Five2Nine | Five2Nine Blog - Ottawa Video Production
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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March 3, 2016

Leave work and fly to Ecuador: A Crash Course in Lifestyle Management, Part 2

By March 2009 I had started testing out ideas and concepts to really get me away from an office setting and allow me to do what I truly loved: whitewater kayaking. I had not really discovered video work or filmmaking at this point but I was dabbling in it.  Mainly I just wanted to enjoy my life at the age and shape that I was in.  And really, I was a pretty good kayaker and I knew I loved it. The test:  Leave work and fly to Ecuador. Bring all the tools I had put in place to test out if I could do the following: See if I would be able to work my job from a totally foreign environment to what I was used to. Keeping in mind that March is a traditionally slower month for me. Utilize tools such as VOIP phone, NEAT mobile scanner, email, virtual fax, etc. At that time iPads were not available (that went to the next level of changing everything for me).  Shoot me a message if you want more detail on the process I use to work remotely. I have honed this in quite well over the years. Start learning and practising Spanish in a mostly...

February 27, 2016

A Crash Course in Lifestyle Management: Part 1

In January 2010 I told my wife that I wanted to see where the world of whitewater kayaking could take me. I said that in 5 years if I didn’t have a plan that: did not have me working as an instructor, video boater, or something that kept me on the same river allowed to me travel live at an income level that went below my standard of living I would pack it in and continue the rest of my life working as a fairly successful financial advisor. As of January 2015 I found myself as a cameraman on one of Red Bull’s biggest shoots of 2015. By July of 2015 I had officially started the process to sell my financial practise and take a leap of faith into the world of adventure filmmaking. Essentially this life path all boils down to a fateful night at an Ottawa Senators game but I will get to that later. However, the point of all this is, at one point I said to myself:  I want this enough to go out and give it a try. And with that, here I am blogging about the life I chose over 5 years ago. I know I will never be a rich man....

February 24, 2016

Fit to Paddle: Workout Routine

 Being on the 40 side of 35 now, training to keep my lifestyle has become more important than ever.  Fitness and injury prevention can be the difference between being able to travel, work, and just keep up in general. Prior to heading out for four weeks of travel and paddling in January, I made some dedicated time to really ramping up my training regimen to work towards being able to maintain 20+ days of hard kayaking. Mostly, I wanted to avoid injury in Mexico. Paddling big drops can be hard on your body and I know this first hand. In early 2014 I dislocated my ribs landing funny of one of the smaller drops on the Rio Alseseca. This sidelined me for the rest of the trip and for a number of weeks following.  Take it from me: sitting all day while your buddies head out to the river really sucks especially when there isn’t much else to do in that area. I am not a trainer nor am I an authority on fitness but here is the regimen that I did in order to hit all the targets that I wanted for paddling and travel: Strength Training: I usually work a routine that goes...

February 12, 2016

Take your Kayak to Quito: A Paddler’s Latin American Adventure

Take it from me, the ideal latin travel kayak trip is to take advantage of Aeromexico’s flights to Quito. Here is why: Usually a flight to Quito involves a rather long layover in Mexico. You can take advantage of this and make it a multi flight trip and stay in Mexico for a while and head to the Veracruz region to do some sweet layover kayaking.  I have done from 5 days to 2 weeks and just come back to the airport for my second flight to Quito.  (This is done from Montreal). Aeromexico is super friendly for traveling with kayaks.  I mean super friendly. It has never been a problem for me. Sure the flights might be a little more expensive but if you book in advance they will charge you $40usd for your kayak and put it right in the system so there are no headaches when arriving at the check in. Aeromexico is super friendly and accommodating on all fronts and a pleasure to fly with. Sign up for Club Premier and it will get you some lounge passes fast. This might pay off on the flight home (layover). Arriving at the airport for the flight to Quito is a...

February 8, 2016

Not Getting the Job

As I was in Ecuador I had a major paddle sports outlet approach me about the possibility of working a job for them. The job was on the instructional side and as I co-produced the Rescue For River Runners series I assumed that is why I was contacted.  The R3 series continues to get traction even though it is reaching the 5 year mark.  It has also won some pretty prestigious awards. It taught me a lot about building a formula for instructional style content. The proposed job required me to put together a bid as there were other filmmakers approached. This is something that is very difficult to do as every job has different budgets and you have to be careful to not overbid (and more importantly, not to underbid your value). For this bid it required me putting together a team that would be able to capture this project in an engaging and visually compelling way. In the end, I was contacted by the outlet personally to tell me that I was a close second. This is never something you want to hear….that you didn’t get the gig.  However, I want to focus on the positive side that came out...

February 3, 2016

Kayaks and Planes: Lessons from Experience

I have been traveling to kayak for the better part of ten years. I have been blogging, making videos, and photos about kayaking for over five years.  Of all the posts I have done the one I did about traveling with a kayak still has a lot of people reading it and commenting on it. In the last year I worked with Jim Coffey and NRS to produce a 10 part series on how to travel to kayak.  Basically it is a series filled with tips and tricks to make getting to international destinations easier and more attainable.  One video in particular I think will be especially valuable for many and that is the ‘Traveling with Kayaks’ episode.  I sincerely feel that there are a lot of good tips that will translate to success with getting your kayak to your destination. Some tips for success that I can share on a personal level: 1. Aeromexico may have more expensive tickets but they will take a kayak for $40 if booked in advance and likely have the best customer service. 2. Think about selling your kayak at your destination. You will likely get good money for it and avoid traveling home with it. 3. Never just show...