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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 08:19 AM   #1
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How hard is life with NTSC in a PAL land?

Hi mates, Im asking to put some light on my problem. I live in Poland, a PAL land, but its hard to find any HV*0 in PAL, or it costs more than I can afford, therefore I decided to buy NTSC cam (HV20 or 30). What problems should I expect?

I shoot almost exclusively wildlife, so far use Vegas to edit my footage shoot on XL1 in PAL SD. Would anybody tell me how hard would be life of an amateur wildlife filmmaker with NTSC HD camera in PAL land..? Mostly I shoot for myself, but would I be able to make and provide some master copy for eventual PAL broadcaters? Like local TV station or so? Is it hard to convert from 60i to 50i or from 24p do 25p? What are the factors to which I should pay my special attention? I have not any practical experience with NTSC. Also HDV is something new to me, but I am very excited about possibility of zooming/panning on HD video with a window of SD size, and then downconvert it to PAL DV. Any advice would be highly appreciated. Thanks on advance.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 03:14 PM   #2
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Hi Waldi...........

The short answer is "harder than you'd think". The long one is pretty much the same.

Let's start with purchase. Where from? It won't be from a Polish supplier, so maybe B&H then?

So, what happens if it's dead out of the box? Think of the nightmare of shipping it back, then factor in the duty and VAT problem of sending it back then getting another one sent in. That scenario alone probably guarantees you've spent more than you would on a PAL model there.

Then think about service. Canon Poland will not honour a guarantee on an imported NTSC camera, nor will they service it. You really going to send it to the States to get it serviced/ repaired? More duty/ VAT problems to boot.

Then there's the practical problems with shooting and editing.

Anything shot using artificial light runs into big problems with the 50/ 60 Hz thing, you really don't want to go there.

Yes, you can shoot NTSC and convert to PAL, but what a PITA all 'round and it'll never look as good as PAL shot as PAL.

(You may have picked up by now that I'm not at all excited by you proposed plan).

Think again, save your Zlotys and go PAL for your own sanity.


CS
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 03:15 PM   #3
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Dont buy a ntsc camera to be used in a pal land.
You will have a heck of a time converting. Requires expensive software. Do you have any friends or relatives working in Holland? (A lot of Polish people do) Let them pick up a second hand pal-camera for you.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 06:27 PM   #4
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Chris - I have relatives in US, they can help in case of repair. I worry much more about NTSC/PAL conversion and flickering issues.

Ann - I don't know any Poles working in Holand (shame :)) BTW - how much would be second hand HV20 or 30 in Netherlands?

Thank you both for your thoughts.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 06:39 PM   #5
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Some more of my thoughts: HDV is HDV, virtually no matter if PAL or NTSC... My computer disc player plays them both, as well as my HD lcd TV screen. And when shooting outdoor (90% of my footage) then 50Hz versus 60Hz (a flickering coming from bulbs) shouldn't be a problem. Am I right..? Correct me if Im wrong, I really do appreciate opinions from people more experienced than me.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 07:28 PM   #6
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Blast...............

Whoops, screwed THAT one up.


CS.

Last edited by Chris Soucy; March 2nd, 2010 at 07:30 PM. Reason: Whoops.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 08:00 PM   #7
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Let's try again...........

Behave, fingers!

OK, well, I thought I was about to make a pretty good financial case for not going NTSC but simply ended up shooting myself in the foot, as below:

NTSC HV40 @ B&H

Canon | VIXIA HV40 High Definition Camcorder | 3686B001 | B&H

Note that price!

PAL HV40 @ B&H

Canon | Legria HV40 High Definition 'PAL' Camcorder | HV40E


I checked out Bristol Cameras in the UK and their price was 839 GBP = $1,260.65US which is almost double the US price, tho' do remember that there will be Import Duty, VCR Duty and VAT on anyting imported from the States, which will add quite a whack.

Now, going back to that familly in the US of A. Can't see how they're going to be of much help if the lens falls off after a week. Shipping a camera to the States and back for repair/ service is going to be a Duty and Tax nightmare.

As for your comments on HDV, too true, universal and all that.

Futher reflection on my part hit upon the fact that as it happens, NTSC is practically universal on PAL DVD players so conversion to PAL for distribution for DVD playing isn't really necessary (DO however, check this out yourself, don't take my word for it!).

I think the only thing which is going to be a problem is getting a format acceptable to local tv stations in the event you make it that far up the food chain.

I'd worry about that when the time comes.

So, bottom line, having started out as a most vehement NO, the price differential and my belief that all PAL DVD players can handle NTSC (CHECK!) leaves only the repair/ service problem.

That would be a deal breaker for me, but in your case it might not be such an issue, soooo, maybe there's room for a very reluctant YES for the plan.

Note: Reluctant.


CS


PS: Equations:

$649US = 1,861.41 Polish

$1049.95US = 3011.49 Polish

$12650.65US = 3615.83 Polish

As at todays exchange rates.

Last edited by Chris Soucy; March 2nd, 2010 at 11:52 PM. Reason: ++Update
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 02:53 AM   #8
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Chris, keep your fingers steady :) and thank you for your hard job on prices. As you could see buying in EU, or out of EU but PAL - doubles the price. Therefore my plan to buy NTSC. Im not worrying about Vat, taxes, warranty etc. as my relatives from USA can buy the cam, test it out of box and then give it to somebody who flies to Poland soon. But problems might arise when camera will fail to work some day. In that case repairing it in Poland may be cheaper then sending back and forth to Canon USA. If I would be rich I wouldn't get into all that hassle and would have bought a cam in PAL, but Im not, and thats the case... If living with NTSC<->PAL issues will appear to hard, I may consider reselling it and then look after a PAL version. I know there are people buying NTSC cams for use in Poland for the same reason (half the price), even those amateurs who work for video/tv industry. I just want to figure out if it is worth to save on price having ahead all the problems with NTSC > PAL conversion. In fact I rarely will have to do such a conversion, as watching and editing my footage by myself does not require me doing this.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 03:52 AM   #9
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Just buy a Canon 550D. It will allow extreme long lenses for your wildlife stuff.
It has all frame rates (NTSC and PAL selectable) and its cheap.
Not 100% the functionality of a Canon HDV Camera but highly customizable with the right accessories.
Honestly, the HDV codec pales in comparison to the AVC shipping in these DSLRs.
-C
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