104 metres wide. 53 billion pixels in total.
And a single image so large it can encompass the grandeur of the Golden Gate Bridge, while revealing, on close inspection, the embroidered Bentley badge on the seat of a Mulsanne. You can explore the full image here.
This is the world’s most extraordinary car photograph. It is a demonstration of the company’s commitment to technological innovation and a remarkable way to explore the detail of Bentley’s craftsmanship.
The challenge was to create an experience that could transport the viewer from the epic world of panorama pictures to the intricate world of Bentley craftsmanship – and the obsessive attention to detail that makes its cars so unique.
The image captures the new Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase, driving across the iconic bridge. On zooming in, its sleek lines and exquisite duo-tone finish are revealed in all their glory.
And the journey doesn’t stop there. Further zooming reveals not just the exterior brightware of the car, but the handcrafted interior details that make it truly unique.
A TECHNICAL CHALLENGE
The creation of the image was far from straightforward. To get the range of viewpoints necessary, a ten-strong team, led by acclaimed automotive photographer Simon Stock, captured the image as 697 smaller photographs, using technology originally designed by NASA to take panoramic photos of the Martian landscape.
Three Nikon D810 cameras were needed to capture the entire photo and, to keep everything in sharp focus, the lenses used ran from 200mm to 1500mm in length. But there were still physical limits to overcome. The further away from the car the camera was placed, the more dust and heat haze would obscure the camera’s view of the car, softening the image. And that’s before the team considered another crucial characteristic of the Golden Gate Bridge: it moves as the temperature and wind direction change.
Each set of captures took between two to four hours on a 500mm lens – and much longer when the focal length was increased. It took a whole day just to process the result at full resolution, with technical consultant Simon Sledder modifying the software controlling the camera mounts mid-shoot.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
Retouching the image conventionally would have proven impossible, due to the extreme file size involved. Consequently, it had to be broken, once again, into segments that could be handled by the studio computers, before final re-assembly.
The finished picture is among the most striking images ever produced. It gives viewers the world over the unprecedented opportunity to explore the finest details of the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase. Then, having completed their journey into the image, viewers are invited to delve deeper still, with an interactive 360o exploration of the interior of this remarkable car. From the grandest of gestures to the smallest of details, it is an experience unlike any other.