Tag Archives: archaeology

Creating ‘First Man’

June 8, 2017 marks the premiere of our latest original film, First Man, created in partnership with Nilaya Productions.  First Man is an epic special that takes viewers on an exceptional journey back through 25 million years of human evolution.

Part of what makes First Man so special is that it has something to please every viewer, spanning history, science, drama and even special effects.  Not only are the storyline and scenic backdrops jaw-dropping, but the special effects make-up takes center stage, as our team worked diligently to accurately portray four species of early hominids.  Curious about the process of turning modern-day actors into species dating back millions of years?  Read on to learn more about the fascinating process.

Team

Our biggest challenge was the actual look of the characters.  With the influence of movies like Planet of The Apes, aesthetic standards have indeed dramatically changed, while the expectations of the audience have increased.  With the arrival of new technology in make-up and prosthetics, after a few tests, we decided to work with the Academy Award-nominated Adrien Morot FX Studio in Canada.  Renowned for their incredible masks and make-up, they had just wrapped work on The Revenant.

Design

Our protagonists were initially drawn by character designers.  Based on scientific assumptions of what they could look like, we decided to give each species an identity: noses, eyes, mouth, foreheads, fur and hair.

Casting

Casting the right actors for this film was a particularly extensive process.  In order to find the actors who could perform difficult primate movements (walking on all fours, jumping, climbing trees, etc.), the process was much more involved than usual, but we ended up with a stellar group of actors who would help embody the traits and behaviors of extinct hominids.  Once our cast was in place, it was off to Canada, where they would be entirely moulded – face and body.

Sculpting 

Once the actors arrived in Canada, Adrien Morot FX studio created the facial masks and the costumes inspired by the character designs, custom adapted to each individual character.  Those masks and costumes were accompanied by special eye lenses to accurately portray how the size of the iris changed throughout time.

Shooting 

In the end, we received the masks and costumes in South Africa for the shoot.  We were shocked by how heavy everything was – weighing in at a few tons of equipment because, in order to keep the costumes fresh, each actor would wear a replicate of the same costume every day they were on set!  Each day would mean five hours of preparation and two hours of getting rid of make up at the end of the day for an actor.  Furthermore, it takes an army!  Each actor had three make-up and costume artists assigned to them.

 

Watch the First Man trailer here:

First Man is available to stream in its entirety starting on June 8, only on CuriosityStream.

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A Bronze Age Time Capsule Plus Our Exclusive New Series

The fascinating Bronze Age gave us the first glimpse of urban civilization, particularly in the Mediterranean and Near East Societies.  And now, archaeologists have discovered what are thought to be the best-preserved Bronze Age dwellings ever found in Britain… giving us a closer look at everyday life in a Bronze Age village 3,000 years ago.

Archaeologists from the University of Cambridge detailed their findings this week.  They’ve unearthed the pristine, time capsule-like site in central England, some 80 miles north of London. 2 large, circular, wooden houses, built on a series of posts sunk into a river channel below, seemed to have collapsed in a fire and sunk into the water sometime between 1000-800 BC.  The water doused the flames, and layers of mud from the riverbed covered it all, preserving the structures and their extraordinary contents. Textiles, jewelry, food storage jars, spears and daggers, even a cooking pot with traces of food inside, were found completely intact. And the first human remains have just been unearthed, as well.  The archaeologists found a skull near the doorway of one of the houses, continuing to help weave the incredible story of what exactly happened there. Experts are calling it prehistoric archaeology in 3D, and say these findings will transform our understanding of the period.

The flourishing civilizations of the the Bronze Age gave history centuries of brilliance — the first developed writing systems, centralized local governments, the roots of diplomacy, and of course, the first use of metal for tools and weapons, including the new, durable bronze.



Premiering on CuriosityStream this week – an exclusive, new original series offering a deep dive into this extraordinary time in history.  Our three-part series takes an in-depth look at the rise, the impact, and the ultimate fall of the Bronze Age, with stunning visuals and expert insight that will put you right in the middle of history.

Watch here for a glimpse into each of the episodes:

The Rise of Civilization

Masters of Trade

Conquest and Collapse

Are you intrigued by the life of an archaeologist?  Are you dreaming of being a real life Indiana Jones?  Hear more about a day in the life of an archaeologist from CuriosityStream luminary Dr. Eric Cline here.

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