Crest Labs made a valiant attempt to match up the three panels on the new prints of This Is Cinerama, but 50 years of differential fading of the original negative are hard to overcome. This is an example of one of the worst segments they had to deal with. There are a number of factors that together create the problems immediately visible on the screen.

THIS IS CINERAMA - Cypress Gardens Water Skiing
"This Is Cinerama" matched panels courtesy of Greg Kimble

  • Some of the vignetting may be due to the lenses in Cinerama camera #1.
  • The movie was the first major production using the new Eastmancolor negative film. The stability of the emulsion layers may not be as good as later product.
  • The storage of the negative on its side may, along with the above mentioned conjecture, actually have caused the emulsion to thin out on one side. This seems logical but the sharpness of the image would obviously suffer, and that is not apparent.
  • It was well recognized that skies pose the greatest problem in multi-panel processes. A picture made up of half sky and half water compounds the difficulty. It would seem that a degree of polarization takes place in the camera optics or the glass cover that protects the triple lens assembly.
Whatever the cause, it's certainly beyond the powers of the curator to suggest a solution. The best in the business have tried and no sure fire fix has been achieved.

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