The ubiquity of smartphones in our society has led to a vast increase in the number of vertical videos available on the internet. On platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, where mobile audiences are the norm, vertical videos are an ideal format. But on YouTube, where there are still a significant number desktop viewers, vertical videos can be unwieldy. Try to watch one on your desktop browser, and you’ll find it surrounded by thick black bars.
That is, until now. YouTube has announced an update that will cause videos to adapt to the size of the screen around them. That means fewer black bars and, for videos shot in tall aspect ratios, a better viewing experience.
As you can see above, the change hasn’t yet applied to every vertical video on YouTube, but it has been spotted in the wild by Android Police, which noted a Dillon Francis music video for which the new update is available. At first glance, the changes to that video may seem only cosmetic, with black bars replaced by white space. But change the dimensions of your web browser, and you’ll see that the video still fits the space around it. Previously, shrinking a browsing window caused the black bars to push in on the video, like the trash compactor in the original Star Wars.
YouTube’s ability to adapt to vertical videos has already been present on mobile devices for months, but desktop viewers can now take advantage of the same technology. Of course, if you’re looking to create the most immersive YouTube experience possible, we’d still recommend holding your camera horizontally. After all, you don’t want to be afflicted with Vertical Video Syndrome.