Full-Circle Panoramic Projection

Full-Circle Panoramic Projection


(360° panoramic projection; in Russian, Krugovaia kinopanorama), a type of motion-picture entertainment in which a film is shown on a circular screen with a horizontal viewing angle of 360°. It was first developed by the American animated-cartoon producer W. Disney in 1955 and called Circarama.The films were shot on 16-mm color film and projected by 11 projectors onto a closed cylindrical screen. To conceal the joints between adjacent images, the joint areas were covered by overlapping black bands.

The Soviet version of full-circle panoramic projection was produced at the Exhibition of the Achievements of the National Economy of the USSR (VDNKh) in Moscow in 1959 and subsequently (according to Soviet designs) in Prague and Tokyo. The circular motion-picture theater at the VDNKh is a cylindrical building 25 m in diameter and 15 m high, with an auditorium that holds about 500. In the auditorium, which is also cylindrical, the audience looks at the film while standing and can turn through 360°. The screen, which is arranged in a circle, consists of two tiers; the lower tier is a cylindrical band, and the upper tier, which adjoins it, is a truncated cone. The image is projected by 22 projectors (11 in each tier) operating in synchronization.

Films for full-circle panoramic projection are shot on 35-mm motion-picture film by 11 synchronized cameras mounted with their objectives pointing outward from a common cylindrical base. The optical axes of the objectives are positioned at identical angular distances (360° ÷ 11 =32.7°), thus creating the conditions for maximum possible coverage of the objects being photo-graphed. The sound is recorded on a nine-channel stereophonic system. The stereophonic sound tracks are reproduced using “film-phonographs” (motion-picture projection apparatus together with sound reproduction apparatus). The loudspeakers are located on the auditorium walls behind the screens, on the ceiling, and in the floor to create the effect of natural sound.


Goldovskii, E. M. Ot nemogo kino k panoramnomu. Moscow, 1961.