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CIRCARAMA at the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne
Re-screening of EXPO 64 film "Rund um Rad und Schiene" (All about Wheels and Tracks / Magic of the Rails)

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Gerhard Witte, Berlin Date: 19.08.2014
A huge CIRCARAMA-360-degree-cinema in Lausanne at the EXPO 1964 (Image from the website of the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne showing the cinema's foyer)

On the occasion of the Swiss National Exposition in Lausanne, which was held from 30.04.1964 to 25.10.1964, the CIRCARAMA film "Rund um Rad und Schiene" (All about Wheels and Tracks – foreign-language titles: Magic of the Rails / Magie du Rail) was one of the main attractions, which was very well received and watched by nearly 4 million visitors. The film was originally shot for the EXPO 64 in the Walt Disney CIRCARAMA process using nine 35mm cameras on behalf of SBB (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen / Swiss Federal Railways (SFR)), directed by Ernst A. Heiniger (04.08.1909 - 19.07.1993). The famous American Disney technician and animator Ub Iwerks (24.03.1901 - 07.07.1971) supported him at the time.

On the 50th anniversary of EXPO 64, CIRCARAMA can be experienced again for the first time with a restored version of the same film at a special exhibition at the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne from 1 August and is expected to be shown there until 31 December 2014.

For this screening, the nine 35mm films for the 360 degree projection have been digitised. The individual segments and the sound were synchronized. Colour changes that had occurred over the years were corrected. The reconstruction of the CIRCARAMA-360-degree-cinema built in the Swiss Museum of Transport has a total floor area of 12.5 m2 (diameter 4 meters) and is thus considerably smaller than the original of the EXPO 64 in Lausanne. Here the circular cinema had a total floor area of 706.8 m² (diameter 30 meters – information from the trade magazine Kino-Technik No. 8/1964). In another source (a SBB / SFR Historic prospectus) is given a smaller total floor area of 551.5 m² (diameter 26.5 meters). In the auditorium were installed 9 screens with the size of 10 by 7 meters (width by height – Source: Kino-Technik No. 8/1964).
More in 70mm reading:

All-Around Cinema - Ernst A. Heiniger‘s Swissorama

CIRCARAMA im Verkehrshaus der Schweiz in Luzern

Circarama at the "EXPO" in Lausanne, Switzerland

Internet link:


Internet-News-Portal "20minutes/Swiss" CIRCARAMA:

Website of the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne

The SBB / SFR Historic Foundation
This film has been made available again through the assistance of "Memoriav"

The implementation of this unique projection process was realized by "transfermedia.ch"

Verkehrshaus der Schweiz
CH 6006 Luzern

Opening Hours:
Summertime 10 – 18 Uhr
Wintertime 10 – 17 Uhr

… and now a small CIRCARAMA-360-degree-cinema in Lucerne in the Swiss Museum of Transport (Image from the Internet-News-Portal "20 minutes/Switzerland)

The 20-minute film shows Switzerland as a country of railways and technology as well as tradition and tourism at the beginning of the sixties in the 20th century. Key topics include the electrification of the means of transport, the major Alp crossings and the beauty of the mountain scenery, with images of Zermatt showing the Matterhorn, for instance. For many shots, the cameras had been mounted on trains, under a helicopter or on top of a car.

The re-screening of the CIRCARAMA film was made possible through the collaboration of the SBB / SFR Historic foundation, the “Memoriav" club founded in 1995, which is dedicated to the preservation and revival of Swiss audio-visual cultural heritage, and Transfermedia (Switzerland) with the Swiss Museum of Transport.

The Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne is the most diverse transport and communication museum in Europe and is Switzerland’s most visited museum.

This museum was also having a circular theatre with a diameter-size of 20 meters demonstrating a new projection-process called SWISSORAMA from July 1984 until March 2002. This was a seamless 360-degree-projection onto a circular screen which was 5 meters high and 60 meters in length with one projector installed on the cinema´s ceiling using 70mm film.

The movie's title is "Impressions of Switzerland" (Impressionen der Schweiz), also produced by Ernst A. Heiniger, and is the only SWISSORAMA film which was shown at this venue. For filming they had used a 65mm camera which was equipped with an extremely wide angle fisheye lens, covered in the center. More than 1.8 million people attended the 20-minute show in the course of the years.
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Updated 21-01-24