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Say “YES!” to Vertical Video

You see it all over social media: folks keep taking and posting vertical videos! Sometimes they’re on black square backgrounds, sometimes they’re blown up to fill the frame, and overall they’re UGLY!

Among the video community, shooting vertical video is almost a crime. It’s next to impossible to fit into a standard, horizontal frame size without sacrificing a pleasing aesthetic. All our camera gear is oriented for shooting horizontal video. Our TVs and computer monitors are horizontal. Heck, as the wonderful Glove and Boots PSA puts is, “even our eyes are horizontal!”

Yes, vertical video in a horizontal world is like a square peg in a round hole. Just don’t do it.

There is one exception to this rule: shoot vertical videos when making content for the vertical world.

Wait, there’s a vertical world?

Yep! Two of the world’s largest social  networks LOVE vertical videos. They’re Snapchat and Instagram. And if you’re forcing horizontal content into this vertical world, you’re now the square peg in a round hole.

Vertical video already existed before Snapchat. Back then, when smartphone users filmed in vertical, it was almost an accident. Now, vertical video is not only purposefully shot that way, it’s accepted as the defacto standard, especially on Snapchat.


In the world of Snapchat, it takes valuable seconds to rotate your phone to see a horizontal video. When a Snap it only viewable for 10 seconds, who wants to waste time rotating? I can’t tell you how many Snaps I’ve missed because I was trying to rotate my phone. This attitude is carried over into the realm of Instagram Stories. Though both networks accommodate users missing content with replays now, nobody likes to rotate their phones to view content.

What’s this mean for content creators and video makers?

In the world of mobile phone video access we have to seriously consider, where will our audience be viewing our message? Snapchat and Instagram both allow users to upload previously created video content, as well as content shot in the moment. Video content produced horizontally and shared in the vertical world doesn’t work, any more than vertical video posted in a horizontal world.

So do we need to tip our cameras all the time and now make two versions of the same video?

No. And yes.

At the moment, Snapchat and Instagram users aren’t watching entire hour-long documentaries on their networks. Thank goodness. But power-house marketing users are sharing vertical versions of their messaging and driving those viewers to where their horizontal content lives. Vertical messaging done right and deployed on Snapchat and Instagram can move eyeballs from one social network to another.

The context of where our audiences will be watching is critical to creating content that will connect and motivate. Companies already create different versions of an ad when it’s deployed on television vs. radio. A different one for the side of a bus vs. a billboard. Creating both horizontal and vertical content is the same.

So if you’re making content with the express purpose of sharing on social media, and especially on Snapchat and Instagram, you have to start including vertical video into your shoot. And you must add a vertical post-production workflow to format and prep your content quickly. For more ideas on how to shoot vertical or what ways to deploy vertical content on social networks, get in touch with us today at info(at)renegadedigitalpost(dot)com.

It’s time to say “Yes!” to vertical video.

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