FRAMING AND COMPOSITION
Framing and composition considerations for smartphone video
The vertical vs. horizontal debate:
It wasn't long ago that vertically-shot videos (portrait), as opposed to horizontally-shot videos (landscape), were shunned as an inferior approach to smartphone video recording, but that has changed dramatically in the last couple years. This is mainly due to the prevalence of social media, and because it is just more convenient to record on your phone the way that the phone naturally fits into your hand, which is vertically.
If you are trying to decide whether to record vertically or horizontally, here are a few things to think about that may help you in making a decision:
- What is the platform that this will be viewed on? If it will be on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, etc.), then it may be best to shoot in vertical
- If the eventual destination for your video is Youtube, Vimeo, or on a website, perhaps it may be better to shoot horizontally
- If you are going to be editing this footage together with other visual media, then think about how the composition of that media will work when edited together with either footage shot in portrait or landscape
Regardless of whether you record on your phone in portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal), the following fundamentals should be heeded when shooting in either configuration:
- Place the camera at eye level or slightly above, and experiment a bit to find the position that is most favorable/flattering
- Position yourself in the frame according to the Rule of Thirds
- Look directly into the lens (not the screen!)
- Allow for a little bit of headroom
- Think about your background:
- Is it contextually related to the content of your video? Do you want it to be?
- Try not to make the background too busy. Lots of objects and knickknacks could distract your audience