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Larry Thorpe: Past Pupil and Innovator


Congratulations to Larry Thorpe, a past pupil of Joeys, who was awarded the Television Academy Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award in January 2015. His career spans over fifty years and he is considered to be an expert in the areas of video acquisition and digital imaging solutions.

Larry, the eldest of five, grew up on St. Declan’s Road, Marino. He attended Joeys in the 1950s and sat his Leaving Certificate there. Following this, he went to college in Dublin and London and became a Chartered Engineer. After working in the Designs Department of the BBC for five years, he moved to RCA (Radio Corporation of America). While there, he developed and patented a range of devices, including colour cameras. He was part of the design team of the TK-47 camera. This was the first camera for which manual setup was no longer required as a computer could be used. In 1981, Larry won his first Emmy: the David Sarnoff Ward for his major involvement in the project.

A year later he joined Sony and worked with digital imaging and video technology. One of his first tasks was to present the format of the new Betacam camcorder to SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers) in order to comply with standards. He also managed to convince Sony to enter the studio camera business in what would be a very successful venture. Over the next few years, he oversaw HDTV market development and was responsible for many different technologies. His accomplishments in the area of digital production cannot be overstated. Perhaps his greatest achievements at Sony were its first studio camera, the BVP-360, (introduced in 1984) and the CCD high definition camera (introduced in 1992). He also represented Sony at the SMPTE working group on high definition, the Federal Communications Commission and the Advanced Television Systems Committee.

By 2004, now Senior Vice President of Content Creation Systems at Sony, he decided to retire. However, it wasn’t long before he was asked to join Canon.  He became a National Marketing Executive, broadcast and communications division. In January 2012 he was promoted to Senior Fellow, Professional Engineering & Solutions. Yuichi Ishizuka, the President of Canon USA says: “We are honoured to continue to work with Larry as he guides not only Canon but the industry toward incredible new horizons in resolution, distribution, colour science, and optics. His talent and intuitive insight are exceeded only by his good nature, strong heart, and witty humour. He is a true asset to Canon and the entire imaging community.”

It is impossible to compile an exhaustive list of Larry’s achievements. Among Larry’s other accomplishments, he received the NAB 2000 Television Engineering Achievement Award, the Montreux 2000 Gold Medal Award for Digital Cinematography, the Society of Television Engineers 2001 award and the Broadcasting & Cable Technical Leadership Award in 2004. He has published many papers and still gives lots of lectures and technical presentations. He is also a Life Fellow of the SMPTE.


Thanks to Margaret Thomas, Larry’s sister, who informed us of his inspiring achievements and provided details of his early life.

 (The above article was researched and written by Conor O’Reilly, a Fifth Year student)