Vertical vs. Horizontal: Best Practices for Video Orientation

Vertical vs. Horizontal: Best Practices for Video Orientation theme image

Orientation is crucial in delivering a captivating and visually appealing experience to viewers. The battle between vertical and horizontal video formats has been ongoing, raising questions about the best orientation for different contexts.

This article delves into the debate, exploring the advantages and best practices of both vertical and horizontal video orientations. From the rise of vertical videos on mobile devices to the cinematic appeal of the horizontal format, we examine the impact on user engagement, storytelling, and platform compatibility. Discover the key factors to consider when choosing the optimal video orientation for your next project.

The pros and cons of vertical and horizontal videos

Vertical Video:



Vertical videos are perfectly suited for mobile devices, as they match the natural orientation of smartphones held upright, providing a seamless viewing experience.

Social Media Dominance

Many popular social media platforms like Instagram Stories and TikTok heavily favor vertical video content, increasing visibility and engagement opportunities.

Full-Screen Experience

Vertical videos take advantage of the entire screen, maximizing visual impact and allowing for immersive storytelling.

Easy Production

With the ubiquity of smartphones, shooting vertical videos requires minimal equipment and setup, making it accessible for creators.


Limited Context

Vertical videos struggle to convey a complete visual context, especially when capturing wide landscapes or group shots, leading to potential cropping or loss of details.

Traditional Display Limitations

Vertical videos can result in significant black bars on either side, reducing the overall viewing experience when viewed on horizontal screens.

Non-Standard Format

Vertical videos may not adhere to traditional film and television standards, limiting their potential for cross-platform compatibility.

Horizontal Video:


Cinematic Appeal

The horizontal format closely aligns with the traditional widescreen aspect ratio, providing a more cinematic experience and allowing for the capture of expansive scenes.


Horizontal videos can be easily repurposed for multiple platforms, including television, websites, and social media, without compromising the viewing experience.

Comprehensive Context

The wider frame of horizontal videos accommodates more visual information, making them ideal for capturing group shots, landscapes, or detailed scenes.

Better Editing and Composition

The horizontal orientation lends itself well to traditional editing techniques and composition rules, enabling more precise storytelling.


Mobile Limitations

Horizontal videos may not fully utilize the vertical space available on mobile devices, leading to smaller playback sizes or letterboxing.

Inconvenience for Mobile Users

Holding a phone horizontally for an extended period can be less comfortable for viewers, potentially affecting engagement and retention.

Production Challenges

Producing high-quality horizontal videos often requires professional equipment and expertise, making it less accessible for casual or beginner creators.

Remember, the choice between vertical and horizontal video orientations depends on various factors, including the target audience, platform requirements, and the intended narrative or visual impact.

Vertical Video Best Practices

Mobile Platforms

Optimize vertical videos for mobile platforms like Instagram Stories, TikTok, and Snapchat. Use engaging, attention-grabbing visuals in the first few seconds to hook viewers.

Vertical Composition

Frame subjects and scenes vertically to maximize screen real estate. Consider close-ups, vertical panning, and text overlays that fit the vertical space.

Vertical Storytelling

Craft concise and impactful stories that work well within the vertical format. Ensure the narrative is easily understandable without relying heavily on wide shots or extensive visual context.

Text and Captions

Place important text and captions within the safe zone to avoid cropping on different devices. Use large, legible fonts and ensure the text contrasts well with the video content.

Vertical Thumbnails

Create eye-catching vertical thumbnails that entice viewers to click and watch the video. Use bold visuals, clear titles, and enticing imagery to stand out in crowded feeds.

Horizontal Video Best Practices:

Aspect Ratios

Use the standard 16:9 aspect ratio for horizontal videos to ensure compatibility across various platforms, including television, websites, and social media.

Storyboarding and Shot Planning

Plan shots and compositions carefully to take advantage of the wider frame. Consider using traditional filmmaking techniques like the rule of thirds, leading lines, and balanced compositions.

Landscape Capture

Utilize the horizontal format to capture expansive landscapes, wide shots, and group scenes. Showcase details and provide comprehensive visual context to enhance the viewing experience.

Professional Quality

Invest in high-quality equipment and professional editing tools to achieve polished results. Pay attention to lighting, sound, and overall production value.

Platform Adaptation

Tailor horizontal videos for specific platforms by considering trimming, cropping, or rearranging the content while maintaining the essence of the narrative. Optimize for square or vertical formats when required.

Remember, these best practices are general guidelines, and it's crucial to consider the specific requirements and preferences of the platform, target audience, and content type when deciding on video orientation and execution.

Get it right with VideoHaus!

Getting the dimensions and editing perfect for the platform can be tricky and require some trial-and-error. But here at Videohaus, we’ve already done the heavy lifting for you!

Videohaus is a comprehensive video production studio dedicated to delivering exceptional results for your business, whether it’s promotional videos, corporate presentations, social media content, or immersive brand storytelling. No matter the platform or the context, our skilled team of video producers can elevate your brand with relevant, engaging content.

Book a studio now or get in touch to learn more about our video packages.

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