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Cinerama

Originally named "Vitarama" at the 1939 World's Fair, Cinerama was introduced in September, 1952, at the Broadway Theatre in New York. The Cinerama system displays a widescreen effect by simultaneously projecting images from three synchronized projectors onto a huge, deeply-curved screen. To accompany the spectacular display was a high-quality, six-track, stereophonic sound system. The original system involved shooting with three synchronized cameras, but this was later abandoned in favour of an anamorphic 65mm system, shot with a single camera and then divided into three prints for screening.

The system had some obvious drawbacks. If one of the films should break and be repaired with the damaged frames cut out, the corresponding frames would have to be cut from the other two films in order to preserve synchronization. The use of zoom lenses was impossible since the three images would no longer match. In any case, the joins between the pictures were often visible, especially if the films should weave slightly.

Numerous short films were shot using the original three-camera Cinerama process, but only two feature films - The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and How the West Was Won. It is difficult to assess the impact these films must have had on the big screen, since nowadays they are only seen on television or video in the form of Cinemascope prints, which marry the three images together with the joins clearly visible. Because they were designed to be seen on a curved screen, the geometry looks distorted on television; somebody walking from left to right would appear to approach the camera at an angle, move away at an angle, and then repeat the process on the other side of the screen.


Cinerama is also the name of a UK music band, headed up by David Gedge[?], who was the former frontman for The Wedding Present[?]. In 2000 they released a CD entitled This is Cinerama, later followed by Cinerama Holiday in 2002 and Cinerama - The Peel Sessions in 2003.

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