PAL and NTSC on the Z1 at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old March 13th, 2005, 05:05 PM   #1
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PAL and NTSC on the Z1

Looks like I'm going to have some projects coming up that I need to deliver in PAL. I might just go with a software solution to convert NTSC (although I have some quality concerns about that). But it occurs to me that I could have my cake and eat it too with the Z1....

If you shoot in HDV mode on the Z1 can you then downconvert in-camera via firewire playback to either NTSC or PAL? It seems like that would be possible - has anybody actually done this? Ideally I need to deliver a PAL DVCAM tape.
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Old March 13th, 2005, 05:12 PM   #2
 
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There is no PAL or NTSC in HDland. There is 60i or 50i. It's a lot easier to convert 60i or CF30 to 50i or CF 25 than going the other way.
I've not tried to convert in camera, I don't know if you even can...I've done it in Vegas, FCP, and Premiere without much trouble. (HD conversion)
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Old March 14th, 2005, 04:40 AM   #3
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I think 50i gives the most options in the end.

1. 50i HD for Europe.
2. Downconvert to PAL 50i
3. Downconvert to 25P PAL
4. Downconvert with a 4% speed change to 24P SD
5. Downconvert with a 4% speed change and then add a 3:2 pulldown for NTSC 60i.
6. Add a 4% speed change and add a 3:2 pulldown to get to 60i HD.
7. Add a 4% speed change and deinterlace to get 24P HD.

If you shot with CF25 then you would never be able to have fields for 50i for either 50i SD or HD. Your field options are lost forever. Plus any HD conversion would forever have a softer look where 50i would at least give you every pixel with 50i HD. Only 60i HD would suffer some quality loss.

60i or CF30 could be a pain in the but to get to 50i or PAL formats without really changing the pixels. For the 7 changes listed above the first 6 only the quality of audio change by having a pitch change or time compression of 4%. The final step does loose some quality due to deinterlacing.

3:2 pulldown is not an issue because every NTSC VHS tape or DVD movie you watch is using a 3:2 pulldown and nobody ever complained about it there.

The only downside to all of this in my opinion is that all of these steps need to be done in post which means rendering. It does however give you a path full of every option for the future.
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Old March 14th, 2005, 03:37 PM   #4
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Allow me to simplify the answer. The only way the camera can downconvert HDV to PAL, is if you record in 50i. That way you get the optimal picture quality (as the gives the optimum frames and lines). If you record HDV in 60i the camera can only downconvert to NTSC. I do it all the time (I actually think the downconverted output is marginally more detailed that the camera's native PAL or NTSC (SD) output, from my tests).
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Old March 14th, 2005, 05:39 PM   #5
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oh I forgot one other format you can get from 50I HDV.

8. Create 50% slow motion PAL 25P SD footage by treating each HDV field as a seperate frame when down converting. This gives you 50 frames per second or when you slow it down to 25p a perfect 50% slow motion. The same would also work for 24p giving you a 50% slow motion plus the 4% frame convert speed change. You can then add your 3:2 pulldown to get to all of your NTSC formats.
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Old March 14th, 2005, 07:10 PM   #6
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60i goes to 50i very well. 50i goes to 60i very well. I've had very good success with 25p to 60i, but I think 30p converts to PAL least best of all. If you want flexibility in frame rate conversions, I'd pick either 50i or 60i, or failing that real 24p works well.

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Old March 14th, 2005, 08:17 PM   #7
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Thanks guys, this is interesting. I suppose it would be simpler to just shoot in PAL mode if that's what's needed. But I'm still curious as to whether the camera can downconvert to either on the fly. I thought you could configure the firewire output for DV when playing back HDV tapes.
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