Nine times out of ten, the videos I create for The University of Prince Edward Island’s website end up living in the main content area of a page, and thus, are usually 400 or 480 pixels wide. Whether I’m shooting in 4:3 or 16:9 (usually 16:9), the videos themselves end up being a fairly good size.
However, every now and then the best place for a video is in the sidebar of a webpage. Cramming a 16:9 video into a 200px wide sidebar often leaves the video pretty squished, if not unwatchable.
I was presented with this challenge recently when I was charged with shooting several testimonial videos of a few of our international students. We need to fit these videos into the sidebars of a several pages, and I knew squishing a 16:9 video in there was going to be pointless.
So that’s when I thought: who says a web video has to be landscape?
Instead of shooting the videos the old fashioned way, I flipped the camera on its side and shot them at a 90° angle. I’ll rotate the clips in post, and then the videos will fit in the sidebar as neat little portrait testimonials.
Now, the videos can be large enough to be watchable, and the shape of the frame is perfect for framing an interview.
Sure, I could have shot the videos the with the camera straight on and then just cropped the frame to a more reasonable size, but I liked looking in the viewfinder and knowing how it was going to look when it was done. Plus, shooting at 90° means that you’re getting the highest possible resolution (which isn’t that necessary when shooting in HDV for the web, but certainly can’t hurt).
The videos aren’t live yet, but I’ll be sure to update this post when they are.