People of the world have fallen victim to a pandemic known in short as VVS. Your friends or family may have been diagnosed. You could be a victim yourself and not even know.
VVS stands for Vertical Video Syndrome. Symptoms include the propensity to hold your smartphone upright, in portrait mode, when recording videos. Side effects include strained necks, or black strips laying waste to the screens of smartphones, tablets, computers and televisions, to the chagrin of responsible members of society.
Fear of shaming sufferers has caused people to treat the syndrome as taboo. Our reluctance to bring the matter into the spotlight has seen VVS grow from an irritant to a pandemic, with the viral rate of growth driven by none other than the Apple iPhone.
Photo sharing site Flickr lists the iPhone as the most popular camera in the world. (That’s right, camera.) Technically the iPhone 5s holds the top spot, followed closely by the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4.
We’re not here to bash Apple’s iPhone — that would be skirting the real problem. The fact remains the interface managing Apple’s proficient camera works as an enabler to the syndrome.
The camera's UI has been designed for use in portrait mode. Words label the different modes above the ‘capture’ button, and changing the orientation does nothing to the written labels.
Human instinct takes over and compels us to hold the smartphone upright, so that the writing — and not the video — is displayed correctly.
Videos defaced by black pillars are the result. These aren’t cat videos either. No, they’re the impromptu videos capturing breaking news.
And they’re telling half the story.
The inclusion of a shutter key would cue people to turn their iPhones onto its side. Unfortunately, the popularity of the iPhone's camera has seen other brands follow suit.
More evidence supports Apple’s flippant approach. Photos captured with iPhones don’t support the widescreen aspect ratios of phones, tablets, computers and televisions. Viewing these photos on the iPhone’s own screen are defaced by white letter-boxing.
Strong arming customers to shoot photos marred by pillars is another way Apple quietly enables VVS.
Apple is coping the brunt of this tirade because only its iPhones dictate photos are to be captured at the 4:3 aspect ratio. The smartphones from Samsung, Sony, Huawei, Nokia, ZTE and HTC are all compatible with the commonplace 16:9 widescreen.
We believe Apple doesn't offer a widescreen ratio because of its camera's limited 8 megapixel resolution. Other smartphones make it possible to shrink the size of photos in exchange for the beloved context afforded by a widescreen photo. The iPhone could support 16:9 at a smaller 6 megapixels.
Though Apple dares not discount the quality of its camera for the sake of your experience.
We recommend interventions for sufferers of VVS. The Internet is awash with vertical videos, and sitting through a movie’s worth should be 'education' enough.