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If you’re a film lover like us you most likely despise the thought of vertical video.

For years, vertical video has been a tell tale sign of amateur production. But with rapid technology change comes change in consumer behavior. What was once only user generated content has now been fully adapted by brands on Facebook, Snapchat, Firework and Instagram. In other words, vertical video has gone mainstream.

In this ultimate guide to vertical video we are going to get all Dr. Stangelove on you and teach you to learn to love the bomb!  Well, vertical video anyway.

The Evolution of Vertical Video

Vertical video has overtaken horizontal video because of one simple fact. People hold their phones and devices upright in the palm of their hands!  The head of the Advanced Video Practice at Ogilvy & Mather, Robert Davis, says, “While mobile consumers can turn their devices horizontally, data trends suggest that they don’t want to.”

In a way, you could say that Snapchat led the “all in” adaption for vertical video.  In a 2015 report, Snapchat said that vertical video earned nine times the completion rate of traditional mobile video formats. Now, even Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter favor vertical as the standard orientation on mobile devices. These platforms have even paved the way for more innovative mobile TV platforms like Firework to come into existence.

Video created by Production M

Vertical Video Aspect Ratios

While traditional horizontal video has an aspect ratio of 16:9, vertical video generally means a video with a 9:16 aspect ratio.  Each social network has their own preferred aspect ratios, most will auto crop or auto convert for you.  If you want to get the best quality and have the most control of your vertical video, however, follow each platform’s preferred ratios as listed below:


  • Aspect Ratios Supported: 16:9 (traditional) to 9:16 (vertical)
  • Mobile: Videos will be rendered as is up to 2:3, with masking to 2:3 for aspect ratios between 2:3 to 9:16
  • Desktop: vertical video be letter-boxed to 1:1


  • Aspect Ratios Supported:  1.91:1 to 4:5.
  • Landscape (1.91:1)
  • Square (1:1)
  • Vertical (4:5)


  • Previously plagued as the king of letter-boxes, YouTube had a major update to their platform to allow users to watch in any aspect ratio they want.

Vertical Video Shooting Tips

Though the easiest way to shoot vertical video is just to hold your phone naturally in your hand, it doesn’t allow for a professional outcome.  If you’re looking for higher production value we recommend shooting first horizontally and professionally editing it into the right aspect ratio later.

  • Keep the important visual information in the center of the frame
  • Avoid too much horizontal movement or excessive transitions
  • Shoot wider to avoid cropping
  • Stack your text or have limited horizontal sentences


Need Help With Video?

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