative Cloud download and install issues can help you.

Note: The latest Adobe Premiere Pro was upgraded to version 14.1 in April 2020. After upgrading the Adobe Premiere Pro on your PC, if you are still stuck by codec issues, consider upgrading your hardware then. If you want perfect adaptation and performance, your PC build should be upgraded to the recommended specifications.

Recommended Specs for Windows
Recommended Specs for Mac
Operation System Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit) version 1809 or later macOS v10.15 or later
Processor Intel 7th Gen or newer CPU – or AMD equivalent Intel 7th Gen or newer CPU
GPU 4 GB of GPU VRAM 4 GB of GPU VRAM
RAM 16GB 16GB
Hard disk space Fast internal SSD; additional driver Fast internal SSD; additional driver
Monitor resolution 1920 x 1080 or greater 1920 x 1080 or greater

If you are still unable to import HEVC-encoded files into Adobe Premiere Pro CC after upgrading, it may be because your HEVC files use variable framerate (VFR). Although Premiere Pro had an update to support VFR, it still can't deal with most of VFR videos. You need to convert your videos from variable framerate to constant framerate using a converter, such as VideoProc Converter. This probably solves your problem.

Solution 3. Convert HEVC to an Adobe Compatible Format

As mentioned above, HEVC was first added to the supported native video formats with the release of Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015.1 update. Nevertheless, importing HEVC files into Premiere Pro is still a headache problem. Let's not to say some 10-bit HEVC videos shot in DLOG-M. Then, transcoding HEVC files becomes a highly recommended method, especially if your files are in 4K HEVC and you don't have a high-end computer.

HEVC is a non-performant format that is difficult to edit with and requires much computing power to process. So, it isn't a bad idea to convert HEVC to a lossless codec like ProRes or a more popular format like H.264 MP4. To do this, you can turn to hardware-accelerated VideoProc Converter for help. Apart from changing file format, VideoProc Converter can also convert your VFR videos to constant frame rate. This converter works fast while keeping high quality. Free download and install VideoProc Converter and you'll be able to convert HEVC to Adobe Premiere Pro accepted format with constant framerate in 3 simple steps.

VideoProc Converter - The One-click Way to Convert HEVC to Adobe Premiere Pro Supported Format

  • Accept HEVC videos from GoPro, DJI, iPhone, Canon camera, etc.
  • Output media in the file formats supported by Adobe Premiere Pro natively.
  • Convert video in 3 simple steps. Level-3 hardware acceleration makes it super fast.
  • Easy editing: cut, crop, merge, split, rotate, stabilize, denoise...

Step 1. Open VideoProc Converter, and then you should see four big buttons in the main UI. Click Video button and then drag and drop target HEVC files into the screen.

Convert HEVC to H264 for Adobe Premiere Pro

Step 2. Click the Video tab at the bottom bar and choose an Adobe Premiere Pro compatible preset, such as MP4 H.264. For more choices, you can click Target Format.

Convert HEVC to H264 for Adobe Premiere Pro

Step 3. Hit RUN in the lower right corner and the conversion will begin in no time. Once done, try importing the videos into Adobe Premiere Pro and see if codec missing error disappears or not.

Convert HEVC to H264 for Adobe Premiere Pro

Final Words:

HEVC is still not as popular as H.264, so it is inevitable to experience some errors such as codec missing on Premiere Pro because of incompatibility. This situation will be gradually improved. Currently, the most effective workaround is to transcode HEVC to another supported format with VideoProc Converter or something else. VideoProc Converter is worth a try. It is a piece of multifunctional video processing software integrated with video converting, video editing, DVD digitizing, video downloading, and video recording tools. Try it on your PC or Mac right now!

About The Author

Cecilia Hwung is the marketing manager of Digiarty Software and the editor-in-chief of VideoProc team. She pursues common progress with her team and expects to share more creative content and useful information to readers. She has strong interest in copywriting and rich experience in video editing tips.

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