The majority of videos you upload are probably recorded on your phone, most likely in a vertical 9:16 aspect ratio. This means that your videos are almost twice as tall as they are wide: Instagram stories, Facebook stories, TikTok videos, and Snapchat stories are generally posted with a 9:16 aspect ratio, optimized for mobile users.

With so many popular posting platforms for 9:16 video content, it's more important than ever to make your vertical videos as high-quality as possible. Commonly used video editing programs like iMovie, for example, don't allow you to export edited videos with any aspect ratio taller than 16:9, the maximum width for videos on every major social platform. This makes it fairly difficult to make high-level edits to taller videos meant for social media posts.

In this article, I'm going to go over several ways for you to edit your taller videos for free & online. I'll be using a free web app called Kapwing to demonstrate all the video edits you'll need to make vertical videos optimized for posts on every platform. We'll go through 3 main things:

  1. Editing high-quality vertical videos
  2. How to make videos vertical
  3. How to make vertical videos square or horizontal

Editing High-Quality Vertical Videos

If you've recorded a video on your phone to post as an Instagram story, TikTok video, or IGTV video, it's probably in a 9:16 aspect ratio, using either a .mov or .mp4 file type. Your phone probably gives your a few video editing options, but some changes can be difficult to make, like adding text, adding side padding, or creating montages, video collages, & GIFs.

To make any changes to your video, open your browser, go to Kapwing.com, and click "Start Editing." Now you can either paste a link to a video you've found or stored online, or click the Upload button to browse through your saved files for the video you want to use.

Once you're in the Studio, you can make any edits your vertical video needs. It's easy to trim, crop, and rotate your video, as well as add text, music, overlays, filters, and animations. You can resize your video to the most common dimensions or by exact pixel count, and the output file will have the exact same size.

When you're done making your edits, just click "Publish" from the upper right-hand corner of the Studio and give Kapwing a few seconds to process your video. When your video is done processing, you can click "Download" to save it directly to your device, or share it directly to social media by clicking the icons underneath.  

How to Make Videos Vertical

There are plenty of reasons you might want to turn a square or horizontal video into a vertical one. If you want to post something that wasn't recorded on your phone as an Instagram story, IGTV video, Pinterest video, or Snapchat story, you'll want to resize it to 9:16. IGTV, for instance, is full of videos adapted or reposted from other places, with space and text added to the top and bottom of a square or horizontal video frame.

All four videos in this IGTV result page are resized horizontal videos with added text. 

Start by uploading your square or horizontal video to the Kapwing Studio. Just go to Kapwing.com and click "Start Editing." Now you can either paste a link to a video you've found or stored online, or click the Upload button to browse through your files for the video you want to use. In the Studio, look under "Output Size" in the upper right corner of the window and choose 9:16. When you resize your canvas, it will automatically crop the sides of your video. To add padding to the top and bottom instead, select "Lock Ratio" from the toolbar on the right, and click & drag the video to the middle of the canvas.

Add fully custom text to the top and bottom to make the most of your vertical videos.

Adding space to the top and bottom of your video also gives you space for added text, which is perfect for video memes, event invites, and subtitles. To add text to your video, just choose "Text" from the top of the Studio and enter the text you want to appear on your video. You can customize your text's size, font, color, background, position, and animation using the options on the right-hand side of the window.

Making Vertical Videos Square or Horizontal

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter often contain a specific type of video that you won't often see elsewhere: a vertical video with lots of padding added to either side. In Facebook's Watch tab, all videos are padded to 16:9 with blurred sidebars. And in the Twitter mobile app, videos taller than a square are cropped on the top and bottom.

Square videos are padded with blur in Facebook, and vertical videos are cropped to a square in the Twitter app. 

Adding your own side padding lets you fit the whole video frame on twitter, and can make your Facebook videos look far more professional – top creators and news pages often add their own side padding with custom designs or logos. To add padding to your vertical video so it fits in one of these platforms, start by uploading it to the Kapwing Studio. Just go to Kapwing.com and click "Start Editing." Now you can either paste a link to a video you've found or stored online, or click the Upload button to browse through your files for the video you want to use.

In the Studio, simply select one of the "Output Size" options in the upper right corner of the window. For social media posts, 16:9 or 1:1 are your best choices, depending on the platform. When you resize your canvas, it will automatically crop the top and bottom of your video. If you'd rather add padding to the sides, click on the video, select "Lock Ratio" from the toolbar on the right, and click & drag the video to the middle of the canvas. The automatic padding is white, so if you want more traditional black padding, click on either sidebar and choose the black color swatch under "background color" on the right side of the studio. Click "Publish," wait a few seconds while your video is processed, and choose "Download" to save your video to your device.

Remember to tag us @KapwingApp whenever you share your content on social media– we love to see what our creators are passionate about! And be sure to subscribe to the Kapwing Resources page – we’re constantly writing new tutorial and features to help you make the most out of Kapwing.


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