1. Operation Jawbreaker was a 24hour Milsim event held in Copehill Down FIBUA site, near Stonehenge in England, by Tier 1 Military Simulations.

    This promo video is for the DVD, which is available for sale at airsoftfilm.com and includes the films from the previous game Black Heart.

    If you liked this film or want to know the background to the game (written from the Head Marshal's POV) then please check out airsoftfilm.com for the article.

    Please "like" us on Facebook and share amongst your friends.

    Basho is making an airsoft documentary and is looking for help from the airsoft community, details at airsoftfilm.com - come take a look and let's get airsoft the coverage it deserves.

    Basho is also available for filming commissions and has a professional team, all film school qualified, who can come cover your event.

    # vimeo.com/45301915 Uploaded 568 Plays 0 Comments
  2. My first ever commissioned film was released today and stands as a landmark for Basho films. I have learned more about Sony Vegas, filmmaking and special effects from this project than I could have ever imagined. The background to the film is what is known as “milsim” or “Military Simulation”.

    Here is the YouTube description for the film:

    "At TIER 1 we are totally and entirely dedicated to providing you the player with a 100% “as real as it gets outside the military” experience.

    There follows a declassified film about our SUB OPERATION – BLADERUNNER.

    These events encompass the highest level of Military Simulation and Attendees were tested to a level unprecedented in airsoft, sustaining — hardship, duress, a lack of sleep and a lack of food for 36hours.

    Attendees received initial orders prior to the operation and were required to begin the event outside of an airsoft environment. Tasks included professional training in surveillance, followed by going to a designated place and identifying a group of Targets. Surveillance of those Targets then commenced using covert communication equipment and vehicles, following on foot when required.

    But then something they didn’t expect happened!

    Late at night the Target’s turned the tables and captured two of the Attendees in a well-planned road stop. They were taken to the Target’s compound and tested for resistance to interrogation. Upon the discovery of this the Attendees then planned, practiced and executed a rescue operation in the early hours of the morning calling on all they had learned in the training and previous day’s play.

    Could they rescue their teammates alive and capture the Target leader?

    TIER 1 MILITARY SIMULATION Ltd is a military simulation training company owned and managed by former-Royal Marine Commando Non-Commissioned Officers and a former UKSF 22 SAS Regiment Operator with over 57 years regular service between them.

    Tier 1 partnered with the well known airsoft filmmaker and blogger, Basho (http://www.outsidecontext.com), in making this film. Basho followed the day’s events as a silent observer capturing the main events of the event on camera."

    When Ed from Tier 1 asked me to attend the event as a filmmaker I was not ready for what I was about to witness. Tier 1 is about as far from a normal airsoft skirmish that you could get and the “Sub Operations” take this even further. The entire event had a story through which the clients were playing. The idea was that a “terrorist” cell had been discovered and that their leader was coming in to Heathrow. The clients mission was to follow these targets and intercept them in the morning. However, unknown to them Ed had other ideas and one of the squads vehicles was stopped and the clients captured, which involved me hiding in a bush with a load of masked gunmen waiting for the right car to pass! There followed a couple of hours of interrogation followed by a rescue by the other, remaining, players.

    It all felt so real, so very real. Nothing was forgotten, nothing was not part of the story unfolding.

    It was very clever.

    It did have challenges for the filmmaker however. I was not “in” on the story so I was forced to film everything and ended up with 60Gb of footage! I had to improvise filming ideas at short notice and tag along with the teams as they played out their different missions. I also had to go without much sleep for 36 hours! the tired faces you see in the film are really tired. It was incredible how everyone was able to keep going through the event at all.

    After the filming the long process began of making the film. I had the idea of a voice over “interview” with Ed as a sort of debrief, which we would use to pull the sections of the film together. eventually the film went up to the limit (on YouTube) of 15 minutes and I realised we had no chance of fitting this in. So I replaced that idea with a “text” over”. Building this so it looked typed was quite a challenge. I achieved it in the following way:

    * Have one 3 second clip of a Green Bar on the far left side of the screen.
    * Use the “Push” transition to move the green line from left to right.
    * This reveals the text clip next in line.
    * Use a “digital typing” noise to make it sound like it is being typed.

    All in all the film has the following effects:

    * Split screen: vertically, horizontally and “3 screen”.
    * Digital matting.
    * Pixilation of certain faces.
    * Digital stabilisation.
    * Slow motion.
    * Professional Colour balancing software applied (which almost killed my computer!)

    And the following special effect shots:

    * The “wake them up” scene where I had to build the idea that the GCHQ was searching out and waking up the players via text message.

    * The “matching” shot where the “terrorist” was “face mapped” and identified (during the briefing).

    * The Flashbang, which didn’t go off so I had to create it.

    Taking number 3, this one I was very happy with. I doubled the scene layer and matted out a grenade  exploding. I then filled that layer with an explosion and set the transition to be a “Sony Flash”. In order to make it sound convincing I went and found a sound of a real US Military Grenade going off and a sound of “ringing in the ears” to simulate the tinnitus one gets when around explosions.

    That leads us to sound and music.

    For sounds I raided Freesound.org for suitable sounds and ended up using something like 20 in places such as the tires screeching during “The Grab” scene (they did screech but my camera mike didn’t make enough of it) and “clanking” noises during “The Question” interrogation scene. I can’t recommend this site enough. Good sound effects makes a huge difference. For music I went to my friends at Audionetwork.com. They are truly fantastic, enabling the small filmmaker to use music created by seriously high-end orchestra for a mere pittance. Wonderful.

    It has been a very long road to get this film finished, but it feels great to have been involved with the Tier 1 team who are all consummate professionals. Their product is a little different from what people may be used to, but it is excellently run and great fun to watch.

    Here is the film.



    # vimeo.com/30121136 Uploaded 336 Plays 0 Comments
  3. When Cesca first showed me the drawing plans for the UCS garden at RHS Malvern, I knew that it was going to be special. But nothing could prepare me for the final result. More a large scale high-art installation than a garden; it is playful, fun and definitely sending a message that we can all understand.

    I have been reading a book recently, called “The World Without Us ,” in it the author, Alan Weisman, writes of how nature – that pervasive force – would take over after we are gone. Concrete would fall down, buildings would crumble under vines and the remains of humanity would disappear; and quicker than you would imagine. Of course, for us Daoists we don’t see the human and so called “natural” worlds as different at all. They are all parts of the same thing; and it is only human arrogance that distinguishes us and our achievements. When we see meta,l and we think that it is not a “natural” substance, we forget that we stand upon a 50 trillion ton ball of the same stuff. Given the size of the Universe, our small scratches on that metal ball amount to a glint of light in a million years of sunshine, but we don’t see it that way. We still think we are in control. As Weisman shows in his book – that is the ultimate illusion.

    And so it is with the UCS garden, losing control leads to organic growth and non-human cycles of birth and decay taking back the ground. Returning it to the dance that lays always under the surface. The dance all gardeners and farmers know. It has a rhythm all of its own, it wont be rushed, it is like the blowing playful wind, and as gardeners we might conduct this orchestra briefly, but we hardly could claim control of it.

    We work with it.

    So, I looked upon Cesca’s and friends' work and read its title and I considered what it meant. I think it means that we may stop listening to the song of nature when we build our concrete pillars and throw away our rubbish, but that song is only just out of earshot; and awaiting to erupt upon our works when we turn our backs from it. The power of Gia comes upon the remnants and turns even the most ugly structures into beauty. A fence, a bucket, a sign, a pool of water – given time – are visited and reseeded and soon dancing to Gia’s tune. Having seen the results, I know which song I prefer.

    Making this garden was backbreaking work for a lot of people and I salute them all here. I watched for the final week of the preparations, seeing what was a simple patch of grass become the garden. There were many risks: the planting could have looked “planted”. The whole effect of such a work required the highest knowledge of nature, how the seeds would catch, how the plants might spread and how the song might return. Such risk was then doubled by the redoubtable students with their choice of a 360 degree view on the final piece. That is, you could walk all around it and it left nowhere for any mistakes to hide. That took courage and demonstrated confidence and the RHS noted the skill and spirit in the garden and upped the marks accordingly.

    Some visitors didn’t understand. For they: a garden is an expression of man’s supposed dominance over nature. But they can be safely ignored as ignorant of the truths this garden exposed; man lives IN nature, as a part of it. And lo – look what beauty we can create together! As partners, not master and slave.

    We just need to lose “control” and release our nature; our natural ability to live in harmony with this planet. That is what I think attracts many out into the gardens of this world, and what makes some gardens great, that one word; harmony. It suggests a tune, a gentle tune carried on the breeze, whistled by Gia herself upon the wind and waiting for you to hear it.

    The film: My rather poor footage (I really need a tripod for this sort of work) and the fact that my camera was struggling to focus through its armour (ready for airsoft use it the field) meant that I could only capture some of the wonder to be seen here. I also decided to capture footage with nobody in it, for while I could have made a film about “the story of the garden being built”, I decided that the story in the garden was more important and that is what I aimed for. The cutting was back in Sony Vegas (version 9 now), my brief dalliance with Adobe being well and truly over; at least for the time being; due to its incomprehensibility.

    I hope you enjoy the results, please leave a comment below or feel free to ask a question.



    # vimeo.com/12047345 Uploaded 314 Plays 0 Comments
  4. In 2009 Cesca and I visited the amazing slopes of Wudang Mountain. The mountain is located roughly in northwestern part of Hubei Province of China. This peak is part of the larger Wudang Shan mountain range that runs through the area, but it is this part that is famous. This is due to its very long and interesting history. The mountain is littered with Daoist temples and monasteries, including the famous Golden Hall, Nanyan Temple and the Purple Cloud Temple. The history of the area goes back over 2000 years, but it is the period of the Mind Dynasty (1388 - 1644 CE) that had the greatest impact.

    During this time, the Mongol led precursors to the Ming had collapsed and China was about to enter its most fascinating historical age. It was an age of intellectual flowering, towering social and political achievements and immense scientific progress. During all of this, the endless cycle of rebirth in Chinese Daoism was again forming into something new. The past, almost shamanistic, practices of external alchemy was giving ground to a new practice of internal alchemy. Internal alchemy was the search for immortality through the development of magic powers inside oneself. This is a syncretic idea heavily influenced by both Confucianism and indeed the movements of Buddhism, which after all is all about internal realisations, forming ideas that are readily recognisable for their influence on the west.

    I am talking about internal kung fu.

    One of the leading thinkers of Daoism at the time was the legendary Chang San-Feng, who wandered up Mount Wudang and made it the base of his Daoist sect. Legend has it, that in one of the temples up the mountain, he formed his magical exercises into Tai Chi after watching a snake and bird fighting. After the Yongle Emperor decreed Wudang to be "The Grand Mountain" its place in history was assured. The monasteries and buildings were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The palaces and temples in Wudang, which was built as an organized complex during the Ming Dynasty (14th–17th centuries), contains Taoist buildings from as early as the 7th century. It represents the highest standards of Chinese art and architecture over a period of nearly 1,000 years.

    Of course, the true nature of Daoist history is as slippery and alchemic to grasp as possible. I will have more to say about the veracity of this "history" later.

    So what is it like to visit? Walking the 20,000 steps (!) up the mountain is one of the most spiritual things I have ever done, but not perhaps in the way that you might imagine. We came to Wudang half way through our journey in China and before our journey into Japan. Since we were basically on a spiritual journey around the world in general, and Buddhist journey in particular, the effect of Wudang took a long time to settle into my bones. However, my muscles ached like hell the very next day! Also, this was still China in 2009 and Daoism is a very strange and illusive beast to get a grasp on. So what the hell happened? This is something I will have to go into far more depth about at a later time, but essentially the contrast between this strange and very foreign way of life gave me the space to consider my own thrown into sharp relief. When you meet people and visit places that are so different to your experiences and your life, then you have two choices. You scoff. Or you stop and think. Mount Wudang is one of the best places I have ever visited for making time to stop and think. To in fact go beyond thinking and be able to sublime the nature of your existence. It is a fair thing to say that I walked down Wudang a different person that I walked up, but that I didn't realise it until much later.

    So, here is the (small) film about that day. I hope that I managed to, at least a little, capture some of the feeling of the place and time.

    # vimeo.com/9154599 Uploaded 4,667 Plays 2 Comments
  5. For 3000 years people have worshiped on the shores of the Ganges at Varanasi.

    So what kind of place is it and how does it make one feel to be in one of the most “holy” cities in the world? This short film considers just that by showing the city as it wakes and as it goes to sleep.

    Varanasi is not a city for the beginner traveller. There are many dangers to being in such a place, both physically and spiritually. While we were there we unwittingly saw the results of a murder, were followed and threatened by a local targeting tourists, eyed up by countless armed police and got into some heated arguments with the local Tuk Tuk drivers who attempted to rip us off. For us, having travelled for so long, this was taken all in our stride. The other dangers in Varanasi appear to be spiritual. The entire place is full of European Yogic converts who live in Ashrams up and down the banks. That you could lose yourself here was for me the real danger I sought to avoid.

    There is a definite sense of this being a holy city. It is filthy and downtrodden like many Indian cities, but its immense ancientness is captivating. I have tried to show some of that in this film. The ceremony shown at the end of the film is known as the Varanasi Dashashwamedh Ghat Agni Pooja Ceremony and practiced daily in honour of the gods:

    "Dashashwamedh Ghat is located close to "Vishwanath Temple", and is
    probably the most spectacular ghat. Two Hindu mythologies are
    associated with it: According to one, Lord Brahma created it to
    welcome Lord Shiva. According to another, Lord Brahma sacrificed ten
    horses in a yajna here. A group of priests daily perform in the
    evening at this ghat "Agni Pooja" (Worship to Fire) wherein a
    dedication is made to Lord Shiva, River Ganga, Surya (Sun), Agni
    (Fire), and the whole universe."

    # vimeo.com/6192472 Uploaded 1,343 Plays 5 Comments

Basho Films

Basho Matsuo

A collection of travel films made on the road as my wife and I travelled around the world for a year.

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