From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Panorama of the inner courtyard of the Great Mosque of Kairouan, in Tunisia

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[1] 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 proposed for multi-media, cross-scale applications to 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[2] used to capture the larger scale.


In the mid-19th century, panoramic paintings and models became a very popular way to represent landscapes 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 by the artist Robert Barker in 1787. He created a picture spectacle, 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.

A panorama of London by Robert Barker, 1792

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.[3] The painting measures about 10 metres in height with a circumference of 112 meters.[4] 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).[5] Also on a gigantic scale, and still extant, is the Racławice Panorama (1893) located in Wrocław, Poland, which measures 15 x 120 metres.[6]


360 degree panorama picture of the center courtyard of the Sony Center at the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. This picture was calculated from 126 individual photos using autostitch

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.[7] 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.[citation needed]

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.[8]

Popular in the 1970s and 1980s, but now superseded by digital presentation software, Multi-image[9] (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.

A 270 degree panorama stitched "in-camera". Many modern digital cameras can automatically stitch a sequence of images shot while the camera is rotated.

Digital photography of the late twentieth century greatly simplified this assembly process, which is now known as image stitching. Such stitched images may even be fashioned into forms of virtual reality movies, using technologies such as Apple Inc.'s QuickTime VR, Flash, Java, or even JavaScript. A rotating line camera such as the Panoscan allows the capture of high resolution panoramic images and eliminates the need for image stitching, but immersive "spherical" panorama movies (that incorporate a full 180° vertical viewing angle as well as 360° around) must be made by stitching multiple images. Stitching images together can be used to create extremely high resolution gigapixel panoramic images.

Panoramic view of the antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array under the clear sky over the Chajnantor Plateau, in the Chilean Andes.[10]

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[11] 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.[citation needed]

See also


  1. A Review of ‘The Panoramic River,’ at the Hudson River Museum -
  2. For more see the International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics.
  3. The Bourbaki Panorama, which shows the plight of the French Troops of General Bourbaki in 1871 during the Franco-Prussian War, is the subject of Jeff Wall’s 1993 photograph Restoration. Wall constructed a fictitious scene in which actual conservators were posed as if they were in the process of restoring the painting which was not in fact undergoing restoration at the time. (Mieszkowski, Jan (2012), Watching war, Stanford, California Stanford University Press, ISBN 978-0-8047-8240-1<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> p.91)
  4. Bernard Comment (2004),Panorama, Reaktion Books, page 214
  5. Marty Olmstead (2002), Hidden Georgia, Ulysses Press, page 204
  6. Jan Stanisław Kopczewski (1976), Kosciuszko and Pulaski, Interpress, page 220
  7. for example, the Cincinnati Panorama (1848), a daguerreotype by Charles Fontayne and William S. Porter. 6½ x 68 inches (15.24 by 21.59 cm). Held at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
  8. Eric Renner (2008). Pinhole photography from historic technique to digital application (4th ed). Amsterdam Focal Press pps. 129-140
  9. Kenny, Michael F.; Schmitt, Raymond F. (1983). Images, Images, Images: The Book of Programmed Multi-Image Production. New York: Eastman Kodak. ISBN 978-0-87985-327-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "ALMA Panoramic View with Carina Nebula". ESO Picture of the Week. Retrieved 12 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Joshua C. Shaffer (2010), Discovering the Magic Kingdom: An Unofficial Disneyland Vacation Guide, AuthorHouse, page 200 ISBN 1452063125

Further reading

  • Altick, Richard (1978). The Shows of London. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674807316, 9780674807310
  • Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). [ "Panorama" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Garrison, Laurie et al., editors (2013). Panoramas, 1787–1900 Texts and contexts Five volumes, 2,000pp. Pickering and Chatto. ISBN.978 1 84893
  • Oettermann, Stephan (1997). The Panorama: History of a mass medium. MIT Press. ISBN 0942299833, 9780942299830
  • Oleksijczuk, Denise (2011). The First Panoramas: Visions of British Imperialism. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-8166-4861-0, ISBN 978-0-8166-4860-3

External links