What Is Vertical Video Production And Why It's Important?

An exited woman watching a video on her phone in vertical mode.

Learn how vertical video production can give you the competitive edge.

What Is Vertical Video Production?

Vertical video production is any kind of video filmed in portrait mode, and it is specifically meant for the platforms that require vertical video: Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, TikTok Videos. 

Tik-Tok for example, only accepts vertical video. 

Vertical video production is one of the biggest trends in video marketing right now!


Mainly because most major social media platforms have moved in this direction to meet their viewership demands.

And it’s currently being fuelled by Covid.

Either by recommendation of the health authorities, or people’s own choice, society is spending more time in isolation, which means more time on social media… Which means more time on our smartphone watching videos in vertical mode.


Is Vertical Video Right for you?

The major social media sites are constantly tracking how video production is being consumed, and they have seen that vertical videos are super popular across most platforms. 

Here’s a surprising statistic: 

Forbes reported that we’re 2.5 times more likely to skip a video that requires us to change our phone’s orientation. 

This means that if we have to pause to turn our phone horizontal, we’d rather not bother. 

Holy crap we’re fussy!


Vertical Video Makes Fresh Content 

Another big catalyst in the rise of vertical video, is that it presents a fresh medium in which to tell your stories.

Visually speaking, it demands dynamic ways to showcase brand stories, since our common canvas has been turned on its side. 

“People are in a mindset of being open to discovery.” – James Quarles, Instagram’s VP of business, when speaking about the mindset of Instagram viewers.

Vertical video appeals to this mindset.

Have you noticed that when you’re scrolling on a vertical platform (like IGTV), vertical videos just feel more natural? 

Meanwhile, horizontal videos feel too small.

This is a sign that vertical video is here to stay, and only growing more important in your video marketing strategy.

So how should you navigate this speedily expanding trend of vertical video production?

Let’s look at the facts.


best corporate video production company filming footage


Best Sites To Use Vertical Video

It’s great to be clear on which social channels are an ideal fit for vertical video production.

Specs-wise it’s best to choose channels that showcase videos easily in 9:16 aspect ratio, (which is 1080×1920 pixels). Contact a video production company if you want more technical support on this.

Here are the main platforms to show off your vertical video and get greater engagement:

  • Instagram Stories
  • Facebook Stories
  • IGTV 
  • TikTok 
  • Snapchat 

As you can see, these are among the biggest places people are spending time online. 

Vertical video has taken over!

If your ideal clients are spending time on these channels, and you aren’t posting a video in vertical, you’re falling behind.

Already created horizontal marketing videos?

Oftentimes they can be reformatted to work in vertical, (although you should expect that some shots just won’t change over).

You may not need to start over entirely if most parts of your video can be repurposed. For this, you should consult a video production company. 

However, it’s always better to start a video from scratch, with a vertical in mind. 

During your upcoming film production stage, you can always request your team shoot both!

This gives you ultimate flexibility when posting across multiple platforms.


What Sites Aren’t Vertical Friendly?

No need to panic if you’re already invested heavily in horizontal videos. 

Several prolific video channels still showcase horizontal (widescreen) videos with more authority, and will likely stay that way.



Youtube is definitely not an ideal channel for your vertical video production, because it’s entirely formatted for widescreen style videos. 

As you’ve likely seen, Youtube will add your vertical video to a widescreen canvas, and you’ll end up with a lot of black screen. 

This will decrease your production value, and look unprofessional. 

My suggestion is to keep your vertical video off Youtube for now, until the platform eventually adapts.


Facebook & Linkedin

The main feeds on Facebook and Linkedin are still designed for widescreen (and square) video.

Many people still post vertical videos, and it can sometimes look ok. 

But consider that your canvass is massively cropped, so you get a lot of black space, and it looks unnatural, and you run the risk of viewer disconnection. 

Remember the statistic at the beginning of this blog? People don’t want to have to turn their phone around to figure out how to best watch. 

Unfortunately, this is a distraction you can’t afford. 

That’s why I recommend keeping things horizontal on these channels.


What Should Change With Vertical Video?

We don’t naturally think of vertical video as an entirely different art form. 

But it is a different medium, and some things need to change to compensate for the new visual style.

The most important thing is to narrow the focus of your video.

Use simple shots that highlight the subject of what you’re advertising. 

Got a product video?

Keep it center-screen. Make sure what’s happening in the top and bottom of the screen aren’t distracting. 



You can however leverage vertical by leading the eyes upward or downward. 

This can make some really appealing looking content.

Simplicity is best though. 

We’re so used to having lots of space for the eyes to move left to right. 

We can’t do that with vertical. 

So if leading the eyes up or down doesn’t make sense for your video, keep everything in the dead centre. 

Now, let’s talk about filming people. 

It’s literally called Portrait mode, and this means we can get really intimate moving portraits of people in action using your product or service.


Film Director’s note: 

The closer you are to someone with the camera, the more intimate the shot becomes. This is something you can use to your advantage when filming for vertical video, because a person can fill up the entire canvas, creating more intimacy and impact!


Words & Text With Vertical Video

It’s really important to keep your word count very low with vertical video production.

We’re accustomed to reading left to right with books, blogs, etc. and that’s also no longer an option in vertical.

You can only read top to bottom, and that’s not a lot of room, so you need to compensate by reducing the amount of text. 

Here’s a screenshot of a vertical video ad we made recently where we had to be super selective with the ad copy.


The back of an iphone floating in outer space. Text across screen says: Play With One Hand


What Should Remain The Same?

Regardless of your canvas, Hollywood storytelling techniques should still be applied to your video. 

Make sure your story is emotionally rich, with a strong opening and closing. 

Position your most ideal client as the hero of your story, and position your brand as the mentor who guides the hero through transformation. 

Pull on heartstrings and make people feel an emotion, and they will love your vertical video!

If you’re looking for an expert in producing a vertical video for your brand’s marketing, get in touch with us today.

By Anthony Madani

Anthony is the Director at UpMedia Video, and an expert at Video Marketing, with a rapidly growing business. He’s spent over 18 years in media production, from award winning television shows (on Netflix and HBO), to producing ads for large corporations such as Toyota, Flight Center, and Canada Life.

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