Victorian 360-degree film

The first 360-degree film was recorded for the 1900 Paris Exposition. It recreated the experience of rising in a hot air balloon, but the film probably never played for a real audience because of technical difficulties.

Cineorama
Louis Poyet [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Raoul Grimoin-Sanson, an early French film pioneer, took ten cameras up in a balloon over the Tuileries Gardens in Paris. His idea was to put an audience in a fake hot air balloon basket and surround them with projection screens. Projectors underneath the basket would each point to a different screen, creating a 360-degree wrap-around effect for the audience.

Grimoin-Sanson’s so-called Cinéorama had stiff competition. It was supposed to premiere for the public at the 1900 Paris Exposition. This exposition was huge – it presented, among other things, the first talking films, the first escalator, and an early diesel engine.

The downfall of the Cinéorama was its ten projectors. All clustered together in a very close space, the lamps just generated too much heat and the exhibit was closed down. The Wikipedia article suggests that it ran for three days and ceased on the fourth, but that may have just been a later fabrication by the inventor.

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