Free Knowledge

Your Vertical Video Syndrome Antidote

Vertical video: Despised by cinematographers. Proclaimed the mark of an amateur.

For those not in the know, “Vertical Video Syndrome” is caused by shooting video from a smartphone while holding it vertically, rather than horizontally. The latter creates the 16:9 aspect ratio that perfectly fills the frame of YouTube, Vimeo, flatscreens and movie theaters. The former fits the frame of a smartphone only when held vertically, which is nearly all content on Snapchat.

Filmmakers scoff at vertical video. Yet some of the smartest companies in the world embrace this so-called rookie move.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Periscope all host vertical video, along with Snapchat. Why are they making this transformation?

  • Nearly 50 million people watch video on their mobile device in the US.
  • 15% of all online video around the world is consumed on mobile devices.
  • Snapchat garners more than 100 million daily video views.
  • Snapchat sees 9 times more engagement on vertical video than horizontal video.
  • And marketers are going on record to say they received higher engagement.

The vertical revolution only validates the notion that, as marketers and communication specialists, we must continue to diversify how we build content based on channel. That means creating video that works in both vertical and horizontal formats.

Tips for Video in a Vertical World

Creating different pieces of content for one concept can be difficult even if you are capturing that content at the same aspect ratio, let alone trying to produce content at vertical and horizontal ratios.

If you’re filming only for Snapchat, vertical-only works fine. But if you want a concept to live across Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter (the list goes on), you’ve got to get clever.

Here are some tips and workarounds to produce video that works in both vertical and horizontal formats:

    • If possible, shoot your content in 4K. The high resolution allows you a lot more room to crop video and retain an HD output
    • Try to frame your shots with a center focus. See here how Vox news center frames this interview. It was shot horizontally, but because of how it was framed up they were able to retrofit the content to their Snapchat Discover channel.

  • Animation and motion graphics can be your best friend. This tactic works best, if you are trying to repurpose horizontal content. Laying motion graphics on top of your video can provide an easy outlet to communicate to the end user, while retaining their attention.

And now, we leave you with a great example that shows how vertical video can provide a level of entertainment value to a consumer:




Sammy Greenberg

October 7, 2016

Filed under: