Vertical Video:
A Retrospective
The first 10 years (2007-2016)
by David Neal

Copyright © 2016 Walrus & Carpenter Productions LLC

A work-in-progress, this file was last revised on November 20, 2017.


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You can view a number of short clips from some of these videos on Vimeo.



This paper will introduce a number of the early and/or best (in my opinion) and/or most popular vertical videos that I have found which are still available on the web. The sequence is basically chronological, with an extensive index. To see our annual reviews of vertically framed moving imagery, see my homepage.

Guide to the Iconography

Awarded Award winner.

Unrecognized gem.

Sausage (thrown together) not a very good piece.


Popular (usually 1M or more views somewhere.)

Screened at a film festival (almost always a vertical centric festival.)

Commissioned work, paid for by someone other than the producer/director.

High Definition Tall Screen (2007)

Directed by: Todd Bradley

Length: 4 minutes 54 seconds.

Produced by Todd Bradley, this video was uploaded to YouTube in 2007. Intended as a spoof of the hype surrounding the development of High Definition (16:9 aspect ratio) flatscreen TVs, it includes footage where the camera is turned sideways. Note also that this was produced in the 4:3 aspect ratio of classic film and television. By locking your phone/tablet in fullscreen landscape you can turn the device to view the vertical footage upright. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Imogen Heap - Hide and Seek (2009)

Directed by: Joel Peissig

Length: 4 minutes 25 seconds.

In October 2009, this video was uploaded to YouTube. The original song and album were produced in 2005, so the video may well date from that time, making it the oldest music vertical video extant and one of the oldest period. The video has 20M views on YouTube, making it one of the most popular as well. Unfortunately, as was often the case at the time, this video is trapped in a horizontal package. (If you view it using the Vevo app with it's "portrait player" you will get the fullscreen vertical experience.)

I will let the director, Joel Peissig, speak for himself:

One night around a pool at a Grammy after-party Imogen and I came up with the concept that her voice creates light. This meant that when she sang fortissimo the frame would fill with light when she whispered the light would just be around her mouth. 99% of what you seeing this video is ALL IN CAMERA. The lighting effect was created by pushing the film off the gate of the camera while rolling film. This meant I was able to follow the crescendo and decrescendo of Imogen's voice as I was filming her performance. The lights behind her were also riding the crescendo and decrescendo of the track. Imogen sang every take we did because she wanted to pour her heart into to it and for the viewer to feel it. Every. Take. It was a very emotional shoot for her and the entire crew.

The reason I made it vertical was it complimented her face and her solitude and also the light streaks we created in camera looked better if you put the camera on it's side. :)

Here is the link to the YouTube version, also available on Vevo.

Here is the version on Vimeo: "Hide and Seek" Imogen Heap from Joel Peissig.

Video Carpet (Street Lines) (2009)

Directed by: Eugene Rudyy

Length: 2 minutes 27 seconds.

In November 2009, Eugene Rudyy created the Portrait Orientation group on Vimeo and uploaded this video. Note that it is filmed in 3:4 aspect ratio rather than the more common 9:16.

From the description:

Running street advertisement lines from Lviv. Including region crime statistics as a frame. This line runs over the entrance to the main city police department.

Video Carpet (Street Lines) from Eugene Rudyy on Vimeo.

Oliver (2010)

Length: 8 minutes 9 seconds.

Produced by the "Blade McStudd Studio," this video was uploaded to YouTube in 2010. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, the pillorboxing was "baked in." The video documents the creation of an art installation by deconstructing and rearranging the pieces of a piano. At slightly over eight minutes, it would be considered a short by the film community but it is fairly long for a vertical video. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

One Min || Essence (2010)

Directed by: Giorgio Constantine

Length: 1 minute.

This piece looks like it was tossed together in an hour, and it was. Meh.

In March 2010, Giorgio Constantine created the Tallscreen group on Vimeo and uploaded this video.

From the description:

First Tallscreen HD video. Shot based on the rules of the 1 Minute Project and Pictures Don't Move Took me 1 hour to convert and to create this 1 minute piece.

• One Min || Essence. from Giorgio Constantine on Vimeo.

40’s Style Vertical Video Booth (2010)

Directed by: Joshua Brown

Length: 1 minute 40 seconds.

This is a early vertical video uploaded to Vimeo. Nice camera work and costumes (unusual in vertical videos!) Essentially moving portraiture, perfect use of portrait video.

The soundtrack appears to be the 1943 version by Kay Kyser and His Orchestra of the song "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" by Frank Loesser published as sheet music in 1942 by Famous Music Corp. Whether this use is copyright infringement or not, I cannot say, neither the description nor the video mention permissions. The lack of permission details is a common thing in vertical videos, unfortunately.

From the description:

A 40's themed video booth in New York. Shot with: 5D + 50 1.2 Graded with: Magic Bullet Colorista and Misfire Lit with: A lamp

40's Style Vertical Video Booth from Joshua Brown on Vimeo.

Clockwork Orchestra - Mummer (2011)

Directed by: Tanja Thomas

Length: 3 minutes 26 seconds.

Uploaded in May 2011, this is an early, perhaps the first, music vertical video.

The combination of live action and digital stop-action type animation is quite effective. Nice piece.

From the description:

Music video for "Mummer" by Clockwork Orchestra. Directed and edited by Tanja Thomas Starring Grace Kelley Makeup by Oksana 1st & 2nd Camera by Tanja Thomas and Guy Robbins Special thanks to Colm McCormack & The Joinery

Clockwork Orchestra - Mummer from Clockwork Orchestra on Vimeo.

Sunny Side Up (2011)

Directed by: Sebastian Doerk

Length: 2 minutes 51 seconds.

Produced by Infinitetrails, uploaded in February 2011, this is an early vertical video. Excellent camera work and framing (color seems a bit washed out however.) It was screened at the 1st Vertical Film Festival in 2014.

From the description:

The Future is now! Well at least people told us so in the nineties. We were promised jetpacks, Cities floating in the ocean and with the evolving of Ipads & tablets to be liberated from any kind of fixed video format. (hilarious article: and for real: Since we can’t deliver the rocket backpack we at least bring you the first ever mountainbike tallscreen video. So grab your Tablets, Ipads and Iphones liberate yourself and turn them upside down... Really sorry for the „regular“ monitor users, you can either be true rebells and turn it 90 degrees or get a cup o' tea and enjoy it in a smaller version ;) Now enjoy the video or even better go out & ride! Thanks to Steffi Reisenauer @ Smartriders Music: The Glitch Mob / We swarm Shot on La Réunion Island

Sunny Side Up on Vimeo.

Alicewinks (2012) Awarded

Directed by: David Neal

Length: 2 hours 44 minutes.


Produced in 2012, Alicewinks is the first feature length (164 min.) vertical animated film. It features the early 20th century artwork of 12 different illustrators, remixed. It is available for sale through Vimeo on Demand. It is also included in an iBook with the original text and illustrations and 12 separate chapter videos. The complete movie is available imbeded in an Android app on the Google Play store, and as an ebook (without video) and chapter apps on Amazon. The soundtrack is available as an audiobook via The iBook was awarded a starred review by Kirkus Reviews and was selected as one of their "best ebooks of 2013."

The introduction was screened at the 1st Vertical Film Festival in 2014.

What, you thought I was giving away this document out of the goodness of my heart? It's an ad silly.

Alicewinks: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland from David Neal on Vimeo.

Curry Power (2012)

Directed by: Christoph A. Geiseler

Length: 10 minutes 1 second.

Good camera work and scenery, mediocre framing, dull to no story line, a meh.

From the description:

Vertical Videos: "Curry Power" is a 10-minute vertical video and musical collage filmed, edited and produced by Christoph A. Geiseler that features tigers, camel polo, holy men, dancers and live music by renowned musicians Pete Lockett and Wasifuddin Dagar."

Vertical Videos: MIMA presents "Curry Power" from MIMA MEDIA on Vimeo.

A Rail Poem (2012)

Directed by: Gregory Gutenko

Length: 6 minutes 13 seconds.

This piece has had several incarnations and lengths. This one is from the screening at the Vertical Film Festival.

From the description:

Visual impressions from today and daydreams from childhood, evoked by train traveling through space & time. Duration 4’00 Media 60s Super-8 film, HDV, iPhone Screened as part of The First Vertical Film Festival

A Rail Poem from Vertical Film Festival on Vimeo.

Vertical Video Syndrome (2012)

Produced by: Bento Box

Length: 2 minutes 58 seconds.

No discussion of vertical video would be complete without a reference to VVS. Produced by Bento Box on the Glove and Boots video blog, this video makes a number of specious arguments ("TV and movies are horizontal," "Our eyes are horizontal" etc.) and ad-hominem attacks ("Your video will suck," "George Lucas will re-make Star Wars AGAIN.", etc.) Haters of vertical videos often cite this video. It is cute, well produced, and has over 7 million views on YouTube. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

For a more complete history of the arguments pro and con about vertical videos, see: "Gunfight at the V.V. Corral: the shootout over vertical video," my June 2016 guest post on the onlinejournalism blog.

The Numberlys (2013) Awarded Awarded

Directed by: William Joyce and Brandon Oldenberg

Length: 11 minutes 30 seconds.

This is an excerpt, the complete video is not available online to my knowledge.

The most celebrated vertical video to date, The Numberlys, an eleven and one-half minute film in vertical aspect ratio, directed by Brandon Oldenberg and William Joyce—two award winning film and video creators, is based on the video game of the same name. On November 5, 2014 it was included in the list of semi-finalists for the 87th Annual Oscar for Animated Shorts. (It did not make the short list.) It was screened at several US film festivals throughout 2014. It was also featured at the 1st Vertical Film Festival. US screenings (and associated awards) included:

West Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion (2013)

Filmed by: Derrick Hurtt

Length: 1 minute 45 seconds.

Filmed in situ by Derrick Hurtt, this video was uploaded to YouTube in 2013. It captures the explosion of a fertilizer plant. Matching in intensity the pyrotechnics of the special effects of a feature film, this is a real event. This version is the original vertical video. Another version, with baked in pillor-boxing was viewed over 24 million times, you can see that one here if you like. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Heaven (2013)

Directed by: Miriam Ruth Ross

Length: 7 minutes 25 seconds.

Produced by Vertical Cinema Productions, Miriam Ross's first vertical video, Heaven was filmed on a smartphone with a DIY rig. A fairly long piece by contemporary vertical video standards at 7+ minutes, she experimented with the frame in such scenes as the airplane landing and the angular shot of a tall building. Compare to Erik Schmitt's first vertical effort: Santamaria done 3 years later. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

The Adventures of Eddie the Cat (2013)

Directed by: Miriam Ruth Ross & Alfeo Leotta

Length: 1 minute 4 seconds.

A more recent vertical video produced by Vertical Cinema Productions, The Adventures of Eddie the Cat was filmed with a DSLR rather than a smartphone. An attempt to closely mirror the YouTube asthetic, it is shorter, at just over one minute, and includes a nod to the YouTube memes of cats, contemporary culture (Dr. Who) and time-travel and complemented with (appropriately) intentionally shaky camera work. This piece was screened at the First Vertical Film Festival. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Everything I Can See from Here (2013)

Directed by: Sam Taylor & Bjorn Aschim

Length: 6 minutes 57 seconds.

Formatted in 3:4 aspect ratio rather than 9:16, this piece looks best on an iPad.

A game of football turns deadly as an uninvited player joins in. This piece was screened at the First Vertical Film Festival.

Everything I Can See From Here from The Line on Vimeo.

Door: Over The Threshold (2014) Awarded

Directed by: Matthew Gray

Length: 12 minutes.

This piece is just boring! It starts as basically a slide show of a bunch of doors and gradually adds some movement and talking heads. The framing is dreadful, it is slow and painful to watch. And this is the best (according to them) of the commissioned works! I cannot say that it is the worst vertical video I have ever seen (I've seen plenty of bad ones!,) but it's probably the worst that someone paid to have produced. Sausage.

In the slow opening of the giant door at 4:55, one of the few well framed scenes, compare the use of the foreground with the lack of foreground in the opening sequence of Girl (2016) and with Swimming in San Francisco (2015), at 30 sec. which uses similar proportions to this piece.

From the description:

12 mins, Documentary (WINNER - 'PORT DOOR' PRIZE 2014) Commissioned for the 9:16 Film Festival, Port Adelaide 2014


Doors. They fit the 9:16 frame quite well. But is that it? We pass through them every day. They may be ordinary or extraordinary. Some are utilitarian and plain, some are glorious and artistic. What is the origin and purpose of doors? And for someone who works with or around doors, what is their experience? Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Girl & Fish (2014) Awarded

Created by: Ana Maria Méndez Salgado & Carlos Manrique Clavijo

Length: 2 minutes 54 seconds.

Some basic 2D animation, the anthropomorphism thing just doesn't work for me. Drawing is nice enough, but I think this is overrated.

Girl & Fish was commissioned for the 9:16 Film Festival in 2014 and screened at the First Vertical Film Festival where it won the This Way Up 1st prize.

From the description:

On a lonely beach Fish flops desperately, trapped by a yoke of plastic rings. Girl sees him and lovingly releases him. Both are transformed. As time passes they're propelled on a desperate search for their unlikely love. Magic awaits them. Created by Ana Maria Méndez Salgado & Carlos Manrique Clavijo (Karu Karu Studio, Adelaide) (AU) (Commissioned by 9:16 Film Festival, Adelaide).

~ Girl & Fish (2014) ~ from Karu Karu on Vimeo.

Hilarious Southwest Flight Attendant (2014)

Length: 3 minutes 5 seconds.

Although nothing special in terms of framing, a single "stand-up comic" type monologue works fine in vertical. This one, with over 22 million views on YouTube was also featured on the Ellen Show, where comic/flight attendent Marty Cobb was awarded $10,000 by Ellen's sponsor Shutterfly. Here is the link to the YouTube original. And here is the screening on Ellen (complete with "professional" widescreen hocus-pocus) for another 2 million plus views.

Vic Dreams (2014)

Directed by: Miriam Ruth Ross

Length: 6 minutes 58 seconds.

Part of the Vertical Cinema Productions (New Zealand) experiments with vertical media. Originally produced for the New Zealand 48 Hours Filmmaking competition. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Tiger Snake Canyon (2014)

Directed by: Adam Sébire and Natasha Sébire

Length: 3 minutes 43 seconds.

Exhibiting great camera work and framing/perspective with a mountaineering orientation, this work was produced by Adam Sébire and Natasha Sébire co-directors of the Vertical Film Festival.

From the description:

Screened as part of The First Vertical Film Festival. Canyoning in the Blue Mountains' Tiger Snake Canyon one winter's day. Kalimba Music SaReGaMa Duration 3’44 Cameras Canon C100 & 7D, GoPro3

Tiger Snake Canyon from Vertical Film Festival on Vimeo.

London Builders in St Pancras (2014) Wurst

Directed by: Aziz Musa

Length: 3 minutes 50 seconds.

What is most interesting about this video is that it is a staged event. The "workers" are actors and the performance recorded by professionals. It is an attempt to capitalize on the "authenticity" of the vertical framing by making it look amateurish. You can read the report of this by Kyle Campbell here (Near the bottom).

It deserves a sausage for the intentionally poor filming and the attempt to con us.

Here is the link to the YouTube original. It was also uploaded to Facebook here (approximately 900K views.)

Born Hater (2014)

Music by: Epik High

Length: 5 minutes 35 seconds.

This music video garnered almost 9 million views. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Paper Cat (2014)

Filmed by: Lorie G

Length: 1 minute 17 seconds.

No retrospective of vertical video would be complete without a shaky camera, viral cat video. This one has over two million views on YouTube. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Buck Has the Hiccups (2015)

Filmed by: Matthew Kennelly

Length: 15 seconds.

Just so the puppy lovers don't feel left out, this video has 16 million views on YouTube. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Zehn Jahre - Dagobert (2015)

Directed by: Sebastian Tomczak

Length: 3 minutes 29 seconds.

This music video was shot with a 6K camera. The imagery is great. The tune catchy, even if you don't understand the German lyrics. Basically, a story of unrequited love. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Le poids de Mendel (2015)

Directed by: Marie-Hélène Panisset

Length: 7 minutes 2 seconds.

Le poids de Mendel was screened at the Second Vertical Film Festival in 2016.

From the description:

Shot in a vertical aspect ratio, this short film depicts a woman receiving a diagnosis for bipolar disorder. The vertical frame serves to convey the feeling of claustrophobia when one is faced with the cruelty of modern-day psychiatry which denies the human being any control over his/her destiny. With Judith Baribeau (Ariane), Frédéric Pierre (Lewis), Jean-Pierre Bergeron (Doctor), Benoit Rivest (Male Nurse), Daniel Parent (Other Patient). DOP: Marc Simpson Threlford, Montage/Picture Editing: Mathieu Demers, Musique/Score: Julien Knafo Écrit, réalisé et produit par / Written, Directed & Produced by: Marie-Hélène Panisset (Les Films de L'Hydre) Exec. Producer: Barbara Shrier (Palomar).

Le poids de Mendel / Defying Mendel (with English Subtitles) from Marie-Hélène Panisset on Vimeo.

Swimming in San Francisco (2015)

Directed by: Zena Barakat

Length: 48 seconds.

Exhibiting great camera work and framing/perspective, this work was produced by Zena Barakat, video journalist and former NYTimes video editor, while she was a Knight Fellow at Stanford studying vertical framing. For example, compare the foreground use at 30 sec. with the lack of foreground in the opening sequence of Girl (2016). The foreground in Door (2014) at 4:55 uses similar proportions to this piece.

From the description:

Mariana takes a dive into San Francisco's coast while training for the Wildflower Triathlon. This is my first vertical video, shot vertically with a Canon 5D.

Swimming in San Francisco from Zena Barakat on Vimeo.

Impact (2015) Awarded Awarded

Directed by: Jean-Charles Granjon

Length: 3 minutes 5 seconds.

An obvious tour de force, shot at high resolution and high speed, then shown in slow motion, that's about all there is here, clearly a meh.

From the description on Vimeo:

Impact tells the story of the mental journey of a high diver in the seconds before his jump. Impact is a world first in several respects: The vertical format – 4K – 1000fps slow-motion – the environment (underwater and cliffs). Impact is a team imaging adventure, directed by Jean-Charles Granjon and shot in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southeast France. This is thus a condensed reflection of the cinematic expertise of Marseille, southeast France. Lionel Franc, world champion cliff diver head first is the "hero" of Impact.

Impact was the jury prize winner of the MIP-TV vertical video contest in 2016. Impact was screened at the Second Vertical Film Festival in 2016 and won the This Way Up competition there.

IMPACT from Bluearth production on Vimeo.

Guy annoys girlfriend with puns at Ikea (2015)

Filmed by: Simon Gilmore

Length: 2 minutes 3 seconds.

Filmed using the Snapchat app, this video was uploaded to YouTube in 2015. There is nothing redeeming about this piece, it is just a bunch of bad puns, clearly sausage. The main reason it is included is popularity. It has over 9 million views on YouTube. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Code Breaker (2015) Awarded Wurst

Directed by: Emma Northey & Stephen Roedel

Length: 3 minutes 33 seconds.

This video was uploaded in vertical format by the directors in June 2016.

This is just a bunch of random abstract moving images. Sausage. (compare to: Sima Kim music video.)

From the description:

3 mins | Experimental (WINNER - 'PORT DOOR' PRIZE 2015) Screened as part of the 2015 Adelaide Film Festival's program "9:16 - A Showcase of Vertical Cinema"


Images that throb and hum. Sounds in radiant, pulsing Technicolor. The filmic collaboration, between animator and sound artist, as an act of synesthesia: signals become light, noise becomes movement. Here is the link to the YouTube vertical original.

Girl Crush - MAMAMOO (2015)

Length: 2 minutes 8 seconds.

With over 1 million views on YouTube, Girl Crush rates a mention.

From the description:

MAMAMOO, who became the most popular girl group, makes another 'Girl Crush' with the Game OST.

MAMAMOO, who became the most popular girl group with their successful mini album 'Pink Funky', is now strengthening its position by releasing a surprise game OST album. MAMAMOO, who was selected as a model of the new mobile RPG 'Innisia Nest' made by Entermate, participated in the game OST as well.

The 'Innisia Nest OST [Girl Crush]' which was released on the website at noon on 16th created the optimal song for MAMAMOO, for MAMAMOO's unique retro style as well as bright and positive energy. By properly mixing the keywords for the game and issues with the 'Girl Crush', the common keyword for both 'Innisia Nest' and 'MAMAMOO', as a motif, the cheerful song is more than OST while presenting fun to listen to.

Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Slow Moscow (2015) Awarded

Directed by: Julien Aubert

Length: 6 minutes.

Filmed using the Snapchat app, Slow Moscow is the story of a couple set in Moscow. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Slow Moscow was the popularity prize winner of the MIP-TV vertical video contest in 2016.

Refugee Crisis: A Snapchat documentary - BBC News (2015)

Filmed by: John Sweeney

Length: 9 minutes 32 seconds.

In early 2015, the video journalism community began a debate about the use of vertical video. Due in large part by the introduction of the Snapchat Discover section and the strong emphasis on the format by the management of Snapchat. Later in the year, some significant pieces, such as this one, were released in vertical format. This one is further interesting as it was filmed with the Snapchat app by a video professional.

From the description on YouTube:

BBC's Panorama reporter John Sweeney joined thousands of refugees making the journey from the Greek island of Kos to the Hungarian border with Austria. He met families fleeing conflict and terror in Syria, refugees separated from their loved ones, children, the old and sick being forced to march to safety. Among this tide of humanity, he also found economic migrants seeking a better life in northern Europe and he asked, with winter on the way, is the crisis about to claim even more lives? (Produced by Ravin Sampat Sept 2015)

***This documentary was filmed for use on Snapchat app and therefore has been optimised for use on smartphone devices***

Here is the link to the YouTube version. It was also archived on Facebook.

Electric Skateboard Manhattan (2015)

Directed by: Sam Sheffer

Length: 2 minutes 49 seconds.

Produced for Mashable's Snapchat Discover channel, there is a lot that I like about the framing and camera work in this piece. Shot with three cameras, two GoPros, one on the helmet and one on the board, plus a DSLR on a "selfie stick," I particularly like the shadow shots. Here is the link to the original Mashable article.

French Flight Instructions (2015)

Uploaded by: TM'z Veterinary Clinic

Length: 2 minutes 26 seconds.

Flying home from the fabulous TPLO conference.... We had the best in flight crew on West Jet. Laughed so hard. Only had a chance to video the French portion of the pre flight instructions ! Enjoy, we certainly did !

Posted by TM'z Veterinary Clinic on Satarrrday, Arrrrgust 1, 2015

This video has 10 million views on Facebook.

From the Facebook page: Flying home from the fabulous TPLO conference.... We had the best in flight crew on West Jet. Laughed so hard. Only had a chance to video the French portion of the pre flight instructions ! Enjoy, we certainly did !

Link to the Facebook original.

Highway #1 (2015)

Produced by: Verly

Length: 2 minutes 11 seconds.

This video uses a drone camera, obviously. Nice, especially the launch. It was archived on the Vervid app, where at around 20 thousand views, it was the most popular video, until Vervid went belly up in mid-2016. Verly is a company that now or formerly supports the buying and selling of vertical video clips. (Here is the depricated link to the Vervid version on the web.) Here it is on Vimeo (with many fewer views):

Vertical Video Highway 1 from Jakub Gorajek on Vimeo.

Stanley's Mouth (2015)

Directed by: Mike Retter

Produced by: Allison Chhorn

Length: 51 minutes and 3 seconds

Stanley's Mouth is a feature length vertical video that premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival in Australia in October 2015. It was uploaded to YouTube in November 2016.

Available on YouTube in pillorboxed and "sideways" (fullscreen rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise.)

Portraits (Official 2016 Jeep Super Bowl Commercial) (2016)

Length: 1 minute 6 seconds.

In 2016, a vertical video hit the holy grail of advertising, the US Superbowl. This piece, produced in an unusual 7.7 by 9 aspect ratio by the Iris Worldwide Ad Agency in New York, not only screened, but won the Super Clio prize for best ad. Reviews in Adweek, Wired, etc. mostly praised it. At 20M+ views in real time during the TV showing and with millions more on YouTube, it is arguably the most widely seen vertical video to date.

Here is the link to the YouTube version.

Leo Volkov Winner Wind Games 2016 (2016)

Length: 2 minutes 29 seconds.

This two and 1/2 minute amateur video is a great example of vertical framing. One and 1/4 million views on YouTube. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Panda Eating Popsicle (2016)

Uploaded by: Shanghaiist

Length: 33 seconds.

Simply a panda eating a popsicle with 66 million views on facebook.

Link to the Facebook original.

Run and Run/Lyrical School (2016)

Length: 3 minutes 47 seconds.

Exhibiting an interesting perspective of appearing to be a phone app, this music video attracted over 1 million views on Vimeo, which is quite an accomplishment on that platform!

A "Staff Pick" on Vimeo.

RUN and RUN / lyrical school 【MV for Smartphone】 from RUNandRUN_lyrisch on Vimeo.

8-bit Snapchat (2016)

Directed by: Joe Penna

Length: 1 minute 25 seconds.

Filmed using the Snapchat app, "Here's what can be done with some fruits, Snapchat, and a LOT of free time." Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Santamaria (2016)

Directed by: Erik Schmitt

Length: 4 minutes 42 seconds.

One of the better things to come out of the Nespresso Talents contest was not by a competetor but a judge. This piece was commissioned and well created, both the story and technically. At 16 thousand views on YouTube, it had more views than any of the competetors did.

This is clearly a first vertical video by a skilled filmmaker. Lots (probably too much) of play with the vertical frame. Compare to Heaven, Miriam Ross's first vertical film.

From the description:

Erik Schmitt is one of the Jury Member. Since he started to work in the film business, Erik has produced a whole range of highly visual, often unconventional short films (“Now Follows”, German Short Film Award, in 2011, “Rhino Full Throttle”, 2013 & premiered at the Berlinale). Currently Erik is working on writing a feature film, with support from Wim Wenders and his foundation. Erik is recognized as future key players in the film industry and has been commissioned to create a vertical film to inspire short content creators to enter the contest.

Here is the link to the YouTube original.

An Ordinary Life (2016)

Directed by: Lidia Sheinin

Length: 2 minutes.

One of three winners of the Nespresso Talents search for cheap advertising video. Meh.

From the description:
When thinking about telling the story in vertical format, I strongly felt that each shot has to have a built-in justification for being vertical – both in it’s meaning and form. Why is this particular shot vertical? Why is the whole story vertical? Having to ask this questions pushed me to think of every single frame in a much more attentive way, which was a great challenge and joy at the same time. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Scars (2016)

Directed by: Fran Najera

Length: 1 minute 42 seconds.

One of three winners of the Nespresso Talents search for cheap advertising video. As someone who has worn a beard for forty years, I empathised with this piece. No particularly interesting use of the vertical frame however.

From the description:
Through life we suffer and we get hurt and that creates emotional scars. Accept them and observe them make us stronger in our experience. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Decollo Verticale (2016)

Directed by: Italo Draperi

Length: 3 minutes 2 seconds.

One of three winners of the Nespresso Talents search for cheap advertising video. No particularly interesting use of the vertical frame here.

From the description:
The vertical format is sometimes ignored because it looks like a mistake or an “amateur” thing, but it is exactly from this kind of “mistakes” that new point of view are born.. Here is the link to the YouTube original.


Directed by: Megan K. Fox

Length: 3 minutes.

Girl was among the finalists in the Nespresso Talents Contest but was not a winner. In my opinion, however, it was best of show. It was screened at the 2nd Vertical Film Festival and "Die Erste Vertikale" as well. Compare the lack of foreground use in the introductory scene with the foreground use in Swimming in San Francisco (2015) at 30 sec or Door (2014) at 4:55.

From the description:

'Girl' is a short experimental drama about a young homeless woman who spends her days chasing "that feeling". We shot the film in vertical format to make audiences think about the space that these marginalised characters occupy in our society as well as on our screens. Made with the support of O2 Think Big.

Natalia Kostrzewa as GIRL
Written & Directed by Megan K. Fox
Cinematography by Ben Calloway
Make-Up by Hannah Hubbard

GIRL from Megan K Fox on Vimeo.

UW Madison Snapchat Love Story (2016)

Produced by: Snapchat (Live Stories)

Length: 4 minutes 25 seconds.

Filmed using the Snapchat app and mixed/edited by the Snapchat Live Story team, this is the story of two strangers meeting at the UW Madison campus with help from what seems like every Snapchatter on campus. Over 2 million views on YouTube on the account of The Tab, a multi-campus online news site.

If You Feel Like Me - Sima Kim(2016)

Produced by: Meltmirror

Length: 2 minutes 57 seconds.

A "Staff Pick" on Vimeo.

Similar to Code Breaker, this music video features abstract moving images that are much more sophisticated than those in Code Breaker. Produced in 3:4 aspect ratio, this piece will look best fullscreen on an iPad or other 3x4 device.

Music by Sima Kim, Video by MELTMIRROR, Taken from "You Won't Find My Punchlines" EP.

Sima Kim - “If You Feel Like Me” (Official Video) from MELTMIRROR on Vimeo.

Sickhouse (2016)

Directed by: Hannah Macpherson

Length: 1 hour 8 minutes

Shot with the Snapchat app, Sickhouse is a feature length (68 minutes) vertical video, first posted to Vimeo On Demand in May 2016.

From the description on Vimeo:

Stealth launched on Snapchat and experienced by millions, Sickhouse, a "made for mobile" horror thriller produced by Indigenous Media, starring digital superstars Andrea Russett and Sean O’Donnell, is now available as a Director's Cut only on Vimeo. About a group of social media obsessed friends that journey into the woods to explore the lore of Sickhouse, viewers are led on a ride that has unexpected consequences for all involved, including the audience. Written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Hannah Macpherson, Sickhouse was originally shot over five days; the journey of the main characters occurred in real time, blurring the lines of truth and fiction. The "made for mobile" Director's Cut includes substantial additional footage.

SICKHOUSE -- The Made for Mobile Movie from Indigenous Media on Vimeo.

Stop Making Murders Famous (2016)

Directed by: Max Stossel & Sander van Dijk

Length: 3 minutes 52 seconds.

This video is another in the trend of making videos that look like an app running on a mobile screen, in this case it looks like a Facebook news feed. A Vimeo "Staff Pick."

Stop Making Murders Famous from Max Stossel on Vimeo.

Wilderlove - John Mark McMillan (2016)

Directed by: Jared Hogan

Length: 4 minutes 38 seconds.

Directed by Jared Hogan Produced by Nicole Irene Dyck Art Directed by Eric Hurtgen Cinematography by Kody Zenger Edited by Jared Hogan Color Graded by John Carrington Compositing by Brock Gregor Audio Playback Christian Stropko Production Assistant Jakub Blank, Kaley Yonally, Winnie Hogan

John Mark McMillan "Wilderlove" (Official Music Video) from jared hogan on Vimeo.

Feel Good - Gibbz (2016)

Directed by: Brendan Leahy

Length: 3 minutes 48 seconds.

This music video from the album "Above Water" by Gibbz is an execellent use of vertical framing targeted at a mobile device. Unlike several that try to mimic a smartphone app, this uses the vertical scrolling that we all do as its primary visual effect. Very nice. Directed by: Brendan Leahy DP: Andres Reynoso from Studio Skylight The Band is - Sax: James Casey, Guitar: Eric "Doc" Mendelson, Bass: Zach Abramson, Drums: Max Almario. Also available on YouTube.

AJXXXI Chicago Defy City Film (2016)

Directed by: Coodie & Chike

Length: 9 minutes 12 seconds.

Executive Producer: Slim Cinema. Sponsored by Nike Air Jordon, this documentary is about shooting hoops in Chicago. Great use of the vertical frame, skyscrapers and basketball. See on YouTube here.

The Diago-Drama (2016)

Director: Will Carne

Length: 4 minutes 37 seconds.

This student film from Ravensbourn University London is so meta. A diagonal frame in a horizontal frame in a vertical frame. As Dr. Freddie Gaffney says at the end: "brilliant." Director of Photography: Louise Adair, Editor: Zack Holmes, Sound design: Tal Stone. Here is the link to the YouTube original.

Bird Murderer (2016) Awarded

Directed by: Evan Moore

Length: 3 minutes 10 seconds.

Created for the Nespresso Talents contest, this film was screened at the second Veritcal Film Festival in May, Virtifilm in November, and Slim Cinema Film Festival in December 2016. It was the audience choice at both Vertifilm and Slim Cinema.

from Hotcakes Creative on Vimeo.


Picture credits: Cover photos: Left photo, from the screening of "Vertical Cinema" at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. Photo Pieter Kers I Center photo, from the poster for "Vertical Media Workshop," Victoria University of Wellington, Photo Miriam Ross. Right photo, from the "VertiFilms" Festival Prague, Photo Krystof Šafer. All other photos are stills from the respective video.