robertogreco + mobilefirst + nationalgeographic   1

Vertical video is becoming more popular, but there’s no consensus on the best way to make it » Nieman Journalism Lab
"Some outlets are turning their cameras sideways. Others are cropping horizontally shot video to fit a vertical screen."



"Hiking through the hills above Otta, Norway, a town of 1,700 about a four-hour drive north of Oslo, a team from the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK realized it would have to take a new approach to filming the vistas for the interactive documentary it was creating.

As part of a company-wide effort to improve mobile strategy, the documentary — which focused on how Otta was adapting to a refugee center that opened in a shuttered hotel — was filmed vertically, using a camera rotated 90 degrees to the side. Staffers built a special grip to hold the camera steadily sideways.

“When you go up to the Norwegian mountains, it’s really beautiful, and you’re used to seeing the landscape in horizontal mode,” NRK’s Kim Jansson, who led the project, told me.

“You need to adjust your way of thinking. ‘OK, we need to cut off the left and right sides, what can we do to make it work vertically?’ We used trees to make people see how tall things are: How big the mountains are, how tall the buildings are,” he said. “You can get a different perspective. You just have to change your mind a little bit to see the opportunities that you don’t have when you’re filming horizontally.”

As mobile consumption continues to grow, news outlets — especially those publishing on Snapchat Discover — are turning to vertical video, a format that was once widely derided, to optimize their content for viewing on phones.

According to analyst Mary Meeker, users use vertically oriented devices nearly 30 percent of the time, up from just 5 percent in 2010. And more than 7 billion videos are viewed each day on Snapchat, which is specifically designed for vertical consumption.

But even as outlets ranging from National Geographic to Mashable and Vox create vertical videos, there’s no consensus on the best way to actually produce them. Some organizations, such as NRK, decided to rotate their cameras and film vertically, while others have decided to shoot the traditional horizontal way and then adapt the footage to fit a vertical screen."



"Mashable has decided its best bet is to just film horizontally. In its early days on Snapchat Discover, Mashable tried filming vertically by using a phone camera and by flipping a DSLR camera sideways. Later, it decided to shoot all its videos on a camera that’s oriented horizontally, said Mashable creative director Jeff Petriello.

“In terms of quality, and for the content to live on in as many forms as possible, shooting it on at least a 4K camera horizontal has proven to be the most efficient,” he said.

Petriello estimated that only a third of the vertical content Mashable creates actually requires a camera. The rest is created through animation and design using programs such as Adobe After Effects.

Vox also predominantly uses animations for its Snapchat Discover channel, and Yvonne Leow, Vox’s senior Snapchat editor, said there’s been “a bit of a learning curve” as Vox’s designers figured out the best ways to create graphics or other visualizations for a vertical screen.

When it does use live video on Snapchat Discover, Vox shoots horizontally. If Vox is shooting an in-studio interview, the videographer will frame the subject in the center of the frame so the video can be easily readjusted to a vertical orientation.

Vox also lays graphics over its interviews, and by using a center-focused shot, it’s able to adapt the graphics to the orientation of the final version.

The New York Times took this approach last year when it produced a video about the collaboration by Justin Bieber, Skrillex, and Diplo. It produced three different versions of the video — a 16:9 ratio for its own player and YouTube, 3:4 for tablets, and 9:16 for a vertical orientation on phones — and adjusted the graphics for each view.

Figuring out the best way to present vertical video on screens that aren’t phones can take a little ingenuity.

Mashable has published a handful of vertical videos outside of Snapchat Discover, and when they’re viewed on desktop, those videos are embedded in the left-hand column of a story.

For its interactive about the refugees, NRK, the Norwegian broadcaster, showed large quotes next to the vertical video when it was viewed on desktop.

But NRK estimated that 66 percent of viewers watched the videos on mobile, and the interactive was one of NRK’s most-consumed stories of 2015, even though it wasn’t published until the last week of December.

Jansson’s team is heading back into the field this month to begin its next vertical documentary. This time, they’ll try to add more motion into the video.

“There wasn’t a lot happening in the videos last time around,” he said. “We’re going to see if it’s possible to make that work a little bit better this time. But we’re going to do more or less the same thing. We’ve only done this once through, and we need more practice.”"
video  verticalvideo  portraitvideo  mobile  mobilefirst  2016  josephlichterman  snapchat  vox  mashable  nytimes  nationalgeographic  smartphones 
february 2016 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: