Periscope goes Horizontal

With an update released yesterday, the good folks at Periscope have eliminated one of the downsides of their video-streaming app as compared with rival Meerkat:

Now we can stream video horizontally instead of vertically, and still have viewers fully able to interact with comments.

Yesterday when I was doing a Periscope from the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, one of the first comments from viewers was that I should switch to horizontal mode. I couldn’t do that in the middle of the broadcast, but after I was done I sat down to give it a try, on my personal Periscope account, and had a nice conversation with viewers.

One of the things I learned is that it worked well for participants who had the updated app, but for those still using the old version it felt buggy.

Takeaway #1: Everybody – please update to the latest version of Periscope for iOS or Android.

Why does horizontal video matter?

As I described in this post on our Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media site, one of the downsides of Periscope is that the archives expire after 24 hours. We want to use Periscope to provide behind-the-scenes glimpses of Mayo Clinic, including tours, and would like to upload the video to our Mayo Clinic YouTube channel.

Unfortunately, vertical video isn’t attractive on YouTube, which uses a widescreen format.

So we developed a hack that involved

  • Creating a Keynote presentation with photos from the tour,
  • Placing the vertical video clips within the slides, and then
  • Exporting the Keynote presentation to QuickTime for upload to YouTube.

It wasn’t ideal, but it at least avoided the letterbox look. And the other downside was that it took another couple of hours to create the video, after the tour was done. Still, it felt worthwhile to get enduring access to the tours.

The new Periscope feature doesn’t completely solve the problem, but it reduces the time for video post-production by about 90 percent.

Why is it incomplete? Because the video saved to the camera roll (at least in iOS) is still in a vertical format, although now it’s sideways like this:

Horizontal vertical

Fortunately, there’s a three-step solution that takes only a few minutes.

  1. Open iMovie for iPhone and import the Periscope clip from your camera roll.
  2. As this helpful article indicates, once you’ve selected the clip in the timeline, just put your thumb and forefinger together and twist 90 degrees, and the clip will rotate.
  3. Finally, export the clip as a new movie file.

Now you’ll have a horizontal video that you can upload to YouTube, or edit further. I’ll likely transfer the files to my laptop, because I’ll be able to edit more precisely and quickly in that version of iMovie.

There will be some bumps in the transition, such as for services like, which have been archiving ‘scopes. They’ll need to adjust to keep them from looking like this:

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 7.49.25 AM

But overall, this is an exciting (and for us, time-saving) advance from Periscope!

Update: Here’s an edited version of my first horizontal Periscope, uploaded to YouTube:

Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

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