Mercedes-Benz: The Changing Face of Races over Time

The new Mercedes-Benz Museum was opened on May 19, 2006 in Stuttgart. Two simulators built by the company Simtec from Braunschweig are integrated into the museum and are equipped with the movie “The Changing Face of Races over Time”.

Five exemplary eras were taken from Mercedes’ overall racing history and the relevant cars were integrated into the film. The design called for completely realistic vehicles that could be seamlessly inserted into the era under consideration, both in terms of the cinematic language and the state of technology used at the time. The unique feature of this presentation is that the visitor can subjectively experience the rides in the vehicles of the chosen eras. The idea was not to create a simulated ride like those typically found at fairgrounds (according to Mr. von Pein, head of the MB Museum) in the style of 3D-games.

The film shooting with the original vehicles turned out to be a challenging task. Only three vehicles were actually fit to drive to a limited extent. Two vehicles had to be mounted on ramps with wheel drives in the studio and filmed in front of bluescreen projectors. The Formula-1 bolide needed to be towed and also filmed in the studio. All rides and camera moves were precisely planned using storyboards and 3D pre-visualizations.

HDV was chosen as the filming format. All crane shots on the racetrack were shot using a T-Rex snorkel in order to get close-ups of the vehicles. During the rides, the camera on the mobile crane sometimes came as close as 15 cm to the cars.

During post-production, all filmed backgrounds were exchanged using Environment Replacing. The hyper-realistic backgrounds were created in 3D. For this purpose, the first step consisted in motion-tracking all shots using a complex procedure. During Finishing, all materials were adapted to the style of their era. Even nitro-spots and scratches in the material were realistically recreated.

The result is an impressive journey through the eras of Mercedes racing history with the vehicles as time capsules – creating a highly fascinating subjective experience for visitors.