Replicating ‘The Martian’ Spacesuit, Part 1: Building Reference

Adam Savage has been granted unprecedented access to one of his favorite movie costumes: the spacesuit from The Martian. Over the course of this year, Adam aims to replicate the spacesuit, keeping as close to the original as possible. The first step is to study and document the prop, creating reference through photos, sketches, patterning, and even photogrammetry! (Bring home The Martian on Blu-ray™, DVD & Digital HD today.)

Shot and edited by Joey Fameli

Comments (31)

31 thoughts on “Replicating ‘The Martian’ Spacesuit, Part 1: Building Reference

  1. I learn something, or relearn something in every video. The blue tape method of copying/making a pattern for instance, so cool.

  2. Really fun to see such attention paid to documentation! Is there any chance you’ll be open sourcing the photos and other reference?

  3. Great! It will be nice a dedicated video with the tips and tricks about photogrammetry as well as the various techniques to document.

  4. Will all this information be made public or are you not allowed to do so? If the answer is yes, you should consider stepping to a publisher. I would pay good money for that book. And I know I’m not alone…

  5. I was really fearing this would be premium because the another video about this suit was and you guys are in the habit of barring off previously free content with a pay wall.

  6. Great video, again thanks for sharing these initial steps, I was so disappointed with the bluray extras , the suit costume got very little detailed mention.
    Great seeing the masking tape method for making a pattern,
    Don’t forget to photograph your notes Adam to back them up, you can never have that day’s access to the suit again

  7. Its really interesting to see how much detail is included and realize its a product of the demands of High Def Video and scaled up home theater experiences demanding detail in nearly every shot.

    I noticed the home build photogrametry rig and thought immediately that it needed a pointer and evenly spaced marks to ensure a consistent stitch together in the software. Will be interested to see if that’s really needed.

    This is great content for Premium, glad to see something this special that will excite and bring in new users. Great job Tested team!

  8. This will be fun.

    I am curious about the colour swatches that Adam was using. My initial guess is it’s a special calibration selection of colours, where you have them included in a photo and the computer can auto-adjust the levels/curves/etc on the image to get the swatches back to their preset correct colours, and therefore the image is adjusted accurately and consistently. From there you can assess the colours digitally, and at your leisure.

  9. When I saw the movie, I assumed that the astronauts had ankle weights to overcome the lower gravity, but now it just looks like the film makers didn’t even try, and said ‘let’s make the gravity on Mars equal the gravity on Earth’. Simpler and most people won’t notice – but it bugged me.

  10. You will have to carry the suit and backpack too when outside – current EMU suit weighs about 50kg and Orlan is 10kg more, I doubt the future suits will be significantly lighter, only less cumbersome. I guess Matt Damon weighs about 80kg on Earth without the suit, so he would weigh 45kg on Mars with a realistic suit. It would make walking significantly easier, but no bunny-hopping around like on Moon.

  11. Any examples of them barring previously free content behind a paywall? Because as a four year watcher/reader, I can’t think of any single time they did that.

  12. You’re pretty much right on with your guess. It’s made by X-rite, and it’s called a ColorChecker Passport. It essentially gives you an accurate read of what known RGB values are for your current lighting and. Massively useful little thing to have for any photography, but definitely a vital component in documenting things like this. You can even use it to build a colourspace profile for your camera, but that’s mainly only useful for studio work.
    I keep meaning to replace the one I lost, but I still haven’t gotten around to it. There are cheaper versions, but the convenience of this one, plus the other targets make it worth the money.

  13. seems like a lot of work, why not find out if who ever made it has patterns? any good seamstress always keeps their patterns, it would sure save a lot of time and possible destruction

  14. Lego builds used to be free, that is my biggest example but they also walled off one of the videos relating to adam’s blade runner blaster (they had never done this with another series). 1 day build or just builds by Adam in general were once free. Painting, modeling, mold making ext.. videos used to be free.

    They also used to bait us by making 1-3 videos at the beginning of a series free (without a premium icon at the time) then making the rest premium. as well as leaving out the premium icon on thumbnails so non premium members have to bash into the wall more often.

    It seems like they took their most popular content and walled it off instead of making a significant amount of new series to run.

    They also have no reason at all do have a premium section with walled off content, they already get a ton of revenue from youtube ads and could always run non obtrusive ads on the site with premium removing those ads and maybe having early access to higher quality videos.

    Ads sound scary but I’m sure the crew knows 90% of us know how to block ads if we really want to and even then it’s not necessary to wall off content with a premium membership.

    That all said, I wouldn’t mind the premium content if it was not almost entirely content that used to be free (Lego builds mostly). These guys know how to do ads effectively and know how to implement a premium membership service that does not wall off content, they choose not to.

    I have been with tested for a damn long time, they are great but not perfect.

  15. They make relatively little from youtube. Their videos average less than 100k views, which is what a decently popular vlogger gets in the first three hours.

    It is hard to estimate because advertisers pay so differently, but it is generally said that you are lucky if you make $2000 for a million views, and that means Tested’s *total* revenue for the youtube channel is about $570.000, in six years and 2500 videos.

    Obviously you can’t employ four editors, two producers and pay co-hosts (while renting a SF office and paying for travel and equipment) for less than $100k a year.

    And that number doesn’t account for the fact you don’t normally run ads on old videos.

    Realistically, you can cut that figure in half.

    But even is that wasn’t the case, averaged out for the last six years they’d only need 2000 premium subs to match that number.

    I don’t have the number in my head, but they mentioned how many posters they were shipping out from the promotion and think it was quite a bit more than that.

    Hell, the sponsored Evernote series they did (Jamie’s racing spiders) was probably worth a year of Youtube revenue for 25 minutes of content, and Will once said they made more from Premium subs in a day during the promo than they would in over a month of youtube ads.

    It is safe to say, premium is a big section of the site’s budget, and premium content is a small portion of the content.

    As for paywalling, the only full-length LEGO build that has been free afaik are the ones from before the Berman Braun buyout… which were also paid for with premium memberships to the Whiskey Media network.

    One-day builds and Frank’s lessons are still free, the premium vids that accompany those are usually very short, unedited time-lapses.

    Weeks of builds have always been Premium content.

    Honestly, there is more free content than ever, and the only reason that is possible is because of premium memberships.

  16. And FWIW, putting bonus content as premium vids isn’t new, it goes back several years whenever there was some actual bonus footage to post. For example, they did premium vids for the Zoidberg and Farnsworth builds.

    I guess they can’t win, either it is people not being able to see premium content, or premium members not getting enough premium content. :p

  17. Anyone know where I can get an Aeroprene Suit. According to the BTS footage from The Martian movie, they used Aeroprene due to the fact that its much more breathable than Neoprene. Also, can the hard shell pieces of the suit be vacuum formed?

  18. The very first week of builds was baited, also after that they let free members see half of the mame cabinet build then cut us off, they also cut us off on the mini arcade cabinet assembly. You are not factoring in the steady revenue from views on videos that have been up for a while, a youtube video stays monetized until it is removed from youtube or in some way you or youtube remove the monetization from it.

    Also as you said they get plenty of sponsorships, free gadgets and other perks.

    I am not against premium. When they announced it I was pretty neutral on it, but then some of my favorite series started getting walled off.

    My issue is not that premium exists but how they went about it. Like I said, I would prefer adds with premium getting to have no ads then everyone gets to see it all.

    It’s changed my perception of the Tested crew. I thought they were pretty much just like the little guys but they have decided being corporate is best. These guys are smarter than most of us put together and they can’t monetize their site in a way that doesn’t wall off content?

    I can think of many ways. some or all of these could have done the same job.

    (hopefully unobtrusive) ads (with premium getting no ads)

    Producing premium specific shows instead of taking some from the free members (Leggo was also free doesn’t matter if it was sponsored by an outside party)

    Giving premium members access to videos early and in higher quality with a download option.

    A forum for premium members where they get to give feedback on what they want to see (again keeping the content free)

    Giveaways to only premium members

    a premium only newsletter

    Start a patreon (they allow micro donations and spread credit fees across everyone you support)

    I am not saying make it all free, I’m even willing to forgive putting up the pay walls on the content they have already walled off. All I am saying is that they have put up pay walls and that they seem keen to try to extend that wall.

    I only have issue with the pay walls, they could’ve chosen not to wall anything off and make just as much revenue or more.

  19. You should read my reply above. It’s not that premium exists that bothers me it’s that they chose to use pay walls instead of a multitude of other options.

  20. The next space suits from coming movies are going to be even more detailed and complicated, now when the designers know that Adam will be examining them with a loop. So it’s going to be even more work in making copies out of them. Adam is hoisted by his own petard : D

    Keep up the good work!

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