|There’s a car in this picture somewhere – zooming in to the full 53 billion pixel image allows you to find it.|
As part of its latest marketing campaign, car manufacturer Bentley has created a 53 billion pixel image, made up of more than 700 individual photographs. The extreme resolution allows viewers to zoom so far into the picture (above) that the needlework of Bentley’s logo on the seat cover of a car passing over the bridge can be seen – from 700 meters / 2297 feet away.
When the whole image is viewed it isn’t obvious there’s a car in the frame at all, as the panorama shows the whole 1.2 mile span of the bridge and a good length of coastline as well, but as the zoom function is activated the image magnifies dramatically.
The picture, which Bentley is calling the world’s most extraordinary car photograph, was shot by British photographer Simon Stock, using several Nikon D810 cameras fitted with lenses of between 300mm and 1500mm. The cameras were mounted on robotic heads that scanned the area in steps shooting a series of high-resolution long-lens pictures that were stitched together in post-production to create the final image.
Simon explained some of the process to DPR:
‘The challenge was to create an image in which the viewer could experience the journey from an epic wide panorama of the Golden Gate Bridge and zoom through the image to the intricate stitching on the car’s seat in order to highlight the craftsmanship and obsessive attention to detail that makes Bentley cars so unique.
To capture the giga-pixel image we used multiple robotic heads based on the NASA technology developed for photographing the surface of Mars. This breaks down the overall view into a large number of individual captures which we then stitch together to create the final image.’
‘I spent quite a bit of time testing all the various systems, cameras and lens combinations to get to the final result as no one had attempted this level of zoom before. One of the main issues working this way is that you can’t see the final result until you’re back in the studio and have stitched all the images together. This makes the testing quite a lengthy process.
The final image was made up of approximately. 700 hi-res images and ended up at 53 billion pixels in size. To give you an idea of scale, if this image was printed it would be the size of a football pitch.’
‘The time it took to capture the entire image varied between 2 and 4 hours depending on the focal length of the lens being used – the longer the focal length the more captures were required to make up the final wide view.
One unforeseen problem was the fact the Golden Gate Bridge can move up to 26ft in either direction when it is windy ! This made stitching the captures together quite complicated.
Mustard Post, who worked on the post-production, had to find new ways of working on such a large image as no one had tried to retouch on this scale before.
The post-production on such a large image was a real challenge because just opening and saving the file could take a couple of hours, even though we were using the most powerful Apple Mac Pro available.’
To see the full, zoomable image, visit the Bentley Motors website. The Bentley Mulsanne Extended Wheel Base that features in the picture starts at £275,000/$400,900.