Motorola Has Had Enough of Your Vertical Videos

Motorola Has Had Enough of Your Vertical Videos

Smartphones are naturally held in a portrait orientation, which naturally leads to videos being filmed in portrait orientation. Motorola is seeking to change that with their newest phone.

Vertical videos are ok for consumption on phones and horrible for consumption literally anywhere else. However, you can't really blame people (particularly nonprofessionals) for not always thinking to turn the phone before they start filming. Motorola is seeking to fix that problem with the new Moto One Action phone, which has a triple rear camera module with some interesting features. The first camera is a fairly standard 12-megapixel shooter. The second is a five-megapixel depth camera to assist with things like artificial bokeh effects. It's the third camera that's the most interesting, however: a 16-megapixel "action camera" that only captures video outputted at four megapixels. What's most intriguing, however, is that the camera is rotated 90 degrees in its housing, meaning it shoots landscape videos when the phone is held in portrait orientation. 

This isn't the first camera with such an orientation; the Fuji GA645 was also rotated 90 degrees to shoot portrait orientation photos when the camera was held normally, but as far as I know, this is the first camera phone to do this. It looks like an interesting option for photo and video-focused users! 

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Black Z Eddie .'s picture


Ps. I love it when FS articles combat each other:

Alex Yakimov's picture

I like it as well. Just giving a compelling overview of major alternatives and inviting the reader to be the judge, I guess.

Gion-Andri Derungs's picture

At least Alex Cook not added a video this time...

Logan Cressler's picture

Move the location of the cameras from the top left corner, where your hand has to go to film properly, to the center or center top. Then people can hold a phone like you would a camera without covering the lens.

Matt Williams's picture

Um, that's a terrible idea. Then the camera would be covered by your hand if you are taking a photo - especially taking it one-handed, which many people do. An extreme corner is the best and most logical position.

I'm not sure why you're even covering your lens in the first place - just turn the camera counterclockwise - the lens is now in the top left.... and you have no issues. If you're for some reason turning it clockwise so the camera is on the bottom, then, well... don't do that.

Putting it in the center, though, is the worst possible idea. If you want something out of the way, you put it at an extreme - not in the middle.

Adriano Brigante's picture

"Putting it in the center, though, is the worst possible idea."
Like on almost every camera ever?

"If you want something out of the way, you put it at an extreme - not in the middle."
When I shoot in landscape, I hold my phone with one hand at each end. How the hell do you hold yours?

Matt Williams's picture

Cameras are TOTALLY different. You have a grip on the right - which can allow you to shoot one handed if you want sometimes - and, more properly, you can then hold the camera under the lens or the lens barrel itself. A phone has no protruding lens. And many people shoot video/photos with phones single-handed.

When I shoot in landscape, I hold my phone with one hand at each end too. Not difficult at all with a corner lens...

Grip right side ("bottom" of phone") and grip left side with two fingers (which would be under the lens or on the "left" side of the phone).

Literally see NO advantage to the lens being in the center for a landscape orientation, but I see TONS of issues with it (using it in vertically would then be very difficult - you'd have less area to grip and would have to hold the top and bottom or something weird.

Logan Cressler's picture

I have never once, in my entire life, held my phone by gripping it around the center when trying to take a picture. Perhaps that is what I am doing wrong. Does everyone else just grab it in the center of the phone? I thought I did it like most people, and grabbed it along the edge (you know, where the camera is located).

Matt Williams's picture

I don't grip it around the center.

I explained: in landscape orientation, I grip it at each end (left and right, which would normally be the top and bottom of the camera). I just grip a little lower on one side to not cover the lens.

If the lens was in the center, you'd have a far greater chance of blocking it.

If you want to avoid something, you put it at some extreme - not in the middle. In an extreme corner, you have the entire rest of the area free. Camera in the center and you have to work around it.

Not to mention, due to the orientation of the sensor, a center-lens would still not solve vertical video. So I'm not sure how it would even address that issue. That's why this phone has a separate camera with a sensor oriented 90 degrees.

Logan Cressler's picture

So then my question remains. If you are not gripping the phone around the center, how does putting the lens in the center of the phone make it blockable? If you are gripping on the edges of the phone, how do you block the center? You have a far greater chance of blocking the camera if you are holding it by the edges, and the lens is on the edge.

You are saying that holding it on the edges blocks the center. It just doesnt make any sense at all.

Holding it by the edges, you have a greater chance of blocking, on the edges where your hands are, not the center, where your hands are not.

You admit that you have to alter your natural grip to not block the camera when you grip it on both sides. You would not have to alter your grip if the lens was in the center, as your hands are not near the center of your camera.

Again, I fail to see how holding your phone by both sides blocks the center, but doesnt block the side, which you admitted you have to alter to not block it.

Matt Williams's picture

Only in landscape orientation!

In vertical orientation, which is how MOST people take photos, especially on iPhones if you use the square crop so it doesn't matter - in that orientation, being in the center would 100% be an issue.

There is no perfect solution for a thin little device with a tiny camera that barely protrudes from the surface. But the best solution is to put it in a place as out of the way as possible. Which is in a corner. Logically in a top corner.

You wouldn't park your car in the middle of the driveway if you wanted to have it as out of the way as possible.

And again - in the center would not help people who don't bother to turn their phone. And the location of the camera isn't what will get them to do that. They just don't care or understand. I've never heard someone complain about how it's hard to hold horizontally or something. The reality is that people just don't care and the only way around it is a 90 degree rotated sensor.

Nick Haynes's picture

I hate corner cameras. The one on my phone is the main reason I dislike it as a camera. Can't hold it comfortably at all.

My camera-hold is "all wrong," but it works for me, Phone with corner camera? I can't even begin,

But anything that encourages landscape video is good. The only thing worse than a portrait video that should have been landscape is... putting it in a triptych rectangle with eye-distracting blur on either side.

But it's a lost battle. Like trying to tell people not to say acronym when they mean abbreviation.

Or that they shouldn't start sentences with prepositions or conjunctions ;)

Yup I've been saying manufacturers should be doing this for years.

John Dawson's picture


Martin Van Londen's picture

It's too late Motorola. The biggest platform (Instagram) is designed for vertical content.

Alex Yakimov's picture

YouTube isn’t tiny either...

Martin Van Londen's picture

Yes. But IG stories are the most viewed social media content right now.

Martin Van Londen's picture

IGTV is for long form content. And from what I have experienced with IGTV, they are still working out the kinks. Last time I tried it I could not get it to flip properly. I had to watch the whole video. But that could have been an issue on my end. But what that being said, vertical is still king on IG. IG stories is way more popular then IGTV.. at least for now.

Matt Williams's picture

Is Instagram vertical now?? I thought they were square. They were last time I used them.... but I admit I haven't used my IG account in a year or more.

Martin Van Londen's picture

Square use to be IG's choice aspect ratio. But the new best practices say content on your feed should be made in a 4:5 aspect ratio. Square is second best, horizontal is still not ideal.

The one thing Steve Jobs failed at with the iPhone introduction was to allow vertical videos. If videos (only) were locked horizontally, people would shoot them that way. Eventually apps would allow vertical videos and maybe even Apple itself. But by then the world would have learned that videos are to be shot horizontally.

JetCity Ninja's picture

there's a camera app called "Horizon" that uses the gyroscope to maintain an upright camera position in landscape orientation. you can roll the phone 360 degrees and the image/video preview is always upright and always in landscape. because it rotates the captured video in real time, instead of rotating the capture area on the sensor, it's able to record in the full resolution and frame rate your device is capable of.

this should be included with every cameraphone sold and the default capture mode, requiring a PIN code from the manufacturer to disable it.

what's sad is this app is over 5 years old and instead of becoming the norm, portrait orientation videos have... even so much that some manufacturers, like Samsung, have introduced rotating TV's designed to play back all of the worthless videos created by the nimrods who refuse to learn how to do things properly.