A panorama 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.
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Popular in the 1970s and 1980s, but now superseded by digital presentation software, Multi-image (also known as multi-image slide presentations, slide shows or diaporamas) 35mm slide projections onto one or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.