Portrait or Landscape Video? / by Larry Saavedra

By Larry Saavedra

Image courtesy of Horizon.

Image courtesy of Horizon.

    Smart phones are great at delivering video on the fly. Yet, it’s too easy for an end-user to shoot video in portrait mode (vertical), and Google is mad as hell about it.

    Video editors despise (really) portrait mode clips, too. Vertical video is impossible to correct (rotating doesn’t help), and changing the background color in Final Cut X or iMovie does little. The dreaded vertical video syndrome creates black bars on each side of the video, making it annoying to watch. Most everyone is guilty of it, including yours truly. I shot a great interview once and then realized my stupid mistake. Yet, before I hid my head in the sand, I figured I’d look for some easy answers in the app store.           

     For starters, never hold the smart phone vertically when it’s in video mode. Always (always) hold the smartphone in landscape mode, horizontally. Think HDTV before you shoot.

     If that’s too much to remember, the app Horizon does the thinking for you. It’s cheap, smart and available for iPhones and Androids. It corrects the video to landscape mode no matter how you like to hold the camera. I agree that holding it vertically seems more ergonomic, but for video it is terrible. Besides your FB friends will thank you for it.