Vertical Video Workflow

Social Media is here to stay and most users have their mobile devices in the Portrait mode to quickly go through the Social Feeds. This means more Vertical Video on Social platforms. Read how shooting Open Gate can benefit your Vertical Video Workflow and how it helps mine.

What is Open Gate video?
With Open Gate video, your recording device makes use of the full sensor size. You end up with the highest video file resolution your camera is technically capable of outputting. Normally, you would record in the UHD format with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels in a 16:9 aspect ratio that uses a crop region on the sensor. I use the Open Gate mode on the Panasonic GH5, which has a 5K resolution of 4,992 x 3,744 pixels in a 4:3 aspect ratio. The Open Gate feature was originally made for filming Anamorphic, a widescreen cinematography format with the use of Anamorphic lenses mostly used in Cinema movies. Anamorphic lenses produce an ultra-wide image that benefits from using the full sensor data. Most Spherical lenses do not have the same optics to produce such a wide image and do not produce visually distorted effects such as oval bokeh, horizontal flares, and image distortion. The higher resolution in the Open Gate recording mode brings some nice advantages to the post-production table which we get into.
Pros and Cons
- With the Full sensor resolution you are able to do your own format cropping in post-production. - The higher resolution Open Gate 4:3 aspect ratio provides room for vertical video composition work with 9:16 and other aspect ratios/formats. This way you don't have to do multiple recordings with different camera orientations. - The image sharpness and detail might be higher when doing full image downsampling.
- Limited recording options, such as Framerate and Bitrate, depend on the camera. On the GH5 you are limited to 29.97 Fps in 10-bit video. - Lesser quality & limitations of lenses might be more visible in the corners such as vignetting, especially when using adapters like the Metabones speedbooster. - Demands more processing power for editing. - Uses more storage space on recording devices/cards, editing storage, and backup storage. - The image sharpness might be a bit lower when doing region crops in post-production.
You need to keep some things in mind when filming Open Gate for different crop formats. The first thing is the framing of the subjects. For vertical video, you need to have these subjects in the center of your frame if you are planning to do digital panning in post. Newer cameras from Panasonic have the ability to use guidelines. This way you can see the crop region on your screen and keeping your subjects in the frame is much easier. With these guidelines, it is much easier to see when a subject goes out frame when using a 9:16 aspect ratio composition in post-production. The Panasonic GH5 doesn't have these guideline features, but you can also use an external monitor with these features. Now it is much easier to keep distance between you and the subject. Because when using vertical video crops, you need to have the subjects smaller in the center due to the narrow crop width for vertical video. You need to be able to do some cinematography multitasking, keeping track of the subject and surroundings while maintaining a nice frame/composition for both Horizontal and Vertical video output.
With Open Gate you end up having large file size footage. For faster load times and caching when editing, I recommend using M.2 NVMe SSDs for storage. The NVMe SSD (Non-Volatile Memory Express) uses a data transfer protocol specifically designed to work with flash memory using the PCIe interface, resulting in higher data transfer rates. This allows for a great Caching volume when using Editing Software like Adobe Premiere or Adobe After Effects, resulting in faster load times. Most of the time I use Adobe After Effects for editing short videos. I have been using this software for a long time and I prefer this software's composition pipeline over Adobe Premiere for example. Adding Motion Graphics to the videos is done best in this program too. Video for Social platforms usually isn't long, making it a perfect use case for my Vertical Video workflow. While working with 5K video files, the final export size I choose for Vertical Video is 1080x1920 pixels (9:16 aspect ratio). There are mobile devices with higher-resolution screens, but the Vertical Full-HD resolution works fine for most users. Working with 5K video files in a Full-HD composition brings many advantages to the table. Framing/Cropping, Digital 'Camera movement' in Post-Production, or Downsampling the 5K footage for a sharper image and less visible noise.

Horizontal & Vertical Video comparison

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