How To Make Portrait Videos For Instagram Stories

More and more people are wanting videos for social media and instagram especially. This of course isn't a problem as you have been able to upload good quality videos to instagram for some time now. However, to maximise the effect a video has on the viewer it's always nice to use all the screen available to you. This is tricky when most people hold their phones in portrait and even watch YouTube videos without turning their phones to landscape. After much debating and trying out various methods, this is how we do it. 

We wanted to not have to crop the video for instagram stories. It seems you have two options when uploading a video to a story. One is keep the video landscape and only use a small amount of the screen and the other is to zoom into the video using all of the available iPhone screen. This of course will loose some quality which we didn't want to do. 

 
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Here is an example with a video we shot for a recent project. You can see that the video looks fine but there is clearly some quality loss from increasing the size and it's difficult to ensure you can see the entire frame. 

We decided to keep it simple and just shoot an entire video with the camera in portrait. This wasn't the easiest thing to do as all our rigs and gimbal systems are set up to have the camera in a landscape position but with a bit of creativity and slightly awkward handheld camera-work we managed to get all the footage we needed.   

Then we come to the editing. Obviously when we shoot normally we end up with a 16x9 image in this case however, we need to edit a 9x16 image. You can easily change these settings in most editing software. In this case we use Adobe Premier Pro. Once you start editing you'll notice that when you drag a clip into the timeline the clip won't fit into the frame. You'll need to rotate it first to fit into your 9x16 timeline.  

 
Shooting with the camera in portrait is surprisingly strange having been used to having the camera the other way up for so long! You have to be sure that the camera is level so I used the internal accelerometer of the Sony A7S ii that gives you a handy virtual spirit level to keep things straight. It helps to use an external monitor too as you can clearly see the image coming out of the camera. For this handheld setup I literally just turned the camera round, for other shots it wasn’t so simple!

Shooting with the camera in portrait is surprisingly strange having been used to having the camera the other way up for so long! You have to be sure that the camera is level so I used the internal accelerometer of the Sony A7S ii that gives you a handy virtual spirit level to keep things straight. It helps to use an external monitor too as you can clearly see the image coming out of the camera. For this handheld setup I literally just turned the camera round, for other shots it wasn’t so simple!

 

Check out our most recent portrait videos (Best viewed on mobile)

The only downside we can see to shooting a video specifically for Instagram is when it comes to sharing it on other platforms. All social networks now have support for portrait videos even the YouTube iPhone app works really well for portrait video. However, on peoples laptops and on larger screens it can seem slightly odd to have the video up the wrong way. It's a tricky frame to work with too, especially with cars. You either have to have a really wide lens or stand pretty far back to get the entire car into the narrow frame and this could be a problem for other subjects too. 

Despite the downsides, we are getting more and more requests for portrait videos so I'm sure you'll be seeing more on our Instagram feed soon.  

 

Article by Harrison Hopton

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