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The Pros and Cons of Vertical Video

If you know anything about digital video, then you probably have an opinion on vertical video. For the uninitiated, vertical video is footage you shoot in portrait mode. It’s essentially the reverse of horizontal video, offering a final product that’s taller than it is wide. You generally see black rectangles on either side of the video filling up the blocked-out space.

There are some who love this style of video, but others can’t stand it. What side of the debate do you come down on? Let’s examine the pros and cons of vertical video.

Pro: Mimics the Way People Hold Their Phones

These days, a great deal of video gets consumed on smartphones. Video needs to be tailored to smartphones to be effective, and most people hold their phones vertically rather than horizontally;  fueling a rise in vertical video devotees.

Con: Vertical Video Syndrome

You may have seen the popular meme about “vertical video syndrome,” which claims those affected can shoot only in portrait style. People blame everyone from Apple to YouTube for the “syndrome,” which is supposedly less viewer-friendly, according to the people behind the meme. Whatever your take on the debate, some of the memes about “VVS” call attention to the problem in a clever way.

Con: It’s an Unrealistic Viewpoint

Artistic privilege can be invoked in all manner of circumstances. Still, many criticize vertical video because it’s not the way the human eye sees. We see on a horizontal plane. These critics argue it’s unnatural and confusing to shoot vertically because it throws off the eye.

Pro: Social Media Advantages

People overwhelmingly use smartphones to catch up on their social media feeds, and as we’ve already established, those devices are held vertically. So it follows that video appearing on social media will be vertical. Since the amount of social video has exploded — Snapchat alone serves up 10 billion videos a day — most social sites have even removed the black borders on videos.

Con: Offers Less Diversity of Capability

Vertical video puts certain limitations on shooters. They have to adapt their video techniques and change the way they compose their shots. This becomes frustrating when you have a set amount of time to shoot a set amount of content. It can also be difficult for those with less experience with the medium to make the transition.

Con: Not All Video Players Work With Vertical Video

While people debate the artistic merits of horizontal vs. vertical video, one problem is quite straightforward. Some video players don’t work with vertical video, limiting where you can post or requiring some serious back-end maneuvering to come up with a way to display the video.

Horizontal video has many advantages as the standard in the video industry. It doesn’t require any special machinations to play, and it’s usually the default approach for most shooters. Certainly, those who prefer an easy experience will prefer horizontal video to vertical, despite its recent trendiness. For more information about horizontal video and how to use it in marketing, get in touch with a member of the PixelFish team.