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YouTube Admits Vertical Videos Are Here to Stay

Dave Parrack 30-07-2018

The YouTube website now adapts to the aspect ratio of the video it’s playing. The idea is to provide you, the viewer, with the best possible viewing experience. But it also means YouTube admitting that vertical videos are here to stay. Sadly.

Vertical Video Syndrome

For decades video was shot in landscape mode, because our eyes are positioned next to one another, and TVs and PCs were designed to accommodate that. And then along came the smartphone with its vertical design. And people started shooting vertical videos.

For a time many of us fought this, even naming it Vertical Video Syndrome. But the battle is over, and the vertical video brigade won. Instagram’s IGTV Instagram Launches IGTV to Rival YouTube IGTV is the next stage of Instagram's evolution, and an obvious attempt to compete with YouTube. So here's everything you need to know about IGTV... Read More actually insists on vertical video, and now YouTube is admitting defeat by getting rid of those black bars.

YouTube Removes the Bars

On the YouTube Help Forum, a community manager announced that “the YouTube video player on desktop […] now automatically adapts to provide the best viewing experience based on the video’s size (aspect ratio) and your computer’s screen/browser size.”

This has been the case on YouTube’s mobile apps—on Android and on iOS—for some time, but the update is now live on desktop too. Which means that whether you’re watching a YouTube video on mobile or desktop you should no longer see black bars.

Instead of black bars, YouTube will try to expand the video to fill the available space. If this isn’t possible, which is the case with videos shot vertically on smartphones, white space will fill the voids on either side. Which is a lot less jarring on the eyes.

Some YouTubers are complaining that the update means parts of their videos are being cut off, and the change in aspect ratio is adversely affecting the quality. However, unfortunately for the whiners, there is currently no way to disable this feature.

Smartphones Ruined Everything

This is a sad day for those of us old enough to remember the fight back against vertical videos. But the current generation of youngsters has grown up believing vertical video is fine, thank you very much, because everyone except this guy Why This Technology Blogger Does Not Own a Smartphone [Opinion] "Do you have a smartphone yet?" It's a question my friends ask often, and it's a reasonable one to ask. I make my entire living writing about technology, explaining how to use software and interviewing... Read More now owns a smartphone.

Image Credit: Rego Korosi/Flickr

Related topics: Online Video, YouTube.

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  1. new tech you
    August 2, 2018 at 11:44 am

    very helpful article sir
    Now read this topic in hindi

  2. Badusername2000
    August 1, 2018 at 4:56 am

    This update has ruined anything shot in the old proper widescreen as well, it takes those black bars out and it looks weird, youtube fix it

  3. Fik of the borg
    July 31, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    No amount of webpage redesign will fit a maximized vertical video on an horizontal monitor, in fact most smartphone video players just change to landscape when going fullscreen. What if they were to do the same on a wide computer monitor with a swiveling base? For that matter, HUMAN EYES ARE SIDE TO SIDE, not one above the other: there is no swiveling there to be had (without causing neck injury).
    But considering from the content generation side of the process, couldn't video recording apps force landscape mode before starting to record? This feature could be disabled in the rare cases a vertical video is desirable, but returning to the landscape default after recording each video.

  4. Mark
    July 31, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    And I suppose that GoPros and other like devices will eventually add a vertical video mode, and soon we will have TVs that can be rotated 90 degrees to accommodate those people that don't know how to shoot a video in a proper aspect ratio...can't wait to see the movie industry adopt the VV format so I can watch them in a movie theatre.

  5. tl13
    July 31, 2018 at 4:12 am

    Vertical phones that have vertical screens that shoot vertical videos are just what reality is in 2018 and no amount of dinosaur bellyaching is going to change that.

  6. William Spell Jr
    July 31, 2018 at 2:05 am

    Here's an idea...turn your phones SIDEWAYS!

    • dragonmouth
      July 31, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      Drives me up the wall when TV programs show video-clips recorded on smartphones. Why own a 60"+ TV when a picture will be shown on only the center 12"?! It's like looking at the video through a key hole. On second thought, it's not surprising. Most smartphone owners don't even know what a "keyhole" is, let alone looked through one.