John D. Ross
Founder, Ross Video Ltd.
Honorary Membership in the Society recognizes individuals who have performed eminent service in the advancement of engineering in motion pictures, television, or in the allied arts and sciences. Such contributions shall represent substantially a lifetime's work inasmuch as Honorary Membership shall be the supreme accolade of the Society.
Honorary Membership is conferred upon John Ross, in recognition of a lifetime of advancing the state-of-the-art in television engineering. His work and inventions have spanned more than five decades, particularly in video processing, special effects and keying. Among his early achievements, in 1956 Ross designed the first video production switcher in Canada to offer wipes and keys. Later, he designed industry’s first solid-state TV production switcher and a solid-state master control switcher. Founder of one of the industry’s leading equipment suppliers, Ross is the embodiment of a role model, mentor, and leader.
John Ross began in broadcasting in 1950 with a summer job as transmitter operator at CKY in Winnipeg. In 1954 Ross joined pioneering TV station CBWT. By 1956 he had taught himself a deep understanding of TV equipment circuits. He then designed Canada’s first production switcher to incorporate wipes and keys. In 1962 he obtained his engineering degree, having worked summers on TV studio design at CBC Engineering in Montreal.
In 1963 Ross founded the Broadcast Equipment Division of Central Dynamics. There he designed the world’s first fully solid state production and master control switchers, and a range of distribution, and signal processing equipment. One of his patents is fundamental, for chroma keying hue selection. This was quickly adopted by all switcher manufacturers and led to use of the green screen.
In 1974 Ross founded Ross Video and designed several series of advanced production switchers and many signal processing and distribution products. A special project was to design NTSC to digital converters for use on the International Space Station.
Ross’s awards include SMPTE Fellow (1985), Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), Officer of the Order of Canada (2013), IABM Honorary Member (2014), SMPTE Presidential Proclamation (2019).