This panorama uses the word in the older sense in the movies: as a scene shot from a moving vehicle, such as a train or, as here, from a gondola in the romantic canals of St. Louis during the Exposition. I first knew of the St. Louis Exposition of 1904 from the Judy Garland movie MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, then later saw some actualities shot at the fair. This is one of a series shot by A.E. Weed for American Mutoscope & Biograph. While he was in Missouri, he shot some movies of local high schools, presumably for the state educational system.
The term 'panorama' arose in painting, to describe a very wide picture which took in a large field. It was invented by Robert Barker, and they were popular for a hundred years. Because cameras were bulky and difficult to move slowly, moving shots were remarkable, and the term was adopted. About the time this movie came out, however, cameras were getting smaller, and so the term was applied to another sort of moving shot, one in which the field of vision moved to the right or left. In time, that sense became standard and other terms were invented to cover the older sense: the general "moving shot" or "tracking shot", "trucking shot" or "moving crane shot" that covered the means of movement.
This movie is interesting because it shows a lot of the architecture from the Exposition when it was new. Very little survives.
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