A panorama (formed from Greek πᾶν "all" + ὅραμα "sight") is any wide-angle view or representation of a physical space, whether in painting, drawing, photography, film, seismic images or a three-dimensional model. The word was originally coined in the 18th century by the English (Irish descent) painter Robert Barker to describe his panoramic paintings of Edinburgh and London. The motion-picture term panning is derived from panorama.
A panoramic view is also purposed for multi-media, cross-scale applications to an outline overview (from a distance) along and across repositories. This so-called "cognitive panorama" is a panoramic view over, and a combination of, cognitive spaces used to capture the larger scale.
This novel perspective was quickly conveyed to America by Benjamin Franklin who was present for the first manned balloon flight by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783, and by American born physician, John Jeffries who had joined French aeronaut Jean Pierre Blanchard on flights over England and the first aerial crossing of the English Channel in 1785.
As popular spectacle
In the mid-19th century, panoramic paintings and models became a very popular way to represent landscapes, topographic views and historical events. Audiences of Europe in this period were thrilled by the aspect of illusion, immersed in a winding 360 degree panorama and given the impression of standing in a new environment. The panorama was a 360-degree visual medium patented under the title Apparatus for Exhibiting Pictures by the artist Robert Barker in 1787. The earliest that the word "panorama" appeared in print was on June 11, 1791 in the British newspaper The Morning Chronicle, referring to this visual spectacle. Barker created a painting, shown on a cylindrical surface and viewed from the inside, giving viewers a vantage point encompassing the entire circle of the horizon, rendering the original scene with high fidelity. The inaugural exhibition, a "View of Edinburgh", was first shown in that city in 1788, then transported to London in 1789. By 1793, Barker had built "The Panorama" rotunda at the center of London's entertainment district in Leicester Square, where it remained until closed in 1863.
Large scale installations enhance the illusion for an audience of being surrounded with a real landscape. The Bourbaki Panorama in Lucerne, Switzerland was created by Edouard Castres in 1881. The painting measures about 10 metres in height with a circumference of 112 meters. In the same year of 1881, the Dutch marine painter Hendrik Willem Mesdag created and established the Panorama Mesdag of The Hague, Netherlands, a cylindrical painting more than 14 metres high and roughly 40 meters in diameter (120 meters in circumference). In the United States of America is the Atlanta Cyclorama, depicting the Civil War Battle of Atlanta. It was first displayed in 1887, and is 42 feet high by 358 feet circumference (13 x 109 metres). Also on a gigantic scale, and still extant, is the Racławice Panorama (1893) located in Wrocław, Poland, which measures 15 x 120 metres.
In addition to these historical examples, there have been panoramas painted and installed in modern times; prominent among these is the Velaslavasay Panorama in Los Angeles, California (2004).
Panoramic photography soon came to displace painting as the most common method for creating wide views. Not long after the introduction of the Daguerreotype in 1839, photographers began assembling multiple images of a view into a single wide image. In the late 19th century, flexible film enabled the construction of panoramic cameras using curved film holders and clockwork drives to rotate the lens in an arc and thus scan an image encompassing almost 180 degrees.
Pinhole cameras of a variety of constructions can be used to make panoramic images. A popular design is the "oatmeal box", a vertical cylindrical container in which the pinhole is made in one side and the film or photographic paper is wrapped around the inside wall opposite, and extending almost right to the edge of, the pinhole. This generates an egg-shaped image with more than 180° view.
Popular in the 1970s and 1980s, but now superseded by digital presentation software, Multi-image (also known as multi-image slide presentations, slide shows or diaporamas) 35mm slide projections onto one or more screens characteristically lent themselves to the wide screen panorama. They could run autonomously with silent synchronization pulses to control projector advance and fades, recorded beside an audio voice-over or music track. Precisely overlapping slides placed in slide mounts with soft-edge density masks would merge seamlessly on the screen to create the panorama. Cutting and dissolving between sequential images generated animation effects in the panorama format.
Motion picture panorama technology
On rare occasions, 360° panoramic movies have been constructed for specially designed display spaces—typically at theme parks, world's fairs, and museums. Starting in 1955, Disney has created 360° theaters for its parks and the Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne, Switzerland, features a theatre that is a large cylindrical space with an arrangement of screens whose bottom is several metres above the floor. Panoramic systems that are less than 360° around also exist. For example, Cinerama used a curved screen and IMAX Dome / OMNIMAX movies are projected on a dome above the spectators.
Non-photographic digital panoramic representation
Panoramic representation can be generated from SRTM and other forms of laser or radar derived range-measurement data. In these diagrams, a panorama from any given point can be generated and imaged from the data.
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