I recently committed the crime of shooting video vertically, and now when played anywhere except on my phone the video renders sideways. What is the best method to rotate it (using PC software), without losing any pixels?

  • Vertical video is not a crime! If you're shooting content that will ultimately be viewed on a smartphone, why punish yourself and your viewers by shooting in landscape and forcing them to either turn the phone around (which often involves some fiddling around with settings) or watch the video super small.
    – stib
    Dec 6, 2018 at 3:38
  • @stib Because no streaming platform treats vertically shot video like that. If you want to push new standards, fine, but don't neglect the fact that there'll be a long period before acceptance where it's certainly not better for users.
    – user3643
    Jan 5, 2019 at 19:21
  • @stib Even today, very very little content can be guaranteed to be only seen on a mobile device. Casual users may view content on mobile phones, but that isn't an excuse to punish users who still use a dedicated desktop/laptop. Best practice should be to cater to the desktop experience first by shooting video horizontally as has always been the case - a mobile user can pretty easily rotate a horizontal video being watched on social media, for example (swiping down + pressing a button to change orientation is hardly effort) but the inverse isn't true of a desktop user watching vertical video. Jan 6, 2019 at 1:23
  • @digvisionmedia yeah, it's just obscure websites like youtube.com mashable.com/article/youtube-vertical-video-ads/#iFEA4ViOPaqD
    – stib
    Jan 12, 2019 at 6:51

1 Answer 1


VLC Media player, which is free, allows under it's Tools -> Effects and Filters a Geometry Tab, which you could try for rotation.

Then you could use the Encode/Stream option under File - to try to get a decent output.

However, unless your camera has some sort of ccd/cmos rotation feature, if the video was shot vertically, you shot it using only a fraction of the sensor, discarding the vertical space on the top and bottom to create a letter box version at a lower resolution.

You can up-res it, either simply, or with an expensive plugin, but it's never going to be "full resolution" because the information simply isn't there.

  • 1
    if it's rotated, then it's probably shot 1080 wide and 1920 tall, so if he shoves it into a 1080p video, he'll lose half the quality (technically he'll lose 3/4ths of it) but if it puts it into a 4k video, he'll keep all the quality.
    – TravisO
    Sep 7, 2018 at 19:45
  • I agree, and as I mentioned I don't know of any camera (phone that is), that has any sort of "rotating camera sensor" built into to maintain full resolution during acquisition. Certainly not impossible for future phones to have built in, but I've yet to see one. Finally, I'd have to only say that even if the sensor is sampled beyond 1920x1080, say 4K, the image even when captured sideways will undoubtably not retain the sharpness of using the sensor in it's native form. RED is a perfect example of this, speaking of say the EPIC, continued.. Sep 8, 2018 at 4:16
  • if you shoot 4K on the 5K sensor, it's less sharp than shooting 5K on the 5K sensor and then scaling down to 4K in post. So capturing 1080 just because there's 1080 "room" worth of pixels doesn't mean the camera will process or debayer the data the same way. I have not even bothered to look into the "whys" as to why this happens, but it does, speaking from experience on my EPIC-X. Shooting 4K at 5:1 Redcode using Arri Master Primes was a quality trade-off, 5K acquisition, simply scaled down to 4K in post, was undoubtedly sharper, even when watching on a smaller monitor. Sep 8, 2018 at 4:20

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