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Old July 23rd, 2009, 06:06 AM   #1
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Best conversion route for NTSC to PAL?

I have never needed to do this before, so thought I'd ask those with experience first:

We need to output our CF 1920x1080p NTSC masters as PAL, sized and prepared for satellite transmission (which I would assume is simply PAL in DV size).

***PLEASE NOTE !!! They want the output on mini-DV tape, but is it possible to save our converted PAL output back to a NTSC cam in PAL? (Sony V1U, A1U, Panasonic DV-500, etc.) ***

For the experienced, what's the best way here, and are there any "gotcha's" we need to look for? I don't want to reinvent the wheel.

(BTW, we do have TMPGEnc and other conversion progs, as well as CS3 and CS4)
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 01:02 PM   #2
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I can already answer one question: it is NOT possible to output PAL DV onto a NTSC DV recorder! Unless we missed something, this is simply not possible.

Anyone disagree?

So, looks like our transport options are narrowing. Making a DVD data disk looks possible, but we have no idea what MPEG2 parameters "satellite ready" PAL video would need.

Any suggestions? Hello? Anybody awake? Is this a geek question or something? Too generic?
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 01:10 PM   #3
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The DV decks can normally handle this (they often screw up the preview,) but I haven't used DV in years so I'm not much help.
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 01:57 PM   #4
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Some DV decks will record and play both PAL and NTSC, but they won't convert.

I don't know what youre starting from, but here in PAL land, I downconvert my 1920x1080/25p CF files to PAL DV and often give people the DV file on a DVD-ROM - (at around 5mins per GB, a single-sided disk can handle about 20 minutes of DV footage). Any broadcaster should be able to put that on a timeline and play off or convert to their TX format. They'd probably only capture the mini-DV tape into their NLE anyway.

So if your footage is 24p, you could just re-step it in HDlink, then downconvert to PAL DV
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 01:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Armour View Post
I can already answer one question: it is NOT possible to output PAL DV onto a NTSC DV recorder! Unless we missed something, this is simply not possible.

Anyone disagree?

So, looks like our transport options are narrowing. Making a DVD data disk looks possible, but we have no idea what MPEG2 parameters "satellite ready" PAL video would need.

Any suggestions? Hello? Anybody awake? Is this a geek question or something? Too generic?
The best tool you have for making the conversion from NTSC to PAL is TMPGEnc. This will give you about as good a software conversion as any.

To record PAL DV to tape, you need a PAL DV camcorder or a DV VCR such as the Sony DSR11 which can work in either NTSC or PAL modes.

However, the first order of business is to get exactly what format you are required to provide. PAL DV and Mpeg are not the same? I suggest you get exact standards that include frame size, interlaced on progressive, codec and if applicable bitrate. If what you need is PAL DV, then that is the standard.

It sounds like you have these steps (but not necessarily in this order, and some steps may be combined with the right tools):
1. Convert from NTSC to PAL
2. Convert from HD to SD (as DV is SD).
3. Transcode from current HD file to exact specifications of new file.
4. Save on media (tape, DVD, external hard drive, SDHC card, etc.)
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 03:11 PM   #6
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Stephen,
BTW: what flavor of PAL?
(I see you're located in Brasil:
don't they have a rather peculiar version of PAL?)

Vasco
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Old July 24th, 2009, 10:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Vasco Dones View Post
Stephen,
BTW: what flavor of PAL?
(I see you're located in Brasil:
don't they have a rather peculiar version of PAL?)

Vasco
Thanks for the feedback.

Vasco, this is not for the Brazilian PAL-M market, but for direct satellite transmission to IRAN. Since there are apparently several different satellite systems transmitting to that part of the world, like someone stated earlier, I need much more specific info from them.

Problem here, was that they merely stated they preferred getting our videos in PAL DVCAM for transcoding to their uplink format. Soooooooo....obviously I'm info short here and need specifics.

My real worries are:
- transcoding well from NTSC to any flavor of PAL
- going from 30 frame progressive to some kind of interlaced
- downsizing...after all that...to SD
- furnishing a PAL version on DVCAM, when our available recorders are all NTSC
The reason this is important, is that we are gearing up for a worldwide release of our new series, with translations for dubbing or subtitling already taking place (or soon to begin) in close to 20 languages. This Iranian test was good for trying to work through some of the "gotchas".

We had expected most of the releases to be in one of three formats, DVD, BR, or via direct download. All have caveats, all have their own sets of probs. The direct satellite transmission requests were unexpected and now are part of our distribution list as well.

In light of everything, our tiny non-profit production outfit needs all the help we can get, so we appreciate any good suggestions, thanks everyone! We're all ears.
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Old July 24th, 2009, 10:41 AM   #8
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Stephen,

when I have to convert from PAL to NTSC
(to show my stuff - originally shot for Swiss TV -
to American audiences) I rely on Atlantis, a little piece of
software by DVFilm. For the money, it does a pretty good job.

I've never tried it for HD projects yet (I will be, soon), but
here's what their website states (quote):
"Atlantis can also convert HD 60i to 50i format, or HD 50i to 60i HD format (Windows version only)." (unquote)
You might want to check it out.
Or use Canopus Procoder 3.

As far as the DVCAM thing goes, I use a Sony HVR-M15U:
it's dual standard (PAL & NTSC), and records DV & DVCAM.
Maybe you can rent one... - or rent a Sony Z1 (if memory serves,
it's dual standard as well, and I'm pretty sure it can record DVCAM)

Best

Vasco
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Old July 24th, 2009, 12:20 PM   #9
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Vasco, thanks for the info.

I have a few questions about Atlantis, but since they have a demo I can download, I'll just try it out.

I've already done some conversion tests, but was not real happy with anything to date. TMPGEnc is usually pretty good, but for this...?

If these people can't use anything except what comes on DVCAM tape, we'll just have to find someone locally that will put it on for us.

Thanks again, and I'll follow that Atlantis lead.
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Old July 24th, 2009, 03:47 PM   #10
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Hi there
Had to edit an NTSC tape to use in a PAL dvd last year... I edited a regular NTSC sequence in Adobe Premiere and used Adobe After Effects to transform NTSC to PAL. Worked fine... check out the Help in AE to see the exact settings...

Regards
Gareth
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Old July 24th, 2009, 05:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Armour View Post
Vasco, thanks for the info.
(...) I'll follow that Atlantis lead.
Stephen,

will you please let us know how it worked for you?
Thanks and all the best

Vasco
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Old July 24th, 2009, 07:50 PM   #12
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Vasco, the HD to HD is very nice output! I do like the degree of control.

I tried a CF HD film trailer (with the Atlantis demo) and it seemed to work very nicely, except for a scene with some faster horizontal motion. Probably easy to fix given the options they have for tweaking.

I assume the best workflow then is:

HD CineForm NTSC master ...>....HD BI_RGB Raw Bitmap PAL (Atlantis' huge uncompressed output) ....>....downsize to 720x576 PAL AVI using TMPGEnc (or whatever)?

I guess the final output would still have to be brought back into the NLE to output to tape (to get it to PAL DVCAM). Obviously that step has to happen somewhere.

I just hope they can take something else, like ZIPPED DVD's of the downsized AVI's...so my life is easier.

I did have time to quickly try converting/downsizing directly to SD PAL from the CFHD master with TMPGEnc, then quickly compared to the downsize done from the Atlantis converted HD PAL (also downsized via TMPGEnc). The Atlantis one is still better, but they are not real far off from each other. I'm going to try to find time to do a few tweaks to see if the Atlantis route is worth the extra hassle and time. For us, the end result is worth it if there is a visible difference in quality.

BTW Gareth, we really hadn't tried either AE CS3 or CS4 for the conversion, but will add that for sure. No since spending more time or money if the wheel is already invented and rolling fine...but we'll see.

So far, this is a very quick and dirty evaluation, but maybe more sometime later.

Tnx again for the input!
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Old July 24th, 2009, 09:09 PM   #13
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I have just skimmed the posts above, but just wanted to say emphasize that if your clients have requested PAL DVCAM that the discussion about mpeg and satelite transmission specs is a red herring.

PAL DVCAM is DV-codec in an avi or mov wrapper, and has nothing to do with DVD or mpeg other that it is 720x576 at 25 interlaced frames per second.

Procoder 3 offers DV encoding built in (they supply a Canopus DV codec). With TMPGEnc, VirtualDub etc you may need to first install a DV codec and select that as your avi compression option.

Then either send them the resulting file on a data DVD, or uploaded it to miniDV tape from your NLE via a firewire cable to a cheap PAL DV camera.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 09:14 AM   #14
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I have just skimmed the posts above, but just wanted to say emphasize that if your clients have requested PAL DVCAM that the discussion about mpeg and satelite transmission specs is a red herring.

PAL DVCAM is DV-codec in an avi or mov wrapper, and has nothing to do with DVD or mpeg other that it is 720x576 at 25 interlaced frames per second.

Procoder 3 offers DV encoding built in (they supply a Canopus DV codec). With TMPGEnc, VirtualDub etc you may need to first install a DV codec and select that as your avi compression option.

Then either send them the resulting file on a data DVD, or uploaded it to miniDV tape from your NLE via a firewire cable to a cheap PAL DV camera.
Graham, unless they're feeding their hardware directly from a tape-based system for those uploads, anything they "convert" in their studio is being done to certain standards for transmission. We're talking about going from a DV codec (intraframe compression), that has to be compressed (interframe compression) to MPEG2 standards for uplink, since that seems to be what is mostly used for uplinks, is it not?

Is that not true, or am I missing something here? The wrapper is pretty much irrelevant. It seems I'm mostly needing to find out if they do direct tape-based, hardware conversion uplinks or not. If they don't (and I guess many don't?), they have to store that data somehow and in some format. We have many of the codecs and progs that could duplicate that storage format.

It's not a red-herring discussion if we can send a few DVDs DATA DISKS (read the posts) to them, instead of "harder to transport and more expensive" DVCAM tapes. I'm fishing for someone with satellite transmission experience to give a few words of wisdom.

Correct me if my brain is warped by too much editing, but this is how it looks from this side of the river.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 09:25 AM   #15
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My point is that if they have asked for DVCAM, clearly they plan to do the conversion to whatever they need for their sattelite transmissions themselves.

I agree that a data DVD may be easier than a miniDV tape.
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