Diagram showing how Cinerama works, 1952.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Cinerama used three synchronised projectors, projecting film onto a deeply curved screen to produce images with an extremely wide angle of view - similar to that of human vision. Instead of a flat screen and mono sound, here was a spectacular phenomenon - a huge, curved screen and sound that surrounded the audience. Cinerama was invented by Fred Waller (1886-1954) who had been Head of Special Effects at Paramount. The first Cinerama film, 'This Is Cinerama', opened in New York in 1952 and was a great success. Over the next ten years, another eight feature films were made using Waller's three-camera system and over 100 Cinerama theatres were opened around the world.