Vertical Video: Just say No!
ADMIN NOTE: This thread began in Creative COW's Business & Marketing forum, but since this topic also cuts across shooting, editing, and distribution, we thought it'd be fun to open the discussion up to some other forums like this one. Apologies if this seems too far off the usual goings-on here, but we encourage you to take a look at the conversation already underway, and add your expertise!
Please feel free to address any administrative issues to me directly in the Letters to the COW Team forum, but otherwise, enjoy! Regards, Tim Wilson, Editor-in-Chief, Creative COW
But...the BBC just went that way:
Oh well, I can always hold my professional cameras sideways.
[Ned Miller] "Oh well, I can always hold my professional cameras sideways."
Pushing 20 years ago a friend who is a professional photographer borrowed one of my video cameras to shoot some behind the scenes footage of a play one of his kids was in... I remember loaning him my then-brand-new Canon XL1, one of my "B" cameras at the time. It was so foolproof I knew that even a novice shooter couldn't screw things up, so it would be a cakewalk for a professional still photographer.
He came back with the footage, and about every third or forth shot was sideways. He'd shoot a scene or two, and then turn the camera sideways for a "portrait" format shot or two. He was used to doing this constantly with his still cameras when shooting weddings and such, it didn't occur to him that he couldn't do that with a video camera. Duhhhhhhh.
We cast lot of actors, and while most of the auditions submitted by talent agencies are shot correctly with more proper cameras, almost all of those submitted directly by actors themselves are recorded with cell phones (which I'm totally fine with). But... probably a good half of them come in vertical, despite my repeated and explicit instructions to "Position your phone horizontally... the same as a TV screen!" They don't seem to get it.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
[Todd Terry] "my repeated and explicit instructions to "Position your phone horizontally... the same as a TV screen!" They don't seem to get it."
I disagree with this one million percent. Not the part about you preferring it. That's your prerogative. But it's not only not a problem, but using video the way the BBC app is working, HORIZONTAL is the problem. The most dominant platforms for watching video are Facebook and Instagram -- and for the BBC, the target is the app -- and VERTICAL IS BETTER. It fills the screen, it's easier to see, and it tells more of the story.
Now yeah, if it's going to TV, that's a little different, but only a little. Vertical is now the native tongue of phone video, so nobody in the neighborhood of 30 or below cares. On the contrary, they EXPECT it.
Of course, I'm twice that age, and I not only have no problem with -- I expect it too. And despite having shot professionally since the 70s, I vastly favor vertical video now.
One place (or two places) I recently the saw the value of it was seeing Paul McCartney's IMAG in concert, both in an arena and at Desert Trip.. The fact is that nobody gives a spit about looking at anything but Paul. (His band has been together for 15 years, btw, his longest-standing band ever, and boy howdy, do they play like it. RAZOR sharp....but I don't need 'em on the IMAG.)
The IMAG being vertical meant that we got in close on Paul's face AND his bass. Horizontal would have been twice as far away, with two thirds of the screen filled with stuff I actively didn't want to see.
This was also true for all 6 artists at Desert Trip, where bands used vertical or square value to MASSIVE advantage. Yeah, they had 250 horizontal feet to work with, but it worked best for graphics. McCartney is actually one of the most graphics-heavy artists on the road today, so there was definitely some of that. Roger Waters vastly moreso. At one point, there was a 250-foot long closeup on the neck of a guitar (during "Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Parts I-V" for those of you keeping score at home), but otherwise, he used the screen as a combination of square and/or vertical sections.
Some illustrations (which you can click to enlarge):
The Rolling Stones
The aforementioned McCartney, nice shot with vertical IMAG and the man if I say so myself
The Who, combining vertical Roger and Pete with square Union Jack animations
fwiw, I got a lot of very nice shots of all the bands, including some awesome zoom shots (a story for another day, but I will be sharing them eventually in a story about Fujinon lenses shooting the show, and piping it around with Blackmagic doo-dads) but I find myself cropping them vertically for my own enjoyment, or at most square, in almost every case. Turns out I'm kind of a 4:3 guy after all! It really is one of the things I love about Instagram too. Yeah, it'll do horizontal in the latest updates, but I hate it. I'll still with squares, and where I can, go fullscreen vertical.
Admittedly, yes, IMAG is a special case, but Facebook and Instagram are not. Nor is sharing video with friends mobile-to-mobile, or mobile apps. Vertical is the solution, horizontal is the problem. This will become more and more true over time, even on TV.
You don't have to like it. You don't have to get used to it. But if you're as desperately trying to preserve your hair as I am, I do recommend that you embrace the new world everywhere you can. LOL
Did you know that at Dave Chapelle's come back tour shows everyone has to give up their phone on their way in? The artists are getting PO's looking out and seeing everyone looking at their phones:
At Thanksgiving at my sister's house she ask about seven of us to stand shoulder-to-shoulder for a group photo. She brings her phone up and naturally she is holding it vertical. It is the way it fits in one's hand, especially a smaller female hand. We in the biz, of course we know better.
Now on the evening news you will see video shot by the public, often of some crime or disaster happening, and they're 90% vertical. Perhaps that's why the BBC went that way? You'll notice that both sides of the 16x9 frame on your TV they will have a "continuation" of the video, out-of-focus, half tone opacity, as an abstract. So do this test: Next time you're watching the news or America's Funniest Home Videos (still my favorite show) and when a vertical video appears, once it is over ask the person sitting next to you who is NOT IN THE BIZ if they noticed anything about the sides of the frame. I do this to my wife, etc. all the time- They will NOT notice it. The public will naturally shoot vertical UNLESS for some reason they are holding their phone with two hands, then they might turn it on its side. Look for that. This is what I mean in case I'm not clear:
Long ago when 16x9 betacams first came out I resisted, after all, I had a fully paid off 4x3 betacam which had a crank on the side to print out money. A mega mall near me asked if I could shoot 16x9 and naturally I said yes, I figured I'd rent. Next they asked if there was a way I could "lay" the camera on its side so I could fill the frame, head-to-toe, of fashion models, one at a time. So I looked into it and unbelievably there was a heavy duty tripod head to rent that would lay a full size ENG or 35mm on its side. Of course the balance would be off and we had to sandbag the legs down, and it was awfully weird, but the mall wanted to mount 16x9 monitors VERTICALLY around the mall, sort of a precursor to what we now call digital signage, and they knew a standing humanoid fit great in a vertical 16x9 like cars do in its horizontal.
I don't know how this will affect us, I think it's more an issue for the editors.
60-70% of the work we do involves creating video for non standard horizontal screens. We didn't do this - wish we had because it's brilliant, but nothing understands a mobile audience better than custom created content for a portrait display.
Co-owner at Pollen Studio
[Ned Miller] "Did you know that at Dave Chapelle's come back tour shows everyone has to give up their phone on their way in? The artists are getting PO's looking out and seeing everyone looking at their phones:"
I'm all for it! LOL Except that I do love fan video of concerts, and have shot some pretty good stuff over the years....but in fact, I try to be sensitive about which orientation the video calls for.
I mentioned seeing McCartney twice...well in fact, through a series of circumstances so bizarre that it deserves its own story...which I'm writing...I saw him 3 times in 2 weeks. In addition to an arena and a festival-style event, I saw him at a bar with 300 people!!! I was right at the rail, close enough to touch him...which I did a couple of times when we slapped palms. A life highlight for me, for sure.
I had in fact seen him in the arena the week before, and I was CRAZY close, so the ONLY way I was going to get his whole body in the frame was vertical. I've embedded it here, but you really need to take it full screen if you're on your desktop to see what I mean. No music in this clip. I just wanted to show his ENTRANCE into this tiny, tiny space to provide context.
btw, do note that the rest of the horizontal frame is filled with a scaled, shaded version of the video. Your observation that nobody notices this on TV, Ned, or if they do, they don't care, is reflective of the extent that people recognize vertical orientation as "a" fully legit native tongue for video.
You might say that younger audiences are bilingual that way.
I did grab "A Hard Day's Night" horizontal, though...but even when he was halfway back on the stage, I didn't get his full body. Here's a photo from another song that'll give you an idea, cropped 4:3, but not zoomed. All I cropped out was empty stage on either side....well, okay, half of the drummer and keyboard player, but I was too close to ever get them all the way in the frame....an awesome problem to have mind you, but there ya go.
To get back to your point about Dave Chappelle's no phones policy, Ned, Paul McCartney is plenty used to performing with cameras in his face....but I was 6 feet away, and it felt rude...so after I got his entrance and the second song in his set (which was "AHDN"), I just put my phone in my pocket. The tradeoff was that he and I made a LOT of eye contact, which I wouldn't trade for the world of course.
I've always imagined that my compromise as an artist might be, "I love fan videos of shows, too...but do me a favor. I'm going to turn up the house lights, and ask you to put away your phones, so that we can just look at each other. Can you do that for me, for one song? Please?"
I have no idea if it would work, but I do understand Dave's impulse, especially for standup, when you're ONLY looking into the audience.
[Ned Miller] "the mall wanted to mount 16x9 monitors VERTICALLY around the mall, sort of a precursor to what we now call digital signage, and they knew a standing humanoid fit great in a vertical 16x9 like cars do in its horizontal."
Right. And if you walk any length through an airport of any size today, you might pass hundreds of vertical 16x9 monitors, filling the same space in the ecosystem that a poster does.
And indeed, to this day, no matter how widescreen a movie, a vertical poster is what does the trick.
Your example of video of cars as better in horizontal is a perfect one, though, as is the large-group selfie....although in fact, the native language of selfies is probably vertical now, right? Anyway, roadside billboards work better horizontally because you're traversing them on that plane at enough speed that vertical boards aren't in focus for enough time.
I'm also a massive fan of widescreen. I was subscribing to Widescreen Digest 20 years ago, and installing home theater systems -- including more than a few with 2 screens in one enclosure, so that you could watch 4:3 TV on one screen and widescreen laser disks (ahem) on the other. 16:9? Fooey. I mean WIIIIIIIIIIDE screen laser disks. 16:9 was a compromise, and not an ideal one, imo. Not wide enough.
That said, you can see the difference in a heartbeat in a proper IMAX theater. A widescreen picture looks....I won't say wrong, but I will say "incomplete". The idea of "letterbox" is exactly the OPPOSITE of "full screen". You're not seeing the big picture AT ALL. You're seeing a slice of it, through a narrow window.
Even as much as I believe that we so quickly adapted to widescreen images is because, as humans, our primary orientation is horizontal -- we evolved to see threats coming from the same plane as ours, not from above -- but our horizontal orientation to MOVEMENT is still NOTHING like a letterbox PICTURE. It's MUCH more like 4:3.
So as long as we PRIMARILY hold devices vertically, the PRIMARY orientation for device video will be, and SHOULD be, VERTICAL.
[Ned Miller] "I think it's more an issue for the editors."
I think also for producers. One thing it's reinforcing to me is that one size does not fit all. It's rare that a desktop version of a website is identical for desktop and mobile. Why should video be any different? But the question is, how do you account for it?
For a movie or TV show, no need. People EXPECT to turn their phones sideways. In fact, when I'm on YouTube and turn my phone horizontally, the clip automatically fills the screen. This is a Google-verse assumption (or does iOS do this too?), and it's the right one. When i turn my phone horizontally, I DO want the video filling my screen as the default behavior (with one click to go out of full screen if that's what I want).
But more often than not, it annoys me when a page goes horizontal, so I actually have my screen locked to vertical, and only unlock it when watching horizontal video....which turns out to be less and less with each passing day.
What it will increasingly mean for pros, I think, is an awareness like the BBC's, that if you want your stuff to be seen to its best advantage on devices, shoot it vertical, no questions asked. Square at MOST.
Indeed, as an experiment, even if you download the Instagram app for this one experiment, load up your favorite horizontal video, and play with the crop tools. I think you'll be amazed at how often a center cut not only looks good, but looks BETTER on the phone.
So I think what we really need is a "VERTICAL SAFE" marker in pro viewfinders. LOL
Speaking of which....
[Tom Sefton] "We didn't do this - wish we had because it's brilliant, but nothing understands a mobile audience better than custom created content for a portrait display."
Haha! AWESOME example. I do think that vertical FILMMAKING will remain pretty rare, this is a FANTASTIC example of how powerful full-screen video is, and on devices, that means vertical.
The thing is, I'm not sure that this story "translated" to vertical would be any better. I think it's meant to be told vertically. No WONDER the name of the movie is Impact.
For that matter, how much video really needs to be 16:9? Is a center crop of, say, The X-Files or Twin Peaks better because it's now "widescreen" rather than pillared? It's a push for X-Files for me, but Twin Peaks is weakened....
....not that most people will notice, any more than that they notice the convention of scaling and blurring a version of a vertical video to fill a horizontal screen.
And you know what? I first saw Lawrence of Arabia full screen on a 4:3 TV, and I swear it's a better movie. Landscape, desert, horizon, Omar Sharif riding in from the distance, whatever -- the POWER of that movie is Peter O'Toole's EYES, and they're bigger in 4:3. In fact, I found this promo still, which is actually the way I saw the movie, both 4:3 AND black and white. Wanna tell me this image ain't cinematic enough for ya?
Anywayyyyy....since you brought up your own work, Tom, can you tell us a little more about it?
Need to get some pesky NDAs out of the way first, but the whole project had 4 different delivery formats : 4096x1080, 3840 x 2160, 1920 x 1080 and 1080 x 1920. All content was shot using the same camera, and screens used mostly the same footage - hence your point of cropping and reframing being really great..
It also used some awesome old anamorphic lenses and we got to film a load of explosions, fires, high pressure water hoses and much more, at night, at 6K. Great fun.
First, sleep. My 4 week old daughter is taking all my attention!
Co-owner at Pollen Studio
[Tom Sefton] "the whole project had 4 different delivery formats : 4096x1080, 3840 x 2160, 1920 x 1080 and 1080 x 1920. All content was shot using the same camera, and screens used mostly the same footage - hence your point of cropping and reframing being really great.."
Wow, I was right about something? Somebody write this down! I know I'm going to need to come back to this one day to prove it. LOL
More important of course, MAZEL TOV! Enjoy your new daughter!
Still, I'm curious. Was this aspect ratio-stravaganza new to you? Have you previously only done traditionally-oriented video?
Wow, I was right about something? Somebody write this down! I know I'm going to need to come back to this one day to prove it. LOL
Co-owner at Pollen Studio
Also - thanks! Note the time difference between posts and them being 1 and then 540 in the morning....
For the museum world, portrait and non standard resolutions for delivery are very very common. Anything from large scale projection mapping to the talking portraits that were made famous by Harry Potter - we've been doing them all for years. It's certainly been made a LOT easier by the arrival of large resolution digital cameras...!
Co-owner at Pollen Studio
What's old is new. For photographs, you have Portrait vs. Landscape. But that existed long before photographs. Most portrait paintings were tall. Most everything else, such as landscapes, were painted wide. Phones are probably still used more for photography than video, mostly selfies...
Wonder how VR devices over the eyes will change things?
VR is a different medium because of the requirement to wear the device in landscape and the relationship between left and right eye in processing stereo 3D images versus the convergence point of the 3D plane. We've done a stereo VR project recently and that was filmed with wide lenses and 3D -the only thing holding it back was waiting for a platform to host the film. Now it's available it can be viewed http://inceptionvr.com/experience/kyla-la-grange/ - but what's really awesome is that when you are on a mobile device and portrait format, and not occulus with their page, in mono mode the camera can pan around and you get the same experience.
It's all about the tailored experience to the end user - which is cool because there could be infinite amounts of content to create, even for large providers like Netflix and Amazon in the future as more people want to watch in portrait - even iPads playing in 4:3 should and could in theory have their own output for a custom play - with Netflix requiring all content to be shot at 6K minimum meaning the epic dragon is king, this should only mean a slight reframe and encoding option.
Co-owner at Pollen Studio
I'm for vertical video when appropriate... but I just think it all depends on the needed end result.
99% of what I produce winds up on broadcast television... a horizontal format.
Most of the rest is usually for web-based viewing, embedding on clients' websites, etc.
So for me, horizontal/widescreen (the way human eyes work), is the way to go. We have yet to produce anything that is intended solely or primarily for mobile devices. That day may come, but it's not here yet at our place.
We get auditions in, cull through them, and send our picks to clients for approval produced all in one video file. Sometimes that reel includes a bunch, five, 10, or maybe even 20 different actors. We are invariably asked by clients why John Doe's audition isn't like the rest, but just a skinny strip in the middle of the screen.
We've only once been asked to produce specifically a vertical video... for a security scanner that had a vertical screen on the side that demonstrated how to use the device. After coming up with a complicated way to mount/shoot with our camera sideways, only then did the device manufacturer give us tech specs... and the screen resolution of their monitors was soooo low that we could have simply shot with the camera oriented correctly and sliced out a vertical center section and would have been golden.
What's next? Vertical anamorphic lenses? Maybe I'm behind the times... but then again this is my actual kitchen phone at home (and yes, it works like a charm)....
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
I saw him 3 times in 2 weeks. In addition to an arena and a festival-style event, I saw him at a bar with 300 people!!! I was right at the rail, close enough to touch him...which I did a couple of times when we slapped palms. A life highlight for me, for sure.
I'm pretty sure I hate you now.
There's apps you can download to the phone that automatically turn live vertical video into landscape horizontal for the times when the operator is too stupid or excited to think of it. I think the majority of vertical video you see in candids is because of idiocy, not intent. I believe this horizontal conversion app should be a default setting in every cameraphone, and I think the cute puppets that started this thread are exactly right.
There are too many exceptions out there; it's largely situational. I think the Beeb isn't really so much a fan of vertical, as it is just making allowances due to the huge number of poor photographers supplying content.
I remember having an argument about shooting some oral history in 16:9 versus 4:3. My argument for 4:3 at the time was first, that we had more of the gear available in that aspect ratio, but then I asked, if the subject is a seated person in medium to tight shots that rarely change, what do you do with all the extra space to the left and right of them? I went on to say, the 4 by 3 shot could be comped into a larger 16 by 9 in various clever and creative ways during post, based on the intent of the producer and editor using the footage, but I didn't see a value in raw 16:9 for compositions that were in effect vertical portraits. But then again, the nature of the subject being shot makes all the difference.
[Mark Suszko] "I'm pretty sure I hate you now."
There are so many reasons that people hate me -- this is my favorite yet. LOL
A picture from Paul's tour photographer JM Kim that ran in the LA Times - horizontal, but the fisheye required to get both Paul and the audience in the picture opened a wide gulf between us that wasn't there. Except when he sat down to play the piano toward the back of the stage, he was mostly directly in front of me, 6-7 away. I'm the second from the left of the frame, with my arm resting on the rail.
I still think that the vertical video does a better job of capturing the scene, but having a professional document it, with a flash photo no less, is still more than I'd hoped for. It's a big pic, so click if you care, or not, as you see fit.
[Mark Suszko] "I think the Beeb isn't really so much a fan of vertical, as it is just making allowances due to the huge number of poor photographers supplying content. "
That's the part that I disagree with a million percent. LOL The allowance is for the "wrong" way that people hold their phones and tablets, except that "holding it wrong" is irrelevant. If almost all of your audience, almost all the time, is holding the screen vertically, it's your JOB to shoot vertically.
The thing is, I don't think it's AT ALL an accident that watching video on Facebook and Instagram is skyrocketing, and in the case of FB, arguably past YouTube: vertical (if also sometimes square) is the CORRECT aspect ratio for devices. VERTICAL is NATIVE.
Again acknowledging that this isn't true at all for long form programming. Even as long as a music video. Horizontal ftw. You turn device horizontal....unless you don't. ("You" rhetorically that is.) Have you noticed how many people around you don't turn their devices? Not unlike the number of people who preferred to stretch the SD content on their HD sets by default, rather than zoom. I want a full screen AND crawls, onscreen bugs, scores, etc.
But the BBC app is meant to provide a VERTICALLY scrolling list of short clips. Watch one short clip. Want to watch another? Here ya go. Vertical video after vertical video.
Not that they'll all be vertical any time soon. But the horizontal ones will look wrong, because they ARE wrong.
[Mark Suszko] " I went on to say, the 4 by 3 shot could be comped into a larger 16 by 9 in various clever and creative ways during post, based on the intent of the producer and editor using the footage, but I didn't see a value in raw 16:9 for compositions that were in effect vertical portraits. "
You make it sound like this was a while ago, and that you might have lost the argument. Am I jumping to conclusions? Wouldn't be the first time of course, but I'd love to know how the conversation went, and what the outcome was for both shooting and post.
My own thinking nowadays would be to go Tom's route: biggest sensor I could find, shoot to protect multiple aspect ratios...including, yes, vertical. You're right, Mark, interviews are fundamentally vertical-to-square. We usually make them widescreen by adding a lot of empty space to "balance" the actual content....but what happened with the project you're talking about here?
And I said this a bunch of posts ago, but it's worth repeating here: I'm not saying that anyone should feel any differently than they do, except to the extent that I think it's an error to reject vertical video on principle, even when it's containerized in a 16:9 frame. For devices, it's native, and to be preferred in very nearly every circumstance, which is why the mobile videographer is NOT holding it wrong. That's how devices are meant to be held, regardless of suitability in the eyes of those as old as we are. LOL
But also to a point that Ned made upthread, we really do need to be thinking about this as the amount of vertical video skyrockets -- or we could just accept the scaled / blurred / dimmed solution that YouTube defaults to. People understand what it means, and most people don't even notice that anything is "wrong". Since, of course, it's not wrong. It's just vertical. LOL
I still hate you, but I'll answer the question:-)
They went along with my logic for as long as we still owned 4:3 cameras. When the HD upgrade came, a few years later, we had to go with the wider shots, but our style of doing these has also evolved, to where we usually shoot a live-switched, 3-camera interview, and retain isos of the single-shot and 2-shot, in case some future user disagrees with how I called the live switch, or they need the raw iso for another reason. I try to make it a practice to shoot the iso backgrounds with some room tone, after the interviews, to help anybody who wants to pull a difference matte of the guest speaker. I think the day isn't far off though, when cameras can record detailed depth info for every pixel, and we'll do "chromakeying" by just lassoing everything we want that's at a certain x-azis depth. All else will just drop away.
Storytelling and viewer engagement methodologies have been changing since storytelling began. So I am all for new methods to be explored. On a related note, here are some stats for vertical viewing.
Other studies have shown that for videos shown on phone devices that vertical videos have longer viewing engagement than horizontal videos. Yes, it may be due to laziness to turn a phone, but the numbers bear out and marketers keep that in mind when trying to delivery their message via video.
Vertical video? Horizontal video? Bah! So yesterday.
CIRCULAR video is the new black! 😉
I guess you never heard of a little site called YOUTUBE!!!! ;-)
Well non-standard video is fine when we're talking about all you professionals framing your shots properly for paying clients with specific needs. My problem with vertical video is that most users are shooting it because it's how they hold the phone in their hand, and no other reason. Every vertical video a client sends me just has a ton of ceiling and/or floor in it. Then they have their phone recompress it to an abysmal resolution/bitrate so they can cram it in an e-mail. When I can coax them to use something like wetransfer to give me the native file, the quality is decent enough that it looks pretty good when cropped.
I actually follow Glove and Boots so when that video came out in 2012 I immediately forwarded it to friends and family. I'm glad I did because all the cell phone videos I get of my baby nephew look fantastic.
Horizon App records horizontal anyway when holding the phone vertically.
But as with all things, knowing your destination is key. Social mobile video? Vertical may be better.
Inserting user generated video into broadcast? Horizontal.
Don't know? Deal with it. ☺
The trick is, what if you don't know how it will be used, or know that it will be used in different places. How do you shoot for both? Another reason to start acquiring in 4K. For interviews I'm considering shooting in 4K wider then I typically would. Then I can zoom in for 16:9 and crop for vertical.
One Man Band (If it's video related I'll do it!)
I work for an institution that probably does not want to be associated with my babblings here.
Judging from the production still, it seems you are using the type of camera stand found in professional still photography studios, correct?If not, how did you get the camera to lay on its side, also, what were you using as an EVF? It looks like a phone.
This article may be of interest. The BBC are now supporting vertical video in their phone app because it provides a better user experience for the 60% of viewers who consume it on a mobile phone.
Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer & Cinematographer
Hobart, Tasmania | Twitter: @jeffkirkland
Shot on a C100 and those EVFs are of the camera and the Ninja. The real high-tech part was the earbuds draped over the monitor to show us how the screen would be split since half of it would be red and half of it blue.
Well, you know, you're all wrong.. the future is in triangular video. We've known this a long, long time.
But seriously, vertical video is at best special-purpose. Sure, there are a few vertical video kiosks and ads that mandate a vertical crop. Mobile devices are mobile device... they work exactly as well as horizontal devices as they do vertical devices. On the other hand, the two 16:9 monitors and one 21:9 monitor on my desk, my 70", 55", and 32" 16:9 televisions, etc. are all inherently horizontal. That's going to be the standard delivery format going forward.
And of course, if you're somehow compelled to worship Satan by delivering vertical content for mobile devices, you can always crop from horizontal. Sure, my phone has a 2560 x 1440 display, but I'm not likely to notice a huge problem after all the other evils I'm going to subject my video to in order to get it on that tiny screen anyway.
Snapchat was pretty specific. 1080x1920. And for monitoring purposes (lowest common denominator being all the agency people who showed up for the food) it was best just to turn everything on its side and get to work.
[Paul Neumann] "it was best just to turn everything on its side and get to work."
This is inarguably the correct answer.
Doesn't matter what you did before. My presumption is always that the client knows something I don't because they've had to sit through all those horrible corporate planning meetings - which (thank god) I didn't have to.
I was DEAD SET against vertical video in exactly the same way I was DEAD SET against considering a professional commercial as anything but 29.5 or 59.5 seconds. Period.
Then I met the internet. And clients with money who wanted to create content for it. And were totally fine with a 2.07 "commercial" for the web.
And I had to change.
And so it goes.
Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.
You'd think if you worked at a TV station as I do, you'd ALWAYS work in horizontal video. Not necessarily!
For station promos going to social media, the Home Office mandates SQUARE video. 720x720. Furthermore, we've been told to assume that users won't be listening to the audio. We're reduced to thinking like DW Griffith in the silent movie era.
Horizontal video... vertical video... square video. Heck, even triangular and circular video mentioned in jest but still mentioned, thus no longer unthinkable. Things are getting weird.
The only holdouts seem to be those in the motion picture industry. Imagine going to the movies and walking in to see a 1 : 2.35 vertical screen.
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA
"Furthermore, we've been told to assume that users won't be listening to the audio."
Slightly off thread but I have been asked to do a lot of audio independent videos lately. Usually they will be heavy on text treatment. Several reasons:
• People in an open office environment or cubicles keep their sound turned off.
• Videos for trade shows or public areas, even corporate lobbies, the employees mute the audio because they will go nuts.
• Videos for international consumption, they don't want English narration or talking heads because they want to be able to do other language versions cheaply.
Online at CNN you'll see a lot of these infographics type videos where you get the gist with the audio off.
Brave New World.
[Dave LaRonde] "For station promos going to social media, the Home Office mandates SQUARE video. 720x720. Furthermore, we've been told to assume that users won't be listening to the audio. We're reduced to thinking like DW Griffith in the silent movie era."
Exactly. Vertical is rapidly expanding, and increasingly becoming the default, but for now, the major platforms for video - Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat - default to square, and muted. It's one reason that Premiere has been really highlighting the OPEN captioning/subtitling features in recent releases. If you have a message that requires words in addition to pictures, write 'em out.
Advertisers are among the first folks figuring out that vertical (and square) video is not only not a problem, it's a SOLUTION. When presented with widescreen content, fewer than a third of device users actually rotate their devices. As a result, they rarely even both watching the widescreen content -- which now, on an unrotated device, isn't widescreen at all! It's tiny, cramped, and the producers look like idiots because they failed to create content for the screen it's being viewed on.
Even accounting for the people who DO rotate their phones (again, less than a third of them), vertical video is NINE TIMES more likely to be watched all the way through to the end. Why? Because even if you DO rotate your phone to watch the video, it's not how the phone was designed to be held for long. Phones are meant to be held vertically because of how our hands are shaped.
So stop turning your phone sideways! You're holding it wrong. 😋😋😋
And that 9x engagement for vertical video stat is from 2015. I bet it's even higher now, especially since FBook, Snapchat and Instagram are that much bigger now....
Also worth noting: Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat as the deluxe platforms for video? Those apps are vertical. Look at the best-selling apps. The ones on top are almost all vertical, almost all of the time, and most of the biggest, ONLY vertical. Not even a horizontal option.
[Dave LaRonde] "The only holdouts seem to be those in the motion picture industry. Imagine going to the movies and walking in to see a 1 : 2.35 vertical screen."
I agree on movie theaters, but those aren't the only places one might watch a movie. This is from a vertical film festival being held in a cathedral. A horizontal screen would have been positively sinful. 😎
This is obviously a special case, but certainly a nifty way to underscore the value of matching content and context.
In fact, seeing how much advertising energy is building around vertical orientation, and looking at people like NBC and Discover creating original Snapchat programming in vertical, I'm willing to guess that we're going to be seeing at least square trailers soon. I don't think medium-vertical trailers (say, 3:4 rather than a full 9:16) are that far off either.
[Tim Wilson] "This is from a vertical film festival being held in a cathedral. A horizontal screen would have been positively sinful. 😎"
Yeah, the thing you want to see doesn't fit in the frame and half the image is just empty sky. Sure looks like the kind of vertical videos my clients send me ☺
I will say this about phone video, I prefer the sites that use square or 4:3, because even when holding my phone vertically I'd prefer the video not fill up the entire screen. The idea being if I'm scrolling through twitter I'd like to see other stuff while the video is playing. If it's an actual good video I want to pay attention to like on YouTube, I turn my phone and fill the screen horizontally. If it's an ad or some 5 second cat gif, I'm not going to bother maximizing the window so it should just fit in the interface of whatever app I'm already using.
I guess when it comes to making commercial videos I have to accept that I'm not making art people actually want to see, just an annoyance that a corporation is paying to make viewers have to sit through for a few seconds.
I'm reading around this thread and am learning that social media sites prefer 1:1 square...
I film 4k -
do I render 1280 X 1280
1080 X 1080
What do I go with that Facebook would prefer as square?
[Derek Charles] " What do I go with that Facebook would prefer as square?"
Facebook's maximum resolution is 800x800. Anything more than that is overkill.
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA
I'd want to know if facebook resamples or converts every uploaded video to 800 by 800 automatically, in which case I figure the higher rez input leads to abetter final output from their process. If facebook passes thru the video un-modified, then 800x800 original seems to make more sense.
Still trying to figure out why Youtube always feels it has to re-compress my videos, no matter what codec or frame size I try. Then it give me a snarky message offering tips to improve the next upload. Doesn;t seem to matter what I do though.
Just say Yes! It creates more work for editors!
The way "Mr Robot" is shot, it could just as well be vertical framed. Although all the extra space is somehow "new," even though 20 years ago they would have fired the DP.
I guess that is in response to the comment on seeing all the sky in the cathedral shot above.
Just stumbled on this thread and thought it deserves another contribution. With the recent launch of IGTV from Instagram, vertical video is once again something that we are likely to be seeing more of. Snapchat seems to be slowly fading but IGTV actually has the potential to grow, especially if it offers a monetisation option (which has been rumoured)
I've been shooting some test footage as well as re-editing some existing films to fit the aspect ratio (you can actually force landscape in IGTV) and it's actually been fun! I haven't been a fan of vertical video in the past and it's difficult to let go of your natural urge to frame in landscape, but I like a challenge and I'm looking forward to seeing where IGTV goes!