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Old June 13th, 2003, 12:18 PM   #1
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Capturing PAL miniDV on NTSC DV camcorder fia 1394

Today I tried capturing a PAL miniDV tape via an NTSC DV camcorder connected via firewire. It didnt' work. I tried Scenalyzed, Premiere and Vegas.

Technically this should work no? Since out the firewire it's only 1010101101010 etc... digital signal so it shouldn't matter. BUT I think the design of this particluar camera is flawed. It wants to play the footage on the LCD everytime you play it back. If it THINKS there's not footage or the tape is blank etc.. it won't play anything and neither will firewire (ie.. won't capture a blank NTSC tape)

Obviuosly the cam cannot play the footage (PAL). I get a green blocky image for a second on the computer then nothing. In premiere it doesn't even capture.

Any experienced people here know what to do? Should I just try capturing from another NTSC camera and see if that works, if not, just rent a PAL camera or deck for a day?

Let me know
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Old June 13th, 2003, 12:36 PM   #2
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You need a PAL deck or a PAL cam to do this, I would think.
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Old June 13th, 2003, 03:37 PM   #3
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I've tried PAL to NTSC like you described a few years back and never worked for me. Maybe the sensors/processors in camera cannot cope with changes in frame rate and pixel size, so rejects the footage as it doesn't comply with its set program boundaries. But I could be wrong.

I know here in the UK we have video decks that play PAL and NTSC (playback) on PAL equipment, but in the USA I guess they are really rare. But playback of an old NTSC VHS tape on PAL TV is fine. But as I outputted to computer to edit, via NTSC program setting to burn onto CD, the footage was all messed up. The sound was all out of sinc and stuff. It was like the computer treated it like PAL, perhaps cos the signal was not true NTSC, but what was on NTSC time line was not playing like NTSC.

The green blocky image happens all the time when trying to play NTSC in PAL VCR (non NTSC Playback VCR), that happened for me even in VHS tape.

I know some Camcorders (europe PAL models), like my SONY PC100 minidv one allows NTSC playback on PAL TV or NTSC4.43 TV, but my camera in Mexico (NTSC model) didnt have PAL playback. So PAL tape to be used in NTSC land is a lot harder. Guess USA shouldnt have neglected to bother about us Europeans. Why not convert to PAL, and the world will be a happier (more lines of res, and 25fps) place!!! Hahaha

If you get something figured out...let me know cos I have loads of NTSC people who would love to view or copy my PAL stuff. But I've tried everything I could.
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Old June 15th, 2003, 05:32 AM   #4
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There are a few cameras, usually Sony's, that will play back both PAL and NTSC. However, they will only record in their native format. To record your PAL video to your NTSC camera you will have to convert it before you export it/print-to-tape.
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Old March 27th, 2004, 02:48 PM   #5
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A friend and I are trying to capture a PAL MiniDV tape through an NTSC PD150 into FCP4 using Firewire. I had read somewhoere that this was supposed to work but FCP is not seeing any video from the cam. So I guess the problem is not limited to Windows. Any clues as to what can be done besides paying for a transfer service?
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Old March 29th, 2004, 02:15 AM   #6
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A cam _won't_ convert PAL to NTSC for you.

To convert PAL to NTSC you have a choice:
1 pay a conversion shop (like you said)
2 try to convert in software - so capture your PAL to computer, then convert on the computer. This will need something like After Effects that can not only "convert" (read - munge) the frame rate but also change the frame size. Oh and the field order too.
3 get hold of an NTSC cam and reshoot.

The reason it's not trivial is that NTSC data comes in at a different number of frames per second, a different number of lines in each frame, and the even and odd lines in the frame correspond to different moments in time from PAL. It is true that Firewire just transmits 1s and 0s, but the cam and computer try to make sense of these and know that a PAL datastream is very different from an NTSC one.


Regards,

Julian
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Old March 29th, 2004, 03:31 AM   #7
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DV Conversion Suite from Focus Enhancements

Erman,

Some Sony miniDV-PAL camcorders can playback miniDV-NTSC tapes but do not allow to output DV signals via FireWire. You can view the footage via analog, just not through FireWire. It's a legalities issue.

Julian: You could also capture the PAL footage using a PAL DV camcorder and then convert the files to NTSC using DV Conversion Suite from Focus Enhancements
http://www.focusinfo.com/products/fi...ite.html#dvpnc

- don
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Old March 29th, 2004, 04:03 AM   #8
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Don,

it's always interesting to look at new tools - I'm trying a test with it now.

Are you familiar with this DV standards conversion software? I see that for NTSC-PAL conversions (both ways) it offers the option of crop/letterbox/etc. Do you know why this is? PAL and NTSC standard def DV both have exactly the same aspect ratio, so what is there to crop or letterbox?

Regards,

Julian
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Old March 29th, 2004, 10:13 AM   #9
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> 2 try to convert in software - so capture your
> PAL to computer, then convert on the computer.
> This will need something like After Effects that can
> not only "convert" (read - munge) the frame rate but
> also change the frame size. Oh and the field order too.

Yes, this is the idea. FCP should be able to handle the change in frame rate, resolution, pixel aspect ratio and field order... but it's not seeing the PAL output from the camcorder through Firewire. Our current problems is at the capture stage. We have not been able to access or rent native PAL equipment.
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Old March 29th, 2004, 10:31 AM   #10
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Hi Ignacio,

Did you read my reply, yes/ no?

Best Regards,

- don
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Old March 30th, 2004, 06:02 AM   #11
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> Did you read my reply, yes/ no?

Hi Don, I did. Thank You for your reply. In this case though we are not using a PAL camcorder, it's the other way around, we are trying to capture a PAL tape through an NTSC camcorder.

Cheers,

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Old March 30th, 2004, 06:31 AM   #12
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Do you have access to a Sony DSR-11? It will play both PAl and NTSC DV and DVCAM tapes (small and large).

I think others like the DSR-25 do this too.

Julian
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Old March 30th, 2004, 06:37 AM   #13
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Ignacio, you'll have to capture via analog outputs (RCA). No signal is present on the FireWire output.
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