A look inside Zaman Makinası

Zaman Makinası is an alternative journey to the stories that created our modern world. Wandering mainly around Archaeology and History, we tried to show how some core concepts of life evolved throughout the known past and shaped our current life. Evolution of metals or burial customs or the story of water-human relationship for instance… And many more…

While doing this, main motivation we had was to be able to visualize stories and/or scientific facts in a more interesting and explanatory way than usual. So, the act usually included the use of experiments, 2D/3D animations and VFX compositing.

Below, you can see several excerpts from episodes that we would like to share together with some notes about them. If you follow the video links to Facebook, you can see the videos with english subtitles as well…

Discovering the Çatalhoyük Burials

The second episode starts with the neolithic site of Çatalhöyük and its skeletons. Even though Çatalhöyük is neither the only nor the earliest site with in-house burials, it is the most widely known one. And the video below is designed to explain how the Çatalhöyük houses looked like and how James Mellart discovered the in-house burials. The shot choices and the music helped to create a suspense before revealing what was found under these buildings.

Göbeklitepe and The Tumulus of Alyattes

Since its discovery Göbeklitepe has been a site that revolutionized our thinking of people from the paleolithic-neolithic transition period. Nobody is sure what that 11500 year old monumental architecture means, but we opt to use the idea that it may have something to do with the dead, the ancestors or even the gods. Besides, the sequence is a good example on revealing how we designed the cinematography of the series to make the audience feel more engaged. While the presenter is introducing the story and place, the camera moves along with the presenter, the audience follows him in a dynamic and more dimensional way. However when we go further into the topic and present interpretations and meanings we pass to a more closer shot of the presenter and it is also a narrow angle stable shot that dictates audience to think rather than just watch.
Similarly in the second video, we use contrasting long and wide angle shots in a row to express the size of the Alyattes Tumulus which in fact the biggest one all over the world. So big that people can do paragliding there even though they do not know they are on top of a grave… Also the talking presenter was shot handheld rather than a gyro stabilizer to make the audience feel the slope better and in the last part an epic drone shot was used to emphasize the size of the tumuli as well as the emotion directed by the speech…


The 4th episode was about concept of time and dating the human past and a step in this episode was archaeomagnetism, which is quite an elaborate technique. In order to simplfy it and to prepare the audience we decided to tell what magnetism is and how earth’s magnetic field is formed. The first thing to use was a compass but not a pre-made one. We showed a DIY technique to create your own compass and the production process revealed the very basic principles of magnetism to the audience.

Archaeomagnetism 2

After the principles of magnetism were presented to the audience through DIY compass and also magnetic field animations, we passed to the technique of archaeomagnetic dating and how the idea actually worked. As the method is quite confusing, we wanted to simplfy it and explain to the audience with a visual reference. Here in the video you can see how we managed that through drawing a simple world map and some representative elements.

Taqiaddin’s Steam Turbine

Inside the 3rd episode – which is about the water and human relationship – we told an amazing story from the life of an amazing polymath, Taqiaddin İbn Maruf. Although, Taqiaddin served for Ottomon court for a very brief time in the last quarter of the 16th century, he is known to be one of the most influential astronomers of his time, even surpassing Tycho Brahe and Copernicus in some aspects. And in one his early manuscripts which is now being kept in the library of Kandilli Rasathanesi (İstanbul), he talks about probably the first functional use of steam power in Ottoman lands, almost two hundred years before the first steam engine. Ironically, its use is related with cooking kebap which is what Turks are mostly know for internationally, not the steam engine… And as we had the opportunity to reach Taqiaddin’s original manuscript, it would be best to visualize his explained mechanism on top of it.

Waterlines of Pergamon

Hellenistic kingdom of Pergamon is the first city in which a huge scale pressurized water system was implemented throughout the world. And this feature gave the city a part in our 3rd episode. The acropolis of the city is several hundred meters above the sea level just as the main water supply. And there is a 200 meters deep valley between these two points that Pergamene engineers had to cope with. There we wanted to show the audience what kind of a problem this altitude difference creates, just before explaining the high pressure water system.


Inside the 4th episode dendrochronology took a major part of course. The birth of the idea and how the technique actuall worked… The below animation thus was made to show how sections from different tree barks that shared a lifetime matched eachother and how one can trace it towards past history. We wanted it to be clear, minimalistic but elegant at the same time…

The Biggest Fire the North Has Ever Seen

The 5th episode which was the story of fire and human relationship, included a piece from the life of a hellenistic king Mithradates VI. Mithradates who had one of the most dramatic life stories ever lived, lights a huge fire to thank his eastern gods after his victory against the Romans, at an open air altar on top of a 2000 meter high mountain. Ancient historian Strabo mentions it as “the biggest fire the north has ever seen” which was also quoted in Game of Thrones. Through the sequence and the act of Mithradates, we tried to tell what fire meant to ancient people from different periods and different cultures.

Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and it took its part in the 2nd episode in which we talked about burial customs carried on throughout the history. The main  focus for the mausoleum was its symbolism as a melting pot for all egyptian, persian anatolian and greek culture-architecture for afterlife. We wanted to explain this feature through a build up animation stressing the main architectural blocks of the structure as well as showing its monumentality by compositing the 3D model on to a modern footage of the city of Bodrum.

Carl Sagan and the Pale Blue Dot

In the last episode we summarized how the concepts that we told in each episode brought us to today. The story is not only about Earth anymore. We have gone beyond it thanks to the every bit of achievement accumulated throughout the time. But the civilization we created does not have an innocent past. It is full of wars, poverty and pain… And this is where we wanted to pay a tribute to the famous quote by Carl Sagan and also the epic series, Cosmos, a Spacetime Odyssey.

Emergence of Inflation

Second half of the life of Roman Empire is the period  that humanity was introduced with the reality of inflation. And it never vanished till then. Inside the 1st episode of “Coins” we wanted to reveal how inflation is created and more importantly how it is made to live almost forever through a simple demonstration. A very tiny fact about the ancient coins is the key to this story. In contrast to today, ancient coins represented as much value as the weight of the metal they were made of. Copper, silver or gold… But what happens if u cut a small piece out of the coins?

Photogrammetry for 3D Modeling

Close Range Photogrammetry has become a commonly used tool for  photorealistic 3D modeling and documentation especially in archaeological or cultural heritage studies in the last years. The technique basically needs series of photographs of a subject taken from different angles and by using structure from motion algorithms it can deduce depth information, creating a 3D model of the subject eventually. The results obtained with this method reveals to be highly accurate and photorealistic which makes it valuable not only for scientific documentation purposes but also for animations and documentaries. Here you can see several cases studies we have done and most of them were created during our company partner Yenal Orman’s master thesis namely “Digitizing archaeological excavations in 3d, an image based modeling approach at Komana Pontika.”

Ishtar Lion Relief
by YenalOrman
on Sketchfab


by YenalOrman
on Sketchfab


Inscribed Stele
by YenalOrman
on Sketchfab


Ceramic Vessel
by YenalOrman
on Sketchfab