If you have seen my family’s Christmas card video you have noticed that the video is tilted 90 degrees and thus in a vertical HD format. In this post I will explain why and how I did this.

Why vertical? For this video it started as a practical choice. It simply fits the christmas tree better! And since many of my friends have iPads, rotatable monitors, laptops or smartphones they can easily rotate their device.

‘Digital signage’ often uses vertical monitors as well. In shops, streets, public places, billboards etcetera. The nice thing about a vertical video is that it grabs your attention better than a normal widescreen monitor. A real eyeball catcher. It’s also easier to read text on a vertical display.

Filming a vertical video isn’t very hard. Just rotate your camera 90 degrees . You don’t want to crop a normal horizontal widescreen video because then you will loose more than 60% of resolution. Just put you camera sideways on your tripod and tilt it 90 degrees. You can also use a 90 degree hook from a hardware store. Easy.

Editing is a different story. In Final Cut Pro 7 the image will be widescreen and on it’s side. That’s not a very pleasant way to edit. You could rotate the image in Final Cut Pro but that leads to massive rendering and loss of image quality.

Rotating in MPEG Streamclip

My workflow is to first rotate the source video with MPEG Streamclip (free). MPEG Streamclip only changes the orientation of the video and does not re-encode it. So there will be no loss in image quality and it’s superfast.

Vertical FCP arrangement

Now you have the image ready to edit. FCP X supports any screen size since version 10.1. If you use an external video monitor you may need to flip it on it’s side and use some hardware to tilt the image 90 degrees.

After you’re done editing and exporting, use MPEG streamclip to rotate the video back on it’s side for playout on rotated monitors. If you put your video on Vimeo you don’t have to rotate it since Vimeo can display vertical Full HD (1920 x 1080) and even embed it. Youtube currently can’t.


You should try it. It’s a very liberating experience! Although some do not agree ;)