Panavision is an American motion picture equipment company specializing in cameras and lenses, based in Woodland Hills, California. Formed by Robert Gottschalk as a small partnership to create anamorphic projection lenses during the widescreen boom in the 1950s, Panavision expanded its product lines to meet the demands of modern filmmakers. The company introduced its first products in 1954. Originally a provider of CinemaScope accessories, the companys line of anamorphic widescreen lenses soon became the industry leader. In 1972, Panavision helped revolutionize filmmaking with the lightweight Panaflex 35 mm movie camera. The company has introduced other groundbreaking cameras such as the Millennium XL (1999) and the digital video Genesis (2004). Panavision operates exclusively as a rental facility—the company owns its entire inventory, unlike most of its competitors. Robert Gottschalk founded Panavision in late 1953, in partnership with Richard Moore, Meredith Nicholson, Harry Eller, Walter Wallin, and William Mann; the company was formally incorporated in 1954. Panavision was established principally for the manufacture of anamorphic projection lenses to meet the growing demands of theaters showing CinemaScope films. At the time of Panavisions formation, Gottschalk owned a camera shop in Westwood Village, California, where many of his customers were cinematographers. A few years earlier, he and Moore—who worked with him in the camera shop—were experimenting with underwater photography; Gottschalk became interested in the technology of anamorphic lenses, which allowed him to get a wider field of view from his underwater camera housing. The technology was created during World War I to increase the field of view on tank periscopes; the periscope image was horizontally "squeezed" by the anamorphic lens. After it was unsqueezed by a complementary anamorphic optical element, the tank operator could see double the horizontal field of view without significant distortion. Gottschalk and Moore bought some of these lenses from C. P. Goerz, a New York optics company, for use in their underwater photography. As widescreen filmmaking became popular, Gottschalk saw an opportunity to provide anamorphic lenses to the film industry—first for projectors, and then for cameras. Nicholson, a friend of Moore, started working as a cameraman on early tests of anamorphic photography.