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I went to a gig recently — a big, loud rock festival. And as the headliner walked out on stage to the audience roar, thousands of phones were lifted to capture the precious first moments. And it was there in the depths of the moving crowd that I made an (admittedly) pretty dry filmmaking observation.

The phones lit up by the younger diehards at the front of the crowd were all recording vertically. Bar none. But the further back you looked into the sea of people, the more phones you could see held aloft, often double handed, in landscape mode. The generational gap was playing out in realtime around me. And let’s be honest, when we say ‘gap’ it’s people born just 10 years apart… 

Over the course of a single generation social media has totally altered our filming and viewing behaviours. Rather than boxy TVs, the younger generations have grown up with phones and vertical video. And they’re complete natives creating and consuming content in that way. Initially it felt strange to film content professionally for this format alone and we were hesitant to finish a shoot day without a 16:9 version in the can – but the stats really speak for themselves.

Vertical video has been shown to increase engagement and retention rates, with some studies reporting up to a 90% completion rate for vertical videos compared to 20-30% for horizontal videos. So if you’re treating vertical video as an afterthought, or a ‘nice to have’, you could be losing out on huge amounts of audience traction and engagement. 

From the meteoric rise of Snapchat and TikTok, through to the introduction of Youtube Shorts and Instagram Reels, the new(er) video format has infiltrated every major social platform. Which in turn has encouraged users to film more content, rewarding their vertical video with better spots in the algorithm. 

So if your brand is looking to connect with a younger audience, don’t miss out on all those key connections simply because you went with the wrong video format.

Check out our latest vertical video work shooting jaw-dropping classic cars for Brownes’ Metalcraft.


Dan has been in the engine room of video production and marketing agencies over the last 10 years, delivering content, campaigns and strategies for some of Australia’s most well-known brands - and some fun, feisty challengers.

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