Verticals Matter When Shooting Interior Video

August 4th, 2016

AllanTutorialOne of my crusades here on the PFRE blog over the years has been to raise the awareness of the importance of making sure verticals in interiors images are vertical. I think the importance of verticals applies to video as well as still images. Over the years it’s always amazed me how many people will argue that verticals don’t matter and then eventually become converts to the Vertical-Verticals religion. I’ve had several discussions about this subject with interior video shooters that come to shooting interiors from other specialties recently.

My friend Allan MacKenzie in  down in Mooloolba agrees with me on this and has created a tutorial on how to fix verticals in a video using Premiere Pro CS6.

Do you work to keep your video verticals vertical?

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6 Responses to “Verticals Matter When Shooting Interior Video”

  • Larry, I could not agree with you more. I just saw some interior shots on a rental website obviously shot with a 10mm lens from up a ladder with verticals that made you feel you were looking down into the Grand Canyon. Hard to get past the vertico to then check out the room itself. As photographers, we need to minimize distractions so that the viewer can focus on what we want them to focus on. That’s part of the job. Not to lie or misrepresent but to direct the eye by first always correcting the verticals and then color balance, then burning and dodging to lighten dark areas and darken over lit areas especially around the outside edges. So absolutely, I am with you for all shots excepting perhaps those shot down from above like from an upper hall that looks down into a living room or entrance hall. Even then, I try to minimize the exaggeration.

  • Same from me Larry. I’m always moaning about verticals on the PFRE monthly video comp. Especially, as Allan has showed, how easily it is fixed in the edit.

    Having said that, good production values in other areas can make a great film even if the verticals are off, or rather completely ignored. When I first shot RE for a Discovery TV series Superhomes in 2005, I came from a TV documentary background rather than stills and had no idea of the verticals ‘rule’. I would shoot up or down towards where I thought the main interest was. TV RE shows (at least the ones I watch in the UK) are still all over the place with verticals but are often beautifully shot and show off the house well.

    A decade on however, I am now firmly in the verticals camp. I think it looks classier and raises the impression of quality of the film and by extension the property. If you go for it though, in my mind you have to be really accurate. A miss is as good as a mile! And this is where Allan’s tutorial is so useful.

    A couple of extra thoughts re using Corner Pin. If you have a moving shot (especially with a gimbal / jib) that needs tweaking it can help to use different Corner Pin settings joined by key frames to dynamically change the tweak throughout the shot. Also I find Corner Pin can soften the image a little (Sony Fs7 / Slog3) and so I tend to add an extra 25% of sharpening to crisp it up.

  • Dear Larry,

    We ran across Professor Hargis’ “Let’s Get This Straight” on your website when you took PFRE on it’s maiden voyage. Have you observed that some MLS domains don’t accommodate vertical images?
    Thanks to you as always,

    Julie & Leigh Barnett

  • Thanks Allan. This is a great video. I only use Premiere to about 10% of capabilities, but this one tool I’ll remember. Thanks for the video.

  • One thing I do on top that is to save those two processes as presets. I pretty much use the same lens for UWA interior video, so the lens distortion is identical on every clip. You can select a group of clips in the timeline then, and drop the lens distortion preset you made on all of them, saving you an unbelievable amount of time. I have one for the DSLR, and a different one for the drone lens, although there isn’t the same degree of correction expectation with drone clips, plus the Typhoon lens is pretty well corrected to begin with.

    You can do the same thing with the corner pin, but with a mild correction, and then just quickly scrub through the clips and pull the corners, or reset or delete if no correction is needed. The idea is to eliminate the number of redundant drags or pulls you have to do, all of which rob your time.

    As an aside, especially when trying to render 4K clips or mixed, (HD and HDD), Premier tends to choke up a bit and crash trying to do all this if you’re not careful about your export settings. I usually do a first run assembly without sound to render it, exporting H.264, but changing the “level” to 5.2 in the Basic Settings panel, and then having to change the size dimensions back to 1920×1080. The resulting file is considerably larger, but Premier doesn’t crash under these settings rendering these complex tasks (lens correction, corner pin, grading, multiple clip dimensions, etc). Then I export the new movie once more using streaming settings (under a different project name) and add music, which allows a little more flexibility on the length of the show if the music and video don’t exactly match. It probably allows 10% plus or minus to fit the video to the tune without being too noticeable. While the first hi-quality rendering may take an hour, the second rendering with streaming settings only takes about 4 minutes. Probably sounds complex, but it reduces edit time considerably once you figure it out. I’m less concerned about rendering time, and more concerned with editing time. I let the computer render video while I’m gone shooting.

  • I notice that TV and film always shoot level unless they are cutting to show a character POV looking up or down (or sideways if the character is lying on the ground). Zooms are rare and only in one direction. Most of the time there will be cut from a wide shot to a zoomed in shot and not a lens zoom. Linear moves are much more common than a pan.

    After years of watching TV and movies, we have learned to perceive how “Hollywood” shoots as professional. Zooming in and out, panning, tilting up/down all come across as amateur and cheap unless there is a very good reason. Obviously, if you are filming a rocket taking off, you have to tilt up and maybe zoom in as it gets further away but you wouldn’t zoom out again and tilt back down to show the smoke trail.

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