For so long, the general thought when it comes to the orientation of video is the wider the better. It makes sense. After all, our eyes are side by side on our faces, and movie screens, TV’s, and computers are all horizontally oriented.
However, considering the incredible amount of viewers now watching video content on their phones, and the fact that there only looks to be more in the near future, suddenly, many are seeing some advantages in going vertical with their video content instead.
And as a video production company in NY and NJ that makes it our business to know the ins and outs of any new video trend, we thought we’d pass on some of what we’ve learned about the importance of vertical video in this day and age and how to go about folding it into your plans.
It’s not a sign of amateurism anymore.
While, at one time, vertical videos were thought of as a clear sign of the work of amateurs, that theory doesn’t hold much water anymore. With more and more people now using vertically-oriented devices to watch video regularly, going vertical is simply a better fit.
It just feels natural, and if you still don’t buy it, just take a look at Snapchat, which has made sure to keep vertical video central to its identity rather than following in the footsteps of so many of its horizontally-loving counterparts.
The result: Vertical videos are 9 times more likely to be viewed to completion than horizontal ones, according to the company. For more on making videos for Snapchat, in general, check out this post, How to Tailor Your Video Production Plan for Snapchat Just Like That!
Still not convinced vertical videos serve a legitimate purpose now? Well, if they didn’t, then sites like YouTube and Facebook, sites which have read the writing on the wall when it comes to vertical video, wouldn’t have taken measures to let users display them in full-screen mode on their platforms.
So, while it’s not as if people will be watching big, epic blockbusters vertically on their phones anytime soon, the point is that they are watching plenty of other kinds of content that way, and it’s up to you to provide them with some of your own.
Viewers have less adjusting to do.
One of the obvious hang-ups pertaining to vertical videos has always been its narrow nature. Being that we’re meant to see the world with our eyes horizontally, many believe vertical videos violate nature in some way.
They say that the videos feel somewhat restricted, even claustrophobic, but when the screen itself is vertical, vertical videos only serve to use more of the available space without forcing viewers to zoom, expand, or adjust how they hold their device.
Now, you’re probably thinking that flipping a phone or tablet to its side to watch a video isn’t all that hard, and you’re right, it’s not difficult at all, but that doesn’t change the fact that many viewers choose not to do it.
Even though they could optimize their viewing experience by going horizontal, viewers often feel it’s too uncomfortable to hold their devices that way and either just put up with the black bars or head elsewhere.
So, when you look at it that way, then vertical videos end up taking up more of the screen and being less restricted than horizontal ones on mobile devices.
Video makers have more adjusting to do.
Now, as always, there’s a downside to such a seismic shift as going vertical with your videos, and in this case, the big one would have to be the amount of adjusting that needs to take place on the part of the video creators.
Make no mistake, you can’t just take some old video and crop it so that it’s vertical and then call it a day. Well, you can, you just can’t expect to find much success approaching the process that way. You need to start thinking vertically from the start.
From the earliest stages of writing and/or development to the way the video’s shot as well as edited, all phases would be in need of some serious adjustment in order to create videos intended for vertical viewing.
The point is, we’ve been in video production in NY and NJ for years and trust us, the extended tops and bottoms of the screen must factor into your plans from the earliest stages of pre-production through the latest in post as well as delivery. It’s the only way to give your vertical videos any shot at succeeding.
The key is in the content.
Now, when it comes to creating vertical videos, as always, it’s crucial that the subject matter fits the form. You don’t want to start making them just for the sake of doing it. So, what makes some types of content more suited for the vertical approach than others?
Action, important action, that’s what. You need to use the narrowness of the perspective to your advantage and try to focus the video on some type of important action. The fact that the action is pretty much all there will be for viewers to focus on is the point.
All other details and potential distractions will be automatically cropped, so there will be an added sense of urgency and intensity to the action on screen. You just need to find the right action for the project, and no matter what you do, there will likely be plenty of options.
Think about it, whether it’s a close-up of someone looking into a mirror or putting on makeup, a climber making his or her way up a mountain, a driver riding down a long road, etc., so many actions fit the vertical format and will only be amplified by being the center of attention.
It may be time to go vertical.
So, as you can see, vertical video is not what it used to be, and no matter what you do nor offer, chances are that it can benefit you in some way. Just think carefully about how you should go about using it to your advantage.
Like mentioned above, for the right reasons, vertical video can be the perfect way to get your point across, especially when there’s some type of action that you’d like to draw attention to or when you’re trying to add intensity to a close-up of something, but it’s not the right fit for all content.
And remember, you need to start thinking vertically as early in your project development as possible because these kinds of videos truly do deserve a specialized approach.
About Us: KVibe Productions, a full-service film & video production company in NJ / NY, can handle every aspect of the production process. Whether it’s a corporate video, a commercial, a feature film, etc., at KVibe, we create to inspire.