Friday, June 3, 2011

Celebrity Grave: Founder of Panavision Robert Gottschalk 1982

Robert Gottschalk (12 March 1918 - 3 June 1982) was a camera technician and founder of Panavision.

His father specialized in building movie theatres, which left the family well-off financially and influenced Gottschalk's interest in film. After Gottschalk graduated with a degree in theater and arts from Carleton College in Minnesota, he moved to California to become a filmmaker.

He bought an interest in a camera shop and later got to know a nearby outfit that made underwater filming equipment for Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Equipment restrictions at the time made wide-angle filming difficult, and Gottschalk began experimenting with anamorphic lens equipment patented by Henri Chrétien. In 1953, the CinemaScope process, based on Chrétien's patents, was purchased and named by 20th Century Fox. While the camera lenses were now available, the process required projection lenses as well. Gottschalk teamed up with several colleagues and began offering projection lenses under the name Panavision, which used prismatic rather than cylindrical optics. This led to a successful expansion into lenses for cameras which are still widely used. [1]

Gottschalk was two time Academy Award winner, for both the Panavision lens and the Panaflex camera. This second Oscar was awarded shortly before his death. On his passing in 1982, Gottschalk was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.


1.^ Bijl, Adriaan (2002). The Importance of Panavision: The Invention Phase via in

Panavision is a 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 company's 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. This allows investment in research and development, and the integration of high-quality manufacturing, without concern for the end retail value. Maintaining its entire inventory also allows Panavision to regularly update all of its equipment, rather than just the newest models.

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