Horizon: The Solution to Crappy Vertical Videos on Android

The Solution to Crappy Vertical Videos on Android

If you hold your phone upright while taking a video, you've surely seen the horrific end results. When you try to play the video back on any other display, roughly 70 percent of the screen is occupied by black bars.

I normally scold people for this behavior, as it makes for terrible viewing. But, in a more proactive approach, the makers of a popular iOS app have brought their wares to Android in hopes of finally finding a cure for Vertical Video Syndrome.

Horizon is a video-recording app with a twist—quite literally. Using your phone's sensors, the app ensures that you're always filming in landscape mode regardless of how you hold your phone. With your camera's viewfinder locked onto the horizon, you can turn your phone every which way and the video will remain level.

Installing Horizon

Horizon can be found with a quick search from your Play Store app, but you can also use this link to jump straight to the install page.

Filming with Horizon

When you first launch Horizon, you'll be given a nice feature tour that outlines the app's functionality. Swipe between screens to view a quick demo. There are 3 main shooting modes: Flex, Rotate, and Locked.

Flex will automatically zoom out when you turn your phone sideways, then zoom back in when you hold it upright. Rotate will still maintain the horizontal viewing angle, but won't zoom in and out. Locked behaves like a normal camera app and does not auto-rotate at all.

The free version of Horizon is limited to 15-second video clips, but the Pro version will remove this restriction for a one-time purchase of a dollar. You can proceed with the free version by tapping Cancel at the end of setup.

Use the button at the bottom-left of the screen (while in landscape mode) to toggle between shooting modes.

Again, Rotate mode keeps the zoom level locked while still keeping track of the horizon, but Flex mode zooms in and out depending on available screen space.

No matter how you hold your phone, the videos you record with Horizon will be properly formatted for most monitors. The rectangle you see in the center of the screen is what your video will look like when you're done recording.

Has Horizon finally cured your Vertical Video Syndrome? Let us know in the comments section below, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

2 Comments

Portrait oriented videos ARE NOT A BAD THING.

Do not mindlessly join that shortsighted bandwagon by scolding users for vertically oriented videos.

Instead, SCOLD the video player manufacturers (or hosting sites) for adding those black bars!

99.99999% of videos shot on mobile devices are not feature films that are going to be displayed on horizontal theater screens.

Rather, nearly all videos shot are going to be viewed on some sort of mobile device or computer, and in the case of mobile devices and computers, they're ALL capable of properly displaying vertical videos.

WHY, in the name of Torvalds, are people still complaining about the orientation THE USER chooses to use to properly frame their subject, when it's THE VIDEO PLAYER that should be blamed for the stupid black bars that are 100% the cause for their annoyance!?!?

USERS don't add black bars, the player SOFTWARE (or hosting/upload service) does.

Don't encourage use of a kludge, when you should be encouraging a PROPER FIX be made by those truly responsible for the ROOT ISSUE.

Blaming the user for how they hold their device is JUST PLAIN STUPID.
Apple tried to do that when they attempted to foist responsibility for their antennagate issue onto their users.
To be blunt, IT'S BULLSHIT. Don't pull that crap. You're better than that.

Image via goo.gl

Seriously... take Facebook for example.
Facebook now properly plays vertical videos.
YouTube (Google), on the other hand, still hasn't figured it out.
This is sad. SAD!

Worse yet, Google has even joined the bandwagon of chastising users, by their insertion of that stupid rotate animation into their native Android app.

People need to GROW UP and STOP blaming the user for the results of BAD ENGINEERING that users have no control over.

They ARE a bad thing! Play that vertical video on your TV or full screen on your computer...Those "Black Bars" aren't being "Added", they are required to fill the empty space that dumbasses DIDN'T PUT THEIR VIDEO INTO BECAUSE THEY HELD THEIR PHONES WRONG!

The "bad engineering" has been around for almost 100 years! It's used in your TV, the movie theatre, your computer! You want to go to theatre and start watching movies like that!? The thing here is that user have ALL THE CONTROL!!!! Turn your damn phone 90degrees!!!!! There. Fixed.

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