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Home School of Communications, Media, Arts and Design Blog 2021 July 30 Meet Stephen Knifton, Smartphone Video Production Micro-Credential Instructor

Meet Stephen Knifton Smartphone, Video Production Micro-Credential Instructor

I’m Stephen Knifton, and I’ll be teaching smartphone video production at Centennial this fall.

I’ve been producing video content for some time.

I started in TV news, transitioned to online content, and evolved into teaching. I teach video storytelling, film and post-production at various schools, but the Smartphone Filmmaking course I developed is what gets my juices flowing.

I teach it at colleges across the continent, from UCLA to Duke, to Hunter College, to Tufts and Clemson... all via Zoom, of course. I also teach it in workshop format for PR firms and to TV and Film director groups.

What I teach isn’t limited to ‘film’ per se.  The creative shotmaking and technical expertise I teach equip students to produce film, social content, documentary, commercial and brand work.

Produce is the operative word. We learn how to become authentic smartphone filmmakers in this course. Taking control of light, exposure, frame rate, motion, and composition is at the heart of filmmaking. That’s what we learn.

If you look at certain advertisements for certain smartphones, you’d think all you have to do is point and shoot. You couldn’t be more wrong.

Some phones want to do all the work for you. Everything is on auto, and it’s difficult, if not impossible, to take control and call the shots. You’re not a filmmaker - you’re not even a creative partner with the phone - you’re a passenger.

That’s what we call spray and pray. Spray the camera around, pray that you’ll get lucky and stumble over a good shot. 

That has nothing to do with filmmaking, smartphone or otherwise.

People all over the world are creatively expressing themselves with their smartphones. India, China, the UK, the US and Australia have thriving smartphone filmmaking cultures. And they celebrate their work on social platforms and film festivals.

Bollywood - the largest film industry in the world, rolls out its 10th annual Mobile Film Festival next month. Lagos - home to the world’s second-largest (Nollywood) film industry - just wrapped the African Smartphone International Film Festival (ASIFF).

And as I teach and reach more and more smartphone film students, I see this enthusiasm for myself.

Film students, experienced content creators, established filmmakers, vloggers, seniors, marketing and PR people have all participated in my classes and workshops and opened up whole new creative horizons for themselves.

Learn more about our Smartphone Video Production Micro-Credential starting this September here.