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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 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 now owns a smartphone.
Image Credit: Rego Korosi/Flickr