The rise of smartphones has now made it possible for practically anyone to be a videographer. Sharper video resolutions, the ability to shoot in slow motion and great vivid colors are all now a point and tap of a button away.
But notice how most people shoot videos with their phones today. Most videos are now shot in portrait mode or in a vertical orientation. People will argue that it’s easiest to shoot this way because of how the phone fits into the human experience best when held vertically.
However, notice how all throughout time, videos are most professionally done when shot in landscape position. To be clear that’s the “long” way and not the “tall” way. Why is that? Here are a few reasons why shooting in landscape will get you the most professional looking results.
The human eye was trained to work in a landscape default. Notice how your eye is more trained to view more left to right than you do from top to bottom. When it comes to shooting video, the more natural and fitting to the experience of the human eye and brain the better. We are built to view the world in landscape. Thus videos are best presented this way.
At an aesthetic level, shooting in landscape will more often allow you to capture more. When you want to shoot a large crowd through picture, what’s the best way to shoot? Isn’t it when we shoot horizontally that we get to fit more people in? The same works in video. When you’re shooting- let’s say- a crowd, a scenery, a collection and so forth. We capture more and miss less when shooting in landscape.
A camera tends to look more shaky when shooting in the vertical. You can try it yourself. Shaking happens when there is too much vertical movement- if you really want to get technical about it. When we shoot vertically, we see more in the vertical and thus can’t miss when we shake the shot. If you want to give your viewers vertigo, the best way to do so is to shoot video vertically.
While it’s true that most viewers view thing vertically, more professional videos are not often shot vertically still. One way that professional videographers and marketers might do this is to actually shoot with a square frame and I’ll share with you a very special type of video that I always shoot in square in another post, but very rarely do people create videos to be distributed that’s shot vertically.
Of course- like any art- this isn’t a completely strict rule. There can be many exceptions. But speaking generally, shooting in landscape is always best and safest.
Director & Cinematographer, Fisch Rasy's love of storytelling inspires him to create powerful films. Sometimes dad duties spill over onto onset, where he's been known to give the kids a real hands on experience...