FIVE2NINE - We shoot adventure
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 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...

March 30, 2016

Chasing Light till the End of Day: Filming the Jondachi, Day 2

After the previous day and putting some thought into the fact that the whole crew was sick, I saw a silver lining that I was actually able to get 100% of the logistics out of the way while the guys suffered in bed.    Considering the ambitious nature of this short film and the people we needed to work with taking the time to lay the groundwork for the days to come was extremely important. However, when I went to bed I knew it was do or die for the following days and seeing the shape of the guys when I left them I knew it was highly unlikely they would be in any shape to do the amount of work needed to get back on track. Waking up this morning I wasn’t sure what I would find when I went into the guy’s room. Dylan came out with a look like he had been through war. Dylan is the Director of Photography for this project.    He is the most talented cameraman I know and I could only hope to one day have a fraction of his talent.  Where Dylan fails is getting himself known and I really hope after this...

March 23, 2016

Getting Through the Unexpected: Filming the Jondachi

Sometimes things don’t go to plan. After 3 days in Ecuador we officially have nothing to show for it.  Well, maybe some logistics and ground work but no footage to work with. Despite all the planning to go into this project it was the things I couldn’t control that had me nervous going in.  Unfortunately, all of those seem to have come together in a perfect storm over the past three days: extremely high river levels (especially on the Jondachi), uncooperative weather (non-stop rain), and, worst of all, the two other guys on the film crew are sick. Sick to the point that they are bed ridden.  Sick to the point that we had to cancel the shoot while on location to get them back to the hotel. Trying to coordinate an ambitious project like this has taken a lot of planning in the weeks leading up to this. Now with 5 days left on the ground to get this short film completed we have to make sure everything goes to plan from here on out. Everyone is really excited about this project and it is a great story.  I spent a lot of time bringing everything together over the course of three...

March 19, 2016

Finding Redemption through “Chaos”

Chaos Theory: The film project that set a new direction In January 2014 I had a vision of doing something much more introspective in terms of a web series. Currents had been a way to learn (or at least begin to learn) the documentary form, Made In Canada took that one step further with storytelling, but with Chaos Theory I wanted to throw that all out completely and take it to a whole other approach.  To do this I had to stray from the normal approach of find a story and let it guide me.  The main source of inspiration was my love for whitewater and how it compels me in levels much more than just paddling down a river. It connects to my soul and provides me more focus than anything else.  The only thing I found I could make the comparison was various forms of art. Specifically in the beginning it was percussion. To me percussion is something that from the outside can be so chaotic but there is always a calming pulse below the surface.  Class 5 rapids are the same once you get to understand how to translate that initial turbulence. Articulating this project to the sponsor/distributor was a lengthy...

March 6, 2016

Head First: A Crash Course in Lifestyle Management, Part 3

Prior to the experiment outlined in the previous post I had made a drastic change with my whitewater kayaking. I had gone from just running everything that I would now consider class 3/4 to investing in a creek boat/river runner and taking steps to move up to class 5. It helped getting hooked up with a crew where I was not the most advanced but rather the least. It helped me see totally different rivers and paddle much harder stuff. The reason I am bringing this up is because around the time of my change in work patterns I also was on a massive ramp in my kayaking skills and soon thereafter I discovered shooting video. After getting a first video out of what we affectionately call ‘kayak porn’ I quickly moved to a more documentary style web series called CURRENTS.  This is key in my progression because with little or no training in making this project I jumped in head first and eventually delivered 20 episodes over 3 years, each one building on the next in terms of scale, story, ambition, technicality and overall quality. I still look back on some of these and wonder how I did it all. In hindsight I...