Creating the retro-futuristic world of ‘Hello Tomorrow!’


Holograms, hovering cars, ubiquitous robots, video calls — all “Hello Tomorrow!” are an integral part of – but with a slight twist.

The Apple TV+ seriesStarring Billy Crudup as a slick huckster selling timeshares on the moon, set in 1950s America – yet an alternate-reality version of the decade that still feels familiar.

“That was what we were going for,” series production designer Maya Siegel told The Post. “It’s anchored in the 1950s … where technology has advanced at a much faster pace than our history.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Siegel explained how he and his team built some of the futuristic devices seen in “Hello Tomorrow” — and how these machines would have been a veritable tip of the cap to the space-age Eisenhower era. are

What was your inspiration?

As soon as I read the script, I started doing a lot of research, and then my team came in and everyone started spitting out ideas. With research on gadgets … I looked back from the 1920s to the late 1960s. The Art Deco era With those industrial and product designs was awesome — everything looked streamlined and [as if it] Can possibly fly. It was very inspiring for our instruments; They need some weight to them but they all need to have curved lines and look like they can be aerodynamic. I had a lot of catalogs from that era and books on advertising in the ’50s and old Sears catalogs and old decorating books and old car books that people brought in. I also looked through old World’s Fair catalogs and popular mechanics magazines, which had everything. This strange device. Some car companies and appliance companies were spending money to make “concept” cars or “concept” kitchens and these were really fun to look at.

To Shirley (Hanifa Wood) “Hello Tomorrow!” Able assistance comes from an office robot.
Apple TV+

From the beginning [series creators] important [Bhalla] And Lucas [Jansen] That was the idea with the punch cards and they wanted it in this world. Our main robots have a slot on the back for the punch card that programs them, and you see this in other gadgets as well. When I was designing [hologram] Table, the big thing was to insert the punch card and the hologram would start playing. I wanted it to look like a nice piece of furniture … and I thought of this kind of donut-shaped table that looks like it’s made of walnut and has a very small control panel with a slot for a punch card. It was built by our carpenters and we put lights around the center of it and worked with the special-effects supervisor to imagine what a hologram would look like coming into the center. [of the table].

Salesman Herb Porter (Dushan Williams) calls at Vidicon "Hello tomorrow!  He is sitting in front of a TV set with a microphone in front of him.  He is wearing a headset that you would see on telephone operators in the 1950s.
Salesman Herb Porter (Dushan Williams) “Hello Tomorrow!” In calls Vidicon.
Apple TV+

Jack Billings (Tommy Curdup) is sitting in a hover car "Hello tomorrow!" He has his hands on his knees and is sitting facing the outside of the car.  He has a briefcase on the lawn.
Jack Billings (Tommy Curdup) “Hello Tomorrow!” On is sitting in a hover car.
Apple TV+

How did you design those funky video phones?

They are called Vidicans in our world, a kind of retro-futurist face tame. We made a few of them and knew we would need to use them everywhere; I wanted to have some booths [Vista Motor Lodge] One in the lobby and every motel room and people’s homes. It was supposed to be curvy and a bit futuristic-looking but also a bit clunky and feel like an old TV screen. We built the base with the control panels and the microphone is … I thought it was good for the actors to have a headset on their head or hold a microphone. It was all painted in oil color — there is a model and it is everyone [in the series] has The TV monitor was cast and we built the bases and had a plexiglass screen … with (black and white) images later in post-production.

How were hover-cars made?

We used cars from the 1950s and … worked with someone who refurbishes vintage cars. There were chrome caps that went over each car’s wheel; Our beautiful team carved them out of styrofoam and painted them chrome. The [wheel] In post-production the bottoms that were still present were deleted.

"Hello tomorrow!" Production Designer Maya Sigal.
“Hello tomorrow!” Production Designer Maya Sigal.
Courtesy of Apple TV+

Was there a gadget that was more difficult to draw?

Our main robots … did the most engineering. The body moves, the head moves, the lights turn on and off. The puppeteers were moving the arms around and the robot was placed on a rig by the props department. There was someone who controlled them in every scene. I would say they were the trickiest; It took a while for everyone to get the hang of them. There was some trial and error.

Some called out “Hello Tomorrow!” Gadgets have been compared in to “the jetsons” Animated series from the early 60s.

It’s a great performance but there wasn’t much that played into it [our designs] and was not often cited. When we were talking about robots, we said, “Let’s make sure it’s friendly [‘The Jetsons’ robot] Rosie.” But, overall, it wasn’t much of an impact.

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