What do humanity’s evolution and video format have in common? To try to stand upright, to lift the mess, to get noticed.

The rise of vertical screen devices and vertical video content is the latest evolution in terms of video format. It is effective, it has an impact.

Most digital videos are already watched on mobile devices, and even though people practically never turn their devices to one side, many marketing experts continue to make the videos horizontally.

These experts are losing the significant and engaging power of vertical video, which according to a Facebook research increases the growth of the brand and is five times more appreciated than traditional videos to watch with the audio on.


Origins of the vertical format

Nam June Paik, the father of video art, has often experimented with the vertical format; in particular with his installation of The Egg Grows in 1984. He literally turned the horizontal 4: 3 screens vertically to amplify the message of growth.

In 2005, Bill Viola, a pioneer of new media art, created works that combine filmed images and music in what he calls “total environments” that wrap the viewer in images and sounds.


Here the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4YwCqErNcI


More recently, in 2012 the Muppets chose the direction of portrait videos and mocked it as a silly “Vertical video syndrome”. At 1: 21 minutes of the video linked below they explain how YouTube will adapt to the vertical: they show four vertical videos at the same time, just to save bandwidth.

This sketch showed that digital platforms and social networks should adapt to the vertical format and exponential increase in data traffic caused by video consumption.

Oddly, YouTube finally adapted its player to vertical videos in December 2017.

Here the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dechvhb0Meo


Switch between 16: 9 and 9:16 aspect ratio


The number of screens in the era in which we live is skyrocketing. Many channels require different formats, the context changes based on where and when the content is offered.

This is a challenge for artists and content producers who have to decide how to distribute production budgets. Most of the videos are still made for traditional channels – TV, etc. – with the idea of reusing mobile screens.

Only 14% say that video creativity is typically developed primarily for mobile platforms which is low in relation to the importance of content.

It is also true that we are already used to reading content in portrait mode, just think of a simple book, and we are now also used to taking photos in portrait format. If we take a small step back, we realize that although the first televisions were in 4: 3 format they evolved up to 16: 9, a format created just to amaze the consumer

by widening the screen. Today the vertical format proposes the opposite; a 9:16 that significantly reduces the frame by preferring a focus on fewer elements.


More and more short films are proposed to festivals in the vertical format and this trend seems to be on the rise. Have born even events dedicated entirely to the exploitation of this format.

The Verticalmovie Festival has reached its third edition and poses a revolution in the audiovisual world: the vertical format.


Conceived and artistically directed by Salvatore Marino, organized to integrate A.C. and Maurizio Ninfa of interproject event s.r.l . The idea was immediately embraced by a group of performing artists such as screenwriters, directors, film editors, producers. VerticalMovie is a container that provides skills and professionalism to create a production center of exclusively vertical content for the web.

From this communion of purpose the first international vertical audiovisual festival was born.


Here the festival website where you can view the works of past editions


In this context, Baburka also supported the short film ‘Letizia’ written and directed by Romeo Vincenzo De Nicola and shot entirely in vertical format. The seven minute work tells the complexity and charm of old age. To experiment with this medium, the director chose the language of the documentary and decided to do it by interviewing a person whom he had known in his artistic career and who had deeply impressed him.

In fact, what allows you to make the vertical format at the expense of the horizontal one at 16: 9, is to focus attention on a few elements. In this case, the elderly protagonist.

‘Letizia’ is the story of a life that shows how beauty is not a concept linked to the aesthetic sphere, because you can be fascinating even at ninety-seven years old.