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Circarama at the "EXPO" in Lausanne, Switzerland
Exposition nationale Suisse, Schweizerische Landesausstellung in Lausanne

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Gerhard Witte, Berlin, Germany, based on information & images from the German technical magazine "Kino-Technik" 1963/64) Date: 18.04.2014
For numerous recordings on the route tracks between the scheduled trains a track motor car was modified in that way that during the recordings the view on all sides was free. Image from Kino-Technik No 8 / 1963.

The "EXPO" (exposition nationale suisse) in Lausanne (Schweizerische Landesausstellung in Lausanne) took place from 30.04.1964 to 25.10.1964. Some people also called it "EXPO of Projections". At the time, there was a another highlight in "der Halle der Schweizer Bundesbahn" - in the hall of the Swiss Federal Railways.

They presented "CIRCARAMA". This process had been invented by Walt Disney in 1955 and was also shown at the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels, Belgium. Here the movie "America the Beautiful" (USA, 1958) debuted in the American pavilion and they used for this movie eleven 16mm films for shooting and projection and they needed for CIRCARAMA 11 screens and 11 projectors.

In 1961, CIRCARAMA was presented at the Italia Exposition (EXPO) in Turin. A new CIRCARAMA film with the title "ITALIA 61" was produced exclusively for this EXPO. The film was shot in 16mm and "blown-up" to 35mm film.

Especially for the EXPO in Lausanne, they had shot a new CIRCARAMA film in Eastman Color in 35mm (with Mitchell cameras) titled: "Rund um Rad und Schiene" (English title: Magic of the Rails). Of course, by using 35mm film a significant increase in image quality was given.

Gerhard Witte
More in 70mm reading:

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The true history of Circlorama 1962-65

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Internet link:

In 1961, CIRCARAMA was also presented in Turin during the Italia Expostion (EXPO). For this event was produced a CIRCARAMA film with the title "ITALIA 61". For shooting they used nine 16mm negative films and for projection the movie had been "blown-up" into 35mm film.

CIRCARAMA "Kino Technik" No. 8/1963

The huge auditorium. Circarama cinema from the inside Photo: Ganz & Co Zurich (in a Kino-Technik magazine from 1965)

"Full circle theatres have an extraordinary attraction on the public in all exhibitions. For that reason, these film showings are specially well suited for commercial advertising. So, the Swiss Federal Railway have decided to shoot a film advertising the modern railway traffic. A shooting equipment with nine cameras and all the accessories are ready in existence and the shots were started."

This film was very successful and regularly got final applause - even often scene applause. 15000 - 20000 onlookers saw the screenings in Lausanne per day. At the end of the exhibition around 4 Million at around 3500 performances enjoyed it.
"Travelling-Shots" - thanks to the higher position on the roof of the car very different perspectives can be shot. Image from Kino-Technik No 8 / 1963.

The film was shot by Ernst A. Heiniger, an experienced long-time employee of Walt Disney. It has a runtime of nearly 20 minutes. It consists of 64 sequences (each 17 seconds long) that report on the travel and industry land Switzerland also in connection with neighbouring countries - there is also a scene from Hamburg in it.

The movie captures all four seasons, including magnificent flight recordings over the alps. Railroad crossings on the Gotthard line, as a connection to the sunny south, and trips that are made with cable railway to demonstrate the possibilities of a moving camera. The aerial shots were taken from a particularly powerful helicopter.
The photos of the camera bring back wonderful memories of working on Circlevision projects for EPCOT back in the early 1980s.

I remember keeping the mirrors clean was always a problem on the Camera.

Somewhere I have some behind the scenes 16mm home movies of the editing of these projects at Disney.

We used to run our dailies at Disneyland very early in the morning then tested out many rides before the crowds arrived, then a great breakfast at the underground employees cafeteria.

One of the more fun jobs of my career.

Dave Strohmaier
The 6-channel amplifier system. On the left: sound dubbers, on the right: a projection apparatus. Image from Kino-Technik No 8 / 1964

The movie was presented in a circular hall with a cross-section dimension of 30 metres. A maximum of 1500 people enjoyed the movie per performance. There were no seats. 9 screens were installed in the hall. Each screen had a size of 10 (width) by 7 (height) metres. For the cross-projection, the space between the installed screens was 20 cm.

The total length of the projection surface was 90 metres and the whole projection area 630m˛. Each projection apparatus (Xenon lamps) captured a projection angle of 40 degrees (9 X 40 degrees = 360 degrees). They used 35mm magnetic tape for the 6-channel sound system, which only included music and sound effects, no single spoken word.
The score was composed by B. Schulé from Geneva.
In this hall CIRCARAMA was presented - the hall of the Swiss Federal Railways. Image from Kino-Technik No 8 / 1964

Image and sound were connected to a so-called "electric wave" and ran synchronously. The weight of the whole technical equipment was about 4.5 tons. All came from Kiel (in Germany) by freight train from ZEISS ICON AG at the time. After filming, the film footage was processed at Technicolor in London

In Summer of 1965 "CIRCARAMA" was again presented with the same film at the IVA (Internationale Verkehrsausstellung / Inernational Transport Exhibition) in Munich from 25 June to 3 October 1965. Here, the sound only was music and effects too, but additional information was given by projecting a text onto the screen (subtitles).
CIRCARAMA - a simple drawing. Image from Kino-Technik No 8 / 1964
The helm of the CIRCARAMA system. On the left: projection apparatus, on the right: sound dubbers. (the complete reproducting system came from ZEISS IKON AG located in Kiel / Germany).  Image from Kino-Technik No 8 / 1964.
The nine 35mm Mitchell Cameras. All nine recording cameras are kept aligned by a sturdy metal frame. A motor, powered by a battery, drives all nine cameras synchronously.  Image from Kino-Technik No 8 / 1963.
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Updated 30-06-22