Readers' Submissions

The CINERAMA Barn

by Paul Samuels
(Frederick, MD)

Chatting with guests who have travelled to MD to visit the Cinerama Barn

Chatting with guests who have travelled to MD to visit the Cinerama Barn

Chatting with guests who have travelled to MD to visit the Cinerama Barn
The projector on the left is my 'able' unit glowing in its idle state; behind the large window is the center 'Baker' projector and the projector on the top shelf is for my single panel presentations.
Wide angle view of the back wall showing all three projectors and the seating.
Here, I am welcoming my guests in the lobby!

A Barn transformed into a Home Theater!

This is an 8-seat home theater which I built myself in a barn at the back of the house; its main feature is a unique curved 5ft by 14 ft screen.

The decor is mostly wall drapes, which was a traditional hallmark of Cinerama theaters.

For those who are not familiar with Cinerama process, this is a an ultra widescreen 2.59:1 format  capable of impressive panoramic images.

The CINERAMA Barn Exterior

The exterior of the Barn has a sign which I made as rustic looking as possible.

Cinerama works by simultaneously projecting images from three 35mm projectors which work together to project an image onto a massive, highly-curved projection screen; the latter subtends an angle of 146° of arc.

Another rather unique feature of Cinerama is the projection screen built-up structure itself, which instead of being a continuous surface, is made of individual vertical narrow strips - typically 7/8-inch wide; hundred of strips are used to make up the screen surface.

The screen fabric is acoustically perforated to allow for speaker placement behind the huge screen surface. Further more, each strip is also angled to face the audience; main reason here is to prevent scattered light from the projected image on one end of the curved screen from reflecting across the screen surface - washing out the image on the opposite end.

The whole video setup in the Cinerama Barn makes use of multiple projectors which allow for  various presentations setups. Among others, I can show 3-panel Cinerama films using three matched projectors to provide an immersive panoramic experience. I can also flatten the screen to accommodate all flat formats, 3:4, scope, etc.

The bottom mask on Cinerama Barn projection screen is removable, thus making it possible for me to simulate an IMAX experience with a 7.5 foot high picture!

For the three-projector setup for Cinerama, I am using three matched Casio XJS-31 video projectors. The full picture goes to all three projectors which are masked to allow only the proper image portion onto its segment of the screen. Image expansion lenses of my design further tailor the picture sizes.

The top single panel projector is a NEC LT85 for wide screen; for CinemaScope, Panavision, etc., I also use a similar image expander. And for 35mm 3:4 pictures, I use absolutely nothing and that picture size works out just fine.

The sound is provided by Techniks SA-EXP140 and Sanyo C4R amplifiers powering four matched Yamaha NS639D speakers.

Submitted on: October 8, 2010

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Jul 10, 2016
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WOW!
by: Anonymous

I am a self described "Cineramaniac." I saw this process start in 1952 when I was 12 to its end in the early 1960s. It excited me then, and now that David Strohmaier had developed the "Smilebox" which simulates the Cinerama wide screen, and made all the travelogues available on Blu-Ray, I am excited again. That you have developed an actual three projector is amazing and neat. Where did you get the three separate camera elements, and separate sound head to use? I am currently building a curved screen that collapses for my living room. I will use a 1080P projector using the Cinerama Blu-rays. The shape of the screen, plus the use of David Strohmaier's "Smilebox," fills out the screen nicely and gives a very close original Cinermama image. Anyway, Congrats.


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