Modern digital recording and processing techniques combined with new lighting methods and relatively old schlieren visualization methods move flow visualization to a new level, enabling a wide range of new applications and a possible revolution in the visualization of very large flow fields. This paper traces the evolution of schlieren imaging from Robert Hooke, who, in 1665, employed candles and lenses, to modern digital background oriented schlieren (BOS) systems, wherein image processing by computer replaces pure optical image processing. New possibilities and potential applications that could benefit from such a capability are examined. Example applications include viewing the flow field around full sized aircraft, large equipment and vehicles, monitoring explosions on bomb ranges, cooling systems, large structures and even buildings. Objectives of studies include aerodynamics, aero optics, heat transfer, and aero thermal measurements. Relevant digital cameras, light sources, and implementation methods are discussed.