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Old November 5th, 2010, 10:25 AM   #1
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NTSC DVDs for US market 4:3 or 16:9?

Hi folks,

I have a video shot in PAL 16:9 which I need to convert to NTSC for US market, what format do US NTSC DVDs come in nowadays as standard?

Is 16:9 anamorphic still not yet 'current' as it is here in UK?

I can't really do a 4:3 pan/scan as it's an instructional DVD so would lose too much information so I would have to do a 4:3 letterbox with the substantial quality loss if I had to...

Last question: do the majority of US DVD players/TVs play PAL DVDs (region-free ones)? If so, is it even necessary to do the NTSC conversion any more?

Many thanks,

Baldwin
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Old November 5th, 2010, 12:11 PM   #2
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Yes, aspect ratio is a PITA for sure.

I look at it like this -- 4:3 is the past, 16:9 is the present and the foreseeable future. So I release in 16:9 (as captured). It'll display on old 4:3 systems in letterbox format, so on 4:3 systems it'll be a smaller image, but usually perfectly visible. And, you don't loose any of the visual information doing it like this.

But that may be just me. Clearly, YMMV.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 05:43 PM   #3
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I would go with 16:9.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 06:49 PM   #4
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While many European DVD players will pay most NTSC DVDs, it does not work the other way around. I've heard that some set-top players will do this, but I live in a rural area where we haven't seen any of them.

Computers, on the other hand, don't seem to have much problem. Some software makes you tell it that you have a PAL DVD.

These days, when I have to convert a PAL DVD to NTSC, I always go 16:9.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 10:01 PM   #5
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Try to make your NTSC version (stick to the 16:9 ratio) from the master or timeline directly and NOT from your PAL dvd. Old DVD players will show it in 4:3 mode with black bars on the top and bottom. When it is read by a 'newer' player, it will scale to 16:9 if needed.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 07:18 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies folks, i've gone for 16:9 anamorphic rendered out from the timeline in Vegas so not too much of a resolution hit. I generally render mpg2s at average 8mbs max 9.5mbs, do other people do about the same or favour lower bitrates for less possibility of DVDs skipping?

Baldwin
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Old November 8th, 2010, 12:34 PM   #7
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Encoding at 16x9 is definitely the way to go, and 99% of players are able to add the letterboxing if hooked to a 4x3 display. No reason to burn that into your image. You definitely need an NTSC version if you want it to play on set top boxes in the US, and we limit our data rates to 7or8 Mb/s total, to avoid playback issues on cheaper players.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 10:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baldwin Li View Post
I generally render mpg2s at average 8mbs max 9.5mbs, do other people do about the same or favour lower bitrates for less possibility of DVDs skipping?
Baldwin
6.5 maximum, either CBR or VBR, will ensure it runs on most players. It's the standard, and it gives sufficient quality.

If I know there are going to be two passes (the second one being for the DVD), I pre-calculate the space and bit rate requirement and render in one bit rate and it won't get changed in the second pass. Otherwise the quality will be a lot worse.
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