Vertical Video Filmmaking: Composition

By Colin Marchon, Videographer/Editor


Framing shots with a vertical orientation is not a new art form. Photographers have been turning their cameras 90 degrees to closely capture a person’s face and upper body for more than a century. Framing in this style is well studied and obeys the basic rules of composition.

But things have changed.

We’re not only dealing with video rather than photography, but at much thinner aspect ratios and shooting more than just single subjects and landscapes.

Here are two tips to get stellar vertical compositions that can accommodate wide shots and dynamic up-down movement in ordinary places. 

1. One way to capture tall frames in outdoor spaces is to convert depth into vertical space. This requires raising the camera high and pointing downwards. The strategy is improved by achieving a deep focus so your subjects can travel up and down the frame without leaving focus.

2. For indoor environments, take advantage of a wide-angle lens’ ability to capture as much vertical content as possible. You can make each frame count by arranging subjects or interesting props throughout the vertical space.

These two methods can help you turn ordinary locations into optimal spaces for vertical video by distributing information along a thin frame.  Please keep in mind, however, that nothing has really changed about what makes a composition beautiful.

Now get yourself a ladder, a wide lens, and some photogenic friends to make the most glorious Snap or Instagram Story your followers have ever experienced.

Check out our previous blog on Vertical Video Filmmaking here or contact the Likeable Media team to learn more!