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Portrait or Landscape Format?

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smartphone video - portrait formatDo your smartphone videos have these ugly black bars on either side when you upload them?
Do you ever wonder why this happens?

It’s simple. We make videos with our smartphone by holding our phone the way we always do, namely ‘upright’ (or in ‘portrait’ format).
It is convenient and very easy as this is how the phone naturally sits in our hand.

The result, though, is a narrow little video that generally flits all over the place and usually sounds bad.

And the black bars are there because videos are shown ‘horizontally’, in ‘landscape’ format, as our eyes are arranged horizontally in our head and not vertically.

There is a real danger in using videos like that to promote your business, service or project. Because it looks amateurish and at times even off-putting, this judgment can carry over to and damage your image, reputation and credibility.

Can we do anything about it?

Portrait Format Videos

smartphone video - landscape formatThere are a few easy ways how your smartphone videos can be made to look really good. This will make them stand out, and this, too, will carry over to your business, service or project.

Here are three tips that will help you avoid the worst:

1. Hold your phone horizontally.
Filming in landscape format is the easiest way to avoid these ugly black bars.
The next tip will help you do this automatically.
Tip no. 3 will show you what to do if you have to film in portrait format.

2. Stabilise your video.
smartphone video - mini tripodDon’t hold your smartphone with one hand only. This will always result in a shaky video. Take it with both hands and support your elbows by your body. This will stabilise your video.
You can also use a mini-tripod or a selfie stick. Clip your smartphone in and hold it with both hands.
In each of these cases, your videos will be much more stable, and viewers will be instantly put at ease when they have a stable video to watch.
It will also work wonders for your video because your smartphone will automatically film in landscape format.

3. Use an image from your video.
smartphone video - backgroundThis is an editing tip.
Use a frame from your video, blow it up to fill the landscape frame and blur it out. You could even do this with your video clip to have motion in your background.
Then place the video on top of the blurred out image or video clip. That’s what all the TV stations do when they show video footage shot in portrait format by the public.

Bonus Tip: Make your smartphone a feature.
smartphone video - featureMake your smartphone a feature by putting the video into a transparent image of a smartphone.

Which presentation do you prefer?
Straight from your phone to your viewer’s screen with between black bars on either side? Or with a friendlier background relating directly to your video even if you don’t use the smartphone as a feature?

I know what I prefer watching. What about you?

Do you have any further questions? Would you like me to cover specific topics in future videos? Do you wish to be notified when the next video in this series will be published? I’ll be delighted to answer all these questions and will reply as quickly as possible. Just use the form below to get in touch.

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