Why Mobile-Responsive Video Design Matters

For creators, brands or anyone who avidly shares video online, it’s incredibly important to always think about the viewer first.

Video is the most engaging and natural form of communication in the world. It is also the most effective form of creative self-expression. It enables people to convey a message with an incredible amount of emotion that is unavailable through other forms of communication. It provides an engaging consumption experience unlike any other.

Video creation is an art, and its consumption is now accelerating rapidly due to exponential growth of mobile devices. For creators, brands or anyone who avidly shares video online, it’s incredibly important to always think about the viewer first.

Video creators often ask themselves one all-important question: How can I provide the viewer a better, more immersive and more engaging video experience? There are a lot of factors that come into play when answering this question, but there’s one that has certainly passed us all by. It happens to be the most obvious of them all, and the most important.

There’s been a rapidly growing trend among video viewers. That trend is full-screen, portrait video or, in other words, just video shot naturally on an iPhone. Snapchat, imDown and Periscope have made people feel more comfortable shooting video with their phones. Filming and viewing video on a phone this way just feels right. There’s a clear indication based on mobile consumption habits that something is broken with mobile video viewing.

As technology has advanced, we have always adapted video content to the evolution of video screens, but this was broken when smartphones came around. Imagine watching portrait video on a television and having to rotate your TV vertically to fix the experience.

The vast majority of mobile viewers are not turning their phones. They’re watching tiny video in the middle of their screens with huge black bars above and below it. Traditional landscape video isn’t meant to be consumed on mobile devices. It’s a broken experience, and we need to focus on enhancing it for viewers in order to keep them engaged and grab their attention.

Companies such as Snapchat and imDown have shown the world that FSV (full-screen, vertical) video is more engaging on mobile devices because they’re providing viewers with content that captures the entirety of their screen, not just a tiny third of it. This rising video format will become a new common medium, which makes it an exciting time in the evolution of video. It’s evident that this is the video format our devices were always meant to embrace. There are two solutions to creating an enhanced mobile viewing experience for viewers on a global scale: FSV and Responsive Video.

Video has always been optimized for televisions and desktop computers. Creators, brands and companies should be focused on enhancing mobile video storytelling and start building with a mobile-first approach for enhancing user experience. Not only that, but users are now expecting video to be optimized for mobile viewing.

Brands and creators already manage a plethora of video and will more than likely consider having mobile versions of those videos the next time they share to Facebook or YouTube. Both of those platforms now both support full-screen, vertical formats that enhance the viewing experience for consumers. It is now worth understanding the fundamentals of Responsive Video Design to increase engagement with content. We’re all looking to gain the attention of viewers, but the answer doesn’t lie in pouring more and more dollars into impressions. We have to gain attention by providing a fundamentally better experience.

So, what is Responsive Video Design?

Responsive Video Design allows a video to be edited in a way that “responds” to the screen that it is being viewed on.

One example is allowing video to be transformed into a mobile-first format by selecting critical points of interest from a landscape video. This is done by panning a landscape video to focus on important subject matter that fits into the frame. This allows the mobile viewer to experience a new mobile-friendly portrait video that still delivers the intended message of the original video but in a much more immersive fashion that fills the screen.

Responsive Video Design is a method of video design that is focused on providing an optimal user experience while watching video, regardless of the screen that is used to watch it. Video creators can achieve this by creating mobile versions that accompany each of their videos.

How did FSV video design come about?

Every video in the world needs a mobile counterpart in order to increase engagement and meet the expectations of viewers. Everyone seeks the attention of consumers, but the answer lies in creating better content that adapts to the device it’s being watched on. We shouldn’t be pouring more and more dollars into impressions. We have to gain attention by providing a fundamentally better experience.

There is, however, an important distinction between FSV video and Responsive Video. FSV video refers to the way the video is captured while being shot. FSV keeps portrait aspect ratios in mind while filming. Filming in FSV format requires a creator to film with mobile viewers in mind from the moment they begin filming. Filming in FSV differs from Responsive Video because FSV is a whole new video medium.

Whereas Responsive Video is about simply adapting already-existing video content into mobile-friendly versions. FSV is the mobile video medium of the next generation, and it’s not going anywhere. Responsive video is the bridge to reach it.

Responsive Video Design will become the standard for adapting last generation’s videos, and as it becomes the rule rather than the exception, mobile-first approaches to video design, such as shooting in FSV, will be sure to grow in popularity.

Jose Llorens is the founder and CEO of video-creation company imDown.

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock.