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Up to date as of February 07, 2010

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This article describes the Swan's Orientation Film, for other films, see DHARMA Initiative films.

Swan Orientation film


First Introduced
Found by

The Swan Orientation film is a film produced by the Hanso Foundation to instruct the inhabitants of the Swan, a DHARMA Initiative station. The film's official title is "3 of 6 - Orientation". It is narrated by "Dr. Marvin Candle" (an alias of Pierre Chang) and bears a copyright date of 1980. The film was revealed by Desmond in the episode "Orientation". It was hidden behind a copy of the book The Turn of the Screw.

The film starts with a short history of the DHARMA Initiative. It explains how the Initiative was founded in 1970 by Gerald DeGroot and Karen DeGroot, two doctoral candidates at the University of Michigan. Taking the example of B.F. Skinner, they imagined a "large-scale communal research compound" where research could be conducted into meteorology, psychology, parapsychology, zoology, electromagnetism, and Utopian Social... (this part is unclear and could refer to Utopian Socialism or Utopian Social Engineering; the Spanish translation referred to "Ingeniería Social Utópica", or Utopian Social Engineering). According to the film, the DHARMA Initiative received their funding from the Danish industrialist and munitions magnate, Alvar Hanso, through his Hanso Foundation.

Further the film details the procedures at the Swan station. It explains The Swan is station number 3, originally designed to study "the unique electromagnetic fluctuations" from its part of the island. It does not describe these characteristics however but apparently a certain "incident" occurred at some point. As a result, every 108 minutes, a code (the Numbers) has to be entered into the computer terminal (see pushing the button). Reasons for the execution of the protocol are not provided, but it is emphasized that it is of "utmost importance". Also, partners at the station are there for 540 day shifts, after which new replacements would arrive.

Later in the episode "What Kate Did", Eko reveals a new piece of film to John Locke. The piece was discovered in a Bible at the Arrow DHARMA Initiative station. After splicing the piece into the original film, the two watch it again. The spliced clip reveals a strong warning not to use the computer for any external communication with the outside world, and to only use the computer for entering the code.

In the episode "Live Together, Die Alone", Desmond asked Kelvin Inman why there are parts missing from the film. Kelvin comments how his partner who resided with him in the Swan, Radzinsky, made edits to parts of the film. It is unknown why Radzinsky did this.


The film

Scenes from the Swan Orientation Film


Items in italics represent comments.
Items in bold represent on-screen items, not spoken text.
* denotes a pop or possible splice in the film.
(?) denotes interpreted garbled speech (might be transcribed incorrect).

Film begins, music is heard.

The DHARMA Initiative
3 of 6

Screen transition fade.

The DHARMA Initiative Swan Logo appears.
Orientation - Station 3 - The Swan

Screen transition to show a man in a lab coat.

Welcome. I am Dr. Marvin Candle, and this is the orientation film for station 3 of the *DHARMA* Initiative.
In a moment you will be given (a?) simple set of instructions for how you and your partner will fulfill the responsibilities associated with the station. But first, a little history:

Screen transition to show activity on a university campus.

The DHARMA Initiative was created in 1970, and is the brainchild of Gerald and Karen DeGroot, two doctoral candidates at the University of Michigan. Following in the footsteps of visionaries such as B.F. Skinner, they imagined a large-scale communal research compound where scientists and free-thinkers from around the globe could pursue research in meteorology, psychology, parapsychology, zoology, electromagnetism, and utopian social... * ...(re)clusive Danish industrialist and munitions magnate, Alvar Hanso, whose financial backing made their dream of a multi-purpose, social-science research facility a reality.

Screen transition back to man in the lab coat.

You and your partner are currently located in station three, or The Swan, and will be for the next 540 days. The station 3 was originally constructed as a laboratory, where scientists could work to understand the unique electromagnetic fluctuations emanating from this sector of the island. Not long after the experiments began, however, there was... an 'incident'... and since that time, the following protocol has been observed:

(That?) every 108 minutes, the button must be pushed. From the moment the alarm sounds, you will have 4 minutes to enter the code into the microcomputer processor... * ...duction into the program. When the alarm sounds, either you or your partner must input the code. It is highly recommended that you and your partner take alternating shifts. In this manner you will both stay as fresh and alert... * (it is of the ut)most importance, that when the alarm sounds, the code be entered correctly and in a timely fashion.

Now do not attempt to use the computer... * ...for anything... *

<Transcript of the spliced clip introduced in "What Kate Did">

...for anything else other than the entering of the code. This is its only function.

The isolation that attends the duties associated with Station 3 may tempt you to try and utilize the computer for communication with the outside world. This is strictly forbidden. Attempting to use the computer in this manner will compromise the integrity of the project and worse, could lead to another incident. I repeat, do not use the computer for anything other than entering the code.

<End of spliced clip.>

Congratulations! Until your replacements arrive, the future of the project is in your hands.
On behalf of the DeGroots, Alvar Hanso, and all of us at the DHARMA Initiative, thank you, namaste, and... good luck.

Screen transition fade.

© The Hanso Foundation 1980 All Rights Reserved

Film ends.


  • It is estimated that each team must hit the button between 7,200 and 7,476 times, because they actually reset the timer before the 108 minutes are up, so it can be between 104 and 108 minutes between each pushing of the button. However, both Locke and Desmond were able to successfully press the button after the timer displayed the hieroglyphs which are after zero, so while it could be no more than 7,476 times, it may be less than 7,200 times.
  • The picture of Alvar Hanso is the same used in his Executive Bio at the website of the Hanso Foundation. It was dated October 23, 2003.
  • During the last third of the film, when they are getting an extreme close-up of Marvin Candle's head, one can see a logo of a bird or bat in flight in the upper right corner of the film. It can be seen going frame by frame in Quicktime, when he is saying "when the alarm sounds, the code be entered correctly and in a timely fashion."
  • Dr. Marvin Candle's left arm is a prosthetic.
  • Desmond says that the computer at The Swan may be used to contact to other stations, and we see Michael using it for speaking with his son (when in captivity).
  • Dr. Marvin Candle has never said that the numbers are 4 8 15 16 23 42, he said 'input the code'.
  • 108 (minutes) x 5 = 540 (days in a team's shift).
  • 4 + 8 + 15 + 16 + 23 + 42 = 108.


Dr Marvin Candle as seen in the original footage versus in the footage found in The Arrow.
Notice the differences in hair, lighting, striped tie, and the exit sign.

It has been noted previously that the footage of Dr. Marvin Candle which appeared in "Orientation" differed from the footage inserted in "What Kate Did". This assertion is not entirely correct. The inserted footage is actually identical in terms of actor, costume, lighting, etc. immediately before and after the first splice. However where the alternate footage was introduced the actor is clearly seen to be standing in a different posture, his necktie is tied differently, the lab jacket is different, and the hair and lighting are clearly different. Given that this change occurs in the middle of the "inserted" portion from The Arrow, it seems likely that the differences are a byproduct of unplanned reshooting in production, and are not meant to be taken as a hidden plot point.


  • The Swan Orientation film was shot on the APO set from seasons 4 and 5 of Alias in Burbank by the Alias crew.
  • One of the buildings depicted in the film is located in Narvik, Norway. The building was chosen only because it suited what the creators of the show wanted. However, when they learned that fans had discovered the location, they adapted the storyline of The Lost Experience to encompass this (Alvar Hanso is held prisoner in that town).
  • The theme songs for the Swan and Pearl Orientation films contain the melody (with an added note at the end) from "The Eyeland" (Soundtracks), a musical theme from the score which also appears in the end credits of Lost.
  • A frame of a DHARMA orientation film is included as a prop in the Mr. Eko action figure.

Unanswered questions

  • Why did Radzinsky edit the film?
    • Why was the edited film at the Arrow, and how did it get there?
  • Is the Oceanic Logo on the bookshelf in the DeGroot's office relevant?
  • Why does this video explain the history of the Dharma Initiative when the other videos do not?

See also


This article uses material from the "Swan Orientation film" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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