“Vertical video” is video taken with a mobile phone in portrait view. It may look great when viewed back on the phone, but viewing it on any other device is just disappointing.

Up until very recently, we could say that people just didn’t know any better. And it was more natural (and easier to do one-handed) to shoot vertically given how we use the phone everyday. But now apps like Snapchat, Meerkat and Periscope all discourage the use of horizontal video by not turning the images and videos that are shot horizontally.

As marketers, we want our brand videos to look fantastic. Which means shooting in landscape (horizontal) mode. However, it may be time to accept that our audiences are going to watch some video from their mobile phones and it will be easier for them to keep their phone vertical while watching. The fact is that vertical video delivers better results than standard video in environments where people tend to hold their devices upright.

Producing a vertical video to use across platforms is still a mistake. Consider where the video will be viewed — a specific app, a specific website, etc. — and the context in which it will be viewed before making a decision on vertical or horizontal. Mobile video ads is one example where vertical video should be considered. Snapchat released information that vertical video ads have up to nine times more completed views than horizontal video ads. Source

Some things to consider when shooting vertical video:

  • Look for strong vertical lines in the composition of the shot that can give reason for it to exist in the vertical format that it does.  People, buildings, trees, mountains, etc.
  • The Rule of Thirds still applies. If your shot has a strong horizon, consider moving it away from the middle of the frame.
  • Low and tall angles take on extra power in the vertical format, so experiment with the angles.
  • Remember that action-safe and title-safe areas still apply: keep important detail and especially text away from the frame edges lest it be cut off during projection or playback.


Here are some good examples of well-done vertical videos.

Clarins Vertical LED TV (ENG Version 02) from Conceptz Media on Vimeo.

1st Vertical Film Festival teaser from 1st Vertical Film Festival on Vimeo.

1min shot – Steps from Mohsen Beirami on Vimeo.