Lost in the crowd, Carlos clicks his camera into manual mode. He raises his arms above the herd, turning in circles to capture a 360-view of the dancing bodies and smiling faces. As he films, the camera swallows up the bellowing roar of the singing and cheering.
Later that same night, Carlos’s eyes dart between monitors to edit the concert footage. The computer is one he built himself — one that can handle the magnitude of the processing speed his video editing demands.
On Carlos’s wall are five photographs: a drone shot of the beach, city streets, the setting sun, a dreamy waterfall, and a beloved image of Syracuse University’s Crouse Hall. Although the five images are very different, they echo a unifying theme: Carlos’s love for capturing the moment, whether that moment is peaceful nature or the hustle and bustle of people living life.
Carlos Magdaleno, an advertising major in the Newhouse School of Public Communications, picked up a camera for the first time his senior year of high school and never put it down.
“Once I got behind the camera, I fell in love with it,” he said.
Now, he is a 2021 – 2022 Zaccai Foundation Fellow for Syracuse University’s Blackstone LaunchPad, where he films content to promote entrepreneurship on campus. Outside of Blackstone LaunchPad, Carlos is also involved with the University Union production team, where he can capture the energy of student life.
But Carlos’s knack for videography didn’t come naturally nor was he taught the basics in school. His passion fueled his initiative to teach himself how to film and edit by watching hours of instructional videos and putting the craft into practice.
“It wasn’t easy to do. There are hours behind the scenes, hours I put in that nobody notices,” he said.
Carlos also experienced difficulties as a first-generation college student coming from a background where traditional education is taken more seriously than a career path as a creative in the digital sphere. He initially began as a computer science major before realizing the work left him drained and unfulfilled. Quickly, he turned back to his creative calling.
Carlos explained that creativity is not something that can be taught, and that’s what shapes someone into an innovator.
“You can teach someone the fundamentals of a skill or equipment, but what they create after that is up to them,” Carlos noted. “You have to stand out, especially in a digital world full of content that repeats and imitates. When you take inspiration from something, you need to add your own spin on it to make the content your own.”
As he improved, Carlos began to reach out to people to get involved with moments he was hoping to capture, but his focus is still on perfecting the craft, creating things he finds beautiful and putting his work out for the world to see.
The previous summer was Carlos’s first major project: filming two festivals in California and a concert for Snoop Dogg. The opportunity was monumental because it was the first time someone had reached out to and put faith in Carlos to work on the video production for such a popular event.
Carlos especially loves filming for concerts because of the potential to capture the energy of an audience: “While shooting, I try to soak in all the energy, then do my best to bring that to life through the edits of both the visuals and sound.”
Down the road, Carlos hopes to either work for a production company or run one of his own. For the time being, he is working on developing reliable connections with people and building a brand for himself as a creator.
“I want to create things and build something for myself that I can be proud of,” Carlos said as he reflected on how far he’s already come.
Looking back, Carlos regrets how much time he spent worrying about what people would think of him, so he advises other creative entrepreneurs to refrain from this same concern: “Honestly, people don’t care that much, so just do what you love.”
“Put yourself out there and keep going,” he added with a smile.
Carlos’s latest photo and video projects can be found on his Instagram, @cjmagdal.
Story by Sasha Temerte ’23, LaunchPad Global Fellow; photo supplied