Portrait Format Videos

Over Thanksgiving, I got into a big kerfuffle with my kids and younger family members about the “wrongness” of shooting video in portrait format on smartphones. “Well, it is meant to be watched on the phone,” they argued. To which I replied that there are generally more interesting things to look at to the left and right of subjects of video than above and below. With portrait videos, we see lots of floors, ceilings, sky, backs of people’s heads at concerts, and so forth. But if you shoot a landscape video at a concert, a football game, a family gathering, you can see more of what is going on, rather than these static, uninteresting things.

Today I am looking at students’ final projects. The assignment is one that I borrowed from a book I read somewhere but the book’s title is long forgotten. The assignment is simply called, “Impress Me” and is open to interpretation on how to go about the task of impressing the course professor. (See the details of the assignment I gave at the end of this post.) One student decided to submit a video editing project of the various concerts they attended during the past year.

Unfortunately, my industrious student did not get the memo about my stance on portrait-oriented videos. The entire thing was filmed and edited in portrait form! Oh, my eyes! Ok, it isn’t that bad, but I really do struggle with this new paradigm of video making. To me it ranks right up there with our tendency to abbreviate and “leetspeak” everything. I’m looking at you Mtn Dew!

I find it really interesting that old-fashioned cameras, point and shoot, SLRs or even video camcorders came with a built-in landscape orientation but few people using these old school cameras ever bothered to rotate their point and shoot camera 90 degrees to take a portrait style photograph. Now we have portrait oriented phones and few folks bother to rotate their phone 90 degrees to record a landscape style video. It is just fascinating. To me, it is one indicator that separates a novice from someone with some expertise.

So just for future reference, try using portrait form to shoot a portrait photograph or to paint a portrait, but use landscape form to record most of the videos you ever want a grateful audience to view at some point.

Now about that assignment…

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Impress Me Assignment

Use the next two weeks to complete an impressive project that showcases your new media skills. The work should reflect the fact that it is a final project developed over multiple weeks.

Option 1) Using your digital media skills I want you to “Impress Me.”

  • This is an open-ended assignment that is actually impressive and is the culmination of a semester’s worth of digital media work.
  • Be certain you know your audience (the professor) and that what you propose to do that will impress this audience. (Hint: I seriously won’t be impressed if you try to knock this out the day before it is due.)
  • How will you know? Do some research. Ask some questions. It is ill-advised to attempt this option while flying blind.
  • Create a reflective summary post of your work discussing your design process and related decision making and submit to this assignment.
  • Invite others to view your work on Social Media using the #digme256 and #ds106 tags.

Option 2) This is also an “Impress Me” assignment, but with more structure

  • Imagine a fictional, knock-off brand based upon a real brand in the food industry. This was done in the film ‘Coming To America’ starring Eddie Murphy, with McDowell’s instead of McDonald’s. You many  not use McDowells or any parody of McDonalds. I’m just showing you this as an example of a knock-off brand.McDowell's Restaurant
    • Design a logo for this new “knock off” company. It should be sufficiently original to qualify as your own work. It should be sufficiently similar to a real company logo that it would undoubtedly result in a lawsuit should anyone be foolish enough to try to start up such a company and use this logo.
    • Create a series of five animated GIFs that your knock off company would use in a social media campaign. For inspiration, refer to the Denny’s blog.
    • Release your series of GIFs over time, at least an hour or two apart, if not over the course of several days.
    • Create a reflective summary post of your work discussing your design process and related decision making and submit to this assignment.

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