A Century of Widescreens at the World's Fairs
Various processes for widescreen have been launched at those World's Fairs
during the last century and here are most of them.
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The 70mm Newsletter
Collected by: Alain
Dorange, Malaysia. Text and pictures prepared by: Gerhard Witte, Berlin
1900, Paris. The first Widescreen (21M x 18M) / Les Lumière by Bernard
Chardère, Guy and Marjorie Borge. The Lumière Brothers screen
installed in the middle of a machine gallery in France.
1 - Expo 1893 / Chicago - USA
Theme: Discovery of America.
The British Edward Muybridge is shooting the gallop of a horse in June
1878. The various images are put on a record, allowing the rotation in front
of a magic lantern and projected onto a screen. This process is called
Zoopraxiscope and considered as the very first projector in the world. This
projection is shown at this World's Fair in a "theatre" called:
Zoopraxographical Hall. This hall is the first movie theatre. This is not
totally widescreen but it was the first of its kind. The projected "movies"
"The Galloping Horse", "Buffalos", "Children playing at the frog jumping",
"Waltzing couple" and "Horse racing".
2 - Expo 1900 / Paris - France
Theme: Evaluation of a Century
2.1 - 72mm Film
The Lumière brothers are shooting this exhibition on a 72mm wide film. The
image is 60mm x 45mm.Unfortunately, as the projectors were not ready on time
those shorts could not be shown to the public. The titles would have been:
"Inauguration of the Universal Fair", "The Eiffel Tower", "The Iena Bridge"
and "Spanish Dances".
2.2 - Giant Screen of the Lumière Brothers
Every night the Lumière brothers are projecting 35mm movies on a screen of
21 M x 18 M. This screen is installed in the middle of the Machine Gallery,
huge space of 400 M long and 114 M wide. Each movie is running between 50 to
60 seconds and slides are projected during the "intermissions". The screen
is in the middle of the Gallery so the movies are shown from both faces.
During day time, this screen is submerged in water in order to increase its
luminosity. The projector is at 200 M from the screen and the electric arc
is consuming 150 Amps.
More in 70mm reading:|
Revisions for “A Century of Widescreens
at the World's Fairs”
Henri Chretien and his
"Cinerama" at the Expo 1937, Paris
Journey To The
Various Large format
and 70mm Films
World's Fair Cinerama
facility in Seattle
"This is New Zealand"
3-strip EXPO Film From New Zealand
The Birth of IMAX
• Les Lumiere
from Bernard Chardere (director from the Lumiere Institute)
Cinerama Story By Johan Wolthuis
"Cineorama" Balloon at the Tuileries Garden (Paris) on Tuesday, April 24,
1900. The cameras are loaded (Institut Jean Vigo - Cinémathèque de Toulouse,
- Cineorama (10 projectors designed for 70mm)
This process is from the French Raoul Grimoin Sanson. Beside sketches there
is no photo showing the inside of the theatre and no concrete information
can confirm if it was never shown or only for three days due to safety
reasons (heat of the lanterns). This is a circular projection on 360 degrees
and the 70mm cameras are still visible at the Arts and Metiers Museum in
Paris. The speed is of 16 frames per second. Most of the shootings are from
the air, the cameras being on a balloon. The films are shot in black and
white and hand painted in colours by the Etablissement Thuiller (used also
by Georges Méliès). The ten screens are 9 M wide and 9 M high, installed in
a decagonal room at the Pavilion Kammerzell, famous restaurant in
Colmar/France. The screens are flat (not curved) and the diameter is 27 M.
The public are in the balloon above the projection booth (extreme heat). The
ten projectors are "synchronised" by means of a common belt, device giving
no guarantee the images remain synchronised. So the programme is composed of
- The Tuileries Gardens/Paris
- The Grand Place/Brussels
- Arena from Barcelona/Spain
- Waves at Biarritz/France
- The British army boarding the Maplemore at Southampton/UK
- Nice Carnival/France
- Entertainment at Sousse/Tunisia
3 - Expo 1933 / Chicago - USA
Theme: A Century of Progress
3.1 - "Niagara Falls" in Natural Vision (9 minutes)
Natural Vision is a process developed by George Kirke Spoor and P. John
Bergan (USA). Film of 63.5mm wide, 6 perforations at 20 frames per second.
The optical soundtrack type Photophone is on a separate spool 35mm and
synchronized with the film but at a speed of 24fr/sec. The theatre (1250
seats) is called: Spectaculum. "Niagara Falls" is a black and white movie
previously shot in 1926 and projected on a screen: 20 M x 13 M.
3.2 - "Rhapsody in Steel" (22 minutes)
This is not a widescreen but one of the first cartoons mixing sketches and
live actors like the "Alice" series from Walt Disney. Film produced by the
Ford Motor Company about their new 8 cylinders car.
- Expo 1937 / Paris - France
Theme: Arts and Technology in Modern Life
The French professor Henri Chretien well known for his development of the
anamorphic process is presenting a widescreen projection from two projectors
35mm projecting two images side by side which is in a way similar to the
Cinerama coming later (you can refer to "Henri and his Cinerama" on this
website for more details).
The screen is 60 M x 10 M, slightly curved and mounted at the front of the
Palais des Lumières (Palace of Light). The two images have been shot with
two cameras. Both cameras and projectors are equipped with Hypergonar
lenses. Those Hypergonar lenses have a non-standard anamorphic of 2.25
instead of 2.00 in order to get a projected image with a ratio of 3.00:1.
The projection is ensured with three Simplex projectors, the one in the
middle being for the soundtrack. Those three projectors are interlocked
mechanically, providing a perfect synchro. The two movies are the
followings: "Phénomènes Electriques" (Electric Phenomenous), 6 minutes.
Technicolor cartoon from Paul Grimault: "Panorama au fil de l'Eau" (View
along the River), 11 minutes. Colour movie from Jean Tedesco. Both are
sponsored by the Company Parisienne de Distribution Electrique.
5 - Expo 1939 / New York - USA
Theme: Building the World of Tomorrow
5.1 - Vitarama
System from Fred Waller which should have taken place at the Chevron
Pavilion but cancelled at the last minute. However the Vitarama is shown
later at the Expo 1948/49 in Chicago (but this is not a World's Fair) at the
Vitarama Hall. The Vitarama movie is shot with 11 cameras (16mm) and
projected on a semi-spherical screen composed of 6 curved screens at the
front and 5 at the upper part. This system was simplified by the use of only
5 cameras/projectors and known as the Waller Gunnery Trainer in 1941 for the
training of the Air Pilots.
5.2 - Futurama (18 minutes)
This is not a widescreen movie but is the main attraction of this Expo. A
complete city in miniature on 3320 SQM is composed of 500.000
houses/buildings and 50.000 cars (10.000 are moving) and one million trees
of 18 different species. This is supposed to represent a city in 1960. The
public are seated in armchairs moving on a platform showing an aerial view,
like by being on board of a plane during 18 minutes. This exhibit is at the
General Motors Pavilion with an attendance of 28.000 visitors a day. At the
exit, each visitor is given a badge: "I have seen the Future". Much later,
Cinerama will give a similar badge! A movie in colour by Jam Handy
Organisation is produced in 1940 about this Futurama under the title of: "To
New Horizon" (23 minutes) and distributed by General Motors.
6 - Expo 1958 / Brussels - Belgium
Theme: A More Human World
6.1 - "America The Beautiful" (18 minutes)
Walt Disney movie on 360 degrees screen with the process called: Circarama.
Shooting with 11 cameras (16mm) and projection with 11 projectors. Each of
the 11 screens is 3.6 M x 2.7 M on a diameter of 14 M. This is a European
Premiere for Circarama.
6.2 - "This is
Cinerama" (running time of 55 minutes only)
The theatre is built from aluminium material by a Dutch company: Polynorm,
allowing an easy assembling and disassembling. The dimensions are 42 M long,
22 M wide and 14 M high. The screen is 26 M x 10 M with a curve of 146
degrees. This is a reduced version from "This is Cinerama" in order to have
5 shows daily. 3 x 35mm at 26 fr/sec with 7 tracks for the sound. Century
6.3 - "Seven Wonders of the World" (2 hours)
During the evening time, this Cinerama movie is shown twice at the correct
6.4 - "Great is my Country" (90 minutes)
Shown at the Pavilion of Russia is the first
Kinopanorama movie. Rumors are
saying the Kinopanorama process came after the success of "This is Cinerama"
at the Little Fair of Damas (Syria - 1954). This movie receives the Oscar of
the Best Movie for the exhibition. The screen is 24 M x 9 M and curved at
145 degrees. 3 x 35mm at 25 fr/sec and 9 tracks for the sound including 1
for the ceiling. The projection is continuous with 6 projectors (Kinap
KPP-1). At the end of the Expo, all those Russian equipment will be sent to
Paris for the new Kinopanorama theatre.
6.5 - Aviorama
Process from the Italian Luigi A. Moretti. There are 3 cameras (35mm)
mounted vertically on top of each other and the projection is on 3 separate
screens: 1 at the front (flat), 1 at the ceiling (curved) and 1 beneath the
ground also curved. The movie is composed of aerial views taken in Italy and
gives to the audience a feeling of complete immersion. This idea will be
taken much later by IMAX for their Magic Carpet which was only shown at the
Futuroscope of Poitiers (France) until 2012.
6.6 - Panrama (16mm)
French process from Philippe Jaulmes, using a fisheye lens and projection on
a hemispheric screen (dome) of 12 M diameter. The fisheye lens is from Felix
Bednarz (USA). This is just a black and white demonstration but this process
will improve later by the use of 35mm and colours. Nowadays the company of
Philippie Jaulmes is still active under the name of: ACT France (Les
Ateliers du Cinema Total at Montpellier).
6.7 - "South Pacific" (157 minutes)
This is the European "South Pacific" premiere for the
6.8 - "Spring in Prague" (10 minutes)
Polyekran (multi screens) system from Joseph Svoboda, Emil and Alfred Radok
(Czech). There are 8 screens of different shapes and sizes showing movies
(black and white) and slides projected together. The screens are hanged by
cables in various angular positions. There are 7 projectors (16mm, Meopton
4) and 8 slide projectors behind the screens. All are synchronised from a
magnetic tape. This show is at the Czech Republic Pavilion and gets the
Award of the best Pavilion.
7 - Expo 1962 / Seattle - USA
Theme: Man in the Space Age
This Expo is used as background for the Elvis Presley movie: "It happens at
the World Fair".
7.1 - "Journey To
The Stars" (12 minutes)
Presented under the name of
Cinerama 360, this process is also fully
described on this website. This is not the conventional three-strip Cinerama
but a dome projection, using 70mm, 10 perforations film at 24fr/sec. Camera
and projector are using a fisheye lens from Felix Bednarz (similar concept
at the Panrama). The projection is on 360 degrees horizontally and 160
degrees in vertical. "Omnimax is not far away!" The total hemispheric screen
is covering an area of 723 SQM with a diameter of 21 M and 12 M high.
Camera, fisheye lens and projector supplied by Benson Lehner Corp./Santa
Monica-California. The "Premiere" takes place on April 21st, 1962. The
theatre is called: Spacearium Dome. There are 6000 shows and an attendance
of 750 at each show. The film is sponsored by Boeing, Cinerama and US
7.2 - "The House of Science" (13 minutes)
From Charles and Ray Eames, at the US Pavilion. Use of 6 films (35mm) at the
ratio of 1.37:1 and shown on 6 screens as follows: 3 frontal screens side by
side and 3 upper screens also side by side.
8 - Expo 1964 / New York - USA
Theme: Man's Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expending Universe
Century projector for "Cinerama 360" (Advert from Daily Motion Picture)
8.1 - "To the Moon and Beyond" (15 minutes)
Another Cinerama 360 movie from Don Peterson (and Douglas Trumbull for the
special effects) and projected on a dome of 27 M diameter, 21 M high with a
70mm film running at 18fr/sec. Screen of 360 degrees in horizontal and 180
degrees in vertical. The Pavilion is called: Pavilion Moon Dome
(Transportation and Travel Pavilion). This time the process is called:
Cinerama Spacearium 360 and the narration is with Rod Sterling. The
underground projector is from Century. The sponsor is: KLM Royal Dutch
Airlines. This movie will be re-released later under the title of: "Cosmos:
The Universe of Loren Eiseley at various local fairs" (cinema 180).
8.2 - "To Be Alive!" (18 minutes)
From Alexander Hammid and Francis Thompson and produced by S. C. Johnson
(waxing products). Projection with 3 films (35mm) giving a total ratio of
4.00:1 on 3 screens side by side with a space of 300mm between them. Each
screen is 5 M wide and 4 M high. The theatre inside the S .C .Johnson is
bearing the name of: Golden Rondelle Theatre due to the shape of the
building and its yellow colour.
After the Expo, the three films are combined on a 70mm support with an
anamorphic of 2.0 (same as for the Cinemascope format) and become a type of
Super Ultra Panavision 70, keeping the ratio of 4.00:1 and projected
accordingly. The building: Golden Rondelle Theatre is dismantled after the
Expo and re-assembled at the HQ of the Johnson Company in Racine (Wisconsin)
and the movie "To Be Alive!" is still shown today with another one called:
"Carnauba: a Son's Memoir" about the life of the millionaire Sam Johnson's
father, produced in 2001.
8.3 - "Man in the Fifth Dimension" (28 minutes)
From Dick Ross and produced in Todd-AO. The projection is at the Billy
Graham Pavilion on a screen of 33 M x 15 M.
8.4 - "From Every Horizon" (12 minutes)
Projection on 360 degrees from 10 projectors 16mm mounted at the ceiling.
The theatre is 18 M in diameter and there are black spaces between each
screen. The 10 cameras are Arriflex (16mm) and the film is from Fred A.
Niles, sponsored by the Port of New York Authority.
8.5 - "The Searching Eye" (22 minutes)
From Elaine and Saul Bass at the Circular Tower Theatre of the Eastman Kodak
Pavilion. The projection is achieved by 2 interlocked Norelco projectors.
One for 35mm to show a boy exploring the world and one for 70mm for what
this boy is seeing. The soundtrack is from Elmer Bernstein.
8.6 - "The American Journey" (13 minutes)
The audience is sitting by groups of 50 in moving vehicles passing through a
tunnel where 130 screens of different shapes and sizes are telling 400 years
of American history. Each seat is equipped with stereo speakers. This show
is presented by Cinerama at the Federal Pavilion and produced by Arthur
Finston and Jeremy H. Lepar. Altogether, there are 159 projectors: 19 for
35mm, 14 for 35mm and 126 for the slides.
8.7 - "From Here to There" (12 minutes)
From Elaine and Saul Bass for United Airlines at the Jetarama Theatre. The
screen is at the academic ratio of 1.33:1 during the take-off and landing
(sepia colour) and enlarges to the scope ratio 2.35:1 during the flight with
8.8 - "Around New York" (15 minutes)
360 degrees projection at the Theaterama (New York State Pavilion) by means
of 6 projectors (Norelco), 35mm projectors with hypergonar giving an image
at 2.35:1 and the diameter of the theatre is 24 M and 6 M high.
8.9 - "Think" (30 minutes)
Multi projections from Charles and Ray Eames on 14 screens of different
sizes at the IBM Pavilion. The films are 16mm.
8.10 - "Across the Land" (4 minutes)
At the Circle Theatre of the Greyhound Pavilion (major Bus Company crossing
the US from West to East and North to South), is showing a Cinemascope movie
from Fred Niles. In four minutes we are transported from the Golden Gate
(San Francisco) to Manhattan (New York).
8.11 - "The Dome Theatre Show" (15 minutes)
At the Eastman Kodak Pavilion, a Dome presentation about Kodak Chemicals
with a 70mm Norelco projector.
8.12 - "The Ride of Communications, from Drumbeat to Telstar" (15 minutes)
At the Bell System Pavilion, an impressive projection with 65 Norelco (16mm)
projectors, with endless loop films and with a duration between 6 seconds to
15 seconds. The films are replaced every day due to the non-stop daily
projection of 12 hours. The public is seating in 1000 moving armchairs with
built in speakers in 2 continuous loops of 500 chairs each on 2 levels.
Those moving seats are passing in front of the 65 screens (rear projections
with mirrors) explaining the history of communication from the stone age up
to the satellite (Telstar). The complete system is synchronised by a device
designed by the Reevesound Company belonging to a certain Mr Reeves, very
well known by the Cinerama enthusiasts! Many other attractions are also
making use of this Reevesound device. The producers of this show are Owen
Murphy Productions. At the same Pavilion, there are screen phone
demonstrations allowing the talking people to see each other. Our Skype
system came quickly 40 years after!
9 - Expo 1967 / Montreal - Canada
Theme: The Man and His World
9.1 - "Canada 67" (22 minutes)
A 360 degrees projection from Robert Lawrence under the new name of Circle
Vision 360 (Walt Disney) and 9 cameras, projectors 35mm. The theatre is
inside the Telephone Pavilion with a diameter of 26 M which can receive 1200
spectators per show. The sound is Stereo 12 tracks on 2 magnetic films 35mm.
9.2 - "A Place to Stand" (18 minutes)
From Christopher Chapman and David MacKay. Shot in 35mm and blown up to 70mm
on a screen of 22 M x 10 M. The singularity of this feature is to have
images of various sizes and shapes. This film is produced by TDF Film
9.3 - "Panrama"
Now the Panrama from Philippe Jaulme is using 35mm film. Hemispheric
9.4 - "The Wonder of Photography" (8 minutes)
Projection on 3 screens side by side from 12 slide projectors. The main
effect are the screens which are made of water composed from thousands water
jets. 6 projectors are at the front and 6 at the back. Exhibited at the
9.5 - "A Time to Play" (20 minutes)
From Art Kane and sponsored by Polaroid Corp. 3 x 35mm projections side by
side, each screen is 4 M x 3 M and all the actors are children between 6 and
14 years old.
6 screens for: "We are Young". The 600-seat theatre at the Canadian
Pacific-Cominco Pavilion at EXPO 67 has a cluster of six screens with an
area of 270 sqm.
9.6 - "We Are Young" (18 minutes)
From Francis Thompson and Alexander Hammid. The projections are in 70mm on 6
screens: 3 curved screens in front and 3 at the upper part, covering
altogether an area of 270 SQM. The front screens are 8.5 M x 6.7 M each and
the upper ones 8.8 M x 3.8 M. This show is at the Canadian Pacific-Cominco
9.7 - "The Creation of the World of Man" (11 minutes)
Presentation under the name of Diopolyecran from Joseph Svobada. The screen
is composed of 112 cubes and each cube is equipped with 2 Carousel Kodak
projectors inside. Those cubes can be moved individually forward and
backward on a distance of 600mm, creating a 3D impression. The total
dimension of this screen is 9.4 M x 5.4 M and the audience are seated on the
floor. 15000 slides are shown within 11 minutes.
9.8 - "The Earth is Man's Home" (18 minutes)
From Nick and Ann Chaparos, shot in 35mm and blown up to 70mm. The screen is
vertical: 4 M x 9 M and shows either three images or only one. In order to
show a vertical image, they use a standard 70mm projector and a prism in
front rotating the image of 90 degrees. It is interesting to notice the
shooting is achieved with a Vistavision camera (35mm, 8 perforations)
mounted vertically so it cannot be called the Lazy 8 camera anymore!
9.9 - "Polar Life" (18 minutes)
From Graeme Ferguson (later one of the IMAX creator) and shot in Greenland.
Projection with 11 screens on 360 degrees, using 70mm films (the second time
since the Cineorama). The audience is on a rotating platform and view
successively those 11 screens. This show is at the "Man the Explorer"
9.10 - "Canada Today" (5 minutes)
From Claude Fournier: 3 x 35mm on 3 separate screens
9.11 - "Motion" (14 minutes)
Sponsored by the Canadian National Railways and produced by Crawley Films
Ltd (Ottawa). The director is Robert Gaffney. The film is shot with a MCS
65mm camera and projected on a curved screen 12 M wide. As a reminder,
Robert Gaffney was the photographic director for "Sky Over Holland" and
"Vigilant Switzerland" for the expo 1964 Lausanne (not a World's Fair).
9.12 - "Origins and History of Canada" (5 times 4 minutes 30 seconds).
The theatre is at the Canadian Pavilion. This Pavilion has the shape of a
pyramid upside down and this theatre called: Theatre du Carousel. It is
circular and divided into 6 blocks. There 5 movies in 5 compartments. The
public are seated in a rotating platform and move from one compartment to
the next. The 5 movies are 35mm but with different presentations:
Screen 1: "Exploration"- 1 projector, 1 screen.
Screen 2: "Conflict and Settlement" - 2 projectors, 2 screens
side by side.
Screen 3: "Confederation" - 3 projectors, 3 screens side by side.
Screen 4: "Industrial Expansion and the Opening of the West" -
1 projector, 1 screen.
Screen 5: "Canada Today" - 3 projectors, 3 screens side by side.
Films produced by Crawley Films (Ottawa).
New technology and art"
was conceived at Expo '67. Here, the "Labyrinth" pavilion
9.13 - "Labyrinth" (18 + 10 + 21 minutes)
This is the main event of this Expo at La Cite du Havre Pavilion.
Commissioned by the National Film Board of Canada (NFC), the creators are
Roman Kroitor, Colin Low and Hugh O'Connor and the theme is: Man the Hero.
There are 3 individual rooms and the public is passing to each
of them successively:
Room 1: An oval theatre equipped with 2 giant screens: one horizontal screen
and a vertical one on L shape arrangement. Each screen is 15 M x 6 M and the
two Norelco projectors (one at the ceiling) are projecting in 70mm. They are showing
"The Birth of the Man", his childhood and his youth. The running time is 18
Room 2: A Labyrinth composed of mirrors creating a sense of infinity.
Thousands of luminous lights are changing colour and flash with the tempo of
the music. The theme is "The Man in the middle of his Life". Duration of 10
Room 3: This is a theatre where the public is seated. There are 5
screens fitted on a cross shape and the cameras (Arriflex 35mm) are also
mounted on a cross arrangement. The theme is "The Man, this Hero is
encountering the Devil". The running time is 21 minutes. This movie will be
re-released in 1972 under the title: "Labyrinth 72" at the IMAX Ontario
Place Cinesphere in Toronto (Canada).
10 - Expo 1968 / San Antonio - US Also called: Hemisfair 68
Theme: Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas
10.1 - "US" (23 minutes)
This title has purposively two meanings: US for United States and US for us
the people. Film from Alexander Hammid in a theatre called: Confluence
Theatre at the US Pavilion. The projection is quite original in
presentation. At the beginning, the theatre is divided into 3 individual
rooms of 400 seats each. The rooms are separated by movable curtains. Each
room is having a screen of 9 M x 4.5 M and shows the same film (35mm). Then
the 3 screens at a later stage are increasing in height to reach 7.5 M for
the second part of the show. Then the 3 rooms are in full darkness and
screens and curtains are
raised to show one common theatre and one giant curved screen of 42 M x 11.5
M on which 3 projectors 70mm are showing 3 images with a gap of 0.8 M in
between. At the shooting the three cameras are crossed mounted and so are
the projectors (like for Cinerama). The films are 35mm blown up to 70mm:
Arriflex cameras and Prevost projectors.
10.2 - "My Name is Paul" (12 minutes)
At The Humble Oil & Refining Company Pavilion, this projection is on 5
curved screens (5 Bell and Howell series 173-16mm). The show is starting on
the central screen, then 3 screens and finally 5. The public is standing up
as the show is permanent, each projector having the film on endless loop
inside a cabinet next to it. (This concept of endless loop will be used
later for the process CIRCORAMA but in 35mm at the
Arromanches Museum in
France for a 360 degrees projection). The soundtrack is on a separate 35mm
film with 4 tracks: Three for the sound and one to control the lights and
curtains. This film is based upon the theme of this Expo because Paul is the
most common name in the USA. Composed by Linda Shuler and realised by A-V
10.3 - "The People of Texas" (15 minutes)
From Gordon Ashby, this show is composed of slides, and films of 35mm and
16mm. All are rear projections behind screens of 1.5 M up to 4.8 M wide.
There are 65 screens altogether and the theatre is a Dome of 27 M diameter
and 14 M high. All the screens (flat shapes) are installed on this Dome.
10.4 - "The Wide World of Ford" (10 minutes)
From Peter Toukhanian, this is a 360 degrees projection with 9 projectors
(16mm). The projectors are at 2.5 M from the ground with an angular
projection of 22 degrees in order to match with the concave walls used as
screens. This theatre is of conical shape with a base of 18 M and 4.5 M at
the roof. The projectors are Kodak Zenolite Pageant with spools handling 5
times the movie to reduce the manual operations. This is at the Ford
11 - Expo 1970 - Osaka / Japan
Theme: Progress and Harmony for Mankind. First presentation of the mobile
Pavilion where Imax technology was born at Expo '70, where viewers rolled through the theater on a rotating platform.
11.1 "Tiger Child" (17 minutes)
First IMAX movie 70mm,15 perforations (70-15) at the Fuji Pavilion. Directed
by Donald Brittain and produced by Roman Kroitor and Kichi Ichika. The
screen is 18 M x 13 M inside an inflated tent having an arch shape. Also 28
projectors are showing slides on the walls and top of this tent. The IMAX
screen is at the end and the public is very impressed by the sharpness of
the projected picture. IMAX is a Canadian process from Graeme Ferguson,
Roman Kroitor, Robert Kerr, William Shaw and the Australian Ron Jones for
the rolling loop. The image ratio is 1.44:1 at 24fr/sec.
However not all the film has been shot in IMAX:
- the multi pictures on the screen are shot with Arriflex 35mm
and transposed on 70mm.
- the vertical images are shot in Panavison 70.
- only the full screen images are in IMAX.
11.2 - "The Land" (6 minutes)
Produced by the National Board of Canada and directed by Rex Tasker, this is
a Panavision 35mm movie blown up to 70mm. The screen is having a pyramidal
shape, 15 M at the base and 7 M at the top.
11.3 - "The Horri-Mirror Screen" (continuous projection). At the Mitsubishi
Pavilion, this attraction is not a widescreen but illusions by means of
mirrors and using two 70mm projectors (endless loop). There are 2 effects:
one with "The Stormy Sea" and the other one "Erupting Volcano". The effect
shootings are in VistaVision 35mm but on 12 perforations instead of the
standard 8 and then transferred on 70mm. The public is passing through those
two effects on a moving platform. Realisation from Toho Motion Picture
11.4 - "Horizon" (continuous projection)
Australian 360 degrees projection on 9 screens from the Australia's
Commonwealth Unit. Each screen is showing a different movie and the public
is standing up by following a ramp in spiral in which 1400 loudspeakers are
engraved in it. There is no dialogue but just sound effects and music. The
diameter of this theatre is 34 M and the films (endless loops) are 35mm
blown up to 70mm.
11.5 - "A Tribute to Man" (18 minutes)
Japanese movie from Iwanami Productions. 360 degrees projection on 9 screens
at the Global Vision Theatre, Toshiba-IHI Pavilion. The audience is sitting
on a circular platform rising hydraulically in front of the screens and is
slowly rotating. Films in 35mm, projected on a diameter of 26 M with the
music from Iaso Tomita on a separate magnetic player 12 tracks.
11.6 - "Harmony: Nature
and Man" (12 minutes)
From Roger Tilton, this is the one and only short in Dimension 150 (D –
150). Presented at the State of Washington Pavilion. The screen is curved at
is Astrorama!" photographed with VistaVision and presented in 70mm
11.7 - "This is Astrorama!" (16 minutes + 8 minutes)
This is one of the most impressive projections of this Expo, composed of two
movies: "Birth - 16 min" and "March - 8 min". This is a huge Dome projection,
31 M high and 46 M in diameter. The hemispheric screen is receiving 5
projectors 70mm equipped with fisheye lenses (140 degrees) and those 5
projectors give a seamless picture. The total projected area is 1670 SQM.
The dome-shaped screen is composed of 190.000 Nylon bands, 40mm wide and are
horizontally mounted. The sound is supplied by 424 speakers. This film is
shot with 5 VistaVison cameras (35mm, 8 perforations) but vertically and
then transferred on 70mm support which is run horizontally (70mm, 8 perfs)
since the picture is at 90 degrees. The cameras are Mitchell type NC,
modified by Goto Optical Co. (Tokyo) and the Astrorama projectors are from
Norelco (Philips DP70) modified for 8
perf instead of the usual 5 and
designed for horizontal projection. Please refer to the photos.
11.8 - "Water of Life" (16 minutes)
At the Suntory Ltd Pavilion, this film is projected on 6 screens. 2 at the
front, 2 at the upper part and 2 at the lower part. The total height is 16 M
and 16.5 M wide. The shooting is with 6 Arriflex (35mm).
11.9 - "Japan and the Japanese" (12 minutes)
35mm movies on 8 screens: 4 front screens and 4 above covering a total
dimensions of 48 M x 16 M. Each screen is at 30 degrees on the horizontal
axis, giving a complete curvature of 90 degrees in front of the audience.
The shooting is with 8 cameras NAC-MC358, with horizontal movement 35mm, 8
perfs (same as VistaVision) but with a variable speed from 8 to 24 fr/sec.
Some sequences are showing 4 times the same image on one screen, so 32 times
11.10 - "Russian Sketches" (15 minutes)
3D movie without the need of wearing glasses. Film in Stereo-70, meaning 2
images side by side on 70mm film. Projection on a special screen composed of
1700 conical lenses but of reduced dimensions: 4 M x 3 M. Process from S.
Ivanov of the NIKFI in collaboration with Mosfilm.
11.11 - "Hunter of the Sun" (16 minutes)
From Hideo Onchi and sponsored by Toho Company Ltd at the Electric Power
Pavilion. The theatre is called: Electrium. Shooting with 5 cameras (16mm)
and projection onto 5 screens with a total width of 22.5 M and 9 M high. For
this projection, the 16mm films are blown up to 35mm.
11.12 - "Earth and Sky" (12 minutes)
Russian movie from the NIFKI using the Varioscopic process under the name of
Vario-70 (70mm, 10 perf). The screen is having a rhomb shape with a height
of 30 M.
11.13 - "Ontario" (26 minutes)
From Christopher Chapman. Film in 70mm and projected on a curved screen of
120 degrees, 30 M wide and 12 M high.
11.14 - "Light for Man" (18 minutes)
360 degrees projection at the Toshiba Pavilion. 9 projectors 70mm from 35mm
blown up films. The diameter of this theatre is 26 M.
Ken Fowler on "This is New Zealand
11.15 - "This is New Zealand" (20 minutes)
Produced by the National Film Unit of New Zealand and realised by Hugh
MacDonald. Shooting with 3 cameras 35mm and projected on 3 screens with a
small vertical black bar in between. Cameras and projectors are not crossed
mounted but in parallel. The cameras are Arriflex 2C series. The audio track
is on a separate 35mm magnetic spool (Nagra Tape Recorder).
11.16 - "Air Ship Trip" (25 minutes)
The public is seated in a "floating" capsule. 10 M above ground and slowly
moving along 2 screens 160 M long and 8 M high (the screens are on both
sides of the capsule). There are 22 projectors 35mm (rear projections). Some
projections are at the Academic Ratio and others at the Scope format. The
theme of this attraction: Japan is facing a new Area.
11.17 - "Expo 70" (continuous running)
Films from the Dutch Jan Vrijman (newspaper writer) and shown inside stuck
containers. The audience is passing through those containers where there are
in total 13 screens 35mm.
12 - Expo 1974 - Spokane / USA
Theme: Tomorrow's Fresh New Environment
12.1 - "About Time" (20 minutes)
From Bib Marona and Ed. de Martin at the Washington State Pavilion. The
projection is behind a giant screen 15 M x 7 M and the public is only 10
meters away from that screen and seated on three levels. The lateral walls
are covered with mirrors. Those mirrors are hidden by movable curtains which
are raised only during the projection to create an infinite space. The film
is shot in 35mm and blown up to 70mm. Projection with Norelco projectors (DP70) and the screen is made of extruded plastic for a better picture,
supplied by the British firm: Harkness Ltd (London).
12.2 - "Man Belongs to the Earth" (23 minutes)
From Roman Kroitor and Graeme Ferguson in IMAX format, at the USA Pavilion.
The screen is 27.3 M x 19.7 M. This time, the film is entirely shot with
12.3 - "The Taiwanese Experience" (26 minutes)
From John Cavala and Gregor Greig, this film is bearing the name of
Electrovision at the ROC Pavilion (Republic of China-Taiwan). The show is
composed of slides (28 Kodak Carousel) and one 35mm movie with a ratio of
3.00:1 on a screen of 21 M x 7 M. The slides have special dimensions: 46 x
12.4 - "Life of the Japanese" (15 minutes)
At the Japanese Pavilion. There are 3 films (35mm) projected on three
screens side by side.
13 - Expo 1982 - Seville / Spain
Theme: Energy turns the World
"Energy! Energy!" (27 minutes)
Film from Francis Thompson and sponsored by the US Department of Commerce.
IMAX movie in a 1000 seats theatre and the screen is 27 M x 20 M.
14 - Expo 1984 - New Orleans / USA
Theme: The World of Rivers
"Water: The Source of Life" (20 minutes). Film from Thomas Ackerman and
Charles Guggenheim. This is a 3D movie with the Stereospace 2000 process
from the Dr Richard Vetter. Shooting with 2 cameras (65mm) and projection
with 2 interlocked 70mm projectors. The speed is at 30fr/sec. The
distributor is Kodak-Disney. In 1986, Thomas Ackerman and Ford Coppola will
produce: Captain EO (17 minutes with Michael Jackson) under the same process
and projected at the attraction Parks of Epcot Center in Florida and Euro
Disney in Paris.
15 - Expo 1985 - Tsukuba / Japan
Theme: Science and Technology for Man at Home. This Expo is also the
launching for the giant TV screen from Sony: The Jumbotron with a screen of
40 M x 25 M.
15.1 - "Skyward" (24 minutes)
IMAX movie from Roman Kroitor and Stephen Low at the Suntory Pavilion.
15.2 - "Heartland" (20 minutes)
IMAX movie from Roman Kroitor and for the first time with Digital Sound.
15.3 - "Shijin No Ie" (The House of the Poet - 18 minutes)
IMAX movie at the Japanese Pavilion. The soundtrack is from the American
singer: Joe Jackson.
15.4 - "The Universe: We are Born of Stars" (11 minutes)
This is the first OMNIMAX 3D movie (or IMAX DOME as later called). The film is
in 3D Anaglyphic black and white. The spectacles to wear are with red and
blue lenses. This show is at the Dome Pavilion of Fujitsu. The Director is
Saburou Yanase and this film is totally created with the use of computers
the fastest of the world (in 1985) by the two Japanese teams: L. Team and M.
Team of Tokyo. The Dome is with a diameter of 20 M with a hemispheric
15.5 - "Let's Go" (15 minutes)
First movie from Douglas Trumbull in Showscan process. This process is using
70mm film under a speed of 60fr/sec. This show is at the Toshiba Pavilion in
a theatre of 540 seats. The screen is 25.6 M x 11 M with 23 speakers through
the auditorium. The picture is judged by the public as being: "ultra fluid
15.6 - "Earth Song: Erika's Dream" (12 minutes)
3D movie using the process: Stereospace 2000. The theatre at the Sumitomo
Pavilion is called: Fantasium. The soundtrack is from Ryuichi Sakamoto.
15.7 - "Cinema - U" (Ultra Vision)
Cinema-U is similar to the Omnimax process but developed by the Japanese (Shueisha-Shogakukau).
Projection on a Dome of 368 SQM and projectors Cinemeccanica 15-70 with a
fisheye lens. No other detail available.
15.8 - "Adventure in the World of Good Eating" (20 minutes)
At the Gas Pavilion, this movie is presented under the process of Gas-Rama.
The two 70mm films are projected on 2 screens on top of each other. Each
screen is 20 M x 10 M.
15.9 - "Nature, Science and the People of Ibaraki" (15 minutes)
At the Ibaraki Pavilion (scientific quarter of the city of Tsukuba), the
70mm film is projected on a screen having the shape of half a sphere in
front of the audience.
16 - Expo 1986 - Vancouver / Canada
Theme: Transportation and Communication
16.1 - "Rainbow War" (20 minutes)
From Bob Rogers and produced by BRC Imagination Arts studio. This movie is
shown at the Canadian Pacific Railway Pavilion. The story is about the war
between three Kingdoms. Each Kingdom is represented with a specific colour:
yellow, red and blue. The shooting is with a Digital Panaflex camera (here
we are with the beginning of the Digital) and the film is transferred on
Each soldier is with the colour of his respective Kingdom. This film was
also projected at the Olympic Games in Seoul (1988).
16.2 - "Portraits of Canada" (20 minutes)
Film in Circle Vision 360 (9 x 35mm) at the Telecom Canada Pavilion.
16.3 - "A Freedom to Move" (18 minutes)
OMNIMAX 3D movie (70mm, 15 perf) at the Expo Centre Future Pavilion in a
500 seats theatre, the biggest at this time. The Geodesic Dome is in
Stainless Steel and can be seen from all the parts of this Expo (17 stories
high, 89ft wide). This colour film is from Michel Brault. Two projectors for
3D and 72 speakers.
16.4 - "Carrying Things" (20 minutes)
From Colin Low and Tony Ianzelo and produced by NFB Canada, the initial
title should have been: "Transitions". This is the first IMAX 3D (flat
screen) with 2 projectors and the use of polarized glasses instead of the
anaglyphic ones. Projected at the Ontario Pavilion which will remain in use
16.5 - "Discovery" (16 minutes)
Second Showscan movie from Douglas Trumbull at the British Columbia
Pavilion. This film is also known under the name of: Zargon.
16.6 - "Earthwatch" (7 minutes)
This a very short Showsan movie at the Canadian Pavilion.
16.7 - "Deep Sea Rescue" (5 minutes)
This is the first Showscan Simulator. Shooting with a 65mm camera and
fisheye lens. The public is inside the replica of the submarine from Deep
16.8 - "The Taming of the Demons" (23 minutes)
From Emil Radok in 35mm. There are 10 projections on screens of different
sizes and shapes plus a stroboscopic ball in the middle of the theatre.
16.9 - "Spirit Lodge" (15 minutes)
This is not a movie but a show on stage with live actors "controlling" the
smoke by giving it various shapes. This is advertised under the name of:
17 - Expo 1988 - Brisbane / Australia
Theme: Leisure in the Age of Technology
"Canada-Another Government Movie" (15 minutes)
Shooting with 5 Arri 3 cameras (35mm) mounted side by side and projection on
5 screens side by side. Movie produced by Lhotka and presented at the
Canadian Pavilion. Also shown at the Expo 1992 (Seville).
18 - Expo 1992 - Seville / Spain
Theme: The Area of Discovery
This is the last World's Fair of the Twentieth Century.
18.1 - "Momemtum" (20 minutes)
First and last IMAX movie in High Definition (IMAX HD) if we except the IMAX
SOLIDO. The running speed is 48fr/sec providing a better image but the high
speed is badly increasing the wear and tear of the film. Film from Colin Low
and Tony Ianzelo and produced by the National Film Board of Canada. The
sound process is called: Ambisonic Surround Sound (British system developed
in 1970) with 22 tracks, a precursor of Dolby Atmos! The screen is 18 M
wide. Actually, there are also 2 others IMAX HD but for the attraction
parks: "Asteroid Adventure" at Phantasialand (Brühl / Germany) and "Soaring
Over" at Disneyland (California) but this is a rear projection on a sphere
(IMAX Based Rides).
18.2 - "Nature Rediscovered" (22 minutes)
From Kent Gibson and Richard I. Wells in Showscan in a tiny theatre of 128
seats. The sound is in DTS and this is the last movie in Showscan 2D.
18.3 - "Concerto for the Earth" (16 minutes)
From Bayley Sileck at the Environment Pavilion. This is the first and the
last movie in Showscan 3D. The first part of the movie is in 2D and the
audience are wearing their 3D glasses when the actors on the screen are
doing the same.
18.4 - "Projection on Water Screen"
5 projectors 35mm on a water screen 40 M x 30 M
18.5 - "The Well of Pictures"
At the Pavilion de France, this well of square shape is fitted with mirrors
along its four walls. There is an IMAX projection at the bottom of this well
on an area of 500 SQM (22.5 M x 22.5 M) and a depth of 20 M. The mirrors
along the walls are reflecting endlessly the projected images.
Three shorts are shown:
- One with fixed views
- One computer generated about Space
- One about aerial views in helicopter from Seville to Paris
18.6 - "Vientos de Espana - The winds from Spain" (15 minutes)
This film is from Iwerks Entertainment (70mm, 8 perf) and the process is
called: Moviemax. The picture is half the IMAX one and projected vertically.
The spectators are seated in simulation chairs like the D-Box today or
similars. Iwerks 870 process is developed by Don Iwerks who started at the
Disney Studios and was one of the creators of the Circarama in 1955. In
1985, he started the company Iwerks Entertainment. His father Ub Iwerks was
the creator (with Walt Disney) of Mickey Mouse.
18.7 - "Echoes of the Sun" (20 minutes)
Film under the process of IMAX SOLIDO, presented at the Fujitsu Pavilion
(and also shown later at the Expo 1990 / Osaka which is not classified as a
World's Fair). IMAX SOLIDO is the combination of: IMAX DOME (or OMNIMAX) +
IMAX HD + IMAX 3D . It has been exhibited also for a long time at the
Futuroscope of Poitiers in France.
18.8 - "Eureka! The Passion to Know" (20 minutes)
From Greg Gillevray and Jon Boorstin. This is an OMNIMAX projection on a
Dome of 26 M in diameter. This is the first time the IMAX camera is mounted
on a stable device called: Steadycam and is presented at the Spanish
Pavilion in a theatre of 315 seats and under the sponsorship of the Spanish
Government. After the Expo, the movie is extended with additional sequences
and re-released the following year under the title of: "The Discoverers"
with a running time of 40 minutes. During this Expo 1992 and in the same
theatre the following OMNIMAX movies were also projected: "The Blue Planet"
and "The Rolling Stones at the Max"
18.9 - Puerto Rico Pavilion
Dome projection of a movie produced by Omni Films. No other information
18.10 - "Sights of China" (15 minutes)
360 degrees projection (9 x 35mm) and the public is seated on the floor at
the China Pavilion.
18.11 - "Tierra de Gracia - Land of Grace" (12 minutes)
From Soames Summerhays and Alba Revenge. This is a Iwerks 870 projection
with an image ratio of 1.44:1.
18.12 - "Mi Pais Vasco - My Basque Country" (9 minutes)
Shown, obviously, at the Pays Basque Pavilion, the process is from Iwerks
Imagine. This is a 360 degrees projection but with 1 camera only (70mm, 10
perforations, horizontal shooting). This is an improvement from the
Swissorama process shown in 1984 at the Lucerne Museum (Swissorama is also
fully described on the website of 70mm letters).The projector is at the
ceiling, producing a seamless image on a circular screen of around 14 M
diameter. The audience is seated on rotary seats.
18.13 - "World Song" (12 minutes)
From Bob Rogers and produced by BRC Imaginations Art. This is a 35mm film
blown up to 70mm. Projection onto a screen 15 M x 7.5 M in a theatre of 600
seats. Sponsorship from General Motors.
18.14 - "Hexiplex" (15 minutes)
Australian process for 360 degrees projection from 6 projectors (16mm)
installed at the ceiling of the theatre. The main difference is the
projectors and screens are rotating together at the same speed at one turn
per minute, giving comfort to the spectators since they do not need to turn
their heads in all directions.
• Go to Revisions for “A Century of
Widescreens at the World's Fairs”
19 - Conclusion
We have finally reached 100 years of Widescreen from 1893 (Chicago) up to
1992 (Seville). More and more the Digital projections have replaced the
argentic ones and the projections at the World's Fair of 2010 in Shanghai
are 100% in Digital. One of the most impressive is at the Saudi Arabia
Pavilion called: The Moon Boat. Here IMAX DIGITAL are presenting the movie
"Arabia" (10 minutes). The projection is on the floor and the walls with the
audience walking on an upper platform. The total area covered by the
"screen" is identical to a football ground, i.e: 1600 SQM with the need of
26 HD video projectors. The following year, 2011, IMAX did produce the film:
"Arabia" in IMAX 3D. Some interesting widescreen processes were also
demonstrated at many Fairs not classified as World's Fairs, and they could
be the topic for another article.
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