Mobile Video: Is the Horizon Vertical?
About the Author

Product Mgr. Consumer Mobile Apps | Ram is an iPhone addict with no cure in the near-future. He is responsible for defining the mobile user experience at SanDisk. He recently launched the iXpand Sync app and is working on SanDisk Connect mobile apps. Prior to SanDisk, he was at Yahoo and worked on improving user experience on Yahoo Search App and Yahoo Answers Mobile web products.

We’ve all been there: someone shares a video on Twitter or Facebook. You click. The content opens. And the video is vertical. Rather than being fitted to the video player, the footage is skinny, tall and only takes up the middle third of the video player.

It’s not ideal. And having the two formats — vertical (“portrait”) and horizontal (“landscape”) — is a controversial topic across apps and Internet video sites. One particular issue is that coding for two formats makes app developer’s jobs a bit more challenging. Another is that some folks simply don’t like the vertical format (or are unaccustomed to it).

But it sounds like we better get used to seeing, and creating, both – at least on our mobile devices. In April Digiday wrote a piece, complete with quotes from a Harvard ophthalmology professor, arguing that it’s time to take vertical video seriously. A few months ago tech blog ReCode aggregated slides from preeminent Internet analyst Mary Meeker showing that vertical content consumption may be the trend to bet on — people spend roughly 30 percent of their “time spent on screens” with smartphones and tablets, devices that are built to be held vertically — and this is a number that continues to grow.  Simply put, on an iPhone, that vertical video doesn’t look as out of place.

Additionally, when we record video using our mobile devices, we often don’t think about the format, we just use whatever device we have in hand and record on whatever app is most convenient.

Now, popular apps are catching up to consumer demand. YouTube’s mobile app allows vertical video recording and playing, and livestreaming app Periscope recently added the ability to record video in landscape because, “we know that there are times where the scene you’re trying to capture is best expressed in landscape.” In other words, consumers demanded both, so they’re getting both.

Finally, app publishers who were confirmed horizontal-believers may be embracing the change because mobile online interactions are simply better with vertical video. Ephemeral messaging app Snapchat told Jon Steinberg of The Daily Mail that vertical video ads have up to 9X more completed views than horizontal video.

Most social apps and digital content companies are built around the flow of advertising dollars. So we may be looking at a vertical horizon, after all.

And, now that we can shoot in whatever format we want, and in higher-resolution, our mobile videos should be more engaging and beautiful than ever before! Where we store all these massive files is a separate issue – and something SanDisk can help with (iOS and Android)!

Photo credit: Stock photo



About the Author

Product Mgr. Consumer Mobile Apps | Ram is an iPhone addict with no cure in the near-future. He is responsible for defining the mobile user experience at SanDisk. He recently launched the iXpand Sync app and is working on SanDisk Connect mobile apps. Prior to SanDisk, he was at Yahoo and worked on improving user experience on Yahoo Search App and Yahoo Answers Mobile web products.



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