Circarama at the "EXPO" in Lausanne,
Exposition nationale Suisse, Schweizerische Landesausstellung in Lausanne
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The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: Gerhard
Witte, Berlin, Germany, based on information & images from the
German technical magazine "Kino-Technik" 1963/64)
For numerous recordings on the route tracks between the scheduled trains a
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
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.
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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.
- 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
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.
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 =
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).
- 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 /
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