I have spent a lot of time recently on Periscope. I am an occasional Snapchat user, too. I have also been watch and shooting a lot of video lately on my mobile.
One thing has become very clear to me: It’s time to not just tolerate vertical video in the mobile environment but to embrace it. The reality is that most people hold their mobiles vertically when they watch and shoot visual content. It is just more comfortable. Vertical composition gets the most out of screen real estate.
Not long ago a funny video on YouTube ridiculing vertical video syndrome went viral. Times are changing. YouTube has seen the numbers of vertical videos climb so much that earlier this year it updated its Android and iOS apps to let vertical videos display in full-screen mode. 60 percent of Facebook’s traffic is now mobile. The company -- and its advertiser -- are rethinking design to accommodate this new reality.
Backed by a bit of research and a lot of hands-on experience, app industry wizards understand that there is an emerging generation of video consumers who don’t think vertical video is a problem in a mobile environment. The media industry has taken note of the shift, too. Among others, Mashable to the The Daily Guardian are exploring professional videos shot vertically for the mobile audience.
Traditionalists maintain that we see the world horizontally -- our eyes are next to each other and not stacked. True. Some scenes lend themselves to horizontal composition, and people will undoubtedly continue to watch their favorite movies and TV shows holding their phones and tablets horizontally.
Traditional vs. Vertical
This side by side set of gifs shows that you need to rethink the frame for vertical, but it also offers new ways of arranging video that hasn't been possible with video before.
As mobiles become the primary platform of news and information of an ever-growing audience, vertical is no longer the video format of amateurs. It is becoming a format on the cutting edge of visual storytelling. Later this month Vimeo’s first Vertical Film Festival will feature some of the creative work being done with vertical video.
Citizen journalists and activists need to embrace the change. Learning to compose and shoot vertically is a challenge. It takes practice to do it well. Embrace it. Experiment. Shoot vertical and shoot proud.
All images credit @SteveWyshy