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-   -   How to minimize flicker in PAL image (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xl1s-xl1-watchdog/689-how-minimize-flicker-pal-image.html)

Steve Kim January 14th, 2002 07:50 AM

How to minimize flicker in PAL image
I used PAL XL1 and found its image has flicker.

It's very obvious when I pictured under 75 watt lamp or
florescent lamp. How could I minimize it?

I know PAL has 25 fps vs 30 fps of NTSC.
Due to the lower frame rate, flicker is more noticable in PAL images.

I know the independent movie makers use PAL and am wondering how they deal with flickers.

I live in US and am used to 30 fps NTSC image.

Rob Lohman January 14th, 2002 09:30 AM


I have an PAL XL1S and have no flicker at all.. So I don't
know what your talking about. What kind of florescent
lamps are you using? Cause *normal* florescent tubes
are very flickery, especially with crappy transformers. Buy
a very good quality transformer with balanced florescent
tubes (those came balanced too I believe). I think that
might be the source of your problems. One way to try
before buying is to turn off the florescent lamp, if it
cures the flicker problem you know where it is.

Good luck!

katelins January 16th, 2002 08:10 PM

Hey Rob, how are you doing? Do you produce films or shorts for the web? May I see them to compare with? I know you are from the Netherlands, a PAL country (PAL B if not mistaken), and I am about to be making a purchase on a PAL format XL1s myself even though I live in the US. I'm curious if there is any flickering for web produced images first, TV second. As you stated however, you did not have any problems with flickering. Have you shot in similar low light/bad light situations? I'd like to shoot a number of dark scenes, do you think I'll see flickering in this regard, any worse than an actual film scene? Thanks for your help!

Rob Lohman January 17th, 2002 04:47 AM


I've typed a bit more on this on the other "flicker" thread.

I cannot show you any movies, why? Because I only have
my XL1S for one month now. I've shot (actually taped, i've
looked through the viewfinder a lot longer :) around 1,5
hours of footage, including:

- Outdoor:
- snow
- forrest (in and outside)
- skies (both with sun and not, with and without clouds)
- sea & sand
- ruines
- during new years night (fireworks), pretty dark!
- Indoor:
- during the day and during evening with lights
- candle light

As stated in my other post, i've not seen any flicker
with this footage at all. Either his camera isn't good
or something else is wrong (camera settings, bad quality
lights or in the case of florescent lights a bad power
transformer). I can e-mail pictures to you if you'd like,
or perhaps Chris can put it on a page for all to see.
This way you can assess the quality if you'd like.

I have taken some frames from all of these events
and have them both in jpeg and bmp. I am planning
to put at least these pictures up on my sight in the
months to come, but since i'm very busy with work
i don't know when that will be.

One thing. I mostly shot my footage at allmost full
manual! The only thing that I left automatic most of
the time was focus and white-balance! All the other
settings where manual!

Hope this helped you some!

Steve Kim January 17th, 2002 08:57 AM

flicker in PAL
I am glad I am not alone in PAL here.

I also live in US and am going to buy PAL.
Like I mentioned before, I noticed flicker when I played with my
friend's XL1 PAL.

All outdoor images did not have flicker except the one
I took early in the morning facing to the blue sky and a
big bright light-yellow building in the frame.

In indoor, florescent was really bad, and 75 watt tungsten light
(bed side lamp) with a white doll and white wall showed flicker. 50 watt desktop halogen light worked fine with the same doll.

I owned XL1 NTSC and had not experienced any flicker problem with a florescent or 75 W tungsten light.

Nontherless, I was very trilled by PAL images from XL1: color was more brilliant and details were there.

Even my qirlfriend noticed the difference.

I am not a flim maker, nor an expert in PAL, but I defintely go for

Is there any media player to view 16:9 PAL image?
MS Media Player and QuickTime cannot do.
May be QuickTime Pro can do?

Aaron Frick January 17th, 2002 09:24 AM

I use a NTSC XL1 and it is fine in the US but when I travel abroad there is a flicker when shooting under flourescent lights. It is not subtle either, basicly unusable. The same may very well be true of using a PAL camera in the US. The reason for this is because of the electric cycles. If you shoot ntsc you should be fine anywhere there is 110v and pal anywhere there is 220v. This should not be an issue for most lighting situations but flourescents will cause a problem. I generally got around this by turning off all house lights and using my own tungsten lights which give a much better color feel to the image anyway. I hope this helps. I assume you are using PAL because you want to transfer to 24fps film? The NTSC camera will NOT have that flicker in the US!

Rob Lohman January 17th, 2002 10:24 AM


It might be wise to invest into good lighting if
you are gonna shoot PAL in a NTSC country.

Testing might be in order before you buy.
And some settings on the camera might
remove the problem.

It could be that a lamps power cycle might
be the cause, this is easily checked with
outdoor footage (without any lamps)...

The only way to view 16: 9 footage correct
while playing is in a NLE system or encoding
to mpeg2 aware 16:9 and using a DVD software/
hardware player I believe.

Good luck!

katelins January 17th, 2002 09:22 PM

Hey there, as I continue to read around there does appear to be a problem with shooting under fluorescent lights using a PAL camcorder, or at least its not unheard of. I can see it happening vice versa as Aaron notes as well and I will have to look into lighting eventually too, as Rob suggests. When are you going to purchase your PAL XL1s ANewXLUser? I hope you'll do so soon so you can report more for those who are also considering a PAL camcorder in an NTSC country. Are you planning on transferring to film one day?

Steve Kim January 17th, 2002 10:53 PM

Getting PAL XL1s
I wouldn't take my video under the florescent light anyway.

As Rob suggested, I will consider a good lighting system for the indoor video.

Finding a good object to shoot and getting a good light source for it are my major objectives.

XL1 performed very differently under good, mediocre, or bad light.

Without the good understanding of lighting, I can not make a
reasonably good looking video with XL1.

If anyone knows good books for lighting, pleae let me know.

I will get my own PAL XL1S quite soon.

And I will definitely post my experience with it here.

I was a semi-professional photographer a while ago and
am becoming very enthusiastic about the videography recently.

I have a dream of making a video good enough to copy to film someday.

Thomas Berg Petersen March 12th, 2002 02:00 PM

Recording NTSC VHS or DVS using PAL
Hi everyone,
I will, like many before me, soon invest in a XL1S PAL. I understand that there can be light problems due to the different electric conditions here in the US 60 Hz (I believe) vs. Europe's 50 Hz.

My question is more pratical, I quess.

What kind of gear do you PAL users have when you want to record a US NTSC VHS tape?

And how about DVD's. Can you burn DVD with PAL edited footage using a US DVD burner e.g. Mac's G4 superdrive or will I run into the same VHS format problems (NTSC/PAL)?

My last question is about DV decks. I am not so sure what it is. I guess it is some kind of DV VCR so you can transfer our footage to your NLE without using your XL1S as a VCR.
Does the DV deck also contain a VHS VCR?


Rob Lohman March 13th, 2002 05:21 AM

I can answer some of your issues since I am a PAL user
(in a PAL country though!). Most equipment sold here these
days are multi system (especially widescreen TV's and SVHS
video recorders). They don't care much about what kind
of signal you put in them. My analog capture card accepts
both NTSC and PAL too. I do not own a DV deck (besides my
XL1S camera) so I cannot comment on that. We are used
to having multi system stuff here so that we can play (allmost)
anything. Handy!

Now for your DVD question. I believe a DVD can also hold
24 FPS progressive material (although I'm not 100% sure
about this, I need to check this out further) which most
DVDs authored in the US use. If you shoot in PAL (25 FPS)
you can just encode it as it where 24 FPS. You only need
to stretch the audio a bit. You will NOT notice this speed
difference, they do it here all the time. Then you only need
to conform to a NTSC resolution of 720x480 instead of
720x576 which perhaps might be done through letterboxing
and/or (good) resampling? I've not tried this myself, but you
can try it out even if you do not own a camera yet. Just create
some PAL Resolution footage in premiere or after effects
(titles or effects for example) and apply the different
techniques. See how it works out.

Converting from 25 FPS to true NTSC 29.97 FPS will be a
problem according to many people.

I hope this has helped some or brought some new ideas
for you...

Good luck!

Adrian Douglas March 14th, 2002 12:03 AM

Conversion from PAL to NTSC isn't a problem, it can be costly though. Most good post houses should be able to do it, but I have heard of prices up to US$400/min.

There are various applications that will do the job, it just depends on the quality you want. For home/friends etc, apps like Motion Perfect will do the conversion, but for broadcast you'll have to get it done professionally.

Bill Ravens March 14th, 2002 08:28 AM

Hey, there are people who pay extra money to get that flicker. It's called "the film look".....<LOL>

Jay Henderson June 24th, 2002 05:52 PM

you can transfer pal footage to ntsc on your desktop editing system. there are other discussions of this elsewhere on the site. try the search function.

Seun Osewa December 25th, 2006 01:30 PM

Try the Virtualdub temporal smoother at a strength of 8-10.

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