For more than a week, UNB students and staff have been raving non-stop about the university’s short appearance in Ed Sheeran’s “The Joker And The Queen,” featuring Taylor Swift.
The footage was a beautiful drone clip that overlooks the campus area and downtown Fredericton. Ed Sheeran’s new music video was released on February 10, 2022, and is currently the number seven trending song on YouTube.
DiscoverUNB, the University of New Brunswick’s official Instagram account, uploaded an appreciation post for the UNB community a couple days following this surprising news. It also mentioned the artist who made the drone footage, Kurtis Knappe, who is a videographer and photographer based in New Brunswick.
We talked to Knappe about his experience working in videography and content creating, a passion he’s been pursuing for 11 years.
“[I graduated from UNB with a Business degree in 2008 and] I actually worked at UNB. I started there in 2011. Before that I honestly had never picked up a camera – so taking some photography around campus was part of the job – and from there, I kinda gained an interest. Drone flying started coming out around that time, so I bought a couple of cheap drones and crashed those.”
Knappe shared a funny incident he had as a first-time drone flier: “I actually crashed one on top of a UNB residence and security sent an email to the whole campus concerning privacy. Anyways, it was a whole thing.”
When asked about the aspects of content creation that motivate him to continue producing artistic works, Knappe said: “There’s just something inherently fulfilling about creating something. And even if it’s just for yourself, the craft of, you know, creating and editing and stuff like that is really enjoyable. And it’s even better when someone reaches out or they purchase something that you’re doing. That kind of validates it a bit further. So when [my clip appeared in Ed Sheeran’s music video], it was pretty huge for me and it’s a big confidence boost. I think, as artists, you’re kind of very critical of yourself, so to have that sort of recognition was pretty huge.”
A lot of Knappe’s works were filmed in New Brunswick in cities such as Saint John and Fredericton. He shared his view on the importance of representing New Brunswick as a province in his projects.
“I think [New Brunswick] is an extremely beautiful place to live, and that’s kind of the stepping stone for people to come here and explore what we have,” said Knappe. “I mean, yes, it’s very beautiful but once you actually get here, you realize, ‘oh, these people are very nice.’ Like, UNB is a very beautiful campus and [there are] also beautiful people inside and out who really care about your success. And Fredericton as well, and Saint John, they’re just very unique, very eye-catching cities.”
Knappe also shared the acquisition process from him filming the video and it being included in the final product of Ed Sheeran’s music video: “I work with – it’s actually a Canadian company as well – it’s called BlackBox. So I upload video clips to BlackBox and what they do is distribute those clips to four, five different stock footage websites, so it kinda saves you the leg work of uploading to each website and stuff like that. Anyway, I uploaded to BlackBox and really, someone working on the Ed Sheeran video was browsing for a clip, looking for some small town and found that one and thought that was perfect. So that was the process.”
“[Ed Sheeran’s team] didn’t contact me,” he added. “With stock footage, you kinda sell clips but you don’t really know what they’re used for. And this actually was the first time that I got to see where it was used and I only know that because, you know, it was a local thing so people were talking about it locally.”
If you’re interested in checking out more of Knappe’s works, check out his website kurtisclayton.com or find him on Instagram @kurtisthecreator.