Jul 22nd, 2015

Vertical Video Syndrome

We know, the internet makes a really big deal about videos short in portrait mode, also known as “vertical videos.” This is partly because our desktop computers and TVs are all widescreen, so viewing vertical videos on these displays forces big black bars to be displayed on the sides of video players. It’s not too different from when you would watch letter boxed movies on your old 4:3 televisions or computer monitors. Here’s a quick PSA on the dangers of shooting your videos vertically:

But the times they are a changin’ and to better support mobile devices — where arguably most of our media consumption is now taking place — Google has finally caved and introduced full screen viewing for videos shot vertically in the YouTube app for Android devices. Selecting the full screen option will now zoom in on the video, cropping out those annoying black bars on the sides. Here’s a nice, short test video you can on your Android device after updating to see what we’re talking about:

Watch this video after updating to view it in full screen without the black bars

While vertical videos aren’t always the most ideal, the rise of video-centric apps like Vine and Snapchat mean that more and more users are being conditioned to shoot in portrait. Given that 90% of the things we’re doing on our phone is in portrait mode — checking emails, Twitter, Facebook, messaging, viewing photos — I really don’t have as big a problem with vertical as others might (I know, “GASP”).

That’s not to say Google hasn’t done their part in combating videos shot vertically. Awhile back, they introduced a prompt in the stock Android camera app that reminded users to shoot horizontally when holding the phone vertically. But with most people turning to Instagram, Vine, Snapchat or other like services to shoot photos and videos, it seems they may have finally thrown in the towel. You can find the new YouTube app rolling out today on Google Play

Download: YouTube 10.28.59 (full screen vertical video)

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