Hello, Earthlings! You’re watching Adam the Alien. And I’m filming in vertical today for Vlog Every Day April day seven, because today I want to talk about the vertical video format.
I have, for many years, been one of those people going, “Turn…turn the camera! Turn it to the side, what are you doing? What is this vertical nonsense? It’s buuuuullshit!”
Unfortunately, my fellow horizontal lovers, I must tell y’all: we’ve lost this war. We’ve lost it. It’s gone. We…we..we’re done! Vertical format is here. Instagram is doing vertical ONLY, so I have to —when I shoot horizontally— adapt things into a new format. And so does everyone else!
It’s been very interesting to watch people figure out how to deal with that, using various different methods. Sometimes just leaving the space blank, sometimes using it in some…awkward ways. Or, sometimes, successful ways.
I mean, ultimately, the vertical video issue kind of rests on all of US. It’s your common person filming things in vertical that’s pushing businesses in that direction as well. And there are definitely some things for which vertical video is good!
Cell phones, I’d blame you, but even before filming on a phone was common, I would hand my camcorder to people and they’d flip it to their side. And I’m like, “This is only meant to be horizontal. You can’t just flip the camcorder this…what are you doing?”
At this point, I don’t have a problem with vertical video. I prefer horizontal because I like to see, you know, everything around me. It’s so pretty!
But! That’s just not the reality. Sometimes the vertical format can be fine. For instance, I’ve been enjoying Dominic Monaghan’s Instagram TV Q&A sessions, which are obviously just him talking to a phone. And vertical format is fine for that.
Now, here’s what I still don’t like, and that is cropping to fit what the majority of screens are. Because people don’t like black bars for some reason.
Unnecessary cropping is something that’s pissed me off since I was a teenager. Because that’s when I really started getting into film, and filmmaking, and the art of it. And that’s when I realized that the filmmaker’s visions of these beautiful, widescreen, cinematic experiences were being cropped to a 4:3 aspect ratio because people didn’t want to see black bars above and below on their fullscreen TVs. Which is weird to me, and it’s nonsense! Who cares?
And now we’re seeing a lot of the reversal of that problem. We’re seeing a lot of fullscreen things being adapted into widescreen, often VERY POORLY!
I think the Buffy the Vampire Slayer remaster is probably one of the more infamous examples of this, right now. Because the way they’ve expanded that is by using parts of the original film frame that were not ever meant to be used! It was meant to be fullscreen. So we’re seeing microphones and crew members IN THE FREAKING SHOTS!
And when that’s not happening, we’re seeing awkward crops to make fullscreen widescreen. And if you’re making something new? I think that’s fine. But if you’re just adapting something for a new screen, I don’t know…I think we should just live with the black bars. Or maybe some blur effect of the content you’re using as a kind of background, if you feel that’s stylistically needed. Which sometimes I do.
The point is that I want to see things the way the creator intended. Now, if the creator makes more than one version —like I’ve been contemplating adapting some of my videos to vertical for Instagram TV— unless the creator does it…NO! I just…NO! I’m against it!
I don’t care if it’s widescreen, fullscreen, a frickin’ square, horizontal, vertical, it…whatever it is, it should be what the creator’s vision intended.
I don’t think we should be adapting aspect ratios of existing things just because the shapes of screens change. To me, that’s like taking a beautiful painting and going, “Um, this doesn’t fit the frame that I have, so I’m just gonna cut it up.”
And actually, that kind of cutting and cropping has happened to famous pieces of art in the past, and it’s a terrible travesty whenever it happens! So that’s how I think of altering aspect ratios.
And to that end, I hope I never see anyone crop this vertical video into some horizontal nonsense. ‘Cuz I mean, what would that even be? Like, my mouth and my neck? NO!
But what do you think? What are your thoughts on both vertical video and on the changing of aspect ratios to match different screens? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time, I’m Adam the Alien. This has been Vlog Every Day April, day seven!
I’ll see you all tomorrow. Fare thee well!
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