Skip the Flip

Smartphones have infiltrated every aspect of how we absorb information. From the way we use letters (LOL) to how much time we spend scrolling through feeds. These minor shifts in user perspective and preferences keep us all on our toes when it comes to marketing.

So, how does this affect dealerships and the way they attract potential customers? Here’s the breakdown.

Video is still the king. But today, he skips the flip and captures moments in portrait.

Yup. You heard right. Gone are the days of only shooting horizontally or in a 16:9 format. “But it looks most natural and everything else on my HDTV is that way”, you argue. After all, you taped holiday gatherings with the family camcorder in landscape! Well, you didn’t really have another choice because it was ergonomically impossible to shoot any other way.

There are several reasons for this. One being that smartphones are getting bigger. Cell phone companies are focusing on camera technology that make high-end DSLRs jealous. With that comes the limitations of handling the phone. Just managing the sheer size and weight of the device vertically is a challenge. So, unless you’ve got sticky Spiderman hands, shooting horizontally one-handed is downright dangerous.

But the most important reason, and the one you need to pay attention to, is how people use their phones. They text, surf, and watch while holding their phones vertically.

Viewers are consuming content at a rapid rate. By the time they turn their devise sideways, wait for the operating system to recognize the new orientation and load the video, you’ve lost their attention. In short, they’re watching videos the way they ingest all other content on their phone, by simply keeping it vertical.

So now what? Glad you asked.

But the most important reason, and the one you need to pay attention to, is how people use their phones. They text, surf, and watch while holding their phones vertically.

No need to scrap the way you do videos. Horizontal shots are still very important for experience on desktops and TVs. But if you’re planning on reaching people where they are on social media platforms, begin with a mobile-first strategy. This way you’ve planned the shots specifically for a vertical presentation. Otherwise, you may be forced to crop and adjust a 16:9 shot to a 9:16, which won’t have the same visual impact.

To get started, here are a few tweaks to your sales videos that will get you feeling more comfortable with this new norm and ensure that the quality matches that of your horizontal videos.

01

ADD TO YOUR
VIDEO EQUIPMENT

If you’re looking for a nice steady, vertical shot with a DSLR, look for a ball-head tripod that allows for a 90-degree tilt. Make sure the weight is evenly distributed to avoid a tipping tripod.

For smartphone tripods, this is much easier since most allow for all kinds of crazy angles. Don’t forget to make sure your shots are level!

02

PLAN AND FRAME
YOUR SHOTS

It might take some getting used to but there are some interesting ways to create a strong composition by using those handy gridlines that appear on your video screen. When framing a person, capture their torso and avoid too much space above the head. Also, gone are the days for pressed shirts and wrinkled pants for video interviews. Ask the interviewee to prepare for full body shots.

03

SLOW THINGS DOWN

Since the shots will be tight horizontally, avoid fast pans and rapid movement across the frame. This can be jarring for the audience. If you’re shooting a moving car, get far enough away to give more space in the frame. Also, play with the angle in which the car is moving so that it is in the frame longer. For example, a car can enter the frame from the upper left and travel through the shot, turning out of the frame at the bottom right.

You spend a lot of time thinking about your customers and how they interact your dealership. Shifting from horizontal videos to vertical ones is just another way to deliver an experience that suits them.

BONUS TIPS!

Ever watch a beautiful video with horrific audio? Probably not because within seconds you moved on to the next video. Here are three quick tips to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to your videos:

1. Invest in a decent external microphone to avoid capturing ambient sounds.

2. Position your mics as close to the audio source as possible.

3. Shoot when background noise is low.

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