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• To record the history of the large format movies and the 70mm cinemas as remembered by the people who worked with the films. Both during making and during running the films in projection rooms and as the audience, looking at the curved screen.
in70mm.com, a unique internet based magazine, with articles about 70mm cinemas, 70mm people, 70mm films, 70mm sound, 70mm film credits, 70mm history and 70mm technology. Readers and fans of 70mm are always welcome to contribute.

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Extracts and longer parts of in70mm.com may be reprinted with the written permission from the editor.
Copyright ฉ 1800 - 2070. All rights reserved.

Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas

 

Introduction to Cinema 180

Read more at
in70mm.com
The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Thomas Hauerslev, based on newspaper clippings, information and brochures from Omni Films, 1990Date: 05.03.2021
One of four Danish Cinema 180 installations. Installed in early 1980s at Dyrehavsbakken, north of Copenhagen (DK). Picture by Thomas Hauerslev

If you browse through the history of the various large image "Scopes", "Ramas" and "Visions" cinematic processes, certainly "Cinema 180" would seem to be the obvious candidate for being the most fun of them all. Cinema 180 was a direct extension of Cinerama (1952) and Todd-AO (1955), both large format projection systems, both of which pioneered audience participation, and gave the spectators an authentic "you are there" illusion.

• Go to in70mm.com's Todd-AO Page
• Go to in70mm.com's Cinerama page

Pronounced "Cinema One-Eighty", the process was the most honest "First Person" thrill-ride you could imagine on 70mm film. Roller coasters, fire trucks, speed boats, motorcycles and airplanes: mount a 65mm camera very low and in the front, and then go as fast as you can. Fly through deep narrow canyons, speed through narrow streets, ride trains on high mountain rails, or drive on an expressway at high speed. Photograph it with short focal lenses, to exaggerate the speed and perspective, and the illusion of reality will put the audience "in the picture".

Cinema 180 ride films were shown in 70mm on the inside of a huge 180 degree screen domed structure. There was typically no seating in most cinemas, the audience would be standing in front of the screen. The screen went from side to side, and all the way up from the floor to the top of the dome. Cinema 180 cinemas were typically installed at:

• Amusement parks, Theme and Recreation Parks
• World's Fairs and Expositions
• Trade Shows, Museums, Planetariums, Shopping Malls

With a running time of only about 10-13 minutes for each film, it was enough to give the audience an impressive immersive "right in the gut" experience, which often challenged their balance and orientation. Here in Copenhagen (and elsewhere) it was not uncommon to see people fall during performances. They might have enjoyed a bit too much to drink in Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens or at Dyrehavsbakken, and could easily become overwhelmed by the large image and loose their balance. They simply became dizzy from the spectacular action on the domed screen. It was a very popular and entertaining cinema experience throughout the late '70s and through the '80s. The characteristic and colourful "tent" attractions were installed all over the world. Cinema 180 was installed in the North- and South America, the Far East, the Middle East, Europe and Australia / New Zealand. At the peak, some 175 theatres operated around the world. They were cost effective, easy to maintain and mobile so they could go where the crowds were. This is how the company presented itself:
"OMNI Films International, Inc. designs, sells and installs 70MM wide-screen cinema and motion simulation theater systems to independent exhibitors. The systems are used in amusement and theme parks and other specialized markets. In addition, Omni Films International Inc produces and licenses films for use in their systems to companies worldwide on a continual basis."

• Go to Cinema 180 in Denmark
• Go to Films in Cinema 180
 

More in 70mm reading:

Cinema 180 Films including OmniVision Specialty Films, MagnaVision, OmniVision, MotionMaster and ESI 3D

PDF: iWERKS / Cinema 180 theatre list (1996)

Cinema 180 in Denmark

iWERKS

Showscan

Take Me for a Ride in 70mm

 

70mm frame - note the curvature of the image in the frame ("Pincushion" or "Barrel distortion", to photographers). The result of photography with a very short focal length lens.

The 70mm projector was projecting upwards at an angle of about 30 degrees. I have seen projectors of many brands being used for Cinema 180: Ballantyne, Prevost, Victoria 8 and a Philips DP75. The projection lens was typically an ISCO Ultra MC Special 21mm with a huge front element about the size of a dinner plate. The projection "port hole" between the dome cinema and the projection room was a huge panorama window sitting as close as possible to the machine. With the 21mm ISCO lens, the projected image, filled the entire window. Cinema 180 is still remembered as a fun ride / attraction by many who saw it. Helen Dolling wrote on Facebook in 2010:

"Cinema 180 was the best fun ever! I remember laughing like a child while being unable to stand up. The rollercoaster film was so much better than the real things. I was there with a bunch of 13 year old students who didn't understand why I was so insistent that they had to come and experience the inside of a dome, but then they loved it too."

Fred Hollingsworth III (Jan 15, 1930 - Mar 18, 2018) was the president and founder of Omnivision, Inc. (in Florida, USA), and is considered to be the father of film-based attractions. He was an internationally-known creator and manufacturer of Cinema 180, Motion Master, Omnivision, Magnavision and ESI-3D. He pioneered the design and manufacture of entertainment attractions for nearly four decades. He was the pioneer in recognizing the revolutionary entertainment potential of 70mm film. He literally invented amusement park theatres and designed the Cinema 180 attraction in 1974. It was called Cinema 180 because it was 70mm film projected onto a 180 degree dome screen. Cinema 180 was the first kind of theatre to exist almost specifically for amusement parks. He put the audience in the middle of the imagery and surrounded them in the film experience.

In 1987 Fred introduced Motion Master theatre seats that moved in sync with the action on the screen. Cinema 180 and Motion Master were ground-breaking techniques, and a big hit with the audience. Fred Hollingsworth III also pioneered the use of the 8/70mm format for his Dimension360 and MagnaVision 70mm theatres. He even had a 70mm 3D system developed which he called ESI-3S.
 

 
The last known operational cinema of this kind was apparently the Cinema 180 at Rainbow's End in Auckland Theme Park (New Zealand), which closed in 2015. It had originally opened in 1983. Picture by Cameron Glendinning.

The library of film consisted of 15 different titles each with a 13 minute running time. Narration could be produced in every language requested or only with music and effects. All films were with 6 channels magnetic soundtrack in format 5/70mm (5-perf pull down) in either 24 or 30 frames per sec. This also applied for the 8-perf system with 24 or 30 fps. that was used for Magnavision, Omnivision and Motion Master systems.

Cinema 180 titles were flashy and catching like "Crazy Wheels", "Flight 747", "Wild Wild West", "International Thrill Show", "Demon Shock", "Galaxy of Thrills", "Fantastic Flights" and "Pacific Pursuit". Basically the same type of scenes in all productions except they were photographed in different places. "Galaxy of Thrills" was built up by 11 scenes in lengths from 20 seconds to 90 seconds. See the full breakdown of scenes below. All Cinema 180 titles were produced by Omni Films Int., Inc. with camera-equipment from other suppliers. Two original M.C.S.-70 65mm cameras of West German origin were purchased by Omnivision Inc. and used to photograph Cinema 180.

• Go to Cinema 180, OmniVision Specialty Films, MagnaVision, OmniVision, MotionMaster and ESI 3D
• Go to The M.C.S.-70 Process and European Cinema of the 1960s

Here is a breakdown of scenes from the Cinema 180 production "Galaxy of Thrills", as it was presented in Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen in the 1980s. OmniVision presents In Cinema 180. Produced by Fred Hollingsworth III and Richard Marchant. Shelton Productions. 11 sequences, running time 11 minutes, 377 meters / 1238 ft. German narration, no DK subtitles

01:30 Roller Coaster
00:58 Race cars
00:22 Skate board
00:59 Fire truck in suburb
01:28 Roller coaster II
00:44 Race cars track
00:26 Hawaii surf
01:20 Hawaii airplane
00:47 Swing
00:40 London
01:46 Monte Carlo
 
 
Two original MCS-70 65mm cameras of West German origin were purchased by Omnivision Inc. and used to photograph Cinema 180. Picture by Scott Shepley

This is how Omni Films presented the synopsis:

Take an excursion to the threshold of fear on the "Thunder Bolt" roller coaster. Whirl through the "Mind Bender" roller coaster with an 80 foot dive, triple loop and two vertical somersaults. Finesse your way through flying Dutch rolls and "shoot the bowl" with a world champion skateboarder. Your stunt car explodes off a tunnel ramp. A high pitched siren pierces your senses. Suddenly a long red hook and ladder rushing to a fire streaks past. You're hanging on for dear life as you swing around sharp corners. Anxiety mounts as a woman, pushing a baby carriage, steps into the path of the oncoming fire truck. "Hang Ten" on a high crest off Waikiki Beach. Marvel at steep, volcanic canyons covered with lush green tropical foliage in Kauai, Hawaii. Swing to and fro on an ornate Viking vessel. Big Ben rises commanding-ly as you clutch the handle of a London taxi during rush hour. A skilled driver shifts his purring Porsche into the fast lane. Overtaking all competition, he whirls through narrow hairpin turns to a screeching halt.

Omnivision also licensed the use of 65mm footage to other productions. "Brainstorm" (MGM 1983) produced and directed by Douglas Trumbull, features eleven point of view scenes from Omni Films movie library including the "Loch Ness Monster", roller coaster, Lake Placid bobsled run, snowmobiling in Utah, Grand Canyon, Golden Gate Bridge, surfboarding, and a runaway tractor trailer. Some "Brainstorm" scenes is photographed with an OmniVision fish-eye lens (designed by Milt Laikin), almost similar to the Cinerama Fairchild-Curtis 160-degree ƒ2 ultra wide-angle lens, which was also used for many wide angle shots on Stanley Kubrick's "2OO1: A Space Odyssey" (MGM 1968).

The beauty of vintage Cinema 180 titles is the fact that everything is real, and photographed on 65mm FILM, unlike present days thrill-rides, which are often 100% computer generated images. The difference is staggering. It is nice to see the world as it looked at the time when the films were produced. From the Omnivision brochure:

No other film format offers the opportunity to deliver such massive amounts of visual information with so much sharpness, color saturation and brightness.

Omnivision, Inc. and its subsidiary Omni Films International, Inc. were operational from 1976 until 1994, and operated as a full service 70mm film company, with complete production facilities. Omni Films was recognized worldwide for its award-winning technological achievements. Omni Films' five and eight perforation 70mm formats expanded the traditional film image to totally encompass and involve audiences, creating the sensation that they are actually part of the action. An Omni Films "You Are There" theater experience enthralled audiences, guaranteeing positive recommendations and repeat visits.

During the '80 and early '90s competition became intense between large format players and ride-film attractions. The main competitors were iWERKS, Showscan, IMAX and SimEx, and in May 1993, Variety announced that
Showscan and Omni Films had signed a merger agreement "in hopes that the synergies of their technologies will boost profitability". However, in 1994, iWERKS Entertainment, Inc., of Burbank, California purchased Omni Films, in a $17-million deal.
 

 
Fred Hollingsworth III, President and Founder of Omni Films International, Inc.  Picture from Omni Film's presentation folder

In Germany Cinema 180 films were also produced under the name Cinevision / Cinema 2000 by Udo Kaup (1942). In an e-mail to the editor in February 2021, his son Marcel Kaup writes:

"Most films were shot in 35mm and "blown up" to 70mm. The last film production in 1994 in Florida („Magic Florida“) was shot with an original Panavision 65mm camera. The market for Cinema 180 dome cinemas had already died off in the 1980s. Then there was another slight upswing due to the opening of the GDR (Former East Germany, Ed). My father operated three dome cinemas from 1990 to 1997 in East Germany and Poland. One of the last stationary Cinema 180s we supplied with 70mm films and wide-angle lenses was Luna Park in Tel Aviv. But this cinema also closed down in 2012."

The last known operational cinema of this kind was apparently the Cinema 180 at Rainbow's End in Auckland Theme Park (New Zealand), which closed in 2015. It had opened in 1983, and after 32 years of operation, the entire installation, including the Philips DP75 projector, was sold to enthusiasts on eBay.

Fred Hollingsworth III passed away three years later at the age of 88, on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at Doctors Hospital in Sarasota, Florida. From legacy.com (edited):

Fred III was born to Frances Keppler and Fred Hollingsworth, Jr. in Grand Rapids, Michigan, January 15, 1930. The beginning of Fred's fascinating and rewarding life began at age 7 when his father took him to the 1937 National Association of Amusement Parks, Pools & Beaches (NAAPPB) convention, where his love of the amusement industry began. In 1972 NAAPPB became the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA). Fred grew up in the carnival business and was first known as a successful ride operator and manufacturer through a series of his companies, which included Holly Bros., Fun Rides and ADCO which manufactured Fun Houses, Glass Houses, Flying Bobs and Dark Rides (Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta rode in one of Fred's dark rides in the movie "Grease").

Fred III was inducted into the IAAPA Hall of Fame (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) in November 2015. Fred's motto was "Build to last, attract and entertain."

The legacy of Fred Hollingsworth III still lives in the memory of the audiences who saw the films. Old faded 70mm prints still surfaces on eBay from time to time when they change hands between collectors here and there. Sometimes vintage Cinema 180 films are shown at 70mm festivals in Karlsruhe (Germany) and Krnov (Czech Republic) as a welcome surprise. Only this time - the audience is sitting down in comfortable chairs, and will not fall over.

• Go to PDF: iWERKS / Cinema 180 theatre list (1996)
 

 

Cinema 180 Product information

 
Picture from Omni Film's presentation folder

The Cinema 180 Theater Dome structure consists of a heavy-duty, flame resistant, vinyl-coated polyester roof and sidewall membrane tensioned over a galvanized steel frame. A quadrispherically shaped negative-pressure membrane projection screen attaches and seals to the frame and concrete floor. A blower located between the rear of the projection screen and the roof and sidewall membrane creates a negative pressure on the back side of the screen, causing it to take its proper quadrispheric shape. Cinema 180 Theater Systems, available in four standard sizes, are specifically designed to exhibit Cinema 180.

Cinema 180 Theatre Systems were available in four standard sizes.

Model 55A
275 / 100 standing/seated
Screen 12,80 m. 7,93 meter height. 5,49 meter depth

Model 72A
425 / 160 standing/seated
Screen 15,24 m. 7,93 meter height. 6,4 meter depth

Model 55XL
500 / 150 standing/seated

Model 72XL
625 / 250 standing/seated

People per hour with three 12 minute shows pr hour

Standing/Seated
825 / 200
1275 / 480
1500 / 450
1875 / 750
 
 
Omni Films International camera crews challenge the impossible. They strap themselves onto helicopters, challenge rapids, race cars, go up, down, in and out of impossible places for a whole new point of view. Jeff Simon, who's credit include "Magic Florida. Picture from Omni Film's presentation folder

Operating personnel
• One projectionist
• One Usher on high traffic days

Equipment Supplied:

• Cinema 180 Projection Systems
• Cinema 180 Lens
• Theater Structures with Screens for new installations
• Frame Supported Screens for existing structures
• Mobile Trailer Mounted Theaters
• Omnisound System - 6 Channels

Options:
• Continuous Loop Film Cabinet Film Platter
• Mobile Air Conditioner
• Ticket Box Portable Foundation
• Decorative Facade
• Power Roof Ventilator
• Custom Exterior Color for Theater Structure

The Power of Presentation
We write, produce and package the spectacular to hold your audience by their eyes and ears and make them yours. Surround and stimulate their senses with excitement and emotion. Take them for an unbelievable ride from the ocean floor to mountaintops. Tell your corporate story, put your product on a pedestal, or sway audiences to your point of view.

A Complete Service

We provide the production, the technology, the cinematic hardware, the theater. Omni Films International cinematic experience and unique 70mm film technology is available nowhere else. Position your program where you need it. We do the rest. Then, take it on the road, exhibit at a convention center, convert an existing structure or choose from a broad range of permanent theater buildings custom designed for minimal maintenance and maximum traffic flow.
 
 
Left to right: Fitz-Edward Otis (Vice President of Marketing and Sales), Julian Angus (Vice President of Engineering) and Fred Hollingsworth III (President and Founder). Picture from Omni Film's presentation folder

A Bold New Approach to Cinematography

Omni Films International camera crews challenge the impossible. They strap themselves onto helicopters, challenge rapids, race cars, go up, down, in and out of impossible places for a whole new point of view. Combined with one-of-a-kind camera equipment, the unique becomes unforgettable and the unforgettable, spectacular. Your audience is thrilled, startled, stunned and ready for more. Our ability to draw an audience, to hold them riveted, to sell them again and again is a proven commodity, whether you choose from our library of high adventures, or commission us to create a 70mm production that's exclusively yours.

Types of cinemas:
Cinema 180 (Resembling the Gunnery Trainer of the '40s), MotionMaster, 3D, OmniVision. All over the world we have over 100 theaters showing Cinema 180 still in operation. In Denmark we had in the past four units in operation. Four cinemas in Denmark plus one MotionMaster.

Cinema 180ฎ:
Surround your audience with captivating color, action and sound. Memorable minutes of "being there" transport you from one dramatic and electrifying experience to another. Exhibit this enormously successful 70mm film in a theater configuration designed to meet your space, mobility and budget requirements.

Dimension36Oฎ:
A startling visual effect featuring 360 degrees of action on a dome screen that opens the world from horizon to horizon. Our 70mm, single projector system is the technical marvel that makes it happen.

MagnaVision:
Magnavision's giant 6-story screen transforms a stadium, arena or convention center into an astonishing media event. Your production will have resolution and color intensity never before achieved on screens of this magnitude. Turn your imagination loose.

ESI-
3D: Enhanced Spatial Imaging. A 70mm, 3-D effect that explodes off the screen into the audience. This single-camera/projector 3-D technology reaches beyond anything ever seen before. A guaranteed crowd pleaser that brings them back again and again.
 
 

Complete Documentation

 
70mm frame

All OmniVision 70mm film- and theater-systems. PDF Material Supplied by Omni Films, 1990:

PDF 1986:
• Cinema 180
• Dimension 360
• ESI 3D
• MagnaVision

PDF 1990:
• Cinema 180
• Cinema 180 Technical Data
• Cinema 180 Film Descriptions
• ESI 3-D with film description
• ESI 3D Film
• MagnaVision with Film Library
• MagnaVision Film
• MotionMaster with film programs
• OmniVision with Film Library
• OmniVision Film
 
 

Production Facilities

 
Magnavision's giant 6-story screen transforms a stadium, arena or convention center into an astonishing media event. Your production will have resolution and color intensity never before achieved on screens of this magnitude. Turn your imagination loose. Picture from Omni Film's presentation folder

Camera format: All films are produced with 65mm camera's owned by Omni and produced by Omni.

PROJECTION
Ultra-high resolution and crisp, bright images are the Omni Films standard. Omni Films' precision projection systems can be customized to meet your specific needs and applications:
• 570 and 870 formats
• 24 and 30 frames per second
• 4 to 12 KW xenon projection light sources

HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE
• Extensive film libraries
• Custom film production
• Optical printing equipment for 1570/870 transfer with full frame integrity maintained
• Camera rentals for film production
• Permanent or temporary theaters
• Endless-loop projection cabinets for labor efficient operation and extended film life
• Seating layouts conforming to your design requirements
• Show controls
• Special in-theater effects Omni Films International, Inc

Projectors: are Ballantyne projectors with Rentec lamphouse. Lamp-capacity 2500 W, 4500 W, 7000 W or 12.000 W (latest is water-cooled). Favorit 70 and Victoria 8 in Denmark.

Technology Simplified. Sophisticated 70mm film projection technology integrated into a simplified, easy to manage system, can be operated by one person. Just plug it in and push a button.
 
 
Enclosed 70mm projector with endless loop 70mm print. Picture from Omni Film's presentation folder

Advanced Optics.
Your picture soars above and beyond the limits of peripheral vision. Proprietary custom lenses make it possible to project onto a variety of imaginative screen configurations from flat to spherical. No multi-camera trickery. No split screens. An unforgettable experience for everyone who sees it.

OmniSoundฎ
To enhance this extra-ordinary 70mm film experience, a powerful audio system takes multi-track sound technology to the limit. Clean, transparent.

Why 70MM?

The 70mm film frame is 400 percent larger than 35mm. No other film format offers the opportunity to deliver such massive amounts of visual information with so much sharpness, color saturation and brightness.

The Power of Presentation
We write, produce and package the spectacular to hold your audience by their eyes and ears and make them yours. Surround and stimulate their senses with excitement and emotion. Take them for an unbelievable ride from the ocean floor to mountaintops. Tell your corporate story, put your product on a pedestal, or sway audiences to your point of view.

Year of Magic
Join the hundreds of imaginative business people around the world who have millions of happy viewers coming back for more and more. Practical, professional, frontline experience assures you of a successful, cost-efficient film presentation and theater system. Our team consists of skilled, technical innovators and creative filmmakers, dedicated to commanding an audience's attention.

A Complete Service
We provide the production, the technology, the cinematic hardware, the theater. Omni Films International cinematic experience and unique 70mm film technology is available nowhere else. Position your program where you need it. We do the rest. Then, take it on the road, exhibit at a convention center, convert an existing structure or choose from a broad range of permanent theater buildings custom designed for minimal maintenance and maximum traffic flow.
 
 
  
  
  
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Updated 13-03-21