Making the Most of Vertical Video

Much has been said about vertical video in the last several years. It’s moved from being a maligned outlier to a standard part of the social video ecosystem. Viewers now watch, enjoy, and expect vertical video in their feeds. There are a variety of reasons publishers and media outlets would want to push for more vertical content in their output.

It’s favored by big social networks, can help sow new opportunities on social, and can allow for unique, captivating content. But what are the tricks to doing vertical video the right way? We have some practical tips to help you put your best foot forward with vertical.

Use tight, single-subject shots

Everyone’s familiar with the wide shot, horizontal video – the kind that shows a landscape or multiple elements interacting across the screen. For vertical content, the visual area is much more focused.

The tight, up-and-down of a vertical video forces creators to narrow in on single-subjects. This doesn’t mean you can’t move between subjects in your video or that you are tied to a static shot. But whether capturing footage or editing assets, a vertical video should be built with close, tight shots that fill the frame with the primary subject.

You can still use horizontal assets

Just because you want to make vertical videos doesn’t mean you are tied to exclusively vertical assets. Assets shot horizontally can be cropped to the vertical frame.

When working with pre-existing horizontal footage, seek out assets that you can easily trim to vertical. If the actions are moving back and forth across the frame, it’s not going to work out well trimmed to vertical. But if the element of interest (whether action, a particular person, etc) is centered or remains in the same are of the horizontal frame, it shouldn’t be too hard to trim that asset to work in a vertical video.

If you are capturing assets yourself or have a team doing so for your organization, keep those rules in mind. Focus on capturing footage that centers the action and fills the middle of the frame. Avoiding wide shots if you know the assets will be cropped.

Generally, we recommend capturing assets horizontally when possible, as they are the easiest to manipulate into new aspect ratios.

There’s plenty of space for text, so use it!

Vertical videos offer a lot of up-and-down real estate that is outside the center of the frame, where action should be focused. While it, of course, depends on your footage, this generally gives creators a lot of space for text-overlay that doesn’t get in the way of key visuals.

As always, use text to provide context, commentary, and information about your video. But also consider being playful, if that’s on message for your outlet. Vertical video has an inherently more relaxed feel because viewers associate the format with off-the-cuff content. Don’t be afraid to make vertical content and its associated text more relaxed. It’s an opportunity to connect to your audience in a less formal way.

More broadly, the casual feeling of vertical video affords creators a lot of opportunity for experimentation. It’s a great format with which to test original ideas, so don’t be afraid to try something new!

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