Important things to think about when producing vertical video

There’s no question that vertical video is taking over the world. Ooyala’s global video report indicates that 46% of all videos in 2015 were viewed on mobile devices.  According to analyst Mary Meeker, people utilize their devices in portrait mode nearly 30 percent of the time, a 600% increase over the last 5 years. Snapchat users consume more than 10 Billion (with a “B”) videos per day, the vast majority of which are shot and consumed vertically.

In fact, Snapchat ads are viewed to completion nine times more frequently than horizontal ads. This is undoubtedly because users are interacting with their phones in the upright, portrait position.

If you’re producing any type of video content, it’s crucial that you have a production strategy to optimize your content for vertical consumption. Let’s take a look at some of the important things to consider when producing vertical video:


Subject & Composition

We commonly refer to vertically oriented devices as being in “portrait mode”. It’s no surprise therefore that the portrait orientation naturally lends itself visually to none other than...portraits!

Engaging vertical videos therefore often prominently feature people. Vertical videos of people are relatively easy to shoot on a phone, but if you are shooting horizontally with professional equipment make sure to put the subject in the center of the composition so you can crop the shot for vertical use.

When shooting broader landscapes, look for naturally vertical scenery that will fit well with the format. Common vertical environments that work well include trees, skyscrapers, and buildings, or actions being taken from a predominantly vertical perspective like climbing stairs, jumping into a pool, or jumping.


Imagine how cool this could've looked if shot vertically?

Imagine how cool this could've looked if shot vertically?


Video Equipment & Post-Production

When shooting video, a lot of resolution is going to give you more options during post-production. Full HD video is 1920 x 1080, so if you’re shooting in 4k (4096 x 2160) you’re going to have a lot of breathing room when editing. To ensure the best possible visual experience, some producers like the New York Times have even taken to shooting in multiple formats.

If you’re using a professional camera, you’re going to have to mount your camera sideways by rotating your tripod or purchasing an L mount. If your tripod doesn’t rotate sideways and you don’t have an L-mount bracket, you can also simply shoot handheld if you prefer.

If you’re shooting handheld, it’s a good idea to avoid subjects that are moving constantly, as vertical video tends to exacerbate jumpy movements when recording. You can also reduce any jumpy effects by following some of these handheld stability techniques.



While you might find vertical video to be a visually restricting medium, given it’s massive and growing popularity, you should learn to think creatively about how to best produce vertically optimized content. Usually, the subject and composition are going to have a much larger effect on the end product than your equipment or editing capabilities.

If you’re looking to create visually engaging vertical ads, Flite’s Velocity can help you quickly repurpose horizontal videos into vertical videos without any prior knowledge of video editing tools (i.e. Adobe After Effects).