Almost all of us consume videos on our smartphones everyday, whether it be on your daily commute or when you’re lying in bed. You may be reading this right now on your phone.
But even though our phone screens are naturally vertical, many videos are still produced in a traditional horizontal format.
Historically, horizontal videos and images have been cast as easier on the eye and a more widely accepted format. And we, as video consumers, have been more than happy to simply tilt our phones sideways to watch them. In fact, we’re trained to look at all things horizontally.
But this can be different. Fifteen artists, photographers, illustrators, animators and directors from across the globe each produced a fun, 15-second vertical video or animation for Facebook’s Creative Shop – a team of creative strategists within Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger who work with advertising agencies, brands and businesses to create content on Facebook’s platforms.
Facebook’s Creative Shop challenged the artists to use the vertical format to illustrate the "creative potential" of the vertical medium.
Kris Merc throws random objects in front of a bold colour palette in his video below.
"I want to use the viewer’s imagination to create their own narrative," says Monica Kim. "When you make a room into a vertical frame, it immediately becomes a different environment." Check it out in her video below.
The artists describe vertical video as a new "school of thought", and how it takes a while to think about filling screen space above and below in a way that’s hardly ever considered. See their creative processes explained in this video.
The challenge was to lead the eye in a different way, and to produce a film that only makes sense when viewed in vertical.
"It’s not a handicap – it’s something you have to take advantage of," says Anna Devis, who worked with Daniel Rueda to create this clever video.
"As a creative, you’re always looking to create something that’s new and fresh, so you end up having to create something that’s bold, simple, straightforward and fast," says Pablo Rochat, who experimented with a split screen, as seen below. Pablo is a genius at creating fun interactive Instagram stories.
The idea behind the project is to show how artists can tell "big stories in a short amount of time, taking full advantage of the vertical screen", says Melissa Oppenheim from Facebook Creative Shop.
"The hope is to really show how thoughtful and exciting visual storytelling can be when it reflects the behavior of how people are using our platforms," she says.
The project resulted in some interesting tips for creating vertical video, such as directing people’s eyes up and down rather than from the usual left to right.
See how Lucas Levitan does this in his video.
There’s also the opportunity to split the vertical space in half or create a grid to show different products or stories at one time. Vertical videos really come to life with animation too - whether that be 2D, 3D, stop-motion or motion graphics.
"It’s not too different, I think," says Lucas. "It’s just a bit taller."