Stop Complaining About Vertical Video

People have strong feelings about which direction video should be oriented. There are good reasons for that, but in some contexts, vertical video is completely fine and you should stop complaining about it.

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You see the comments everywhere: “The real crime here is the vertical filming!”, “I wish this guy was capable of recording video horizontally like a normal person!”, and “Ugh, vertical.”

I honestly don’t know why people get so bent out of shape about it. Of course, certain things should be recorded horizontally, like movies, TV shows, regular YouTube videos, and anything worthy of good production value. But if you’re just shooting a clip of your cat doing something funny or a crazy shouting match breaks out on your flight to Las Vegas, vertical video is fine.

It’s the Only Natural Way to Hold Your Phone

Pick up your phone and hold it like you normally would. What orientation is it in? Vertical? Case closed.

I hate to be so direct, but it’s true. It’s difficult to hold your phone horizontally in a way that isn’t kind of awkward, unless you use one of these, for which you look ridiculous using if you’re at your kid’s soccer game.

Plus, when you pull your phone out in an effort to quickly get something on video that’s happening right now, the last thing you’re thinking about is making sure you’re turning your device horizontally in order to get that epic production value.

Most Social Networks Support Vertical Video

Sure, YouTube and other video streaming sites use a horizontal video layout, which results in a lot of wasted screen real estate when playing a vertical video. However, pretty much every social network supports vertical video, and those are likely the sites you’ll post your videos to anyway.

Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter all have user interfaces that are built to support vertical video so that you won’t get those annoying black bars on the sides when you play a vertical video in a horizontal video box.

In fact, horizontal video is actually frowned upon in Instagram Stories, since landscape mode isn’t even supported. Try it out yourself—adding a pre-recorded horizontal video to your Stories feed will have it automatically converted to a vertical video. You can zoom out and get the entire frame in, but it’ll result in a tiny video (as pictured above).

Record Horizontally When You Can, but Don’t Sweat It

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Horizontal video is still king. It’s the best way to record video and always will be, unless there comes a day where all televisions start moving toward a vertical aspect ratio. Until that time, though, it’s always best to record video horizontally when and if you can do so without much trouble.

But in the end, vertical video works just fine and it’s becoming the norm on social media. So don’t feel like you’re committing the ultimate digital sin the next time you bust out your phone and hit record without tilting it sideways.

The key is just thinking about how and where people will be watching your video.

Craig Lloyd writes about smarthome for How-To Geek, and is an aspiring handyman who loves tinkering with anything and everything around the house. He's also a mediocre gamer, aviation geek, baseball fan, motorcyclist, and proud introvert.