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Old October 4th, 2013, 06:56 AM   #1
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Calling all UK C100 users! A few PAL/NTSC questions.

Hello everyone,

Longtime lurker, short time poster here! Please go easy on me!

I'm currently a third year Film-making student and mid way through getting money together to purchase a new camera for myself, just in time to start shooting out graduation films.

I've decided on a C100 as my best bet for documentary films and the odd short drama here and there. However something that i'm clueless about is how PAL & NTSC work with the framerates governed by the AVCHD codec.

With PAL, I have PF25 which will suit me down to the ground for my documentary work. (Sure it's not 25p but lets not flog a dead horse.).

However since 24p and PF24 are exclusively in the NTSC range, how will that work for me in the UK? I'm not too hot in the differences between PAL & NTSC out of all honesty. What are the practical benefits/downsides to shooting in NTSC 24p in the UK?

Any help or explanations would be amazing! Thanks!
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Old October 4th, 2013, 07:41 AM   #2
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Re: Calling all UK C100 users! A few PAL/NTSC questions.

There is no benefit to filming NTSC in a PAL country, you will run into problems because of the power grid. PAL is 25P because PAL countries AC power is 50Hz. If you film 24P in PAL country you get lights & electronics that flicker because it's out of sync with the power grid. In the USA AC power is 60Hz & hence the difference in frame rates. There are also other issues like syncing audio when working with 24P on a 25P timeline.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 06:20 PM   #3
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Re: Calling all UK C100 users! A few PAL/NTSC questions.

So it's all down to the Hz rating of electronics/power grid? Is that all NTSC & PAL differences are?
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Old October 5th, 2013, 02:47 AM   #4
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Re: Calling all UK C100 users! A few PAL/NTSC questions.

Firstly, understand that you are not really talking about PAL and NTSC. These are old analogue Standard Def TV systems which have gradually phased out from most parts of the world over the past 5 years.

For older farts like me, converting between NTSC and PAL was always a PITA. NTSC had less lines of resolution and a drop frame (look it all up on Wikipedia - it's not crucial to what you do now, but it's useful context), and the result was stuttery movement on pans and a mushy presentation if you were standards converting from NTSC to PAL.

It's so much simpler now, especially if you're shooting progressive. 30 FPS (actually 29.97) means you can shoot with a regular 180 degree shutter at 1/60 and your 60 Hz lighting is in phase - happy days. 25 FPS for European electricity systems at 50 Hz.

If you do deliver DVDs (eughh...), it also means your HD material will convert happily to SD Analogue TVs - but that's probably the only encounter you may have with NTSC or PAL.

By the way, Matt Davis kindly confirmed for me recently that the C100's 30 FPS is the correct 29.97, which is something I need for a US client next month.

24P is a throwback to film cameras and is a cinema frame rate - independent of old TV systems. It's arguably more like film in the way it "flickers" and it makes sense to use, when you're using well established cinematography rules of thumb, like pan speeds etc - there are year of wisdom behind shooting 24 FPS.

One last thing - and I know I'll sound even more like an old fart here, but I'll give this to you in the spirit of genuine openness. I work with a lot of students and I'd strongly question your urge to buy an expensive camera like a C100 (even though it's relatively cheap in the industry.)

The reason? I've seen many youngsters lock themselves into an, "I'm out of uni and I'm going to go and earn some money with my pro camera" situation and totally exclude themselves from a more healthy, "I'm going to go out and assist on as many shoots as I can with really experienced professionals and top-end gear and earn peanuts for the next two years, after which I will be genuinely useful..."

By the time you're genuinely useful to a production company like mine (and I'm based in Sheffield and Manchester), your C100 will be an expensive doorstop. As will ours - but it will have earned it's keep many times over. And then you have 7K+ worth of lenses to think about as well...

Ben.
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Old October 5th, 2013, 05:27 AM   #5
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Re: Calling all UK C100 users! A few PAL/NTSC questions.

That breaks it down really well thanks Ben! Seems a lot simpler than I was lead to believe from sources on the internet, however having the history behind it is great.

I appreciate what you're saying about almost going straight into the deep end situation with a pro camera and hoping for the best that work comes along. I do have a few things lined up to shoot, but I'm more prepared compared to other students as in I'll be working with production houses in the future to gain experience, as well as helping out with a few friends in the industry. I'm prepared for the expensive outlay, and I feel that I have the work lined up to get it paid for within the first year too.
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Old October 7th, 2013, 08:19 PM   #6
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Re: Calling all UK C100 users! A few PAL/NTSC questions.

Just to muddy the waters a bit...

I have used 29.97 on a couple of jobs that were destined for the internet that were shot in environments under my control. Why 29.97? Because they were destined for the web, and the web only. If you're going exclusively for PC screens (and that can include PowerPoint, et al), this is a world of 60Hz, not 50Hz. Playing back 25 frames per second on a screen that's refreshing at the equivalent of 60 frames per second can make 25p stuff look as if 'there's a bit of sand in the works'.

So, if I film 25p and chuck it out on a DVD, or HD through a device like Apple TV (which will tend to drive your screen at 50Hz not 60Hz, you get buttery motion. Play it back on the internal screen of your laptop or desktop PC, and you can feel it - a bit of grit in the motion. Not quite a stutter, just little micro-ticks.

Which is why, of course - with my editor's hat on - one should be editing on a monitor that works with your frame rate, rather than assuming the internal video card and flat panel will cope well.

Quite frankly, a lot of people's viewing experience of web video will have conditioned them to not really notice or care, but having worked with 25p and 50p too, I prefer the 29.97 look on computer screens.

Having said that 90-95% of my stuff is 25p. And filming willy-nilly at 29.97 is a recipe for disaster - you do need a really good full-rez monitor to spot if anything's doing odd things (fluorescent spill, etc).

And, whilst my render renders, another thought: if filming computer monitors/projectors in 25p, one should be using 1/60th to avoid flicker - and if it's a (cue the nervous tic) *Samsung* monitor, you'll need the Clear Scan shutter control at around 1/58.97 or thereabouts - fiddle and you'll find it.
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Old October 8th, 2013, 03:32 AM   #7
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Re: Calling all UK C100 users! A few PAL/NTSC questions.

Slightly OT but relevant to many threads like this one:
PAL is the system of colour modulation in a standard definition Analogue video system.
NTSC is a standard for broadcast analogue video (including the overlaying of colour by a similar but subtly different modulation system to PAL).
The UK (location given by the OP) is no longer a 'PAL' country, - all broadcasting is now DVB. This is also true of most of western Europe that is complying with ITU directives.
PAL and NTSC are completely irrelevant to the C100 and AFAIK all serious cameras which don't even record SD digital video.

Now, it may be that some wish to perpetuate the misuse of PAL and NTSC as a form of shorthand for video systems in countries with 50Hz and 60Hz power distribution systems respectively, but some South American states had 60Hz ac power with 60Hz field rates but with PAL colour modulation. Similarly, some parts of Japan still have 50Hz power supplies, but their TV systems are 60Hz based. So ideally, we need a new turn of phrase with which to refer to the two main systems.

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Old October 8th, 2013, 10:49 AM   #8
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Re: Calling all UK C100 users! A few PAL/NTSC questions.

I was kind of waiting for you to drop your two cents into the mix Matt!

Thanks for all the replies, it's nice (as still a fairly young whippersnapper) to the history and geography lesson all about the certain differences between two dated terms which only seem to make a difference to the Hz of certain electrical outlets and electronics.

Matt, do you find shooting 29.97 and/or 24p in the UK an issue with the C100? I'd just like to know your take on things.
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Old October 9th, 2013, 01:37 AM   #9
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Re: Calling all UK C100 users! A few PAL/NTSC questions.

Matt - have you had any lighting phase issues, using 50Hz lights (plus whatever "practicals" you may not be able to control) with 29.97?

I need to run a couple of our Kinos plus some 24v Dedos on a 30FPS green screen shoot at a UK 50Hz location - it's the fluoros I'm concerned about. Any kind of sweetspot in terms of shutter speed - or are you running exotic ballasts or sumfink?

Ta,

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Old October 9th, 2013, 10:05 AM   #10
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Re: Calling all UK C100 users! A few PAL/NTSC questions.

Dedos will be fine - I've used my Tungsten kit in the UK on a quite a few 29.97 jobs. Kinos too - and we're talking Kinos, not 'things that look like Kinos' - that bloody big ballast is the magic bit as it does a high frequency thingy to get around the 50/60 Hz thing. My Chinese knock-off 1x1s are also fine.

Just ensure any ordinary fluoros and 'economy bulbs' are turned off - replace practicals with ordinary tungsten bulbs.

As for slow motion and FS700 users, whole different ball of wax, but 29.97 - you're fine so long as you don't go out into the 'real world'. LOL
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Old October 9th, 2013, 04:19 PM   #11
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Re: Calling all UK C100 users! A few PAL/NTSC questions.

I'm guessing with 24p it would be the same story? As in as long as it's a controlled environment? Or by putting it at 1/50 like 25p it would behave outdoors/artificial lights.
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Old October 9th, 2013, 04:41 PM   #12
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Re: Calling all UK C100 users! A few PAL/NTSC questions.

Thanks Matt.

We've got a couple of Diva 401 kits - guess we'll need to run some tests to be sure. Hopefully a 1/60 shutter will sort it - will feedback.

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Old November 15th, 2013, 09:39 AM   #13
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Re: Calling all UK C100 users! A few PAL/NTSC questions.

Just ran some tests for the aforementioned shoot next week - US client, needing 29.97 (30P) greenscreen, but shot in the UK with 50 Hz AC lighting (Kinoflo Divas.)

1/50 shutter works great - no phase issues.

One gotcha - if you're after a 180 degree shutter angle, make sure you've set the shutter menu to 1/3 shutter increments (not the default 1/4), as you're otherwise restricted to 1/48 or 1/60, which have out-of-phase banding.

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Old November 15th, 2013, 09:44 AM   #14
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Re: Calling all UK C100 users! A few PAL/NTSC questions.

That's another virtual beer I owe you. :-D
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Old November 20th, 2013, 05:44 PM   #15
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Re: Calling all UK C100 users! A few PAL/NTSC questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Malley View Post
However since 24p and PF24 are exclusively in the NTSC range, how will that work for me in the UK? I'm not too hot in the differences between PAL & NTSC out of all honesty. What are the practical benefits/downsides to shooting in NTSC 24p in the UK?

Any help or explanations would be amazing! Thanks!
True 24p has only C300 camera (direct in menu "PAL lands" FPS).
With C100 is better to shot in 25p and at the end of postproduction you can make slowndown to 24p (with audio slowdown from 25p to 24p), if you need this FPS. It is better workflow then shot in 23,967FPS (FPS from NTSC land).
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