Blog - Mike McKay
Five2Nine's blog offers an inside look at the video production company. With a background in adventure filmmaking, owner, Mike McKay, provides filming advice, reviews cutting-edge equipment, and comments on what it means to turn a passion into a career.
Blog, Five2Nine, Mike McKay, McKay, Video, Production, Ottawa, film, cameras, entrepeneur
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April 30, 2016

Kayak Films: Trends and Direction

I have a great amount of respect for Substantial Media House. I think Evan and Fred are both great guys, amazing paddlers, and fantastic behind the camera. They have done so much for the sport and media behind whitewater paddling for the last 5 years. They have developed a language all of their own that has permeated across the sport and defined the genre on to itself through the culture that has influenced so many young paddlers coming up and hoping to follow in their path. However, with all they have done for the whitewater media world that is positive, I also feel they have had a negative impact as well. Substantial TV: A Norwegian Summer - Lammler Style from Substantial Media House on Vimeo. Let me explain: Taking the story all the way back to the Bomb Flow days I feel this story and path of whitewater media coincides with the popularity of whitewater content and video production to the popularity and growth of social media in the sport. Bomb Flow, in a manner of speaking, picked up where Lunch Video Magazine left off.  To those who remember that far back; LVM was a subscription based DVD series that followed the adventures...

April 23, 2016

In the Gear Bag: Fully tested and Highly Recommended

Reflecting on all of the cool experiences in just three and a half months of 2016 I thought I would touch on some of the gear that has really got me excited.  Not all of it is new but most is new to me. 1.  NRS H2Core Gear NRS has really stepped up the game in functional technical apparel that really looks good. We have been using this gear to film on and off water, warm and cold environments, as well as in high sun areas. It is really good stuff. Now that I am back in Ottawa I am using it for workout gear, running, etc. It is just really high quality stuff. 2.  DJI Ronin-M After working with the Ronin and the Sony A7S I found it was a bit overkill. Dropping down to the Ronin M has really allowed me to use this tool for getting too hard to reach areas and work with it for a long time without having too much fatigue. We have been able to pull off some really long shots. As well, it is really easy to travel with. This has really upped the level of shots that I have been able to do and tell a good...

April 19, 2016

Finding a way on the Delta

The morning of my flight to New Orleans I still didn’t know what I was going there to shoot.  At 10am I finally hear from Steve Fisher about the project that he has in mind. “This film has been a dream of mine for a long time,” he starts with and I know I am in for something cool. The gist of it is a kayak fishing film that bring the genre pushing spirit of adventure and filmmaking into the sport that Fisher is known for.  I am excited but I know it is going to be hard. How hard? Well, I didn’t quite know what I was in for. I had heard from other people that Fisher is known for pushing cameramen to their limits. This is something that really excited me. His attitude is all about doing something that has not been done. After shooting for two kayak fishing tv shows I knew how to shoot the sport but I had never actually shot something on a cinematic scale. This is what we were looking for and it had me very excited going into it because this sport has so much potential for great storytelling. Part of the shoot involved the brainchild of John Grace...

April 15, 2016

Slipping through my fingers: Filming the Jondachi, Day 4

Our talented paddler’s name is Brayan Robles. He is 17 years old and from Tena, Ecuador.  I met Brayan last March after I was in Tena solo and looking for good people to paddle with. He doesn’t speak English and for some reason my Spanish turns to beginner level when I am around him.  It is annoying. Brayan was filmed once kayaking for a tourism commercial that was aired during the Super Bowl. He was filmed running the upper waterfall on the Hollin River for the All You Need is Ecuador campaign. See him at the 1:50 mark. The reason I am saying this is because today we showed up at the Jondachi River and it was the best possible flow we could imagine. Problem is: Brayan was so stoked about this that we never really got to coach him on how to really film a river and do it right. Filming on a waterfall is much different than trying to capture a river. Rapha Boudreault showed up last night and we have some extra talent behind the lens today. We are comparing the shooting of this river to how we shot the Made In Canada episode of the Taureau. We had...

April 9, 2016

How to Move Past Bad Days

Most sports have a degree of error. Whitewater can have a degree of catastrophe. For whitewater if you fuck up you are likely beat down, exhausted from fighting a hydraulic or dangerous situation, and then all your gear goes downstream. The better the kayaker you are, the worse the consequences. When you get in the situations where things are going to bad, well, it goes really bad. There is also the mental game. Truth is, sometimes I feel that is 80% of what it takes to be a really good kayaker. There are a lot of ‘good’ kayakers out there, but pushing through with that mental side can get you to the next level. I have always struggled with that but find that makes for the challenge and draw to this sport. Take a recent bad day I had as an example. I ended up running a bad line on Go Left or Die on the Green Narrows. The river was a really juicy 200% making the rapid much harder and consequential especially given the fact that the river had changed some. I was not in a good headspace that day. Due to a number of external circumstances I was not making good...

April 2, 2016

Buying the Catfish for the Shaman: Filming the Jondachi, Day 3

Having not been able to complete the full shoot on the Lower Jondachi yesterday, we definitely were starting the day a little behind. The guys were still feeling pretty under the weather and so we decided to finish up with the Gran Canion shoot as well as start to get the work going with the shaman and in and around his village. Like every day so far, we started behind the ball with our driver showing up thirty minutes late. This is something that I need to adjust to because Ecuadorians follow la hora ecuatoriana (“Ecuadorian time”) where lateness is not seen as rude like it is in North America. I am of the attitude that it is unprofessional and it put us in a tough spot...