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Old July 8th, 2009, 04:55 PM   #1
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Why Make PAL DVD if NTSC DVD has all regions marked?

Hi Forum,

Another question for you all as I try to understand the nuances of Compressor and making DVDs. I just built and formatted an NTSC DVD for my half hour video and the extras videos. When I made the DVD in DVD Studio Pro all of the regions around the world were marked. Here are my questions:

1. If all regions are marked, does this mean that the DVD should be able to play in PAL countries?
2. If the NTSC compressed DVD can play in all regions, why am I compressing my HDV NTSC videos to PAL DVD? Is this necessary?

Thank you for your help.

Cheers,
Sharon
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Old July 8th, 2009, 05:03 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon Pieczenik View Post
Hi Forum,

Another question for you all as I try to understand the nuances of Compressor and making DVDs. I just built and formatted an NTSC DVD for my half hour video and the extras videos. When I made the DVD in DVD Studio Pro all of the regions around the world were marked. Here are my questions:

1. If all regions are marked, does this mean that the DVD should be able to play in PAL countries?
2. If the NTSC compressed DVD can play in all regions, why am I compressing my HDV NTSC videos to PAL DVD? Is this necessary?

Thank you for your help.

Cheers,
Sharon
1) Nope. NTSC and PAL are different standards. PAL TVs -cannot- play NTSC DVDs, and NTSC TVs cannot play PAL DVDs.

There's many little differences, but the main one is that NTSC (used mainly in the U.S. and Japan) shows an interlaced image 60 times per second, and PAL (used mainly everywhere else) shows an interlaced image 50 times per second.

Region coding, however, is not the same thing. Region coding is an entirely artificial limitation imposed by the copyright holder in order to segment the market. A Japanese distributor does not want to have to compete with an American importer and vice versa in their respective countries. So they add code to the DVD and DVD players that don't match that code won't play the DVD. But if you had a region-free (i.e., completely disregards the region code) DVD player, you could play a Region 2 DVD made in Great Britain in Region 4 (which includes Australia,) or a Region 2 DVD made in Japan in Region 1 - the United States & Canada.

You only need to make PAL DVDs if you are planning to make them available to people in PAL countries to watch.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 05:10 PM   #3
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Hi Brian,

Thanks for the information. I knew the difference between what PAL and NTSC are...however, I was completely confused by the region selecting area in DVD Studio Pro and whether or not that would make it play in PAL players.

Well...I guess I have a fun new set of compressions to do.

Cheers,
Sharon
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Old July 8th, 2009, 05:25 PM   #4
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There IS a caveat here: many PAL DVD players AUTOMATICALLY scale/retime to 50 cycles/frames NTSC DVDs for playback on PAL TV sets but it would be imprudent to ASSume that your client's player will do this.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 05:39 PM   #5
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Yes, we are fortunate in PAL countries in that we have the better native resolution/colour system (The leap to HD from SD is much less of a big deal in PAL countries I believe for this reason - Our colours have always been much better than NTSC). And MANY DVD players also do a convert from NTSC.

Unfortunately, there are many more problems going the other way (PAL to NTSC) so we have VERY expensive mastering requirements to transfer or PAL stuff to NTSC (Compressor really doesn't cut it at a professional level).
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Old July 8th, 2009, 06:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Boyko View Post
PAL TVs -cannot- play NTSC DVDs
I'll skip the obvious "PAL TV's" bit and substitute "PAL DVD players" instead, and it's still incorrect.

I have not found a DVD player in either the UK, Australia or NZ that cannot play NTSC DVD's (and boy, that's one heck of a lot of DVD players).

The reason is pretty straightforward.

Where do you think most DVD's originate? NTSC country, of course.

Rather than the distributors having to do the conversion and run two production lines for the same release, it made sense to make PAL players decode NTSC, especially as all the decoding circuitry is contained in one 50 cent chip.

[The 50 cents is a pure guess and may be wildly inacurate, but when you can buy an el cheapo player for $25 or less, I don't think I'm too far out]

As this same chip goes into just about every DVD player on the planet, I would venture most, if not all, NTSC players will decode PAL discs to boot, tho' as I've never seen the destruction manual for a NTSC unit, I cannot confirm it.


CS
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Old July 8th, 2009, 07:01 PM   #7
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Where do you think most DVD's originate? NTSC country, of course.
Funny, I though the majority of them were from India/China/Thai street Bazaars....

Oh wait, that's Video CDs. My bad.

Thanks for verifying Chris and Craig. I knew they existed, I just wasn't sure of the sheer number and/or install base.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 07:04 PM   #8
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Chris & Craig: do you have any anecdotal advice as to whether it's worthwhile to DO the PAL conversion or is the DVD conversion at the player good enough? To be clear: If one was to produce a PAL DVD from NTSC material AND produce an NTSC DVD from the same NTSC source, would you see a difference at end playback? If so: how much and where? Sharpness? Colour? Motion?
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Old July 8th, 2009, 08:13 PM   #9
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It's true that almost all EU, JP, Asian and Eur-asia PAL players will indeed transcode NTSC into PAL it's still important to include the "all regions" markers in the author process, specifically because DVD players are sold to "regions". For example, if the user has already preset their player to say region 3 and your DVD is authored to only region 1 then your disc is DOA to the user.

There was at one time great fervor over region codes being tied to licensing and usage rights that both the DVD forum and the large hollywood studios wanted to control but those days are long gone and thankfully dead.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 08:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
Chris & Craig: do you have any anecdotal advice as to whether it's worthwhile to DO the PAL conversion or is the DVD conversion at the player good enough? To be clear: If one was to produce a PAL DVD from NTSC material AND produce an NTSC DVD from the same NTSC source, would you see a difference at end playback? If so: how much and where? Sharpness? Colour? Motion?
If you use proper encoding techniques in Compressor you'll not see any degradation of any kind. But if you'd rather not fuss over it just use whatever NTSC presets you prefer for your output and let the PAL DVD players make the conversion.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 11:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
Chris & Craig: do you have any anecdotal advice as to whether it's worthwhile to DO the PAL conversion or is the DVD conversion at the player good enough? To be clear: If one was to produce a PAL DVD from NTSC material AND produce an NTSC DVD from the same NTSC source, would you see a difference at end playback? If so: how much and where? Sharpness? Colour? Motion?
The conversion tends to be pretty good, although I have noticed oddities in DVD Menus with video on NTSC DVD's (the video in the menus sometimes have what look like field flicker type artifacting) on the occassionally professionally authored NTSC DVD.

DVD's I have authored myself in NTSC from a PAL source that went through Hardware conversion play back fine on PAL DVD players (this includes very cheap ones, about $80NZ, which is about $40-50US).

I haven't really dealt with Software PAL-NTSC Conversion, or vice versa (because software conversion from PAL-NTSC is fairly trouble frought from what I understand, as you are making rather than removing frames.)

As I said early NTSC - PAL conversion appears easier - so you might get fantastic results by doing it in software, or the hardware might do a job fine by itself.

However, if you want ABSOLUTE certainty doing the conversion at least means that it's DEFINITELY in PAL standard
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Old July 10th, 2009, 10:11 AM   #12
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Chris & Craig: do you have any anecdotal advice as to whether it's worthwhile to DO the PAL conversion or is the DVD conversion at the player good enough? To be clear: If one was to produce a PAL DVD from NTSC material AND produce an NTSC DVD from the same NTSC source, would you see a difference at end playback? If so: how much and where? Sharpness? Colour? Motion?
To answer that question you need to consider the source material resolution. NTSC has 480 vertical lines whereas PAL has 576. If your master is 720p or 1080i & you need down-sample to produce a DVD then directly creating a PAL DVD from that HD master will always have a higher resolution first creating an NTSC DVD & then converting that to PAL. If the master is NTSC SD to start with then there will be less of an issue.

For those of us in PAL land it is always better (all thing being equal regarding quality of mastering etc.) to watch a PAL DVD rather than an NTSC one because of the higher resolution & was ever thus in the days of laserdisc & VHS. With BluRay this is not an issue.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 10:46 AM   #13
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Sorry folks if I wasn't clear in MY question:

IF I had NTSC material (480i) and wanted my friend in Europe to view it on his PAL DVD player, from your experience, what would look better:

1. Burn an NTSC DVD at maximum quality (8mbps, avg 6mbps 2 pass VBR) and allow the PAL DVD player to do the conversion on the fly; or
2. Encode the NTSC material to PAL (again 8mbps 2 pass...) and allow the player to play it native.

No further complications of 720, 1080, P or I. Just plain old well shot NTSC.

What VISIBLE artifacts are introduced by the encode and what visible artifacts are introduced by the translation at playback?

I understand the issues of 480 vs. 576, PAL vs. NTSC colour, 30 vs. 25.

I'm looking specifically for ANECDOTAL, not THEORETICAL feedback.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 01:38 PM   #14
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