Vertical video workflow

So I’m getting ready to move all my photos/videos to my new M1 MB Air and then cull/process/edit everything and then let it all float up to the iCloud. But I have run into one really odd problem/limitation – vertical video.

I mean, Apple freakin’ invented vertical video w/ the iPhone 3GS. And yet here we are 11 years later and iMovie acts like it never heard of vertical video, or an iPhone. You can crop a 16:9 chunk out of your vertical video and lose 2/3 of it, or you can crop to ‘fit’ which just means absolutely nothing happens. If you save it like this, you get a 9:16 video inside a 16:9 box. And it won’t play in portrait mode on an iPhone, even in the YouTube app. On an iPhone. Made by Apple.

The unofficial workaround for this is to rotate it sideways, export it, import it into QuickTime, then rotate it back, then export it again. Voila, now you have a 9:16 video w/out big boxes around it.

So what is a workflow for this? I just want to grab some iPhone video, trim some stuff, merge a few videos together, then save and share. I’d like it to show up as large as possible on a computer while also filling the screen vertically on a smartphone. Do I need a different app? A plugin? Is it best to do this on the phone or on the desktop?

In the past I’ve used “pan and scan” (in FC Express, when that was a thing) to work around aspect ratio differences in the past.
Essentially, you zoom in until the area of interest fills the screen, then follow that around.
It’s a bit tedious, of course.

OK, found the fix. Do your thing in iMovie, then save to Photos app (or to a file). Open in Photos.

Edit > Crop > Aspect ratio > 16:9 - then click the vertical box next to the horizontal box. This shifts it to 9:16 ratio.

Save. Done. Profit!

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