The Cinéorama

A French engineer named Raoul Grimoin-Sanson (1860-1940) designed the Cinéorama for demonstration at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. A 360º panoramic film of the city was shot from an ascending hot-air balloon. Elaborately hand-colored, it was intended for display by 10 projectors (shown here below the spectator area) onto a circular 330-foot screen (encircling the wall around the apparatus). Spectators, viewing from the center of the projection box, were to receive not only the impression of a cinema-in-the-round but the sensation of rising in a balloon. When the film was reversed, they would experience the illusion of returning to earth. It was originally reported that the Cinéorama was closed by the authorities because of the highly flammable film that it used. More reliable evidence indicates that it was never shown because Grimoin-Sanson failed to overcome a variety of technical difficulties.

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