Chicago's WTTW Goes HD With Grass Valley Cameras

Grass Valley's LDK-8000 WorldCam HD cameraCHICAGO
WTTW produced its first high-definition show on an experimental basis in 1988 and has since produced hundreds of hours of HD programming for both local and national distribution. However, until recently, these shows—studio or outside broadcast��have been produced with field cameras.

As part of our new and exciting upgrade to high definition we purchased seven Grass Valley LDK 8000 WorldCam HD cameras and four LDK 4000 1080i models. The WorldCam's ability to be used in different format modes is what really attracted us to these cameras. The progressive scan modes are ideal for some of the shows we produce, while other shows look better with the crispness afforded by 1080/30i.


"Chicago Tonight," our nightly news/public affairs series, is one of the shows that we acquire only in the 1080i format, so we were able to save some money by purchasing the single-format LDK 4000 cameras. We can always upgrade them to capture in a progressive mode if we need to at a later date, which was a key factor in our purchase decision. Choosing a studio camera is a big investment and we feel that with these cameras we'll get a lot of use out of them for years to come.

We also wanted to ensure that our crew was comfortable with handling the cameras, setting them up and moving them around. We decided to install the new cameras this past January and our engineering people were able to put them into service right out of the box. We couldn't be more pleased with how easy they were to configure.

Everyone on the crew likes the picture quality and ease of operation. The cameras come with a very intuitive remote control panel that allows them to be shaded very easily.

We are also really impressed with the sharp detail and pristine color imagery produced with the native HD Dynamic Pixel Management CCD sensors. The images also benefit from 22-bit internal digital signal processing circuitry, where all of the camera's image-management functions are performed. In addition, in moving from SD to HD production, we didn't have to make any studio lighting changes at all. That's important because we feel a camera should fit into a studio, not the other way around.

As part of our transition to high definition, we also upgraded an existing Grass Valley Kalypso standard-definition production switcher in one of our control rooms to a Kalypso Duo HD/SD switcher.

At the end of the day, we want HD equipment that's as flexible as possible and the Grass Valley LDK 8000 WorldCam cameras enable us to capture what we feel are the best images in all the formats we need.

Ron Yergovich has been vice president of engineering at WTTW for two years. He has also served as vice president of production operations at the station. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Grass Valley at 800-547-8949 or