Freelance cinematographer Blair Madigan has traveled the world and back. Growing up in Colorado surrounded by travel and visual artists in his family, it’s as if Blair was destined to be a kick-ass, nomadic cinematographer guru, who can pretty much MacGyver zip lock bags into a poncho during Monsoon season.
He’s traveled on assignment to Haiti, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, The Philippines and France, among other cities and provinces. Based in Los Angeles, Blair lives close to the beach and fits the Cali skater/surfer mold with his long blonde hair and welcoming personality.
During my visit to LA, we met at his home to chat about his travels and how he got started in all of this. As someone who doesn’t have many friends like this back home, I was geeking out to all the chargers and batteries and cool gear that he had. From a remote iPad app to control his Canon 5D Mark III, to a Small HD we used to monitor video, it was neat learning from Blair.
It was a great conversation about what he learned in school, how he landed his first gig and what resources he uses to learn about new equipment.
The night couldn’t have ended better as we sat down with his girlfriend Amy, and ate some turkey chili.
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You only learn so much in film school. When you get out in there world you realize the stuff you learned film school got you the basics but didn’t really get you the exact experience you need to know certain things.
It ‘s all about telling the story.
You’re only as good as your team
Behind the Scenes
Blair's Career Timeline
Was given a 35mm film camera for birthday and started taking photos
First Video Camera
I bought a sony handy cam with my allowance money and started making skate videos with friends
Filmed High School Sports
Started filming High School Sports and making highlight films and selling DVDs at the end of the season.
Graduated High School
Graduated from Legacy High School in Broomfield, CO
Enrolled at Brooks Institute
Started film School at Brooks Institute in Ventura, CA
First Motion Picture
Shot on motion picture film for the first time in film school.
Graduated film School at Brooks Institute in Ventura, CA
Trouble Finding Work
Struggled to find work because of the writer strike going on in Hollywood.
Worked at on online video magazine called Whitcanvas
First Travel Show
Shot my first Travel show as a cinematographer.
Started Buying Gear
I bought a Canon 5D mark 2 and from there started buying gear to bring on to shoots with me.
Travel To Shoot in Alaska
First Show in Alaska. Flying Wild Alaska
Cold As Ice
First trip to the coldest part in Alaska on Ice Road Truckers
Worked on the Show Axmen in the remote areas of Oregon.
Tiny Hamster eating Tiny Burritos
Filmed Tiny Hamster eating Tiny Burritos which became a huge viral hit.
Travelled to Haiti to shoot a documentary for Redbull tv.