Tips for creating vertical videos!

Now that we have launched our brand new vertical video category, we thought we should share some tips with you on shooting the most epic vertical videos to enter the festival.


TURN YOUR CAMERA SIDEWAYS

When shooting vertical video, it is essential to shoot the film the same way it will be viewed. So turn your camera sideways, or hold your phone upright.

Why?

Firstly, it’s all about getting higher quality footage. If you shoot horizontally, you will lose quality. For example, if you are shooting at 1080p horizontally, you can crop the image to the 9:16 ratio required, but the final video will be a max resolution of 607 pixels wide x 1080 pixels high. However, if you turn your camera, your resolution will be 1080 pixels wide x 1920 pixels high.

Secondly, if you are shooting vertically, you can immediately see how your footage is framed on the screen instead of imagining how you would crop it in editing.

Also, consider filming in the highest resolution you can, 4k preferably. That will give you some options for zooming and cropping without losing quality.


TRIPODS, CAMERAS & MOUNTS

To shoot vertically, you will still need something to steady your camera or phone, and there are plenty of options to help you with this.

Flexible mounts are ideas for phones; they are lightweight, inexpensive and can wrap themselves around even the most awkward objects.

If you are filming with an action sports camera, attach them to a mini tripod via a 3-way pivot arm and angle it sideways.

For heavier DSLR style cameras, ensure your equipment can handle the extra weight. For example, most ball-head tripods will allow you to tilt the camera to 90 degrees, or you can go the extra step and choose to use a 3-way tilt-head tripod, but this may be awkward for filming pans and tilts.

With heavier cameras, panning and tilting and other smooth tripod moves can be tricky. Investing in a more solid tripod with a fluid head should help with those more complex moving shots.

Another great option is a handheld gimbal stabiliser, such as those made by DJI, but they can be expensive.

If all else fails, go handheld. Remember to use two hands, stabilise yourself, keep the camera close to your body, and take a deep breath before you shoot. Even breathing can make the camera move while you are shooting.


SOUND

Camera technology in phones has come a long way in recent years, but unfortunately, their ability to record high-quality sound isn’t as great. Microphones on cameras are good, but they can often produce poor results due to proximity to your subject, wind, and ambient noise when shooting.

To fix this, consider using an external audio recorder, like Zoom or invest in a directional microphone that plugs into your phone.


IMAGE COMPOSITION & MOVEMENT

When you change to vertical video, you will need to give some thought to framing up your scenes. What you gain in the vertical axis is a trade-off against what you lose on the horizontal.

The best idea is to find strong vertical features to celebrate in your vertical format scenes. Consider things like buildings, mountains, trees and of course, people. The extra room on the vertical axis allows you to illustrate the sheer size of objects on the screen. When shooting people or things in this way, fill the whole frame with them but don’t forget to leave some headroom.

One word of caution, consider reducing horizontal movement when filming in vertical format. Movements like a fast pan or rapid action moving across the frame when filming with a reduced horizontal field of view can be uncomfortable for the viewer. Instead, try to set up a scene and use cuts to move horizontally between subjects.


GETTING CREATIVE

Traditional videos are horizontal, and there are many “rules” and protocols for how they should look. However, vertical video is new, and while the basic tips included in this article will help you create better videos, there aren’t as many hard and fast rules.

So be creative!

*Consider creative screen layouts and editing techniques to help tell your story. For example, split your screen in half, thirds or quarters, horizontally or vertically and fill those new screens with footage that will entertain and engage your viewer.

Vary your angles and shot types; you don’t need to shoot a traditional waist height mid-shot. Change your angles or get in really close to give the viewer a new perspective on the subject. Getting closer to vertical-friendly subjects can create a more intimate and immersive experience.

Add an over lay to this showing a split screen (horizontally in half) with two related images showing, to highlight above.*


MANAGING YOUR SET

When shooting in horizontal format, it is easy to have lights and microphones set up to be out of shot either above or below the subject. Not so easy when shooting vertically. For microphones, consider using attachable microphones or place boom mics to the side of the shot.


EDITING

How you edit your vertical videos depends on the software you use. Software options include iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Filmora, Premiere Pro and Spark Camera, but the choice is yours.

Whichever software you decide upon, make sure that when you create a new project for your video, you choose a vertical video template, a 9:16 HD aspect ratio, or 1080 pixels wide x 1920 pixels high. Don’t choose a traditional 1080p template that will only create black “pillar boxes” on each side of your video and mess up your quality when media players zoom your video to fill the whole screen.

Sneaky trick: if your editing software doesn’t allow you to edit in vertical format, you can edit your film “on its side” and rotate it 90 degrees once you are done.

If you are exporting your film to submit it for the festival, make sure you export it as full HD resolution so that you don’t lose any quality.


FINAL THOUGHTS

As a vertical filmmaker, you are blazing a new trail, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Vertical video allows you to be creative in other ways that horizontal video doesn’t, so just experiment.

And lastly, have fun with it!

Good luck!