The Benefits of Vertical Video

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Vertical video. Among video professionals, the term may provoke feelings of frustration, anger, or disgust. Often it's been mocked and ridiculed as an invalid format choice (see below).

But vertical video is a preferred format for platforms like Snapchat and Instagram Stories. Already, vertical video has been added to my list of deliverables. Whenever I finish editing a project, I'm asked to create different versions, including one oriented vertically for social media. 

Last night I came across a thread on Twitter from Anthony Monteleone, a video editor I follow. He made some very good, rational arguments regarding vertical video I felt they were worth sharing and discussing. 

One immediate ramification I've seen in my own work with vertical video is that footage needs to be acquired in 4K. If you need to deliver vertically, it's nice to have that extra resolution to play around with when you have to scale up and crop in. Otherwise, the video can start to pixelate rather quickly.

What are your thoughts about the validity of vertical video? Continue the discussion in the Comments section below.

Why Cinematographers Should Be Using Pinterest

Image courtesy of  startbloggingonline.com

Image courtesy of startbloggingonline.com

We are inundated with content every moment of every day. It's important to have a system in place where you can collate, organize, archive, and retrieve that information with ease. Like other cinematographers, I come across compositions, color schemes, lighting setups, etc. regularly and I want to collect all of those inspirational images for later reference. Every shooter has his/her method for organizing look books and mood boards, but I really think Pinterest is an excellent way to keep all of these reference shots organized.

Since Pinterest allows you to create different boards for different interests, you can set up one board for compositions, another for lighting setups, and yet another for color palettes. Right now if you go to my Pinterest profile, you will see the following boards:

  • Blue Color Palettes
  • Compositions
  • Warm Color Palettes
  • Low-Key Lighting
  • Color Theory

I'm still in the process of adding more content, based on my current projects, but so far I've found Pinterest to be extremely convenient for organizing and accessing reference material.

What tools do you use for collecting inspirational images? Leave your tips in the Comments section. 

A Great Online Automation Tool You Should Be Using

Like many Internet users, I manage many online tools at one time, each for a variety of specific purposes. Automating some of those online tasks is a great way to save time and ensure that nothing is overlooked. That's why I've been using IFTTT (If This Then That).

IFTTT has a simple and straightforward concept: Whenever you make one action, then it automatically triggers another action of your choosing. These triggers are called "Applets" and you can configure them in a number of different ways. You can find inspiration by watching IFTTT tutorials on YouTube.

Here's how I'm currently using IFTTT to automate some of my online tasks:

Save Favorite Tweets Directly to Evernote

When I'm on Twitter, I use the "Like" function to save articles and information for future reference, or I use it to bookmark articles I want to read at a later time. That's pretty convenient, but what isn't very convenient is trying to find those bookmarked articles later, when they've been buried in a thousand other "Likes."

To make my Twitter likes more searchable, I created an IFTTT applet to automatically save those bookmarked posts into Evernote, in a notebook labeled "Favorite Tweets." Now when I want to go back and read that in-depth article on Alfred Hitchcock's career, I can search Evernote for "Hitchcock" and the original tweet pops right up.

Save Tweets Directly to Google Drive

As I started to become more involved on Twitter, I realized that I needed a way to archive and manage my posts for later reference. That's why I created an Applet that will automatically take a tweet and add it to a Google Drive spreadsheet. Now the post itself, along with metadata like date and time, is cataloged and searchable within the spreadsheet.

Cross-Post Instagram Photos to Twitter 

You can easily share your Instagram photos to Twitter the moment you post, but the resulting tweet only contains a link to your Instagram picture. The photo itself isn't embedded in the tweet. If you're a marketer selling a product, you might want to cross-promote your Instagram images on Twitter and have those same images appear in the tweet itself. You can do this with IFTTT. I have an applet running that will simultaneously upload an image to Twitter the moment I upload it to Instagram.

There are hundreds of ways to use IFTTT to automate tasks. I encourage you to browse through the Discover section of their website, or you can read this Gizmodo article to help get you started.

How are you currently using IFTTT? What applets do you recommend? As always, leave your thoughts in the Comments section.