Solved! Fix the Premiere Pro Media Pending Error (2021)

Premiere Pro 25/05/2021 5 min read

Let’s talk about media pending. Yep, you know the one—that pesky yellow box that just won’t leave you alone. If you find yourself with permanent media pending messages, it can really slow down your editing process. There are a few ways to tackle this frustrating problem, so let’s jump in and see how to resolve the Premiere Pro media pending error.

Part 1: How to Resolve the Media Pending Error

Basically, what you’re encountering is the annoying little cousin of the red media offline error. While media offline suggests a clip is missing entirely (generally because Premiere is trying to look for something in the wrong folder, or a file has been deleted), media pending tells you something isn’t quite right in reading the data of your video files. Something has been lost in translation and it can really slow down your editing process. Don’t fret as we have 3 solutions to help you on your way!

1. Disable Then Re-Enable

Try this fix out first. It’s the quickest, go-to solution for the media pending error.

  1. Place the playhead over the clip that is displaying the media pending error.
  2. Highlight the clip by selecting it.
  3. Right-click on the click and uncheck Enable from the menu. This should disable the clip.
  4. Then right-click on the clip and check Enable again. This should re-enable it.
  5. You could also hit Ctrl+A or Cmd+A to select all the clips in the timeline and do the same thing, which will disable and re-enable every clip in the sequence.
Re-enable every clip

Hopefully, this does the trick! If not, we’ve got some more options for you to try out.

2. Add a Cut

Sometimes all you need to do is to make a minor, imperceptible adjustment to the clip or the timeline to jog Adobe Premiere Pro into action. Try making edits that have no visual impact on the video, like adding a cut.

  1. Place the playhead over the clip that is showing the media pending error.
  2. Hit Ctrl+K or Cmd+K to cut the clip.
  3. Or click on the Razor tool, and click on any part of that clip to make a cut.
  4. Don’t change any of the timing and beware when you continue editing that the cut is there. All you’re doing is just splitting the clip without actually moving anything.

This tiny tweak might be enough to kick-start it again.

Add a cut

3. Adjust the Duration by One Frame

With this solution, you are making very slight adjustments to your timeline by adding just one frame to your clip.

  1. Select the clip that shows the media pending error.
  2. Zoom into the timeline with Ctrl+ + or Cmd+ + and drag the end of the clip out by just one frame.
  3. Zoom back out with Ctrl+ – or Cmd+ – and try the clip again.
Adjust duration

We’re crossing our fingers that one of these tricks has fixed the issue. If this error was painful enough that you never want to endure it again. Hang tight, we have some tips to help you keep this annoying error at bay.

Part 2: How to Avoid the Media Pending Error

These quick solutions are all good and fine, but to truly progress you need to identify what exactly is the cause of the media pending error. Once you’ve identified the cause, you can take steps to avoid it happening again in the future.

1. Dynamic Links & Nested Sequences

The two most common issues you may have noticed are with dynamically linked footage and nested sequences. Look out for those assets in your timeline first. 

  1. If you’re done making changes to dynamically linked footage, select Render and Replace to swap the project link for a rendered file.
  2. If you have nested sequences inside of nested sequences, try setting in and out points and exporting just that section. 
  3. Re-import the exported file.
  4. Replace the nested sequence. It’s a quick and dirty workaround, but sometimes you just need to hit the deadline. Get it done, then figure out the root cause later.
Dynamic links and nested sequences

2. Replacing the Sequence

Still having trouble? A permanent media pending problem may be connected to the sequence rather than a clip in particular.

  1. Create a new sequence to match the one you’re currently using. You can do this by right-clicking on the sequence itself and selecting New Sequence from Clip. 
  2. Use Ctrl+C or Cmd+C to copy all the footage from the Media Pending timeline.
  3. Use Ctrl+V or Cmd+V to paste it into the new sequence.
New sequence from clip

3. Deleting/Removing Cache Files

Cache files and preview files are small files that Premiere generates to help the project run faster and smoother. They can sometimes be generated incorrectly, leading to a permanent Media Pending error, so try jumping into the back-end of Premiere and deleting them.

  1. To delete the media cache automatically head to Edit > Preferences > Media Cache > Delete Unused Files
Delete unused files

If this doesn’t help, there may be other files that are causing problems. Do this manually by going to the Media Cache Database location on your computer. These are usually clearly labeled in a cache folder.

  1. Close Premiere Pro.
  2. Manually select and delete all the files in the cache folder. Don’t worry about deleting the files, just be certain they’re clearly labeled as cache.
  3. Re-open Premiere Pro.
Media cache database

You could also try storing the cache on a different hard drive.

  1. Head to Edit > Preferences > Media Cache > Browse for a new location.

4. Deleting/Removing Preview Files

Still no luck? Let’s give the preview files a look.

  1. Close Premiere Pro.
  2. Find where you saved your project file, a .prpoj file.
  3. Find the folder named Adobe Premiere Pro Video Previews, which should be in the same location.
  4. Delete the files inside that folder.
  5. Re-open Premiere Pro.

You should see the blue bar that says the preview files are being rebuilt. Hopefully, properly this time.

So there you have it! You now have a few ways of tackling the Premiere Pro CC media pending error, ranging from a quick cut to a rebuild of the cache. Start with the quicker processes first and work your way up if none of them work, but hopefully, something in the above guide should set you on your way to a successful project.