The Most Advanced Vintage Racing Prints Ever Made
Behold the Silver Arrows Project, a remarkable series of vintage racing prints (buy 'em here) that came to fruition as a labor of love project from a couple of Czech artists. Combining their photography skills with academic research and modern CGI, they recreated some of the most noteworthy Grand Prix racing scenes from the 1930s, when the "Silver Arrows" of Mercedes and Auto Union were dominant.
The beauty of each shot is self-evident, but the astounding attention to detail and the sheer resources required to make each one is not. They employed enough cast and crew here to make a mid-budget movie.
The series depicts not only racing but the ambience surrounding the events. In this shot, Mercedes mechanics are prepping the cars ahead of the German Grand Prix.
Every shot details something important and relevant. This was the storm-ridden 1938 Swiss Grand Prix; a race that saw a legendary display of rain mastery by Rudolf Caracciola.
The detail work is among the most amazing you'll see in any recreation. See that seam in the metal behind the driver's shoulder? The guys actually inspected a real-life Mercedes W25, so they could make sure even the tiniest details were spot-on, like how each individual weld on the car looks.
The artists accessed archives and pulled any and every photo that they felt might help them get the details right. This was the aftermath of a 1939 crash in the Belgian Grand Prix that claimed the life of the legendary Dick Seaman.
The Czech duo took that photo and others of the crash, combined it with the vast data that they had on the real car, and were able to faithfully recreate the car's wreckage as a 3D model.
After designing everything in 3D, they were able to assemble an entire scene and change the camera angle from the original photo.
Then came the specialty work, adding in welds, stitches on the seat's leather, and, when needed, fire.
After the car's set, it's placed into the scene and the final product's almost done.
One of the most involved parts of the project was getting models to pose in the exact spot as their predecessors from eight decades prior, but the results are amazing.
Just like the car, that building's not real, and neither is the crowd. Each CGI person you see was created separately using crowd scanning software, all 300,000 of them.
Combine all of those factors and you've got the most advanced vintage racing prints ever conceived.
It's much more than that, however. To many, the grainy black-and-white images of the pre-war Grand Prix aren't relatable, so the Silver Arrows project works to bring the emotion of that day into the present.
The hardest challenge was making sure the details on the cars were right from race to race, because rarely did a team not change a car in some way in-between competitions.
To account for that, the artists built each basic car as a frame, then designed each additional piece separately (hoods, wheels...), so they could attached the right part for the right race, rather than having to model a whole new car.
You can have any one of these as a print, ranging from postcard-sized all the way to over nine feet wide.
And even at a mural size it won't lose its brilliance, since each image is roughly the equivalent of 170 megapixels. Think of that as having the clarity of a 20K TV.