Filming a video? Turn your phone!

The reason almost all video and film screens (as well as embedded players) are wider than tall is because our eyes are horizontally opposed. That is not going to change any time soon.

So if you are shooting a video that will only be played on a phone, or that will be played in some specially designed display, like a specially embedded player in a web page, or a special vertically hung screen in an art installation, go right ahead and film vertically. But otherwise you should be filming in landscape mode.

</feeding the troll>


I’m left-handed. When I turn my phone naturally, my videos come out upside-down. This makes me bitter.


Blame the player all you like. Is there another, better player? Is there a way to imbed portrait-mode video? That would be pretty sweet if you could flow text around it.

Fullscreen that portrait video on any monitor and then tell me it’s the player’s fault.

1 Like

I’ve made a point of shooting portrait video ever since boring people started making a fuss about it.


#See Also:

YOU ARE OBSOLETE (where YOU := digital video aspect ratios)

The history of aspect ratios

Scott “Understanding Comics” McCloud on the Infinite digital canvas

Scott “Infinite Canvas” McCloud on our horizontal eyes and artwork sizes - he gets trashed in the comments. Which I haven’t read yet, so I’m hoping this link doesn’t totally bit me on the ass.




Always made me think of people referring to writing as “papering.”


Just fullscreened a portrait video on my phone’s monitor. It looked great!


Which way should I hold the camera if I’m making a .gif?

1 Like

People can get grumpy all they want, but here’s one way of thinking about this:
It’s a matter of esthetics.
If you want your video to look like it was shot on a cell phone (with all the associated connotations), feel free to shoot your videos vertically.
If you want your video to carry the connotations of film, shoot in landscape. While you’re at it, make your phone shoot at 24p for the full effect.
So it’s not about right or wrong, but a matter of what connotations and social stigmas you want associated with your videos.

Get the fnck over it. Some subjects do not benefit from landscape mode.





And that’s why all images on these screens should always be wider than they are tall no matter what the situation.



Without a wide angle lens, close up subjects fill the landscape mode window and you can’t see what else is happening which isn’t a problem with subjects a bit further away. It’s not always possible to walk far enough away to film in landscape.



There’s another way!

Just get a dual monitor setup, and keep one in portrait layout. It’s also way better for long text documents and scrolling through webpages!


This, this, a thousand times this.

Aspect ratio is an artistic choice. All that matters is that it be preserved for subsequent viewings.


The thing with toddlers is so true. I think the baseline criteria should be more or less “if you can conveniently frame your shot in landscape, please do so.”


Honestly it doesn’t even matter if the subject would benefit from landscape mode. If you’re filming something to share with people you should do it in portrait mode.

Fixed orientation laptops and PCs have been outsold by multi-orientation smartphones and tablets for 5 years now. At this point less than 15% of devices are fixed in landscape mode. The vast majority of people will be viewing on a phone, where it’s much more convenient to watch portrait videos.

Don’t listen to old people who still think everything is done on a desktop monitor. Shoot portrait video.