19th March 2019

Vertical vs Horizontal Filming


Reading time 10 mins

We have had a chat with Aaron Smithies, our Junior Film Production Executive, to discuss the ways in which film and video content production and consumption has changed over the years and what the future holds for this particular medium.

Where it all began

Since the dawn of media content, we have always viewed image, film, and television in a horizontal orientation. If something was filmed vertically, we would have assumed that the person filming did not know how to operate the camera properly… how embarrassing!

And that made sense, right? After all, our field of vision has evolved over time to give us a panoramic view, not to mention the fact that practicality-wise – filming horizontally is a lot easier as people tend to move across the screen rather than up and down. So, the horizontal orientation that we all know and love, has allowed us to become more immersed in the media so we almost feel like we’re there.

Along came the smart phone

“The invention of the smart phone meant that the amount of people who are capable of filming video content went from a small group of professionals working in the television and film industry, to pretty much anybody who wanted to try it”, Aaron says. “If you were to reach into your pocket and pull out your smartphone to use the camera app, you’re able to easily start recording your own video, and naturally, you open your camera in a vertical orientation which is where the idea of vertical filming came about.”

Yet, as acceptable as it may seem to the average person – vertical filming can be quite a touchy subject for some! Comments include: “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.”, according to Howtogeek.com.

It seems inevitable though, that vertical filming is going to try and sneak into more and more of our content. “Take FYRE for example, the film directed by Emmy Award Nominee Chris Smith, with a large budget and the distribution power of Netflix,” Aaron explains. “Even a film with these credentials used some shots that were filmed vertically – no doubt because this footage was taken from mobile phones – but it just shows how vertical film is becoming more and more accepted.”

There’s no going back!

According to Snapchat, we hold our phones vertically 94% of the time, and other data indicates that mobile ads requiring the user to rotate their phone can negatively affect engagement rates by up to 50%! It’s no surprise then that vertical viewing has increased by 600% over the last 5 years, with an increasing number of brands including it in their mobile content strategy.

The verdict

So, we now know that vertical filming is like Marmite – people either love it or hate it – and no matter how you feel about it, one thing is for sure… it’s going nowhere fast. We think it’s time to embrace the possibilities!

Obviously, we will all continue to enjoy film and television in a horizontal format, for the most part. But we should also consider how adopting a vertical-first approach to our mobile and in-app advertising strategy could be the best way to increase engagement and relevancy in the ever-changing world of technology.

Want to talk to us? Contact us or call us on 01772 770770