Ross Video founder John Ross awarded SMPTE honorary membership

Ross Video has announced that company founder John Ross will be presented with honorary member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) at the SMPTE Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition, being held as a virtual event from 10-12 November.

This award adds to the number of titles and accolades that Ross has already received, including the Order of Canada, the highest honour that can be bestowed on a Canadian citizen, and becoming an honorary member of the IABM in 2015. As a recipient of the SMPTE award, Ross will join an influential list of names such as Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, George Lucas and Ray Dolby.

Ross’ career in broadcasting was launched at the age of 14 at a local radio station in Winnipeg, where he was offered a summer job as a transmitter operator in 1950.

Ross then joined the staff of the new TV station CBWT in Winnipeg in 1954, building the first switcher in Canada to have wipe transitions and keying capability after being inspired by the Jackie Gleason Shows innovative use of ‘wipes’.  In 1968, Ross entered the University of Manitoba to become an engineer, having been urged to do so by the head of CBC Studio Engineering.

After leaving CBC, Ross assembled a talented engineering team and during the next 11 years had many accomplishments, including the first fully transistorised production switcher, the first automated master control switcher, the first computer-based videotape editing system and the first TV digital character generator display system to be used in any broadcasting equipment.

Ross was also granted a fundamental patent for the first chroma keyer to offer easy single-knob selection of any keying hue.  This was quickly adopted by all switcher manufacturers and led to the use of the green screen.

Encouraged by Jim Leitch (of Leitch Video) to start his own business, he founded Ross Video in 1974.  At Ross Video, he designed several series of production switchers as well as many distribution and signal processing products, including a compact NTSC to digital converter specifically for use on the International Space Station.

Ross retired in 2006 and has continued his pursuits as manager of the local municipal airport which he built and donated to his community, leaving his son David Ross as CEO of the Ross Video.

On the SMPTE award, Ross commented: “I’m extremely grateful to the president and officials at SMPTE for this prestigious honour, which is most unexpected. As an engineer, it’s especially humbling to be recognised by a society that has had so many illustrious names in my field as members and I am honoured to be recognised among their number. I have also had the privilege of working with many great engineers and teams throughout my career; I share this success with them and thank them for their encouragement and advice over the years.”

Barbara Lange, SMPTE’s executive director, has welcomed Ross to the roll of honorary members, adding: “With his work and inventions spanning more than five decades, John Ross is the true embodiment of a role model, mentor and leader. We are pleased to honour his achievements”.

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