Filming Tip: Film in Landscape, Not Portrait!

Here is a tip that I have wanted to share for a while now. Hopefully this will help when you have your students filming with their iPads or other devices.

With the rise of smartphones nowadays, everyone is their own videographer. Almost everyone will take short videos when something exciting happens, be it a recital, presentation, or anything like that. Often, I see many people filming videos on their phones in the portrait mode. Although this may be good for just showing videos to other people off their phones, as soon as you show it on a computer screen or television black bars will appear! This results in a wasted screen real estate.

I would suggest filming in portrait mode (vertically) only if you were needing to film something tall like a Christmas tree, or if you needed the full figure of a person.

If you import your portrait-filmed videos into iMovie, iMovie will adjust your videos and everything will look flat and stretched, even pixelated. Certain parts of the video might even be missing.

Below: Look at the screenshot of this video. The black bars on either side take up over two-thirds of the entire screen.

If you import your vertical video to YouTube, the black bars will remain. When you upload to sites such as Facebook, your friends will see the black bars as well.

Take a look at this Christmas video and see how many people are filming in portrait versus landscape:

Here’s another quick tip for filming with iPads:

Remember to film in widescreen mode (16:9). Your videos will once again look much better on the large screen (TVs, projector, computer etc.) To do this, within the video mode of your Camera app, quickly double tap the screen. That’s it! If you are making a movie with many clips and stitching them together in iMovie, remember to do widescreen for each shot.

Take a look at the two photos below. The first is full-screen, and the second widescreen. Although it may seem like you are filming “more” with the fullscreen, the opposite is in fact the case. You actually film more in terms of “screen area”.

Having said all this, I did come across these beautifully made vertical videos. Not too common, though.

So, for a large majority of the time, filming in landscape mode is definitely beneficial for your videos. Spread the word, to your students, family, parents.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Karl Baker says:

    As a wedding photographer I see this quite a lot at weddings where the guests use the ipad for photography and videography, the number of guests I’ve seen using it in portrait to shoot video is quite funny..

    1. Thanks Karl for the reply! Yes, I constantly see portrait shooting everywhere I go!

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