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Old February 20th, 2011, 02:56 AM   #1
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PAL or NTSC conversion for same project

Hi all,

We did some editing for a client using footage someone else filmed in NTSC. We're a UK-based company so we naturally have a camera (SONY V1E) that shoots in PAL, and the client wants us to film additional material to be added to the NTSC footage we have already edited for them.

Does anyone have any advice?

I'm using FCP 6.0.6 and sometimes use MPEG Streamclip to solve my converting dilemmas... I'm not sure if it can save me this time though!

Many thanks in advance,

Rob
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Old February 20th, 2011, 03:31 AM   #2
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What is the end deliverable? Historically I have always sent NTSC - PAL transfers out to a posthouse on a specialty machine (Snell & Wilcox etc.) if it was for a broadcast project or needed to be 'best quality' DVD, not so much because I couldn't do the conversion in software in house, but because it would take longer and then I would be responsible for the quality, whereas if the conversion is done on a turnkey solution you don't have anything to justify in regards to quality.

Graeme Nattress has pretty good standards conversions plugins, and for short sequences even the open format timeline on Final Cut might do the trick - really depends on the nature of the already shot NTSC stuff and what your final deliverable is.
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Old February 20th, 2011, 04:38 AM   #3
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Hi Craig,

Thanks for the swift reply. It's not a broadcast project, the end product will be a series of short web videos and an authored PAL DVD compilation - so 'best quality' DVD will be the max quality.

The NTSC footage was supplied to us on an authored DVD by the original videographer, so I have already had to use MPEG Streamclip to convert it to uncompressed 8-bit for editing in FCP. Is there any more information I can give about this NTSC footage that would help?

Thanks for the Graham Nattress heads up, I'll have a look at those plugins. I'm looking to avoid using a posthouse so we can keep costs down for the client, as they will already be paying for us to do the extra filming and editing. In an ideal world, I'm looking for an in-house solution using either FCP or freeware/shareware.
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Old February 20th, 2011, 12:11 PM   #4
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I've tested the demo of the Nattress Standards Conversion and it did the job. Before I go ahead and purchase this plug in, are there any other options I could try first?

There was an error that occurred with the results of my testing. I converted a couple of PAL clips to NTSC okay, but the last second or so of the clip (so about the last 10% of the clip) came out as a freeze-frame. Any idea why this might happen?

Many thanks,

Rob
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Old February 20th, 2011, 12:56 PM   #5
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Rob,

I'm not sure I fully understand your technical quandary but, it seems you can save yourself a lot of headache without re-converting your clips at the end.

Since your'e ripping content from an authored NTSC-DVD why not just have MPSC convert those files on the fly into a PAL-compatible editing format, such as DVCPRO-PAL - or whatever editing timebase you're using? Then you won't have to make any further conversions at the end into your finals.

If you do that make sure you make custom adjustments in MPSC so that the ripped content matches your editing timebase in FCP so you don't have to render on import (see screenshot examples of DVCPRO-PAL). Most especially make sure your ripped files are 48Khz, not the standard 44.1 MPSC selects otherwise you'll have to render - and re-render all the audio both on import and after every edit.

Hope this helps.
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PAL or NTSC conversion for same project-screen-shot-2011-02-20-11.51.35-am.jpg   PAL or NTSC conversion for same project-screen-shot-2011-02-20-11.51.58-am.jpg  

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Old February 20th, 2011, 01:07 PM   #6
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Hi Robert,

Thank you for your reply. I will definitely do that for any future jobs of a similar nature!

Unfortunately over 3 days of editing has already been done on the ripped NTSC footage, so ripping it again isn't an option. It's only just now that the client has decided they want more footage filmed, and had their original videographer used a PAL video camera everything would be hunky dory!

Best,

Rob
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Old February 20th, 2011, 03:54 PM   #7
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I'm working with Nattress right now! Since I only go from PAL to NTSC, take this advice with that in mind.

I find that it's better to use MPEGStreamclip to extract the files in their native frame rate and use Nattress Standards Converter to transcode the file within FCP. The results are much better than if you let MPEGStreamclip do the work. Details such as subtitles and horizontal lines resolve better with Nattress. Takes a while to render although.
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Old February 20th, 2011, 04:25 PM   #8
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it's going to depend on your NTSC format.
is it interlaced or was it shot at 24p?

really the easiest method to get your PAL into NTSC is to shoot 25p,
then conform your captured footage to 23.98fps with cinema-tools (which takes just a couple of seconds).
if your working with NTSC 23.98fps then you're good to go. if the other footage is 29.97fps then you can telecine... which is pretty much automatic as far as i know... just drop the conformed PAL clip into your NTSC sequence i think.

if you're working SD then try to fit the PAL sized clip to the NTSC frame in a nice way... you could let the top and bottom portions of the image be cropped off and adjust just the width of the PAL image to compensate for the different pixel aspect ratios.
if it's HD then i think the resolution sizes are just kind of the same no? (on the V1)

hopefully your NTSC footage was shot progressive if it's going to the web.
if not... take your edited NTSC footage... convert to 23.98p with NATRESS or something... then use cinema tools to conform to 25p
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Old February 21st, 2011, 03:53 AM   #9
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Re: PAL or NTSC conversion for same project

Thanks William - that's invaluable information!

Hi Brian, thanks for your reply, and I see what you're saying. My source footage was shot in SD at 29.97fps. Please excuse my ignorance of cinema tools (which I do have but have never needed before!) would I be using that to telecine my new 25p PAL clip before I drop it into my NTSC timeline, or my NTSC footage before I introduce it to my 25p PAL clip in my NTSC timeline? I've had limited experience with NTSC!
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Old February 21st, 2011, 04:22 AM   #10
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Re: PAL or NTSC conversion for same project

Is there any chance you can shoot the new stuff in NTSC, perhaps you know someone with an old Z1?
Then make your final DVD in NTSC too.

Any/all UK DVD players and TVs will handle NTSC just fine.
Just a thought.

Another thumbs up for Mr Nattress here, you could use it to drop all your rushes onto one long timeline then convert the whole lot onto an NTSC timeline export and you have NTSC rushes. Even do parts of it on a spare machine if you have one. It's an intelligent algorithm, MPEG_SC is a bit quick and dirty it seems.
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Old February 21st, 2011, 01:14 PM   #11
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Re: PAL or NTSC conversion for same project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Birks View Post
Thanks William - that's invaluable information!
Please excuse my ignorance of cinema tools (which I do have but have never needed before!) would I be using that to telecine my new 25p PAL clip before I drop it into my NTSC timeline, or my NTSC footage before I introduce it to my 25p PAL clip in my NTSC timeline? I've had limited experience with NTSC!
16:9 or 4:3?

the 'batch conform' function in cinema tools just tells the folder of quicktime files that they now have a different frame-rate than they did before. your clips will now just play back at a new speed but no changes to the data. the reported sample-rate of your audio will be slightly adjusted to keep synch (this can cause minor problems sometimes).

the 'telecine' part is really only referring to a conversion between film (24p) and NTSC. the 24 frames are mapped onto 30 frames with a '3:2 pulldown' where each frame of film occupies 3 fields of video (1 and a half frames) and then 2 fields of video in succession.

might depend on the nature of your footage, but since it's going to the web, your best bet is probably going to be finishing in 24p (23.98fps), and then, as noted, a DVD which will play in both europe and north-america is also possible.

so 'nattrassing' your NTSC stuff to 23.98 is probably your best bet.
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Old February 21st, 2011, 03:19 PM   #12
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Re: PAL or NTSC conversion for same project

Hi Brian,

It's all 16:9.

If I've understood this right, it looks like the best bet is for me to buy Nattress so I can convert my original NTSC 29.97fps footage to 23.98fps and then use cinema tools to convert my newly shot 25p PAL footage to 23.98fps using cinema tools.

Though it appears there's no telecining needed, I'm really chuffed to have leant something extra too! Thanks for the really good explanation, and all the advice you've given me on this.

These videos will be made available online but also with authored DVDs going to clients in America and Europe, so playability across the board is definitely good!!

Duncan - That would of course make everything easier. Know anyone?!!
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