Did you know that 7 out of 10 people turn their phones to watch YouTube videos? I fall into at majority. Rotate the phone, fill the screen, the best way to watch any video. It’s not just phones; TV and Cinema all follow the same format, even your laptop propped up in bed. We’re all consuming the same way. That glorious aspect ratio. The widescreen experience. 16:9.
16:9 as a format was first conceived in the 1980s as a compromise between all the varying screen formats at the time. Because of its application, it quickly become the norm for HDTV and on computer screens. Since then, it’s dominated our screen lives.
So, it’s no surprise that typically, when producing video content, it uses the unspoken creed of shooting wide in 16:9.
But lately, we’re seeing a shift in the way video is treated online. YouTube used to have the digital viewer monopoly, but social media has fragmented the ways in which we can consume video content. Hyper-optimisation of our watching habits is creating the need to think outside the 16:9 box.
The social influence
TikTok wasn’t the first, but it certainly made the portrait shot heavily mainstream. Millions of users all filming and consuming media with their phones held tall and proud.
“But I’m not filming for TikTok,” you might be thinking. That’s why we bring in the question of channels and content.
Consider your audience and your objectives. If the content is reactive and in the moment, Facebook Stories and Instagram Reels provide the perfect format for temporary content… but are natively in a portrait format. Are you looking to use video to promote your product or service to target your audience? The top channels are turning more to square 1:1 ratio for ads which are far more optimised for mobile screens due to the ratio better filling the user’s screen. And you can’t forget the different best practice video lengths and how they vary across channels.
But one size fits all, right?
Wrong. While a knee-jerk reaction might be to adapt your existing video to different sizes, it’s amazing how much changing the ratio can have an impact on the video subject, as our Head of Film and Animation Dave Clancy highlights:
It’s all a bit daunting and this isn’t to say 16:9 widescreen content has no place. Far from it.
The key takeaway is that, when you’re planning video content, it’s just as important to consider it in the wider context of how you’ll use it.
That’s why we consider what the objectives are and who we’re talking to when we work with clients on video and social content, ensuring the right type of content is placed on the right channel. It’s not one video fits all. It’s video, optimised for each channel to ensure the best experience.
Considering creating your next product or service video, or want to know how to get the most out of your content? Drop me a message at email@example.com.