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Sri Lanka – Tattoo Photoshoot Project

Sri Lanka – Tattoo Photoshoot Project

Meanings are not limited to written words but began with thought words and spoken words, signed words, gestured words, pictured words, but not only that, but pictures, on rocks, in the sand, and of course on the skin.

These images much like words carry meaning. And it is within the meanings of these pictures/interpretations that culture and therefore, meaning resides, regardless of whether it is traditional or modern culture. So i think it is fair for us to go forward with the idea that our traditional ancestors, like their modern descendants, learned and shared meanings, whether it be through words or pictures. Traditional and modern culture work in similar ways, both are ways of thinking, ways of relating to people and to the universe. This is no different from the tattoos and ethos behind the work of many young Sri Lankan’s that are beginning to surface, and express themselves on the tiny island in South East Asia.

Sri Lanka is a beautifully diverse and multicultural country, home to many different religions, ethic groups and languages. It is a country rich in Buddhist heritage, but is also home to many other religions including Hinduism and the Christian faith. This factor on its own has contributed to a melting pot rich in alternating ways of thinking and expressing ones self. This is something that has begun to extend itself to the tattoo world, which is something that has begun to pick up momentum in a country that is still trying to find its feet in a modern, liberally thinking world when it comes to forms of self-expression.

We were invited to the island by Total Tattoo Magazine UK, along with writer and tattoo-shop-owner Gema King, who owns Indigo Tattoo in Norwich, England, to investigate life on the island within the tattoo scene, and how this ancient, yet widely unacknowledged/used method of expression was being stated on the island, if at all…

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Many forms of expression that have started to surface on the island are a homage to the heritage of the island itself, its inhabitants, as well as the influence that religion has had on the island. You will see through modern styles, motive and patterns have been adopted from the temples and churches throughout the entire island. Whether it is the Ceylon Lion or the tessellating geometric patterns of Buddhist temples dotted throughout the island, you can see Sri Lanka’s rich and diverse history surfacing through these forms of self-expression.

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I spoke with this guy outside a supermarket as i was waiting for my friends, who was more than eager to share with me his experiences of tattoos. Through our travels across the length and breadth of the island it became apparent that the majority of people quite simply did not have the financial means to get professional tattoos, which is why they would use home-made methods. This guy told me how he had seen a Snoop Dogg video and wanted to tattoo a marijuana leave immediately on his own hand, which he proceeded to do. The tattoo on his neck is of religious significance, but i’m guessing i was pretty drunk and don’t recall the exact meaning behind this particular statement.

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Two monks on their way back from college that we met on our way to the beach in the capital, Columbo.

Woman in sri lanka with tattoos

Gema saying a prayer and offering to a Bondhi tree

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Even since the end of colonial rule in 1972, cricket is now one of the country’s leading and most popular sports.

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This is from the steps of a temple on the south west of the island. Here you can see how certain elements of these ancient markings have been modernised for forms of expressions in the Sri Lankan youth.

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This is Benjamin. We met on our train to Polunaruwa. He was 93 years old, and showed us more love, interest and opens than many other people we’ve encountered in other more “developed” countries.

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A monk meditation on the train to Polunaruwa. He remained like this for approximately one hour without moving an inch more than the rickety old train carriage allowed him to.

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This guy took us 45 minutes off the coast of Sri Lanka to an uninhabited island where we bared witness to some incredible coral reefs and marine life, as well as snorkelling with him, just off the coast, to swim within a couple of metres of some hungry black tipped reef sharks.

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With our team one day we decided to explore the North East of the Island, which, up until recently was still being heavily controlled by a military presence that spilled over from the civil war that has plagued the country for many years, and only ceased in 2009.

On our way up the coast we stopped off to get some supplies, and in doing so, met this guy.

He was having a tea, but was more than willing to approach us, inform us of his British colonial knowledge. Not only this, but, he also informed us that he was in fact Mr Trincomalee 1970. So we took his picture.

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This was our home and transport for a couple of nights as we made a safari through the plains of landscape in and around Arugam Bay, the large majority of land in this region is protected and the wildlife takes precedence.

The hut that you see was not our first choice, but due to bad weather conditions we had to retreat from sleeping under the stars on the beach. Nonetheless, we made camp and accepted our surroundings. Our friend, cook and local guide Sudu made sure that we had everything that we had.

It was necessary to build fires and to stay awake in shifts in order for the elephants to not encroach on our camp. So we took it in turns to sit by the fire, look up at the stars and have broken conversation with one another while drinking the local speciality Arak, which is made from coconuts, and certainly leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy inseide.

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A Buddhist flag flying at the top of a temple in the mountains that are not far from Pasarichenai Beach. One of the three main religions on the island.

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“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” Albert Camus

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/free.html#OD9S4rKIXW18lu4Y.99

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We spent a bit of time down on the South East of the island in Arugam Bay, a location very popular with western surfers. While there we were staying in a hut that was run by this local man, Sudu. An incredibly forthcoming and generous soul, that offered us to spend the Buddhist New Year with himself and his Italien wife, which we did. He introduced us to the incredible local Sri Lankan cuisine at its finest, as well as relaying us horrifying accounts of the tsunami that hit the island in 2004. And his tales of being washed kilometres inland, and then trying to find his family, but to avail.

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A lady picking tea on our train ride through the mountains near Kandy.

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The local black cab.

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At a temple in Kandy, Buddhist hanging out their attire to dry with the most epic of views.


Wales Location Scounting – Photo Blog

Last weekend we went location scouting in Wales for an upcoming short film collaboration between OldSwiss and Tom Palmer (www.tompalmerstudio.com). Scouting locations and taking photographs to use as  storyboard and in the development of Tom Palmers pieces he will be creating specifically for the film.

 

Woods trees forrest Location Scounting Wales Brecon short film

Woods trees forrest Location Scounting Wales Brecon short film

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Location scouting cave oldswiss crew Woods trees forrest Location Scounting Wales Brecon short film

Location scouting oldswiss crew Woods trees forrest Location Scounting Wales Brecon short film

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Location scouting cave oldswiss crew Woods trees forrest Location Scounting Wales Brecon short film

Location scouting cave oldswiss crew Woods trees forrest Location Scounting Wales Brecon short film

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Location scouting oldswiss crew Woods trees forrest Location Scounting Wales Brecon short film

Location scouting oldswiss crew Woods trees forrest Location Scounting Wales Brecon short film

Woods trees forrest Location Scounting Wales Brecon short film

Location Scounting Wales Brecon short film

 

All images copyright of OldSwiss Productions Ltd.


Demob Happy – Young and Numb – Behind the Scenes

Demob Happy – Young and Numb – Behind the Scenes

Matt Marcantonio from demob happy in the van from Oldswiss Music Video

FOR THE FULL VIDEO CLICK HERE

An unusual one even for us, this video for demob happy was shot for the bare minimum, the smallest crew possible (two) and in the space of 2 days over a weekend in a tiny farm house in deepest darkest rural Wales. A huge thank you to Dylan Rogers, who played Michael Myers for the majority of the video and who helped set up and create most of these scenes.

Paying homage to as many of my favourite horror films as i could in a single music video, starting with a found footage scene reminiscent of blair witch project style films; Then there’s a shot for shot remake of the shower scene from psycho featuring Adam Godfrey, the guitarist; A gory Texas Chainsaw Massacre chase and death for Matthew Renforth, also a guitarist from the band; Thomas Armstrong the drummer gets the Dexter ‘kill room’ treatment; and finally Matthew Marcantonio, Bassist and front man gets the a modern cinematic escape scene into the bands infamous ‘Demobile’ Van.

Car full of horror movie props

Thankfully on the drive we weren’t pulled over, with a boot containing an axe, a shotgun (deactivated), a chainsaw, 50m of plastic sheets, a few rolls of duct tape and a Michael Myers mask. That would have been a tricky one to explain and i’m not sure the filming equipment would have helped justify everything or just made the situation worse…

Weathering Mike Myers Mask

After deciding the antagonist was going to be Michael Myers throughout all the different homages in the video, we found a cheap Michael myers mask for sale online. When it arrived it was all a bit clean white and pristine, so we set our art director Tom Palmer at it to weather it, distressing it and adding layers of waxes to darken it down and give the mask the old and used look and also make it look a bit of a mixture between the Mike Myers mask and Leather Face’s mask from Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Michael Myers Replica Mask

Close up on the final product.

The band were staying in this small farm house for a month to write their album ‘Dream Soda’ Which had its release recently. We got them to use a GoPro all the time they were there and film their travels and adventures so that it was as natural as possible and i could collect all the footage and go through it to create a ‘found footage’ type opening to the video. the only staged bit i asked them to do was to get some footage pretending to bully their engineer Christoph to set up the scooby-doo type reveal at the end.

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Salting Christoph’s tea. Easily enough of a reason to make him go on a killing spree.

Playing with Aspect ratios, effects and colour grades we used relevant styles to the different genres and films we were trying to replicate. The found footage was put into a 4:3 aspect, the quality degraded, soft edges with the colours starting to separate around the edges. The psycho scene is more rectangular matching the more recent release of the film, there is an interesting article here on the discussion of Psycho’s aspect ratio, however it’s a bit more in depth than i needed to be for this project. For the Texas Chainsaw Massacre we wanted it to have a really trashy look, representing the early 70’s cheap film look that had been run through a projector a hundred times.  A clean crisp and sharp look with a cool blue grade for the Dexter scene like the modern digital look the show has. The final scene having a full 2.35:1 cinematic crop that modern cinema often uses.

The beginning of the horror. Trying to match the amazing shot from Evil Dead that Sam Raimi created by running through the woods with the camera low to the ground, inferring the arrival of the evil ‘presence’. Which we achieved using a horrible piece of equipment that is a selfie stick for a GoPro.


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Evil Dead Shot

In the internet free darkness of deep Wales we had printed out these screen shots on the right from the shower scene in Psycho, and matched them in the tiny cottage bathroom, using some of the left over plastic from the Dexter style kill room and some questionably unsafe lighting setups to create a see through curtain to recreate this classic scene.

Psycho Match 1Psycho Match 2Psycho Match 3Psycho Match 4Match 55. Shower HeadScreen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.19.316. Cleaning Left armScreen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.19.467. Cleaning NeckScreen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.20.048. Shower side onScreen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.20.189. Door open behind shower curtainScreen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.20.3612. Holding knife in the airScreen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.20.5913. Turn aroundScreen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.21.1114. cut close for screamScreen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.21.2215. Mouth Scream close upScreen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.25.5917. Stabs at her through framrScreen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.26.0719. Repeated stabbingScreen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.26.2321. Stab in belly (shoot in reverse)Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.26.3822. Blood washing under her feetScreen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.27.2024. hand on wallScreen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.27.3525. sliding down the wallScreen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.28.1526. Water and blood in the plug hole

 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre scene was a bit harder to replicate in an ideallic Welsh countryside.

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Then, some tissue paper, a Stanley knife and a few bottles of fake blood and Matthew Renforth the drummer looked like a flawless Chainsaw Massacre Victim.

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Sidenote: If you are on a quiet farm, with no one around but the farm owner, it would be wise to inform her of what you are doing before you dress a 6ft 6 man up in a boiler suit and Michael Myers mask, with a running chainsaw while a blood soaked guitarist screams at the top of his lungs. Otherwise she might hear from a distance and come running at full speed to turn a corner and discover that situation occurring without any context. If by any chance you read this i apologise again.

Matthew Renforth demob happy covered in blood

Moving much further into the future from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, we set up the Dexter kill room. We were excited for this one, so simple to replicate with £10 worth of plastic decorating sheeting, 50 metres of cling film and a couple of hours later and it looked just how we wanted!

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The pair of prop knives we made, modelled by Oscar.

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A windscreen washer pump and a few metres of inexpensive tubing to recreating the iconic blood spread from Dexter.

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Group shot with a happy chest stabbing victim.

The final scene is the only one that didn’t follow any particular reference, more an amalgamation of horror cliches and tropes. Matt happens to find shotgun shells convenient located in the kitchen draws, and even more conveniently placed shotgun on the guitar rack. Being the lead he looks hopeful, he is going to be the one to survive. Until the last moment, of course the killer is in the backseat, he had to be!

Barry covered in blood in the shower

Some final Behind The Scenes photos from the shoot.

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Christoph & Matt (2)

Christoph & Matt

Christoph

Demob Stabby

Making Mike Myers Mask (2)

 Matt

Michael Myers (2)

Michael Myers

Rennie (2)

Rennie in Blood

Rennie

Tom in cling film (2)

 Tom in cling film (4)

Tom in cling film (5)

Tom in cling film

©All images and text copyright of OldSwiss Production Ltd


VANT – Parking Lot – Behind the Scenes

Written by Sam Crook

VANT – Parking Lot – Behind The Scenes 

For the Full video check – http://oldswiss.co.uk/portfolio/vant-parking-lot/

This the space our team had to work with. In my experience a large majority of filmmaking on a budget is problem solving and in this case the first big problem was we had about 3 weeks from being green lit to delivery on this project. This was the only space we could afford to have for the at such short notice and for a long enough period of time that we would need to build the set, rig the lights, decorate the set, shoot and then dismantle.

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All the raw materials for building a 12x24ft room.

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Construction of the frame, obligatory set-dog. The basic construction was simple, Wooden frame and plasterboard panels. Using theatrical style set building and supports with some extra reenforcing triangulated struts to make sure the walls stayed up when we filled it with people, which as you can tell from the final product was a necessary measure as our extras got a little carried away during the shoot.

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Wallpapering. Don’t do it. Creating this room was about making it feel like the most disgusting room it could be. After a small amount of searching online for the cheapest and worst wallpaper this is what we ended up with. We still aren’t sure if we put it on the right way up but 24 hours later after our set decorator and art director had been let loose it turned out we didn’t need to worry quite so much about the quality of the papering.

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Here’s where Nick Lord stepped in and ruined the beautiful wallpaper. Using a mixture of techniques Nick and our art director Tom Palmer added a damp, dirty and disused feel to the set.

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The fun bit. To dress the room I went with our art director Tom Palmer to a boot fair and spent an entire morning searching for the worst of the worst. Surprisingly boot fairs can be fun and lucrative, as long as you go in with the intention of buying disgusting furniture.

Then Tom came to the conclusion that the junk we bought wasn’t bad enough and took a flamethrower to half it. Deciding to make one corner of the room look as though it had been on fire from the classic faux par of falling asleep in an arm-chair with a lit cigarette.

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Side note: Water down whatever you set fire to before putting it in a straw filled barn.

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Piers Bishop our lighting engineer dealing with a mountain of lights and miles of cables and underneath is the final results. An immense lighting rig was to supplied us by KAVE theatre services (www.Kave.co.uk) who could not have been more helpful, guiding us through exactly what we needed for the setup we were after, we have never used stage lighting rig setups before and without the help of the people there we would never have been able to handle the ambitious setup.

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Mattie from VANT with his Co-Star, David the chicken. Who was not harmed in the making of the video.

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This was outrageous and the raw footage will have to go online at some point. The last thing we did at the end of the shoot was Mattie smashing the guitar into the fish tank and Greenie the drummer trying to throw his kick drum through the back wall. We thought this could have many outcomes, few of them good, but we never expected the drum would stick perfectly up in the corner like this. Makes me wish we’d had it there from the beginning of the shoot.

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Our cast and crew. fortunately we managed to get a large group of people whose genuine friendship, rather than having a group of extras who’d never met each other. This meant when they were shut in the set together they had genuine fun, which translates and can be seen through the energy they brought to the final video.

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2 days later. Back to how we found it!

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©All images copyright of OldSwiss Production Ltd