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Is Vertical Video Really the Future?

Posted by Andrea Keating on August 20, 2019

Let’s say you’re at a concert or any other exciting live event. Just as the lights go down and the show is set to begin, what do you see? A sea of blue lights from phone screens getting ready to shoot vertical video for the evening?

In general, it can be hard to take stock of non-traditional video production trends. Especially when it comes to producing the best videos for specific digital channels. So, what about vertical video? Is it really worth your brand’s time and energy?

We’ll dig into some of the details around vertical video and why it’s become more prominent in recent years. And from there you’ll be able to assess what kind of potential it could hold for your brand’s video production down the road.

Hiker in the mountains shooting vertical video.

What is Vertical Video?

It might seem obvious, but it’s still important to cover. Vertical video is, as the name suggests, video that is shot vertically. Usually the aspect ratio falls somewhere around 9:16. If that’s confusing, it might be easier to think of it in terms of shooting in “portrait” rather than horizontal or “landscape.”

For a long time, vertical video was somewhat mocked by production professionals. Seeing someone tilt their camera to the side was often the sign of an amateur. However, modern technology has not only made vertical video more natural to use, but more prominent as well.

For example, think about how most people hold their phones when taking videos or photos. It’s usually in one hand, held vertically.  It might even seem rare, or even odd, to see a sea of horizontal mobile devices in the wild.

And since vertical video is so easy, common, and convenient to use, where and how is it being used in professional productions?

How is Vertical Video Utilized?

When it comes to vertical video, it’s really important to consider where it’s being used. And specifically, how audiences are engaging with it. After all, how audiences experience a final video product is just as important (if not more!) then the effort that goes into production.

The most common place, as we’ve discussed above, is via smartphones. More and more people are capturing content on their devices every single day. And with more people watching more and more video from their phones – more than half of all video content is consumed on mobile devices – it’s hard to ignore the advantage of mobile video.

The simple fact that it’s easier and more convenient to watch goes a long way. And where are most of those videos shared after the fact?

People on their phones watching vertical video.

Social Media

One of the biggest pushes for vertical video came through social media. Mobile platforms like Snapchat specialize in video while the newsfeeds of apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram naturally promote scrolling. That scrolling eventually leads to content that can hopefully hold user attention. And the convenience of vertical video as a viewing experience might just push that content over the edge.

Additionally, since recording vertical video comes so naturally on mobile devices, it’s much more conducive to platforms like Snapchat, and the direct upload features on other social media channels, to simply upload the vertical video as it was recorded.

Vertical video is supported on the following platforms: 

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • TikTok
  • LinkedIn Native Video (with the exception of ads).

It’s also important to note that even if a “horizontal” video is cropped to fit a vertical device or newsfeed, the extra space can be creatively utilized for graphics, statistics, motion graphics, and animations.

Shooting vertical video at sunset.

Vertical Video’s Recent Growth

For the last few years people have predicted the potential rise of vertical video. Yet it still took longer to really become more commonplace. To the point where a platform like TikTok exists entirely on vertical video.

Now it’s common to see big brands devote a lot of time to vertical video development. ESPN and Vice post content exclusively for Snapchat that’s tailor-made to not only fit, but flow with the user experience. Complete with custom animation integration that simply wouldn’t work in a different medium

IGTV on Instagram has also created an entirely new avenue for live streaming and sharing content. And though the aspect ratios can vary across all of these channels (even reaching a perfect 1:1 square), they usually still encourage vertical video as the best way to capture and share.

Types of Vertical Video

You might be wondering exactly what types of video work the best in vertical formats. We’ve covered social media posts, but that still doesn’t go into too much detail. Types of successful vertical videos might include: 

  • Vlog updates for your brand or to announce company news.
  • A product showcase or demo walkthrough.
  • A first-person, “day in the life” experience.
  • Basically anything short, without too many cuts or “whip” shots that might make audiences dizzy.

It’s even commonplace for artists to shoot two separate types of music videos for hit songs:

Is Vertical Video Really the Future?

Yes and no. It’s hard to imagine smart phones and tablets going anywhere anytime soon. And our reliance on amazing social media channels to host and share content certainly complicates things. But it’s also a bit unbelievable to think that we’ll be rotating our televisions or redesigning move theaters any time soon.

Ultimately, the rise of vertical video does not mean the end of horizontal video.  It’s simply another aspect to consider in terms of your brand’s regular video production.

Is Vertical Video Right for Your Brand?

That’s a question you’ll have to answer yourself. In all honesty, there’s nothing really “wrong” with uploading horizontal videos to any of these channels and platforms. Millions of people watch and upload horizontal videos everyday. And quite frankly, if a wide aspect ratio suits the project there’s no sense in diminishing your final video by cutting anything out of the frame.

It’s important to know your audience, and understand the platform you’re seeking to for your next video campaign. From there you can really breakdown your video concept. And by ensuring complete optimization, you’ll give it the best opportunity for a high user engagement.

The Wrap

One of the most interesting aspects about vertical video is its convenience. If you’re not sure if vertical video is right for your brand, don’t be afraid to give it a try. It’s as easy as recording a video on your phone to see if the format fits in your brand.

But if you’re ready to take the next step and take your vertical (or horizontal!) video production to another level, you’ll need the right crew. Give us a call! At Crews Control, we have over 30 years of experience in video production and can make sure your projects are on the right track. From first cut to the final edits, you’ll work with the best creative minds worldwide. It’s time to execute your next video project, vertical or not, every step of the way.


  1. I fell it has no place in video production. Just because it is easier to hold the phone upright that is no reason to break the rules. You’re waiting the top of the picture as well as the bottom. The phone manufacturers will soon realize the problem and make high resolution images out of the middle of vertical video for proper use. I’m tired of being distracted by the fill that is used to fill the frame of vertical videos.

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