… for Random Weirdness

Tip #420: Shoot Better Vertical Video

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Vertical video is becoming an ever-more popular deliverable.

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This article, written by Rubidium Wu, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is an excerpt.

“Vertical” and “Cinematic” are two words that don’t belong together. But, all too often, we need to convert a 16:9 masterpiece into a 9:16 deliverable. How?

You have three options:

  1. The Post Method. In post-production, the video editor creates a 608 x 1080 center cut of the final production. The problem is that the framing feels claustrophobic and much of the image gets lost.
  2. Flip the Camera. A better solution is to flip the camera 90° and record a second take. This provides better framing, but requires more storage and more time spent editing, since you now have two separate programs to cut. This also assumes you get the same performance from your actors for each version.
  3. Stacked cameras. If you don’t have time for re-takes, you’ll need two cameras operating at the same time.

    If you don’t want to (or can’t) do additional takes, you’ll need to record horizontal and vertical versions simultaneously. This could mean having a second camera right next to your A camera that’s showing vertically, or to attach another camera to the main camera and roll on both at the same time.

    The best practice is to add another camera person to do the operating, and to sync the second camera via timecode so that the editor can edit both as one.

    Since clients are often reluctant to foot the bill for the extra manpower, attaching a camera to the side of the A camera’s cage works pretty well, if the operator doesn’t have to focus it during a shot and can keep the settings unified.

There’s no perfect solution, but at least you have options because vertical video will be with us for a long, long time.


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