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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old March 26th, 2009, 09:17 AM   #1
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NTSC vs Pal

Hi,

I'm thinking of buying either a Canon HDC HS10, or Panasonic TM300. Is there any difference between PAL and NTSC except for incompatability when connected to a TV, as I have tried the Japanese NTSC versions of both machines on my Macbook Pro, and am wavering in favour of saving some money on the Japanese ones (which work fine with my Macbook) despite being from the UK (PAL)?

Many thanks,

Mike.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 05:11 PM   #2
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Hi,

Given the level of experience on this forum, can anyone offer a thought on the question? Assuming I am not going to hook the camera up to the TV, is there any difference between the two formats that I should know about?

Best regards,

Mike.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 06:29 PM   #3
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NTSC gives you close to 30 frames (60 fields) a second while PAL gives you exactly 25 frames (50 fields). If your into 24p, itís only an added feature on the NTSC versions.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 08:41 PM   #4
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Excuse my ignorance, but can you get a camera purchased in North America (NTSC) to record PAL? Haven't seen a menu choice for this, so I've assumed it's not in the realm of the possible. I ask because I'm here in N.A. (Canada, to be more specific), shooting (Sony EX-1) and editing an item in PAL, because the project was started, in Poland, in PAL.
I want to use a second small (AVCHD) camera, and I wish there was an option to switch to PAL. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 11:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm Hamilton View Post
Excuse my ignorance, but can you get a camera purchased in North America (NTSC) to record PAL?
I'm not sure if there's any consumer camcorder out there that will do both...but you can get PAL versions of some cameras. Several New York dealers sell them. For example, if you go to bhphotovideo and type in PAL you'll get back some choices. They may or may not come with a warranty ;)
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Old March 28th, 2009, 12:48 AM   #6
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Paulo... many thanks for the reply! :-)

Michael and Malcolm... that was more or less my concern. But, I am from the UK, so our system is PAL. My laptop (Macbook Pro) is presumably PAL version, but I have tried the Panasonic TM300 and Canon HS1, and the video recorded onto my SDHC cards works fine on the Macbook Pro. I'm presuming that if I edited and recorded the video to a DVD, that it would be burnt as a PAL version, so should be ok.

Best,

Mike.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 07:52 AM   #7
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Personally, I'd advise that you get a PAL camera, since you are based in the U.K. It's best to shoot in the format, that you normally view the footage in.

FYI:
Computers don't care about PAL or NTSC. Your Macbook Pro will handle both just fine. The main thing to decide is the best format to shoot in, so that you have the best compatibility between PAL & NTSC. Shooting in 25p/PAL or 24p/NTSC gives very good compatibility between the formats, because the frame rates are so close. 60i/NTSC also gets you fairly decent conversions. Generally you want to avoid 30p/NTSC as it presents the most problems when converting to PAL.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 08:25 AM   #8
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As Michael says, your Mac doesn't care. Here in the US, I just have to tell Final Cut what the format the video it is importing is and I can create projects in DV NTSC or DV PAL, or HD etc., etc. Once imported, I can even then put it into a sequence that's the other

Even iDVD lets me create projects that are either in PAL or NTSC (standard def only.) If I go from NTSC to PAL it will convert from 30 to 25 fp during the compression stage.

I too would suggest sticking with PAL unless you are going to be doing work with - or for -people who are producing in NTSC.

P.S. I was just checking iMovie HD (I don't have iMovie 09 on this machine) and I see that while it supports both NTSC and PAL DV, it "detects" which one you need (probably based on country settings or something.) Do if you're using iMovie it might not be so simple to switch between different kinds!
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Old March 28th, 2009, 08:52 AM   #9
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Michael's spot on...computers can handle both NTSC and PAL - it's only really if you are using a TV to view, and that TV set is exclusively PAL and not switchable to NTSC, that it would be essential to have a PAL system.

Having said that, 90% or more material in the UK is shot PAL (because that's the standard for broadcast (i.e.TV) footage here), so as you're in the UK there's no pressing need to shoot NTSC.

There are switchable cameras which can shoot both PAL and NTSC - the Sony Z1 is a classic example.

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Old March 28th, 2009, 05:56 PM   #10
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Hmmm... interesting one, not sure what to do now? I'm not going to make DVD's, so am not really worried whether NTSC or PAL in that regard. Whilst I might be inclined to make a DVD of some sort, I'm not sure it will ever happen. It will almost exclusively used for short clips of up to 30 secs for downloading from my website. But, they have to be of fantastic quality, with very accurate colour rendition. I can buy an NTSC Canon HS1 or Panny TM300 tomorrow and save quite a bit of money, which is the reason for the great debate. I am inclined towards the HS1, as it seems that the video is very slightly better to my eye, and the machine just feels really nice! Oh, what to do!???...

Thanks for the input so far.

Mike.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 06:21 AM   #11
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As far as I am aware, all UK current TVs support NTSC size and rate as well as PAL. Definition is of course a little poorer on NTSC.
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Old March 31st, 2009, 01:53 PM   #12
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Mike, you should keep in mind that any frame rate conversion (weather in post-production or done by a DVD player on fly) will result in choppy playback (talking about a standalone DVD + TV, not computer playback). Pan shots will appear jittery somewhat similar to 24p mode.

If you live in PAL world using NTSC camera, the only way to avoid this unpleasant effect is to play your original NTSC footage as is. By saying that I mean, you should create an NTSC DVD disc and your DVD player must be capable of outputting NTSC as is to a multisystem TV-set which automatically detects NTSC content and adjusts its vertical scan accordingly.

You can also have a PAL only TV and a multisystem player with so-called "NTSC playback on PAL TV" feature which converts 60i to 50i on the fly but this set up wont make fast motion look natural, perfectly smooth.
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