It’s been almost a week since we premiered our new Tell Your Story campaign video at TechCrunch Disrupt, featuring the illustrious voice of Stephen Fry. Since then, we’ve seen almost 100,000 views on YouTube, it’s been written about in The Verge and Mr Fry himself has even tweeted about it.
So what is all the fuss about? This video is the first in a series that we are crafting about why it’s important to be a creative, expressive person – to leave your mark. We’ve dreamed of doing something like this for a long time, and with the introduction of SwiftKey on iOS imminent, we felt the time was right.
Our mission is to help people create and communicate more easily on mobile, and through our technology we enable people to do a better job at this. That’s why this campaign was started and how it was conceived – to encourage all SwiftKey users to be as expressive as they want to be. Whether it’s in a tweet, a message to a loved one, or the next great novel, we want to help you tell your story.
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The idea stemmed from a talk that Mr Fry, an old friend of SwiftKey, gave at our London HQ in 2012. He said that he believed we were successful because our mission was “something that is passionate and human-shaped.” It’s because we see SwiftKey as so much more than a keyboard; it’s a language tool with great depth that, when accompanied with human passion and ingenuity, can result in incredible creativity.
The concept for the video was inspired by the script, which was written by our creative coordinator Precious Hamilton-Brown from our London HQ. Several hours of conference calls between our San Francisco office and London later, we had come up with a plan to shoot two sets of shots. One set of interior desk-based shots featuring an iPhone with SwiftKey Keyboard on it; the other a series of aspirational external shots of people living their lives to the full, sharing key moments with loved ones through their phones.
We then shot the video over three days in sunny San Francisco earlier this month. It took an incredible amount of work from our in-house team, such as Community Manager Ryan Paredez, alongside our long-time freelance videographer Adam Gichie. We used a RED Epic Dragon to capture the footage in 6K — part of the reason why the shots are so beautiful.
We were then very fortunate to be able to reunite with Stephen briefly in San Francisco last week to record the narration track, which I believe is what truly elevates the video and gives the viewer goosebumps. We commissioned experienced Bay Area sound recordist Max Hirtenstein to produce the recording, and Stephen absolutely nailed it in a couple of takes despite being fresh off a plane from London.
All of this was then tied together by Adam in a makeshift edit suite in our SF offices. This is where the downside to shooting in 6K kicked in – manipulating these enormous shots required a lot of patience, some trial and error, and a lot of late nights in the office. We considered a variety of soundtracks to help elevate Mr Fry’s beautiful narration track and in the end settled on Evolving Dawn by Paul Mottram, which is available in the AudioNetwork library. Then, finally, at 2am on the morning of our TechCrunch Disrupt product announcement, we finally finished.
Here you can watch the talk I gave at TechCrunch Disrupt where we premiered the video. We’re really looking forward to sharing what comes next; stay tuned. And do let us know how you use SwiftKey to tell your story. We’re always listening.
Chief Marketing Officer