Difference between NTSC and PAL at DVinfo.net

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Old February 15th, 2003, 09:36 AM   #1
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I know this may sound stupid but...

What is the difference between NTSC and PAL(dont laugh)?
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Old February 15th, 2003, 10:56 AM   #2
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There are three major video standards for broadcast today. NTSC used in the US. PAL, used in Europe, except for France, which uses SECAM.

In a nutshell NTSC is broadcast at roughly 30 frames per second interlaced where as PAL and SECAM are broadcast at 25 frames per second. NTSC has 525 lines of resolution. PAL and SECAM have 625. There are a number of other technical differences but these are the big ones. Basically just different standards.

If you are in NTSC land it is good to shoot in NTSC. PAL is great where the TVs play PAL. Of course some monitors are set up for either.

Some indie producers like PAL because the frame rate is closer to film at 24 fps and there are more lines of resolution. I have heard that this is very important and I have also read that it really doesn't matter for converting between video and film. Not a problem I have had to face so far and I will admit to being confused.

Anyone more educated that I, feel free to set me straight.

Rick
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Old February 15th, 2003, 11:16 AM   #3
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Thanks
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Old February 15th, 2003, 11:54 AM   #4
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Origin of the names:
PAL stands for Phase Alternating Lines
NTSC stands for Never Twice the Same Colour.


;)
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Old February 15th, 2003, 11:02 PM   #5
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Secam is also used outside of France. There's a fourth standard as well called MESECAM.
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Old February 16th, 2003, 07:39 AM   #6
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SECAM and MESCAM are broadcast only standards. You won't find SECAM cameras etc. Acquisition, production and post production are done with PAL equipment and then broadcast in SECAM etc.
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Old February 16th, 2003, 12:24 PM   #7
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Correct Jeff, but MESECAM is not even a broadcast standard. It's just a VCR "standard" by which the color under process in VCR's is done by subcarrier shift instead of by frequency division. This means that an original Secam recording (freq division) does not play back in a MESECAM player.
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Old February 16th, 2003, 04:01 PM   #8
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Do you know what countries use MESECAM?
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Old February 16th, 2003, 04:33 PM   #9
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MESECAM stands for "Middle East Secam" (first "invented" by our middle east friends for world-wide export). Because of the simularity with the color under concepts in analog PAL and NTSC VCR's, allmost all multistandard VCR's use the mesecam subcarrier conversion concept(shift). What comes out of these vcr's is a secam signal with some reduced color performance. So to answer your question Jeff, MESECAM VCR's are being used in all countries where multistandard situations exist(means allmost everywhere). Only in France, and maybe in a few other "France minded" countries, the pure (monostandard) Secam recorder is still in use. So, be aware that if you buy a SECAM tape in Paris and you have a multistandard player at home "Paris by night" will not be shown.. There is of course no problem to record a french program with a MESECAM VCR. Because ME SECAM is only a video processing concept it does not relate to broadcast standards. All SECAM countries thus transmit SECAM.
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Old February 16th, 2003, 07:30 PM   #10
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Re: "PAL and SECAM are broadcast at 25 frames per second. NTSC has 525 lines of resolution."

Well, er, yes. Sort of. But if you go to Brazil, which uses PAL, you have to use a NTSC cam because their PAL uses 525 lines with 30 frames per second.

Here's one of the many charts you can find with a google.com search:

http://www.world-import.com/the_chart.htm
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