Over the last hundred years, motion pictures have been almost exclusively produced in a horizontal aspect ratio for theaters, projectors, televisions and computer screens (e.g. 4:3 and 16:9). Suddenly, smart-phones, tablets, rotating monitors and lightweight projectors make it possible for users to watch videos in a vertical format that was never possible on conventional screens in the past (i.e. 3:4 or 9:16 ratio, or \”vertical videos\”). Vertical videos require filmmakers to improvise with equipment not designed to produce videos in this way.
Read the full piece at Vertical Videos
If the primary complaint about vertical video is that it doesn’t fit the orientation of computer and TV screens, then the fact that an increasing percentage of people are using their mobile phones to access the Internet, including Internet video, might become a reason why vertical video becomes acceptable or even preferred. Most people do walk around holding their phones in portrait mode, after all.
Still photography, also having gone digital, certainly hasn’t eschewed the vertical. And while people’s eyes are oriented horizontally, the shape of people themselves tends to be vertical — and people make the most interesting video subjects.
The reason this comes to mind is because I was introduced today to a flood of insistence, such as this 2012 faux-PSA, against VVS or Vertical Video Syndrome. It reminded me of the similar insistence and downright criticism back in the early aughts of horizontally scrolling websites. I was lambasted once for creating a chronological photo and text report on an event in which people could scroll through the entire coverage left to right, latest to oldest. It seemed logical, but the self-appointed web police were all over it.
Of course, today, horizontally scrolled content such as on tablets and touch screens is practically de rigueur. Vertical swiping is almost awkward.
I fully expect YouTube soon to introduce changes specifically designed to better accommodate and play vertical video on vertically oriented phone screens. It will become acceptable and perhaps even the norm. News publishers, who should be targeting the mobile more than anything these days, should embrace the format as another tool in their media toolbox.