Cinerama is a widescreen process that originally projected images simultaneously from three synchronized 35 mm projectors onto a huge, deeply curved screen, subtending 146° of arc. The trademarked process was marketed by the Cinerama corporation. It was the first of a number of novel processes introduced during the 1950s, when the movie industry was reacting to competition from television. Cinerama was presented to the public as a theatrical event, with reserved seating and printed programs, and audience members often dressed in their best attire for the evening.

The Cinerama projection screen, rather than being a continuous surface like most screens, is made of hundreds of individual vertical strips of standard perforated screen material, each about ​78 inch (~22 mm) wide, with each strip angled to face the audience, so as to prevent light scattered from one end of the deeply curved screen from reflecting across the screen and washing out the image on the opposite end.[1] The display is accompanied by a high-quality, seven-track discrete, directional, surround-sound system.

The original system involved shooting with three synchronized cameras sharing a single shutter. This process was later abandoned in favor of a system using a single camera and 70mm prints. The latter system lost the 146° field of view of the original three-strip system, and its resolution was markedly lower. Three-strip Cinerama did not use anamorphic lenses, although two of the systems used to produce the 70mm prints (Ultra Panavision 70 and Super Technirama 70) did employ anamorphics. Later, 35mm anamorphic reduction prints were produced for exhibition in theatres with anamorphic CinemaScope-compatible projection lenses.

This Is Cinerama 03
Scene from "This is Cinerama"
Bel. Cinerama scherm wit gemaakt 1
A Cinerama screen in the Bellevue, Amsterdam


Process and production

Cinerama was invented by Fred Waller (1886–1954) and languished in the laboratory for several years before Waller, joined by Hazard "Buzz " Reeves, brought it to the attention of Lowell Thomas who, first with Mike Todd and later Merian C. Cooper, produced a commercially viable demonstration of Cinerama which opened on Broadway on September 30, 1952. The film, titled This is Cinerama, was received with enthusiasm.[2][3] It was the outgrowth of many years of development. A forerunner was the triple-screen final sequence in the silent Napoléon (1927) directed by Abel Gance; Gance's classic was considered lost in the 1950s, however, known of only by hearsay, and Waller could not have actually seen it. Waller had earlier developed an 11-projector system called "Vitarama" at the Petroleum Industry exhibit in the 1939 New York World's Fair. A five-camera version, the Waller Gunnery Trainer, was used during the Second World War.

The word "Cinerama" combines cinema with panorama, the origin of all the "-orama" neologisms (the word "panorama" comes from the Greek words "pan", meaning all, and "orama", which translates into that which is seen, a sight, or a spectacle). It has been suggested[4] that Cinerama could have been an intentional anagram of the word American; but an online posting by Dick Babish, describing the meeting at which it was named, says that this is "purely accidental, however delightful."[5]

How Cinerama is projected
How Cinerama is projected using three projectors

The photographic system used three interlocked 35 mm cameras equipped with 27 mm lenses, approximately the focal length of the human eye. Each camera photographed one third of the picture shooting in a crisscross pattern, the right camera shooting the left part of the image, the left camera shooting the right part of the image and the center camera shooting straight ahead. The three cameras were mounted as one unit, set at 48 degrees to each other. A single rotating shutter in front of the three lenses assured simultaneous exposure on each of the films. The three angled cameras photographed an image that was not only three times as wide as a standard film but covered 146 degrees of arc, close to the human field of vision, including peripheral vision. The image was photographed six sprocket holes high, rather than the usual four used in conventional 35 mm processes. The picture was photographed and projected at 26 frames per second rather than the usual 24.[2][3]

According to film historian Martin Hart, in the original Cinerama system "the camera aspect ratio [was] 2.59:1" with an "optimum screen image, with no architectural constraints, [of] about 2.65:1, with the extreme top and bottom cropped slightly to hide anomalies". He further comments on the unreliability of "numerous websites and other resources that will tell you that Cinerama had an aspect ratio of up to 3:1."[6]

In theaters, Cinerama film was projected from three projection booths arranged in the same crisscross pattern as the cameras. They projected onto a deeply curved screen, the outer thirds of which were made of over 1100 strips of material mounted on "louvers" like a vertical venetian blind, to prevent light projected to each end of the screen from reflecting to the opposite end and washing out the image. This was a big-ticket, reserved-seats spectacle, and the Cinerama projectors were adjusted carefully and operated skillfully. To prevent adjacent images from creating an overilluminated vertical band where they overlapped on the screen, vibrating combs in the projectors, called "jiggolos," alternately blocked the image from one projector and then the other; the overlapping area thus received no more total illumination than the rest of the screen, and the rapidly alternating images within the overlap smoothed out the visual transition between adjacent image "panels." Great care was taken to match color and brightness when producing the prints. Nevertheless, the seams between panels were usually noticeable. Optical limitations with the design of the camera itself meant that if distant scenes joined perfectly, closer objects did not (parallax error). A nearby object might split into two as it crossed the seams. To avoid calling attention to the seams, scenes were often composed with unimportant objects such as trees or posts at the seams, and action was blocked so as to center actors within panels. This gave a distinctly "triptych-like" appearance to the composition even when the seams themselves were not obvious. It was often necessary to have actors in different sections "cheat" where they looked in order to appear to be looking at each other in the final projected picture. Enthusiasts say the seams were not obtrusive; detractors disagree. Lowell Thomas, an investor in the company with Mike Todd, was still raving about the process in his memoirs thirty years later.

Sound System

In addition to the visual impact of the image, Cinerama was one of the first processes to use multitrack magnetic sound. The system, developed by Hazard E. Reeves, one of the Cinerama investors, played back from a full coated 35 mm magnetic film with seven tracks of sound targeting a speaker layout similar to the more modern SDDS. There were five speakers behind the screen, two on the side and back of the auditorium with a sound engineer directing the sound between the surround speakers according to a script. The projectors and sound system were synchronized by a system using selsyn motors.


The Cinerama system had some obvious drawbacks. If one of the films should break, it had to be repaired with a black slug exactly equal to the missing footage. Otherwise, the corresponding frames would have had to be cut from the other three films (the other two picture films plus the soundtrack film) in order to preserve synchronization. The use of zoom lenses was impossible since the three images would no longer match. Perhaps the greatest limitation of the process is that the picture looks natural only from within a rather limited "sweet spot." Viewed from outside the sweet spot, the picture can look distorted.

The system also required a bit of improvisation on the part of the film producers. It was not possible to film any scene where any part of the scene was close to the camera, as the fields of view no longer met exactly. Further, any close-up material had a noticeable bend in it at the joins. It was also difficult to film actors talking to each other where both were in shot, because when they looked at each other when filmed, the resultant image showed the actors appearing to look past each other, particularly if they appeared on different films. Early directors sidestepped this latter problem by only shooting one actor at a time and cutting between them. Later directors worked out where to have the actors looking to create a natural shot. Each actor was required not to look at his fellow actor, but at a cue placed where he needed to look.

Finally, the three individual films would jitter and weave slightly as the films moved through the projectors.[7] This normal frame-to-frame movement is typically imperceptible to cinema audiences where only a single projector is in use. However, in Cinerama, this resulted in the center picture constantly moving slightly relative to each of the side pictures. The shifting displacements were perceivable at the two points where the center picture met the side pictures, resulting in what appeared to many viewers to be jittering vertical lines at one-third and two-thirds of the way across the screen as the two touching images constantly moved around relative to each other. Cinerama projectors used a device to slightly blur the join lines to make the jitter less noticeable. Future systems such as Circle-Vision 360° would correct for this by having masked areas between the screens. The jitters continued, but viewers were less aware of them with the adjoining pictures no longer so close together.

The impact these films had on the big screen cannot be assessed from television or video, or even from 'scope prints, which marry the three images together with the seams clearly visible. Because they were designed to be seen on a curved screen, the geometry looks distorted on television; someone walking from left to right appears to approach the camera at an angle, move away at an angle, and then repeat the process on the other side of the screen.


the Cinerama dome in Los Angeles

The first Cinerama film, This Is Cinerama, premiered on September 30, 1952, at the Broadway Theatre in New York. The New York Times judged it to be front-page news. Notables attending included: New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey; violinist Fritz Kreisler; James A. Farley; Metropolitan Opera manager Rudolf Bing; NBC chairman David Sarnoff; CBS chairman William S. Paley; Broadway composer Richard Rodgers; and Hollywood mogul Louis B. Mayer.

Writing in The New York Times a few days after the system premiered, film critic Bosley Crowther wrote:[8]

Somewhat the same sensations that the audience in Koster and Bial's Music Hall must have felt on that night, years ago, when motion pictures were first publicly flashed on a large screen were probably felt by the people who witnessed the first public showing of Cinerama the other night... the shrill screams of the ladies and the pop-eyed amazement of the men when the huge screen was opened to its full size and a thrillingly realistic ride on a roller-coaster was pictured upon it, attested to the shock of the surprise. People sat back in spellbound wonder as the scenic program flowed across the screen. It was really as though most of them were seeing motion pictures for the first time.... the effect of Cinerama in this its initial display is frankly and exclusively "sensational," in the literal sense of that word.

While observing that the system "may be hailed as providing a new and valid entertainment thrill," Crowther expressed some skeptical reserve, saying "the very size and sweep of the Cinerama screen would seem to render it impractical for the story-telling techniques now employed in film.... It is hard to see how Cinerama can be employed for intimacy. But artists found ways to use the movie. They may well give us something brand-new here."

A technical review by Waldemar Kaempffert published in The New York Times on the same day hailed the system. He praised the stereophonic sound system and noted that "the fidelity of the sounds was irreproachable. Applause in La Scala sounded like the clapping of hands and not like pieces of wood slapped together". He noted, however that "There is nothing new about these stereophonic sound effects. The Bell Telephone Laboratories and Prof. Harold Burris-Meyer of Stevens Institute of Technology demonstrated the underlying principles years ago." Kaempfert also noted:

There is no question that Waller has made a notable advance in cinematography. But it must be said that at the sides of his gigantic screen there is some distortion more noticeable in some parts of the house than in others. The three projections were admirably blended, yet there were visible bands of demarcation on the screen.


Although existing theatres were adapted to show Cinerama films, in 1961 and 1962 the non-profit Cooper Foundation of Lincoln, Nebraska, designed and built three near-identical circular "super-Cinerama" theaters in Denver, Colorado; St. Louis Park, Minnesota (a Minneapolis suburb); and Omaha, Nebraska. They were considered the finest venues to view Cinerama films. The theaters were designed by architect Richard L. Crowther of Denver, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

The first such theater, the Cooper Theater,[9] built in Denver, featured a 146-degree louvered screen (measuring 105 feet by 35 feet), 814 seats, courtesy lounges on the sides of the theatre for relaxation during intermission (including concessions and smoking facilities), and a ceiling which routed air and heating through small vent slots in order to inhibit noise from the building's ventilation equipment.[10] It was demolished in 1994 to make way for a Barnes & Noble bookstore.

The second, also called the Cooper Theater,[11] was built in St. Louis Park at 5755 Wayzata Blvd. The last film presented there was Dances with Wolves in January, 1991, and at that time the Cooper was considered the "flagship" in the Plitt theatre chain. Efforts were made to preserve the theatre, but at the time it did not qualify for national or state historical landmark status (as it was not more than fifty years old) nor were there local preservation laws. It was torn down in 1992. An office complex with a TGI Friday's on the west end of the property is there today.

The third super-Cinerama, the Indian Hills Theater,[12] was built in Omaha, Nebraska. It closed on September 28, 2000 as a result of the bankruptcy of Carmike Cinemas and the final film presented was the rap music-drama Turn It Up. The theater was demolished on August 20, 2001.

A fourth, the Kachina Cinerama Theater, was built in Scottsdale, Arizona by Harry L. Nace Theatres on Scottsdale Road and opened on November 10, 1960. It seated 600 people. It later became a Harkins theater, then closed in 1989 to make way for the Scottsdale Galleria.[13]

Venues outside the USA included the Regent Plaza cinema in Melbourne, Australia,[14] which was adapted for Cinerama in 1960 to show This is Cinerama and Seven Wonders of the World. The Imperial Theatre in Montreal and the Glendale in Toronto were the Canadian homes for Cinerama. This is Cinerama received its London premiere on 30 September 1954 at the Casino Cinerama Theatre, Old Compton Street, formerly a live theatre. The film ran for 16 months and was followed by the other three strip travelogues. How the West Was Won had its World Premiere at the Casino on 1 November 1962 and ran until April 1965 after which the Casino switched to 70mm single lens Cinerama. London had two other three strip venues, making it the only city in the world with three Cinerama theatres. These were the Coliseum Cinerama, from July 1963 and the Royalty Cinerama from November 1963, like the Casino both converted live venues. The Coliseum played only one film in three strip (The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm) before switching to 70mm single lens from December 1963, and the Royalty had two runs of Brothers Grimm separated by a run of The Best of Cinerama before also switching to 70mm single lens in mid 1964. These London venues were directly operated by Cinerama themselves, elsewhere in the UK three strip Cinerama venues were operated by the two main UK circuits, ABC at ABC Bristol Road, Birmingham and Coliseum, Glasgow, Rank at Gaumont, Birmingham and Queens, Newcastle and by independents at the Park Hall, Cardiff, Theatre Royal, Manchester and Abbey, Liverpool. Most of these conversions of existing cinemas came just as Cinerama was switching to single lens and thus had short lives as three strip venues before switching to 70mm.

Roman Cinerama Theater (now Isetann Cinerama Recto) at Quezon Boulevard in Recto, Manila and Nation Cinerama Theater in Araneta Center, Quezon City were the only Cinerama theaters built in the Philippines in the 1960s. Both theaters are now defunct as Roman Super Cinerama burned down in the late 1970s and became Isetann Cinerama Recto in 1988 while Nation Cinerama closed down in the early 1970s it is now Manhattan Parkview Residences built by Megaworld Corporation.

The last Cinerama theater built was the Southcenter Theatre in 1970, opening near the Southcenter Mall of Tukwila, Washington. It closed in 2001.

Cinerama also purchased RKO-Stanley Warner (consisting of theaters formerly owned by Warner Bros. and RKO Pictures) in 1970.

Single-film "Cinerama"

Rising costs of making three-camera widescreen films caused Cinerama to stop making such films in their original form shortly after the first release of How the West Was Won. The use of Ultra Panavision 70 for certain scenes (such as the river raft sequence) later printed onto the three Cinerama panels, proved that a more or less satisfactory wide screen image could be photographed without the three cameras. Consequently, Cinerama discontinued the three film process, with the exception of a single theater (McVickers' Cinerama Theatre in Chicago) showing Cinerama's Russian Adventure, an American-Soviet co-production culled from footage of several Soviet films shot in the rival Soviet three-film format known as Kinopanorama in 1966.

Cinerama continued through the rest of the 1960s as a brand name used initially with the Ultra Panavision 70 widescreen process (which yielded a similar 2.76 aspect ratio to the original Cinerama, although it did not simulate the 146 degree field of view.) Optically "rectified" prints and special lenses were used to project the 70 mm prints onto the curved screen. The films shot in Ultra Panavision for single lens Cinerama presentation were It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Battle of the Bulge (1965), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), The Hallelujah Trail (1965) and Khartoum (1966).

The less wide but still spectacular Super Panavision 70 was used to film the Cinerama presentations Grand Prix (1966); 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), which also featured scenes shot in Todd-AO and MCS-70); Ice Station Zebra (1968); and Krakatoa, East of Java (1969), which also featured scenes shot in Todd-AO.

The other 70mm systems used for single film Cinerama (Sovscope 70 and MCS-70) were similar to Super Panavision 70. Some films were shot in the somewhat lower resolution Super Technirama 70 process for Cinerama release, including Circus World (1964) and Custer of the West (1967).

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Cinerama name was used as a film distribution company, ironically reissuing single strip 70 mm and 35 mm Cinemascope reduction prints of This Is Cinerama (1972).


The Cinerama company exists today as an entity of the Pacific Theatres chain. In recent years, surviving and new Cinerama prints have been screened at the following venues:

In 1998, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen purchased Seattle's Martin Cinerama, which then underwent a major restoration/upgrade to become the Seattle Cinerama.

As of 2015, the Pictureville Cinema, Seattle Cinerama, and Cinerama Dome continue to hold periodic screenings of three-projector Cinerama movies. The Cinerama Dome was designed for the three-projector system but never actually had it installed until recent years as it opened with the first of the single film 70 mm Cinerama films, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963).

The documentary, Cinerama Adventure (2003) looked at the history of the Cinerama process, as well as digitally recreating the Cinerama experience via clips of true Cinerama films (using transfers from original Cinerama prints). And Turner Entertainment (via Warner Bros.) has struck new Cinerama prints of How the West Was Won (1962) for exhibition in true Cinerama theatres around the world.

Cinerama successors, Todd-AO, CinemaScope, and the various 70 mm formats, all attempted to equal or surpass its grandeur while avoiding its problems to greater or lesser degrees of success. In movie theaters today the large format IMAX system continues the tradition, although the screen is taller and often less wide.

In 2008, a Blu-ray disc of How The West Was Won was released, offering a recreation of Cinerama for home viewing.[16] The three Cinerama images were digitally stitched together so that the resulting image does not have the visible seams of older copies. Furthermore, as a second viewing option, 3D mapping technology was used to produce an image that approximates the curved screen, called "SmileBox".

On January 14, 2012, an original Cinerama camera was used to film a sequence at the Lasky-DeMille Barn, the original home to Famous Players-Lasky, later to be renamed Paramount Pictures. This was the first film photographed in the Cinerama process in almost 50 years. This sequence is part of a new 12-minute production filmed entirely in the three panel process. The new film, In the Picture, was presented at a Cinerama festival at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, California on September 30, 2012.[17]


All but two of the feature-length films produced using the original three-strip Cinerama process were travelogues or episodic documentaries such as This Is Cinerama (1952), the first film shot in Cinerama. Other travelogues presented in Cinerama were Cinerama Holiday (1955), Seven Wonders of the World (1955), Search for Paradise (1957) and South Seas Adventure (1958). There was also one commercial short, Renault Dauphine (1960).

Even as the Cinerama travelogues were beginning to lose audiences in the late 50s, the spectacular travelogue Windjammer (1958) was released in a competing process called Cinemiracle which claimed to have less noticeable dividing lines on the screen thanks to the reflection of the side images off of mirrors (this also allowed all three projectors to be in the same booth). Due to the small number of Cinemiracle theatres, specially converted prints of Windjammer were shown in Cinerama theaters in cities which did not have Cinemiracle theaters, and ultimately Cinerama bought up the process.

Only two films with traditional story lines were made, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and How the West Was Won. In order to make these films compatible with single film systems for later standard releases, they were shot at 24 frames/s, not the 26 frames/s of traditional Cinerama.

The following feature films have been advertised as being presented "in Cinerama":[18]

Year Title Notes
1952 This is Cinerama 3-Strip Cinerama; re-released in 1972 in 70 mm Cinerama
1955 Cinerama Holiday 3-Strip Cinerama
1956 Seven Wonders of the World 3-Strip Cinerama
1957 Search for Paradise 3-Strip Cinerama
1958 South Seas Adventure 3-Strip Cinerama
1958 Windjammer originally filmed in 3-strip Cinemiracle; later exhibited in Cinerama
1962 The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm 3-Strip Cinerama
1962 Holiday in Spain a re-edited version of Scent of Mystery; originally filmed in Todd-70; converted to 3-strip Cinemiracle and exhibited in both Cinemiracle and Cinerama
1962 How The West Was Won 3-strip Cinerama, although some sequences were filmed in Ultra Panavision 70
1963 The Best of Cinerama 3-Strip Cinerama
1963 It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World filmed in Ultra Panavision 70, presented in 70 mm Cinerama
1964 Circus World filmed in Super Technirama 70, presented in 70 mm Cinerama
1964 Mediterranean Holiday filmed in MCS-70; presented in 70 mm Cinerama
1965 The Golden Head filmed in Super Technirama 70; presented in 70 mm Cinerama in Europe only
1965 La Fayette filmed in Super Technirama 70; presented in 70 mm Cinerama in Europe only
1965 Chronicle of Flaming Years filmed in Sovscope 70; presented in 70 mm Cinerama in Europe only
1965 The Black Tulip filmed in MCS-70; presented in 70 mm Cinerama in Europe only
1965 The Greatest Story Ever Told filmed in Ultra Panavision 70; presented in 70 mm Cinerama
1965 The Hallelujah Trail filmed in Ultra Panavision 70; presented in 70 mm Cinerama
1965 Battle of the Bulge filmed in Ultra Panavision 70; presented in 70 mm Cinerama
1966 Cinerama's Russian Adventure filmed in Kinopanorama, presented in both 3-strip and 70 mm Cinerama
1966 Khartoum filmed in Ultra Panavision 70; presented in 70 mm Cinerama
1966 Grand Prix filmed in Super Panavision 70 with some sequences in MCS-70; presented in 70 mm Cinerama
1967 Custer of the West filmed in Super Technirama 70; presented in 70 mm Cinerama
1968 2001: A Space Odyssey filmed in Super Panavision 70 with some scenes in Todd-AO and MCS-70; presented in 70 mm Cinerama
1968 Ice Station Zebra filmed in Super Panavision 70; presented in 70 mm Cinerama
1969 Krakatoa, East of Java filmed in Super Panavision 70 and Todd-AO; presented in 70 mm Cinerama
1970 Song of Norway filmed in Super Panavision 70; presented in 70 mm Cinerama in UK and Canada only
1972 The Great Waltz filmed in 35 mm Panavision, presented in 70 mm Cinerama in UK only
1974 Run, Run, Joe! filmed in Todd-AO 35, presented in 70 mm Cinerama in UK only
2015 The Hateful Eight filmed in Ultra Panavision 70; presented in 70 mm Cinerama

"Cinerama" video stretching mode

RCA uses the word "Cinerama" to refer to a display mode which fills a 16:9 video screen with 4:3 video with, in the words of the manufacturer, "little distortion." Manuals for products offering this mode give no detailed explanation.[19] One online posting says it consists of "a slight cropping at the top & bottom combined with a slight stretch at only the sides," and praises it. The posting suggests that other vendors provide a similar function under different names. Mitsubishi calls it "stretch" mode. The RCA Scenium TV also has a "stretch mode" as well it is a 4:3 picture stretched straight across.

There is no obvious connection between this video mode and any of the Cinerama motion picture processes. It is not clear why the name is used, unless the nonlinear stretch is vaguely evocative of a curved screen. (Ironically, some widescreen cinema processes—not Cinerama—displayed a fault known as "anamorphic mumps,"[20] which consisted of a lateral stretch of objects closer to the camera).

In the U.S., RCA does not appear to have registered the word "Cinerama" as a trademark; conversely, a number of trademarks on "Cinerama," e.g. SN 74270575, are still "live" and held by Cinerama, Inc.

See also


  1. ^ "Cinerama". Retrieved 12 November 2009.
  2. ^ a b Hart, Martin B. "Cinerama". The American WideScreen Museum. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  3. ^ a b Dempewolff, Richard F. (Aug 1952). "Movies on a Curved Screen Wrap You in Action". Popular Mechanics. 98 (2): 120–124+. ISSN 0032-4558. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  4. ^ Cinerama Adventure, documentary film made in 2002 – see external links
  5. ^ "How Cinerama Got It's Name - The True Story! - Home Theater Forum". 18 November 2008. Archived from the original on 18 November 2008.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. ^ Martin Hart, The American Widescreen Museum website.
  7. ^ Film preservation#Obstacles in restoration
  8. ^ "Movie Review - New Movie Projection Shown Here; Giant Wide Angle Screen Utilized; NOVEL TECHNIQUE IN FILMS UNVEILED -".
  9. ^ "Cooper Theatre in Denver, CO - Cinema Treasures".
  10. ^ "cooper". Archived from the original on 2013-01-04. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  11. ^ "Cooper Theatre in St. Louis Park, MN - Cinema Treasures".
  12. ^ "Indian Hills Theater in Omaha, NE - Cinema Treasures".
  13. ^ "Scottsdale Remembers - Recollections of Our Past". Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  14. ^ "Regent Theatre Melbourne". Archived from the original on 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  15. ^ "Cinerama in the UK: The history of 3-strip cinema in Pictureville Cinema". National Science and Media Museum blog. National Science and Media Museum. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  16. ^ Keith Phipps (November 11, 2008). "Imagine Seeing John Wayne in IMAX; That's sort of what watching How the West Was Won is like". Slate Magazine.
  17. ^ ""In the Picture" in 3-strip Cinerama - Cast & Credits".
  18. ^ "Cinerama Wing 6". Widescreen Museum. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ "The Ultra Panavision Wing". Widescreen Museum. 1953-04-27. Retrieved 2013-02-13.


  • "The Waller Flexible Gunnery Trainer." By Fred Waller. In: Journal of the SMPTE, Vol. 47, July, 1946, pp. 73–87
  • "New Movie Projection System Shown Here; Giant Wide Angle Screen Utilized." Bosley Crowther, The New York Times, October 1, 1952, p. 1
  • "Apparently Solid Motion Pictures Produced by Curved Screen and Peripheral Vision." Waldemar Kaempffert, The New York Times, October 5, 1952, p. E9
  • "Looking at Cinerama: An Awed and Quizzical Inspection of a New Film Projection System." Bosley Crowther, The New York Times, October 5, 1952, p. X1
  • Robert E. Carr and R. M. Hayes: Wide Screen Movies. A History and Filmography of Wide Gauge Filmmaking, MC Farland & Company, Inc., 1988. ISBN 0-89950-242-3 Chapter II. "The Multiple-Film and Deep Curved Screen Processes" pp. 11–54
  • Thomas, Lowell: So long until tomorrow: from Quaker Hill to Kathmandu, G. K. Hall 1977, ISBN 0-8161-6553-X Chapter "The Wonderful Life and Premature Death of Cinerama"
  • "Scenium" HD50LPW165 RCA receiver; full description of Cinerama mode in the instruction book says "The image of a 4:3 video signal is centered, expanding in the horizontal direction to fill the display with little distortion" whereas in "Stretch" mode "The image of a 4:3 video signal is stretched horizontally by approximately 33% while the vertical size stays the same."

External links


Cinemiracle was a widescreen cinema format competing with Cinerama developed in the 1950s. It was ultimately unsuccessful, with only a single film produced and released in the format. Like Cinerama it used 3 cameras to capture a 2.59:1 image. Cinemiracle used two mirrors to give the left and right cameras the same optical center as the middle camera. This made the joins between the projected images much less obvious than with Cinerama.

Cinerama (band)

Cinerama are a UK indie pop band, headed up by David Gedge, the frontman for The Wedding Present. The band is known for combining rock guitar music with string and woodwind sounds.

Cinerama Adventure

Cinerama Adventure is a 2002 documentary about the history of the Cinerama widescreen film process. It tells the story of the widescreen process' evolution, from a primitive multi-screen pyramid process to a Vitarama format that played a big part in World War II, to the three-screen panoramic process it eventually became. The film includes interviews with surviving cast and crew who personally worked on the Cinerama films, plus vintage interviews with late creator Fred Waller.

To simulate the Cinerama experience for The Cinerama Adventure, a special three-panel telecine process termed SmileBox (a registered trade mark of C.A. Productions), was developed by video and film expert Greg Kimble for use in this film; it was later utilized for TV broadcasts and Blu-ray releases of Cinerama-formatted films such as This is Cinerama and How the West Was Won.

It was written, produced, directed, edited and narrated by David Strohmaier; produced by Randy Gitsch; executive produced by David's wife, Carin-Anne Strohmaier; and was presented in association with the American Society of Cinematographers. The running time is 97 minutes.

In 2008, the documentary was released as an extra feature on the DVD and Blu-ray releases of the movie How the West Was Won by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


Carroll Baker

Joe Dante

Otto Lang

A. C. Lyles

Leonard Maltin

David Raksin

Debbie Reynolds

Russ Tamblyn

Lowell Thomas, Jr.

Mike Todd, Jr.

Eli Wallach

Cinerama Dome

Pacific Theatres's Cinerama Dome is a movie theater located at 6360 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California. Designed to present widescreen Cinerama films, it opened November 7, 1963. Today it continues as a leading first run theater. The original developer was Saul Pick.

Cinerama Holiday

Cinerama Holiday is a 1955 film shot in Cinerama. Structured as a criss-cross travelogue, it shows an American couple traveling in Europe and a European couple traveling in the U.S. Like all of the original Cinerama productions, the emphasis is on spectacle and scenery. The European sequences, for example, include a point-of-view bobsled ride, while the U.S. sequences include a point-of-view landing on an aircraft carrier. It was enormously popular. Largely unseen for decades, it was released on Blu-ray in 2013, restored and remastered from the original camera negatives.

Cinerama Releasing Corporation

Cinerama Releasing Corporation (CRC) was a motion picture company established in 1967 that originally released films produced by its namesake parent company that was considered an "instant major".

How the West Was Won (film)

How the West Was Won is a 1962 American Metrocolor epic-western film. The picture was one of the last "old-fashioned" epic films made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to enjoy great success. Set between 1839 and 1889, it follows four generations of a family (starting as the Prescotts) as they move from western New York to the Pacific Ocean. The picture was one of only two dramatic films made in the curved-screen three-projector Cinerama process, which added to its original impact.

The all-star cast includes Carroll Baker, Lee J. Cobb, Henry Fonda, Carolyn Jones, Karl Malden, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Robert Preston, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart, Eli Wallach, John Wayne, and Richard Widmark. The film is narrated by Spencer Tracy.

The score was listed at number 25 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years of Film Scores. The film also gained widespread critical acclaim. In 1997, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Indian Hills Theater

The Indian Hills Theater in Omaha, Nebraska, United States, was built in 1962 as a movie theater showcasing films in the Cinerama wide-screen format. The theater's screen was the largest of its type in the United States. Despite the protests of local citizens, Hollywood legends, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the theater was demolished in 2001 by Nebraska Methodist Health System for a parking lot.

Isetann Cinerama Recto

Isetann Cinerama Recto (also known as Isetann Recto) is a shopping mall located at Quezon Boulevard corner C.M. Recto Avenue and Evangelista Street in Manila, Philippines. The mall sits in the portion of Estero de Quiapo which became Roman Super Cinerama in 1964 and burnt down in the late 1970s. After the fire, the Roman and Rojas families sold their burnt theater to Isetann. The mall opened in April 1988 (although Isetann resurrected the Cinerama name after the mall was built). It also serves as the headquarters for Isetann after vacating its previous headquarters in Carriedo which remained operational as an outlet. (Isetann previously held its head office in Carriedo from the company's start in 1980 until the relocation to Recto in 1988.)


Kinopanorama is a three-lens, three-film widescreen film format. Although Kinopanorama was initially known as Panorama (Russian: панорамный фильм, panoramnyy film) in the Soviet Union the name was later revised to include its current name prior to the premier screenings in Moscow in 1958. In some countries, including Cuba, Greece, Norway and Sweden, it was usually marketed as Soviet Cinerama. In 1958, during which time Great Is My Country and The Enchanted Mirror, were exhibited at the Mayfair Theatre in New York City, it was briefly advertised as Cinepanorama. Kinopanorama is for the most part identical in operation to that of Fred Waller's American-designed Cinerama format.

London Coliseum

The London Coliseum (also known as the Coliseum Theatre) is a theatre in St Martin's Lane, Westminster, built as one of London's largest and most luxurious "family" variety theatres. Opened on 24 December 1904 as the London Coliseum Theatre of Varieties, it was designed by the theatrical architect Frank Matcham for the impresario Oswald Stoll. Their ambition was to build the largest and finest music hall, described as the "people's palace of entertainment" of its age.At the time of construction, the Coliseum was the only theatre in Europe to provide lifts for taking patrons to the upper levels of the house, and was the first theatre in England to have a triple revolve installed on its stage. The theatre has 2,359 seats making it the largest theatre in London.

After being used for variety shows, musical comedies, and stage plays for many years, then as a cinema screening films in the Cinerama format between 1961 and 1968, the Sadler's Wells Opera Company moved into the building in 1968. The Sadler's Wells company changed its name to the English National Opera in 1974 and today it is used primarily for opera as well as being the London home of the English National Ballet.

Pictureville Cinema

Pictureville Cinema is a cinema auditorium located within the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England.

Pictureville is one of the best equipped cinemas in the world. It is equipped for 35 mm, 70 mm, 4K resolution and Cinerama projection. The cinema features Dolby Digital EX, DTS and 8 Channel SDDS digital sound systems. It has the only public Cinerama projection system outside the USA.The cinema opened on 8 April 1992, with a charity performance of Hook in 70 mm and 6-channel stereophonic sound. The first Cinerama screening was This is Cinerama on 16 June 1993.

Prince Edward Theatre

The Prince Edward Theatre is a West End theatre situated on Old Compton Street, just north of Leicester Square, in the City of Westminster, London.

Seattle Cinerama

The Seattle Cinerama Theatre is a landmark movie theater located in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, in the United States of America. It is one of only three movie theaters in the world still capable of showing three-panel Cinerama films.

Seven Wonders of the World (film)

Seven Wonders of the World is a 1956 film in Cinerama. Lowell Thomas searches the world for natural and man made wonders and invites the audience to try to update the ancient Greek list of the "Wonders of the World".

The Wedding Present

The Wedding Present are a British indie rock group originally formed in 1985 in Leeds, England, from the ashes of the Lost Pandas. The band's music has evolved from fast-paced indie rock in the vein of their most obvious influences The Fall, Buzzcocks and Gang of Four to more varied forms. Throughout their career, they have been led by vocalist and guitarist David Gedge, the band's only constant member.

The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm

The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm is a 1962 American fantasy film directed by Henry Levin and George Pal. The latter was the producer and also in charge of the stop motion animation. The film was one of the highest-grossing films of 1962. It won one Oscar and was nominated for three additional Academy Awards. Several prominent actors — including Laurence Harvey, Karlheinz Böhm, Jim Backus, Barbara Eden, and Buddy Hackett — are in the film.

It was filmed in the Cinerama process, which was photographed in an arc with three lenses, on a camera that produced three strips of film. Three projectors, in the back and sides of the theatre, produced a panoramic image on a screen that curved 146 degrees around the front of the audience.

This Is Cinerama

This is Cinerama is a 1952 full-length film directed by Merian C. Cooper and starring Lowell Thomas. It is designed to introduce the widescreen process Cinerama, which broadens the aspect ratio so the viewer's peripheral vision is involved. This is Cinerama premiered on September 30, 1952 at the Broadway Theatre, in New York City.

To the Moon and Beyond

To The Moon and Beyond is the title of a special motion picture produced for and shown at the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair. It depicted traveling from Earth out to an overall view of the universe and back again, zooming down to the atomic scale. It was filmed in a Cinerama process using a camera with a single fisheye lens and projected onto a dome screen.

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