Looking to make one of your videos square? In this article, we’re going to cover the what, why, and how of 1:1 videos. We’ll specifically lay out the processes for shooting, cropping, and editing in simple, pain-free steps. In short, you’ve come to the right place if you’ve ever wondered, “How do I make a video square?”

Video Aspect Ratio

By the end of this piece:

  1. You’ll be comfortable creating square projects from scratch, and cropping landscape videos into square.
  2. You’ll know a lot of great statistics about why square is the way to go.
  3. The word “square” itself will start to look a little bit strange and you’ll wonder if it was always spelled that way, and if it always looked so bizarre.

If, however, you’re already set on the “what” and the “why,” feel free to skip straight to how to make a video square by clicking here.

What makes a video square?

A square video is a video that is square.

See? We told you this would be simple stuff!

But enough jokes, the GIF below shows the difference between the 16:9 landscape format and the 1:1 square.

Why go square?

The all-important question. The simple answer is that square takes up more real estate in the social feed than landscape videos do—78% more space, in fact—and bigger videos stand out more than smaller videos.

So what does 78% more space buy you? After A/B testing square and landscape videos created with Animoto, our friends over at Buffer found that that natively uploaded square creations saw a 70% increase in engagement and a 100% increase in views over their landscape counterparts. This boost was true on Facebook as well as Instagram. From an advertising perspective, they even found that it costs 33% less to get a user to engage with a video square post on Instagram than it does a landscape video.

When not to go square

Square is optimized for social, particularly Facebook and Instagram, so if you’re uploading your video elsewhere, don’t default to the 1:1 format. YouTube, for instance, does not have a square player, so landscape videos will actually appear larger, without black boxes on the sides of the frame.

Another consideration to take is that many website platforms don’t accept non-landscape video  so your decision might ultimately be dictated by your page or blog.

How to make a video square

We’ll start at square one (no pun intended, please believe us): shooting for square.

Shooting for Square

Setting up your shot

The cardinal rule is to center your subject, because whatever’s happening on the edges of the frame will be edited out when you crop your footage to square (which we’re getting to next). That will also generally mean backing up or zooming out, as you’ll want to give your subject room to breathe on either side in the final video.

Prepping your phone for shooting

If you’re concerned that you’ll still wind up cutting out important content that you thought would stay in frame, we have a cutting edge technique for making sure that you stay within the boundaries of the 1:1 frame: tape.

We’ll explain. Take two pieces of tape and place them on your phone’s screen, blocking out a square frame. That way, there won’t be any mistaking what you’ll be able to include in your final video.

We’ve also got a video that lays it all out in living color:

Creating a square project in Animoto

Once you’ve shot your square footage, or have a video you’d like to crop, here’s how to do it in Animoto.

Starting from a Storyboard

If you’re starting from a storyboard, we will have pre-selected for you one of our aspect ratios, which is frequently square. But even if you choose a landscape storyboard, you can always switch over to square once you’re in the project. Check out our blog post on aspect ratio-switching to learn more.

Animoto square storyboards

Starting from scratch

If you start from scratch, you’ll be given the option to choose between the landscape and square aspect ratios once you select a style. Again, this does not need to be your final answer.

square aspect ratio

If you’re creating a brand new video that you shot specifically for square, congratulations! The hardest work is already behind you. Upload your files and insert them into your video as you see fit. Regardless of how you shot your video clips, you can always click and drag to adjust their magnification and positioning in frame, using our editing tools.

Cropping an existing landscape project

You can also convert any video created in Animoto Marketing from landscape to square, and back again, as many times as you’d like. The project depicted below was originally created in landscape, but all it takes to make the switch is a click on the “Ratio” option in the Animoto Marketing toolbar, followed by hitting “Apply” on the square option.

When going from landscape to square, be sure to check everything over to adjust image placement, cropping, and text size.

Once you’re set up, the process is no different with square than it would be for a landscape video. Insert your text, modify colors to fit your brand, include your logo. If you’d like a refresher or a first-time tutorial using our product, head over to our Resource Center.

And in our book, it always helps to get a few extra sets of eyes on your work, which is where our Facebook group, the Animoto Social Video Marketing Community, comes in. Join to get access to a thriving group of video creators supporting one another with feedback, inspiration, and more, as well as advice and tips from our team, and alerts on Animoto product updates.

If you have any questions, let us know in the comments! We’re looking forward to seeing a whole bunch of 1:1 videos in our news feeds!

CREATE A SQUARE VIDEO