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Old November 1st, 2013, 04:21 AM   #1
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Filming NTSC within the UK? Flicker-me-timbers...

I'm plannning to film a fitness DVD for a client - he wants the DVD on amazon.com using their createspace dvd on demand service.

We have also discovered a UK based burn 'on-demand' supplier - but intend to still sell the ntsc disc from the UK Supplier as NTSC discs will play in most players around the world VS PAL which doesnt...

So... I have a EX3 and will probably hire one more, with perhaps 2-3 go pros etc filming slow mo around the sides of the stage...

I have recently filmed a boxing tournament in PAL and have converted using Nattress in FCP7 to SD NTSC - it's ok, but you can tell theres something iffy going on - slight blur etc...

If I set the EX3 or any camera to NTSC, will there be issues with filming within the UK - ie flickr from on-set lighting? Is there a way to combat this? I know I should test it out, but figured there maybe solutions out there to ensure its just like filming in Hollywood...
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Old November 1st, 2013, 05:50 AM   #2
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Re: Filming NTSC within the UK? Flicker-me-timbers...

if you run with a 1/50 shutter, it should minimise the flicker with minimal motion blur.
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Old November 1st, 2013, 10:05 AM   #3
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Re: Filming NTSC within the UK? Flicker-me-timbers...

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Originally Posted by Steve Mullins View Post
If I set the EX3 or any camera to NTSC, will there be issues with filming within the UK - ie flickr from on-set lighting? Is there a way to combat this? I know I should test it out, but figured there maybe solutions out there to ensure its just like filming in Hollywood...
There is a solution "to ensure it's just like filming in Hollywood" and it's called PAL. To get away from flicker from lights that are tied to the electrical mains frequency, you have to match up to it. That's why PAL uses 25/50 fps (50 Hz mains frequency), and why NTSC uses 30/60 fps (60 Hz mains frequency).

More importantly, your shutter speed should be an even multiple of mains frequency. In the UK, that means 1/50 or 1/25.

The big alternative is to supply your own lighting, and use lighting designed for cinema use. Electronic ballasted HMI, fluoresents, etc. If all the lighting is yours and under your control, you can, within reason, do what you want in terms of shutter speeds and fps.

But if you have to use existing building lighting, especially discharge lighting like fluorescents, you have to "follow the rules" to avoid flicker.
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Old November 2nd, 2013, 06:38 AM   #4
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Re: Filming NTSC within the UK? Flicker-me-timbers...

Bruce is right. Stick to PAL when filming in the UK or any other country with 50 HZ mains. A "PAL DVD" is not actually PAL but is a 625/25i digital signal that will play back on PAL and SECAM systems so that is pretty much most of the world except for America and Japan.

If you want an NTSC copy, the best route is to use a facility house with a "vector motion" converter. This is a hardware converter and produces perfect conversion with no motion artifacts or blurring.

There may be vector motion software converters but I'm not aware of any right now. Conventional software converters are a compromise but you can get some very good results using After Effects particularly if you shoot in 25p, Clearly shooting in 625/25p is not an option on a lot of hardware. Hope this helps
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Old November 2nd, 2013, 11:11 AM   #5
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Re: Filming NTSC within the UK? Flicker-me-timbers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullins View Post
If I set the EX3 or any camera to NTSC, will there be issues with filming within the UK - ie flickr from on-set lighting? Is there a way to combat this? I know I should test it out, but figured there maybe solutions out there to ensure its just like filming in Hollywood...
As others have said, lighting flicker due mains frequency being 50Hz is likely to be the main pitfall - note that the flicker rate is actually 100Hz - not 50 - due to their normally being a peak each HALF-cycle of mains. If you're filming NTSC then that may need a shutter speed setting of 1/100th sec, a 1/50 is longer than a frame in 60p.

As far as lighting goes, then there are "flicker-free" options, and don't forget DC! Such as Dedolights have in-line dimmers (240-12 or 24 volt), or can be used off 12 volts batteries.

I also think the EX3 does not have any SD settings? So you won't be able to film in NTSC as such anyway. If so, I'd suggest 720p/60 instead of 1080i/30 (assuming you want fluid motion look?) as it's an easier downconversion - one frame of 720p converts simply to a field of NTSC, no need for the deinterlacing necessary if you start with 1080i/30.
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Old November 4th, 2013, 05:29 AM   #6
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Re: Filming NTSC within the UK? Flicker-me-timbers...

Option 1: Use lighting that isn't 50Hz as described elsewhere in this thread. I've done this and it works.


Option 2:

Shoot 25fps and pay a facilities house in with a good standards converter to do the conversion for you. Saves a world of pain and you'll get the easiest results.

Ask to see examples of their conversion work first though. Last time I needed it I found countless companies offering the service but when questioned they were just running the same software I was! In the end I found a company near TVC that had decent kit and who did a good job for me.
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