May 2, 2024

How to make a horizontal video vertical to repurpose your best content

Learn three ways you can make a horizontal video vertical. Convert your content for better engagement.
May 2, 2024

How to make a horizontal video vertical to repurpose your best content

Learn three ways you can make a horizontal video vertical. Convert your content for better engagement.
May 2, 2024
Kaleigh Moore
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Content repurposing is all the rage—instead of creating separate text posts, images, and videos for different channels in different formats, you can take your best piece of content and repurpose it for every channel. It saves time and gets the most mileage out of your best-performing stuff.

The question is: If you've got a horizontal video for, say YouTube, how do you make it vertical to post on TikTok, Instagram, and other vertical-native channels?

In this article, we'll cover three basic approaches to making a horizontal video vertical, as well as tips and best practices for repurposing a horizontal video into a vertical one using different tools.

Why should you convert horizontal videos to vertical videos for social media?

The adoption of mobile devices has changed the way people consume content. According to Statista, 95% of global users access the internet via smartphones.

On a mobile device, vertical videos are just easier to watch—you don't need to turn the device and it takes advantage of the entire screen's real estate. As a result, many social media platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, have embraced vertical videos as their primary format. 

What does that mean for creators and businesses? Since most social media platforms prioritize vertical videos, creating content in this format can help you potentially reach a larger audience while creating a more immersive experience and driving better engagement. 

And while we still watch YouTube videos, TV, and visit the movie theater from time to time, when we want a full-screen, immersive experience on a mobile device, we need vertical videos.

Three basic approaches to make a horizontal video vertical

If you’re looking for ways to make a horizontal video vertical, there are three basic approaches: you can crop the video, put the horizontal video on a vertical background, and change the video’s orientation. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each approach. 

1. Crop the video

‎If your subject is in the center of the frame, you can always crop the sides and get a vertical video using a 9:16 aspect ratio. This way, you can cut off the outside edges of the horizontal video to make it vertical without losing the essence of the video. 

  • Pros: It fills the screen like a native vertical video.
  • Cons: You miss large parts of the scene. However, if you’re recording your horizontal video with the knowledge you’ll crop it later to make it vertical, you can position your subject in the center of the frame to make the cropping easier. 

2. Put the horizontal video on a vertical background

‎Another way to get a vertical video out of a horizontal one is to create a 9:16 frame with a background and place the horizontal video in the middle. This way, you can keep the whole frame and fill in the blank space with a background. 

  • Pros: Using this approach, you see all of the video, without the need to crop parts of it.
  • Cons: The video appears tiny on most screens, as it’s not using the whole mobile device screen, but is positioned in the center instead.

3. Rotate the entire video by 90 degrees

‎The third way to make horizontal video vertical without compromising quality is to change the video’s orientation and rotate it by 90 degrees. While this is not possible if you’re working with a square video, if your video is horizontal (16:9 aspect ratio), you can use this approach to make it portrait (9:16 aspect ratio), a layout suitable for social media. 

  • Pros: With this approach, there’s no need for cropping—you see all of the video, and it fills the screen.
  • Cons: This approach negatively affects the user experience, as people are used to interacting with their phones vertically. If you choose this approach, people who want to watch your video will have to turn their phones horizontally. Another con? This is impossible if people are watching the video on a desktop—desktop users will have to physically rotate their heads to watch your video.

How to make a horizontal video vertical in Descript

Descript is an AI-powered podcast and video editing tool that makes editing as easy as a Word document. Using Descript, you can easily transform a horizontal video into a vertical one in just a few steps. 

The best part is that this all-in-one editor creates an automatic transcript of your recording that you can adjust and rearrange to edit your footage, making editing your video as easy as editing a doc. This makes it an excellent tool for creating vertical videos that need to be short, captivating, and engaging. 

Making a horizontal video vertical with Descript is as easy as 1-2-3: 

1. Upload your video and change the aspect ratio: Create a Descript project and upload the video you want to switch from horizontal to vertical. Then click the  “Aspect ratio and video settings” icon in the top left corner of your video, where you can select portrait (9:16). 


Screenshot of changing video orientation in Descript

2. Add and resize video, text, and image layers to fit: Once you select the portrait aspect ratio, your video will be placed on a black vertical background, where you can add text, images, or a background to your resized video to make better use of the empty space. If you want to fill in the space with your video, select your video and choose the shapes icon where you can change your video from landscape to portrait. Next, select “Position” and choose whether you want to fill the canvas with the video or position your content in the top or bottom corners of your video. 

Descript screenshot changing the shape of the video

3. Add captions and export your resized video: If you want to add captions, go to Actions > New layer > Captions. Here’s where you can play around with the captions’ font, size, and style and even add a fancy karaoke-style caption. You can always make final changes by editing your video’s transcript. Once done, go to Publish > Export to download your video.

Descript also offers ready-made vertical video templates you can use to repurpose your content for Instagram Stories and Reels, YouTube Shorts, TikTok videos, and any other type of vertical video.

How to make a horizontal video vertical in CapCut

CapCut is an all-in-one video editor and graphic design tool that enables video editing and image design on browsers, Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.

If you’re using the CapCut desktop version:

  1. Open the tool and select the “Auto reframe” option
  2. Select the video you want to edit and choose the 9:16 aspect ratio from the options.
  3. Export the video. 

If you’re using the CapCut app on your phone:

  1. Create a “New project” and select the video you want to switch from horizontal to vertical.
  2. Next, click “Edit” and select the “Auto reframe” option, where you can select a 9:16 aspect ratio.
  3. Export the video.

How to make a horizontal video vertical in Kapwing

Kapwing is a collaborative, online content creation platform that you can use to edit videos and create content.

To make a horizontal video vertical by using Kapwing:

  1. Open the app from your browser and upload the horizontal video you want to edit.
  2. Go to Canvas > Output size on the right-hand side panel, and choose the 9:16 aspect ratio.
  3. To remove the blank background, drag and move the cropping knobs so your video can fit the vertical layout. 
  4. Export the video.

How to make a horizontal video vertical in iMovie

iMovie is a free video editing application made by Apple for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Besides the range of video effects and tools like color correction and image stabilization, it also allows you to turn a horizontal video into a vertical one. 

To make a horizontal video vertical using iMovie:

  1. Open your iMovie app and click New Movie > Import Media.
  2. Select the video you want to convert to vertical and then drag and drop the video onto the project timeline.
  3. Select the Crop icon and click “Crop to Fill” under style.
  4. Click “Rotate the clip clockwise” and adjust the cropping to fit the subject of your video. Once you select the part of your video you want to crop, select the checkmark icon.
  5. To save your video, click “Export file.”
  6. After you save your video, use MacOS Finder to find it. Then, preview the video and rotate it accordingly to correct its orientation.

How to make a horizontal video vertical in Windows Video Editor

Microsoft’s Video Editor is an editing tool that comes bundled with your PC that allows you to import videos, trip them, split them, and add effects, but it can also help you make a horizontal video vertical. 

To make a horizontal video vertical using Windows Video Editor:

  1. Open the Video Editor and selecting “New video project.”
  2. Add the video you want to convert by importing the file.
  3. Drag and drop the video onto the Storyboard.
  4. To change the aspect ratio of your video, go to the top right corner and select the three dots, where you’ll see the aspect ratio set to 16:9. To make the video vertical, select the “Make portrait” option. This automatically shrinks your content to fit the frame. If you want to fill in the whole layout with the video, select the “Remove black bars” option on the Storyboard.
  5. To export the video, select “Finish video.”

Make horizontal video vertical without compromising quality with Descript 

Vertical videos have become the norm for social media. And there’s no doubt that vertical content is a more convenient format for mobile users. If you’re looking for ways to make horizontal video vertical with no quality loss, check out Descript

You can resize your video dimensions to look great on any platform and in any format or aspect ratio. Whether you want to resize a YouTube video for Instagram Stories or resize a large horizontal video into a vertical one for TikTok, Descript has you covered. Take a tour of Descript today.

FAQ

Can I change a horizontal video to vertical?

You can change a horizontal video to a vertical by cropping the video using a 9:16 aspect ratio, putting the horizontal video on a vertical background, or rotating the video by 90 degrees. Descript makes it easy to resize videos for 9:16 format with ready-made vertical templates for YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and more.

How do I make a horizontal video vertical for free?

There are many video editing tools that allow you to make a horizontal video vertical for free. If you’re using a Mac, you can convert videos in iMovie, and Windows users can edit videos using the Video Editor on their PC. With Descript’s free plan, you can export 1 video per month without a watermark, and as many watermark-free videos as you want, starting at $12 a month.

How do I change a video from landscape to portrait?

To change a video from landscape to portrait, edit the video and change the aspect ratio from 16:9 to 9:16. Depending on the video editing tool you’re using, you can change the layout of your videos in a few steps. Using Descript, you can resize videos from horizontal to vertical by cropping the sides of the video, placing the horizontal video on a portrait background, or changing its orientation.  

How do you make a horizontal video vertical on iPhone?

To make a horizontal video vertical on your iPhone you can use the iMovie app. iMovie allows you to edit videos on your iPhone, trim them, auto enhance, and convert them from horizontal to vertical layout.

Kaleigh Moore
Kaleigh Moore is a freelance content writer for SaaS companies and a regular contributor to Forbes.
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How to make a horizontal video vertical to repurpose your best content

Content repurposing is all the rage—instead of creating separate text posts, images, and videos for different channels in different formats, you can take your best piece of content and repurpose it for every channel. It saves time and gets the most mileage out of your best-performing stuff.

The question is: If you've got a horizontal video for, say YouTube, how do you make it vertical to post on TikTok, Instagram, and other vertical-native channels?

In this article, we'll cover three basic approaches to making a horizontal video vertical, as well as tips and best practices for repurposing a horizontal video into a vertical one using different tools.

Why should you convert horizontal videos to vertical videos for social media?

The adoption of mobile devices has changed the way people consume content. According to Statista, 95% of global users access the internet via smartphones.

On a mobile device, vertical videos are just easier to watch—you don't need to turn the device and it takes advantage of the entire screen's real estate. As a result, many social media platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, have embraced vertical videos as their primary format. 

What does that mean for creators and businesses? Since most social media platforms prioritize vertical videos, creating content in this format can help you potentially reach a larger audience while creating a more immersive experience and driving better engagement. 

And while we still watch YouTube videos, TV, and visit the movie theater from time to time, when we want a full-screen, immersive experience on a mobile device, we need vertical videos.

Three basic approaches to make a horizontal video vertical

If you’re looking for ways to make a horizontal video vertical, there are three basic approaches: you can crop the video, put the horizontal video on a vertical background, and change the video’s orientation. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each approach. 

1. Crop the video

‎If your subject is in the center of the frame, you can always crop the sides and get a vertical video using a 9:16 aspect ratio. This way, you can cut off the outside edges of the horizontal video to make it vertical without losing the essence of the video. 

  • Pros: It fills the screen like a native vertical video.
  • Cons: You miss large parts of the scene. However, if you’re recording your horizontal video with the knowledge you’ll crop it later to make it vertical, you can position your subject in the center of the frame to make the cropping easier. 

2. Put the horizontal video on a vertical background

‎Another way to get a vertical video out of a horizontal one is to create a 9:16 frame with a background and place the horizontal video in the middle. This way, you can keep the whole frame and fill in the blank space with a background. 

  • Pros: Using this approach, you see all of the video, without the need to crop parts of it.
  • Cons: The video appears tiny on most screens, as it’s not using the whole mobile device screen, but is positioned in the center instead.

3. Rotate the entire video by 90 degrees

‎The third way to make horizontal video vertical without compromising quality is to change the video’s orientation and rotate it by 90 degrees. While this is not possible if you’re working with a square video, if your video is horizontal (16:9 aspect ratio), you can use this approach to make it portrait (9:16 aspect ratio), a layout suitable for social media. 

  • Pros: With this approach, there’s no need for cropping—you see all of the video, and it fills the screen.
  • Cons: This approach negatively affects the user experience, as people are used to interacting with their phones vertically. If you choose this approach, people who want to watch your video will have to turn their phones horizontally. Another con? This is impossible if people are watching the video on a desktop—desktop users will have to physically rotate their heads to watch your video.

How to make a horizontal video vertical in Descript

Descript is an AI-powered podcast and video editing tool that makes editing as easy as a Word document. Using Descript, you can easily transform a horizontal video into a vertical one in just a few steps. 

The best part is that this all-in-one editor creates an automatic transcript of your recording that you can adjust and rearrange to edit your footage, making editing your video as easy as editing a doc. This makes it an excellent tool for creating vertical videos that need to be short, captivating, and engaging. 

Making a horizontal video vertical with Descript is as easy as 1-2-3: 

1. Upload your video and change the aspect ratio: Create a Descript project and upload the video you want to switch from horizontal to vertical. Then click the  “Aspect ratio and video settings” icon in the top left corner of your video, where you can select portrait (9:16). 


Screenshot of changing video orientation in Descript

2. Add and resize video, text, and image layers to fit: Once you select the portrait aspect ratio, your video will be placed on a black vertical background, where you can add text, images, or a background to your resized video to make better use of the empty space. If you want to fill in the space with your video, select your video and choose the shapes icon where you can change your video from landscape to portrait. Next, select “Position” and choose whether you want to fill the canvas with the video or position your content in the top or bottom corners of your video. 

Descript screenshot changing the shape of the video

3. Add captions and export your resized video: If you want to add captions, go to Actions > New layer > Captions. Here’s where you can play around with the captions’ font, size, and style and even add a fancy karaoke-style caption. You can always make final changes by editing your video’s transcript. Once done, go to Publish > Export to download your video.

Descript also offers ready-made vertical video templates you can use to repurpose your content for Instagram Stories and Reels, YouTube Shorts, TikTok videos, and any other type of vertical video.

How to make a horizontal video vertical in CapCut

CapCut is an all-in-one video editor and graphic design tool that enables video editing and image design on browsers, Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.

If you’re using the CapCut desktop version:

  1. Open the tool and select the “Auto reframe” option
  2. Select the video you want to edit and choose the 9:16 aspect ratio from the options.
  3. Export the video. 

If you’re using the CapCut app on your phone:

  1. Create a “New project” and select the video you want to switch from horizontal to vertical.
  2. Next, click “Edit” and select the “Auto reframe” option, where you can select a 9:16 aspect ratio.
  3. Export the video.

How to make a horizontal video vertical in Kapwing

Kapwing is a collaborative, online content creation platform that you can use to edit videos and create content.

To make a horizontal video vertical by using Kapwing:

  1. Open the app from your browser and upload the horizontal video you want to edit.
  2. Go to Canvas > Output size on the right-hand side panel, and choose the 9:16 aspect ratio.
  3. To remove the blank background, drag and move the cropping knobs so your video can fit the vertical layout. 
  4. Export the video.

How to make a horizontal video vertical in iMovie

iMovie is a free video editing application made by Apple for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Besides the range of video effects and tools like color correction and image stabilization, it also allows you to turn a horizontal video into a vertical one. 

To make a horizontal video vertical using iMovie:

  1. Open your iMovie app and click New Movie > Import Media.
  2. Select the video you want to convert to vertical and then drag and drop the video onto the project timeline.
  3. Select the Crop icon and click “Crop to Fill” under style.
  4. Click “Rotate the clip clockwise” and adjust the cropping to fit the subject of your video. Once you select the part of your video you want to crop, select the checkmark icon.
  5. To save your video, click “Export file.”
  6. After you save your video, use MacOS Finder to find it. Then, preview the video and rotate it accordingly to correct its orientation.

How to make a horizontal video vertical in Windows Video Editor

Microsoft’s Video Editor is an editing tool that comes bundled with your PC that allows you to import videos, trip them, split them, and add effects, but it can also help you make a horizontal video vertical. 

To make a horizontal video vertical using Windows Video Editor:

  1. Open the Video Editor and selecting “New video project.”
  2. Add the video you want to convert by importing the file.
  3. Drag and drop the video onto the Storyboard.
  4. To change the aspect ratio of your video, go to the top right corner and select the three dots, where you’ll see the aspect ratio set to 16:9. To make the video vertical, select the “Make portrait” option. This automatically shrinks your content to fit the frame. If you want to fill in the whole layout with the video, select the “Remove black bars” option on the Storyboard.
  5. To export the video, select “Finish video.”

Make horizontal video vertical without compromising quality with Descript 

Vertical videos have become the norm for social media. And there’s no doubt that vertical content is a more convenient format for mobile users. If you’re looking for ways to make horizontal video vertical with no quality loss, check out Descript

You can resize your video dimensions to look great on any platform and in any format or aspect ratio. Whether you want to resize a YouTube video for Instagram Stories or resize a large horizontal video into a vertical one for TikTok, Descript has you covered. Take a tour of Descript today.

FAQ

Can I change a horizontal video to vertical?

You can change a horizontal video to a vertical by cropping the video using a 9:16 aspect ratio, putting the horizontal video on a vertical background, or rotating the video by 90 degrees. Descript makes it easy to resize videos for 9:16 format with ready-made vertical templates for YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and more.

How do I make a horizontal video vertical for free?

There are many video editing tools that allow you to make a horizontal video vertical for free. If you’re using a Mac, you can convert videos in iMovie, and Windows users can edit videos using the Video Editor on their PC. With Descript’s free plan, you can export 1 video per month without a watermark, and as many watermark-free videos as you want, starting at $12 a month.

How do I change a video from landscape to portrait?

To change a video from landscape to portrait, edit the video and change the aspect ratio from 16:9 to 9:16. Depending on the video editing tool you’re using, you can change the layout of your videos in a few steps. Using Descript, you can resize videos from horizontal to vertical by cropping the sides of the video, placing the horizontal video on a portrait background, or changing its orientation.  

How do you make a horizontal video vertical on iPhone?

To make a horizontal video vertical on your iPhone you can use the iMovie app. iMovie allows you to edit videos on your iPhone, trim them, auto enhance, and convert them from horizontal to vertical layout.

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