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How we filmed it: SwiftKey’s secret weapon

2nd May 2013

At SwiftKey, innovation comes first. And this isn’t just limited to our products – it’s also one of our main principles when it comes to communicating what we do.

One of our favorite methods is video. They’re brilliant fun to make (we run riot trying out different ideas, often looking silly in the process). We find they really connect with many of you – for example our YouTube channel has clocked up more than 7.6 million views.

We’ve had lots of questions about how we shot the video for our most recent major release, Say Hello To SwiftKey 4. Some of you were intrigued by the “floating phone” effect, which enabled the screen and keyboard to remain completely in focus, no matter how much the person holding the device moved around.

Filming a smartphone sounds easy right? Well if you ask anyone who has ever tried they’ll tell you otherwise. For our videographer Adam Gichie it is a fun challenge.

For a long time it frustrated Adam how limited we were with what we could do – even tiny movements by the person holding the phone can mean the screen goes out of focus and certain camera angles produce distracting moiré patterns disfiguring the screen (not ideal when you’re trying to keep the focus on the product and what it is capable of).

Adam explains: “This time I wanted to get a rock solid shot of the phone. Previously it was always shaky and difficult to see it in plain view. I wanted to make the video all about the app – front and center.”

He eventually came up with this amazing contraption. A cunning combination of brackets and a phone case that held the mobile (in this case, a Samsung Galaxy S3 and an LG Nexus 4) in a static place in relation to the camera, allowing the phone to always stay central and the screen to always remain in focus, no matter how much you move.

The only other challenge was to entice our staff to hold the contraption and to type while walking, playing table tennis and working. All the hands you see in that video belong to our own multilingual, multi-talented (and hugely obliging) coworkers.

We’re excited to see what we can conjure up next with Adam (who spends the rest of his time working on projects for Richard Branson, ELLE magazine and The Royal Navy). You can find out more about what he is up to by following imageandpicture on Facebook.

You can watch more of SwiftKey’s videos – such as our most fun shoot to date, SwiftKey Tilt – on our YouTube channel.

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