Square Video Beats Vertical.
For all the talk around vertical video being the sexy beast for social, it’s actually a square aspect ratio that’s the Cinderella of the ball.
So why square instead of vertical?
Vertical video is being talked about as a result of people using smart-phones to shoot with, and the vertical real estate that a smart phone has.
But if you actually look at the platforms most corporate digital engagement is on, vertical doesn’t make best use of those platforms’ real estate, and shooting that way restricts use on other platforms.
When we shoot for square, we shoot with our normal kit, in a normal fashion, but with square in mind for composition.
Which means we can output a 16:9 aspect video from the same shoot, usually using the same shots.
And we can also make a good video from existing footage. So if it was shot 16:9 first, we can go square.
It does the same job as a vertical by making best use of real-estate for mobile devices, but it’s far more flexible and easier to shoot.
Plus it’s actually better for some platforms where the optimum real estate is a square when played on the platform. This is particularly true for Facebook and Linkedin.
All of this means that we can do one shoot, and have a 16:9 aspect for where that’s best, (like on your website) and make best use of real estate on mobile for social, with minimal impact on production and thus minimal costs.
In the end, if we’re shooting square first we can easily produce twice as many outputs from a project, allowing better targeting of viewers and different use scenarios, without significant cost increases.
Vertical on the other hand, is too restrictive to allow for easy dual aspect production.
To get a good vertical output, you need to be shooting for that, and this doesn’t translate well into a 16:9 aspect ratio, as we lose too much resolution to do so, never mind the far greater problems that brings to composition.
And another great thing about square? It’s easy to convert into a useful vertical as well… by adding subtitles across the bottom of the images.
Square is the classic photographic aspect ratio, with Hasselblad, Rolleiflex, and many of the finest film cameras of all time producing a square image.
The first cameras that went to the moon? Square format.
So if you’re thinking about social, then think square first.