Daytona 500 Fancam: a technical feat

By March 11, 2014Company news

At Fancam, our mission is a very clear one: We help brands to connect with fans.

And while most of our staff are happiest when they’re busy designing and delivering ground breaking fan engagement campaigns, there is a dark and secret corner at Fancam HQ where the resolution junkies play.

If you’ve seen the movie “The Right Stuff”, just add a few SSD hard drives, a cylinder of hydrogen and a couple thousand cups of coffee – and you’ve got the picture.
Theirs is a world far removed from social media reach, marketing best practices and engagement metrics.
Instead, they spend their days and nights fiddling with custom built computers and tweaking software, finding the optimal setup to kick out more pixels than the last time.

To keep our resolution junkies happy, we need to try something wild and ridiculous every now and again – and this year’s Daytona 500 was the perfect opportunity to do so.

When we shoot 90 000 seater stadiums a 200mm or 300mm lens is sufficient to get down to ‘face level detail’, but in the case of Daytona, the closest fans are further away than those seated in the nose bleeds of a big stadium and those on the back stretch are a staggering 900 yards from our camera.

The solution? More resolution!
We decided to shoot this year’s Daytona 500 with an 800mm prime lens.

The problem with shooting at this resolution is that the resulting composite image is simply massive.
Not only does rendering it strain hardware beyond what it was designed to do, but you have quirky challenges like file size limitations in Photoshop to overcome. (PSD files have a maximum width of 300 000 pixels. When shooting with 800mm, the resulting image comes in around 800 000 pixels in width!)

While we cannot divulge how the production team managed to overcome these challenges, we’re happy to announce that they did and that the end result is nothing short of spectacular.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

daytona for web

To explore the Daytona 500 Fancam, go here

Note: Due to a tornado warning during the race, the crowd was asked to leave the stands and the race was postponed until after the sunset. Although we did capture the whole crowd we chose to include a lower resolution version of the shoot for the left hand side of the main stretch – as it contained more fans than the 800mm shots.

To experience the higher resolution, it’s therefor best to explore the fans on the right hand side of the finishing line.

Enjoy!

 

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