CTV Flies High With Evertz

TORONTO: CTV is a division of Bell Media, Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital including CP24 and CTV News Channel, Canada's 24-hour all-news network.

The CTV news helicopter To support CTV's extensive news, traffic and special-events coverage, we also rely on helicopters. These are used for electronic news gathering, and log approximately 600 flight hours per year in this service.

Recently, our CTV engineering team sought to design a new HD-equipped helicopter that would help deliver the highest-quality content possible to our audiences.

In developing a helicopter with high-definition capabilities, we needed a compact and powerful system that could actively control all audio and video signals entering and exiting the aircraft. Extensive research led us to Evertz and their HD2020 multipath video converter and frame synchronizer. We learned that the HD2020 could provide multiple switching and processing functions in a single device, which in the past would have required several different devices to accomplish.


As the new CTV helicopter was being conceptualized, weight and physical space figured high in the engineering team's concerns, as both of these are limited in any aerial broadcasting platform. By using the Evertz HD2020—with its compact and efficient form factor—to actively control our helicopter broadcasts, we were able to satisfy both of these issues.

The new helicopter is outfitted with HDTV gear, which includes four high-definition cameras, a full on-board editing suite, and a full complement of video monitors. At the heart of the system is the Evertz HD2020, which provides both switching and processing of all the audio and video sources used in the helicopter. Further, the switcher allows content from two different cameras to be recorded at the same time, and can route a third source to the on-board transmitter. (Two of the HD2020's outputs feed on-board Sony portable disk recorders.)


The HD2020 is one of only two active components on the helicopter ensuring that all sources go into and all destinations come out of the HD2020. The five video monitors in the helicopter allow the crew to monitor and switch different feeds. The HD, SD SDI, analog and DVI outputs from the HD2020 are all used to feed different destinations. The HD2020 also allows selection of audio used to feed the on-board audio monitoring system, as well as the Sony DVRs and the transmitter link back to the studios.

This state-of-the-art CTV helicopter is currently being used to cover breaking news for CTV Toronto and CP24, as well as in connection with the origination of special broadcasts and live events, such as the Juno Awards, the nation's biggest night for Canadian music.

Scott Gibson is manager of engineering projects at CTV. He may be contacted at scott.gibson@bellmedia.ca.

For additional information, contact Evertz at 877-995-3700 or visit evertz.com.