A holiday PSA from your friends at Reviewed.com
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We at Reviewed.com want nothing more than for you to have a joyous holiday season, surrounded by loved ones, stuffed with delicious food, and enjoying the best electronics and appliances available. Year-round, we work tirelessly to find the best products so you can spend less time sweating a TV or camera purchase and more time enjoying life with those who matter most.
It's in this same spirit that we're here to talk to you about something of grave importance: your vertical videos.
It's getting ugly out there, people. From YouTube to the local news, the plague of vertical video is ruining holiday memories, sabotaging recordings of crucial events, and even threatening our nation's precious viral video supply. (Seriously, it's 2014, and we're hardly the first to bring this up.)
But let's back up for a second. If you're new to the internet, or just haven't been paying attention, you might be wondering why vertical video is such a bad thing. Well, take a knee and listen up.
As humans, we see the world as a horizontal panorama. Most of us have binocular sight: two eyes, side-by-side, gathering light from a wide field of view. Accordingly, it only makes sense that human visual media favors horizontal display.
Vertical videos might look okay on a phone screen, but they look absolutely ridiculous everywhere else. On your laptop, your PC monitor, your HDTV, and even your tablet (when viewing in landscape), they're a huge waste of screen real estate. Ever seen a local news broadcast where a viewer-provided vertical video has to be stretched or awkwardly letterboxed to fit a 16:9 frame? We have, and it's ugly as heck.
Worse, it often cuts out crucial peripheral details. Phone camera lenses have a wide field of view (typically 28-32mm equivalent), which means that when you shoot vertically, you get lots of foreground and lots of sky. The tradeoff is that you get less of your subject and its more interesting surroundings.
Despite these obvious flaws, some have argued that we should embrace vertical video. These people are wrong.
Now, we don't want to point fingers. You're certainly not the only one to blame here. In fact, we'd argue that the biggest share of responsibility is with smartphone and tablet app-makers. From the get-go, they've foolishly allowed portrait-oriented video recording to go unchecked.
Indeed, vertical video wouldn't even be an issue if the industry had the foresight to design around it, or if it had made a better effort to educate users. For its part, Google recently took one step in this direction, adding a reminder for users to turn their phones 90 degrees when shooting video in Android's stock camera app.
But that doesn't mean you're off the hook. If you're not a part of the solution, you're a part of the problem.
Here's how to fix it. When you shoot a video clip, take a second or two to turn your tablet or phone to landscape orientation. Done.
And if you can't trust yourself not to shoot vertically, don't worry: there's an app for that. Horizon Camera will convert your vertical video to horizontal video on the fly, without the slightest effort on your part.
Life's too short to mess up your memories, so now that you know what's what, do the right thing and help those who don't know any better. Together, we can make vertical video a thing of the past.
Thanks in advance,
Your pals at Reviewed.com Cameras
Hero image: Flickr user "karolfranks" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)