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How to Use Vertical Video Effectively (for Social Media)

With increased use of video on our phones, so video watching has naturally evolved to accommodate vertical formats – mostly out of laziness. Filming an event, performance or special moment, often people just won’t think to turn the phone around. Where once videos like this might have been silently sneered at by some professionals, we’ve largely come to not only accept vertical video, but actually do it on purpose!

Why Use Vertical Video

The short answer to this is that it’s popular, but let’s break it down a little more.

Social media is most frequently accessed via a mobile phone, and there’s now so much video content on all our timelines. If we constantly flipped the phone sideways for every video we’d soon get impatient or not even bother. While it obviously is possible to watch a landscape-oriented video while holding your phone upright, it can make it irritatingly small. On a practical note, you can hold your phone vertically in one hand, whereas flipping it sideways usually requires two.

Major social media platforms are now embracing vertical video. Snapchat was one of the first to dip their toe into the water in 2016, and claimed to have had five times the engagement than compared to regular mobile advertising. Facebook and Twitter weren’t far behind, trialling their first vertical adverts a couple of years ago. Business leapt on vertical video to advertise their wares, and entertainment companies like Netflix and Spotify have started to regularly add square and vertical videos into their social media video.

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

How to Make the Most of Vertical Video

Use Your Phone

I know, I know, we spend such a long time cooing over and justifying our fancy cameras, and you should absolutely still be using whatever kit you have for your regular video output, but for social media vertical video, using your phone actually makes sense. Firstly, it’s what people will use to watch your video, so you can immediately tailor your video to suit. This means you can get the framing right from the start, rather than editing it to the right ratio or format later. Also, many successful social media videos are personality led, and using your phone can make you more relatable.

Present to the Camera

Vertical video obviously lends itself well to filming people, and you can use that to good effect. If you are presenting to camera, keep it natural but don’t completely ad lib. Have bullet points of what you want to say, or if you’re not a confident speaker, even make yourself a script – but rehearse lots so it doesn’t sound ‘read’ and stilted. You should add closed captions too for those who watch video with the sound off or who require subtitles for accessibility.

Keep it Steady

Just because you’re making vertical video doesn’t mean best practices go out the window. Use a gimbal, tripod or even selfie-stick to help keep your phone still.

Make it Short

Get to the point quickly and try not to waffle. The length of your video will depend on the platform you’re intending to post on: Facebook users spend more time watching longer videos than Twitter users do.

Try a Template

If you’re wondering how to get started with your vertical video, there are templates to help you put something great looking and professional together in a very short time. Instagram is probably the poster child for great use of vertical video with Instagram Stories, so here’s a template from Envato Elements that would work really well with those:

Instagram Cinematic Trailer for Adobe After Effects

With room for 17 images or video, there’s plenty of room for your message with this Instagram template. You won’t need any plugins to use it, and as well as being for vertical video, it comes with a square video option too.

 

More Help With Social Media Video

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