Producer’s Pet Peeve: Vertical Videos

Orient your phone horizontally for a more professional and future-proof keepsake.

Phone Filming: Why Vertical Videos Make us Cringe

Writen by Robert Blanda of CaddisArt Cinematic Marketing

We hope this changes the way you film with your phone or tablet forever. 

You’ve seen them. You’ve recorded them. But why do video editors and producers cringe when we have to work with a video taken with your phone in portrait or “vertical” orientation? First, let’s consider how important your video may be in the future. Whatever it is you’re filming may by important to your family, your township or the United States Government. You never know what you might catch while filming, so consider the reasons why vertical video is bad:

  • Today’s televisions and monitors are horizontally oriented at an aspect ratio of 16:9, meaning 16 parts horizontally and 9 parts vertically. If you ever want to see your video on a television, you’re going to lose nearly 50% of that viewing area. 
  • Under 1% of all displays sold in the world today (TVs, Monitors, etc) are ever used in vertical orientation. You’ll see some commercial digital signage in vertical orientation (like in a bank or retail business) or perhaps serious typists that use their monitors for document editing – but this is rare. 
  • If you happen to catch something noteworthy to the press or other organizations, they have to do extra work to either pan and scan your video or duplicate it in a blurred background. As video producers, we absolutely hate this unnecessary work. 
  • If you ever want to create memorable home movies that will be watched with your family around the TV, you’ll second guess your orientation.
  • It looks tacky and amateurish. 

CaddisArt, Inc. is located in Florence, NJ and is a proud sponsor of the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber.

So when is vertical video okay? 

Hardly at all, ever. But (and this is rare) if you’re taking a panoramic photo or video and filming in 360 degree fashion, the video can be useful to capture more vertical space. Remember, though, we’ve got to stretch the video to fit the frame, so film at a higher resolution than your intended display. 
There are some arguments about vertical video that people have brought to us that we have rebutted. Use cases for video almost ALWAYS require your video to be horizontal. 
If you’re ever interested in learning more about tips for filming with your phone, please reach out to us at (856) 719-0273 or email – Advise is ALWAYS free!