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HD PAL to NTSC

Discussions about High Definition Television, Blu-Ray, HD DVD and other high definition DVD formats.

HD PAL to NTSC

Postby ScrugneysGundogs » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:20 pm

Hi! I haven't been around in a while. I just bought a new HD camcorder (Panasonic HX-A500). It takes awesome video, but I didn't realize that "25P" meant it records PAL video, rather than NTSC. Everything works fine on my computer. I haven't tried to play anything on my HDTV. I expect there will be a problem with the 50 vs. 60 Hz refresh rate?

Aside from that, I processed the video with Premiere Elements 10. It had no problem using the *.MP4 video files for input. They play just fine. I did some testing with different recording formats and output formats.

With the camera set at 1280x720/25P, I used MPEG HDTV 720p 29.97 High Quality as the output format.

With the camera set at 1920x1080/25P, I used MPEG HDTV 1080p 29.97 High Quality as the output format.

Would it be better to record at 50P instead of 25P since the conversion to NTSC is approximately 30P. My thinking is at 50P you would record extra frames and drop them in the output file - vs. - at 25P you would repeat frames to get up to 30P???!!!

Am I correct in this line of thought, or should I return the camera and get the NTSC model?
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Re: HD PAL to NTSC

Postby John 'twosheds' McDonald » Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:31 am

How are you planning to play it on your TV?

I would guess that streaming a PAL video to the TV wouldn't be a problem.

Playing the video via a DVD will depend on whether you have a later model player. Here in Europe, DVD players have always been able to play either PAL or NTSC without issue. I cannot say whether this is the case in the USA.
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Re: HD PAL to NTSC

Postby Steve Grisetti » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:17 am

John is right. If you're streaming from your computer, you probably won't notice much of a difference.

But, if you're going to be editing for NTSC TV (DVDs or BluRays), it's going to likely be a constant struggle to keep things in order. I mean, to the point that you might want to sell that cam on eBay and get a different camcorder.

Modern video editors might be able to blend frames much better than they used to (so it's worth experimenting to see what a 30i DVD looks like coming from that footage), but the conversion from PAL to NTSC has never been completely transparent. You may see visual "echoes" with some movement or smudged colors. At least that's how it used to be.

It could be more seamless today -- which is why it might be worth experimenting and seeing what the results look like.

But, if it were me, I'd definitely go back to square one and buy the right camcorder. Otherwise, you'll be constantly editing in PAL -- and that could be a problem when you start adding video from another (NTSC) video source.
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Re: HD PAL to NTSC

Postby ScrugneysGundogs » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:21 am

Thanks for the fast replies! :)

Well, thinking about how I'd play it on my HDTV...good question! Up until now, I've only made DVDs for SD T.V.. I don't have any Blueray authoring system yet. Most likely the raw video files would never be played anywhere but my computer. I've always edited the footage and used the output files of Premiere Elements for the final product. I used to make MPG videos using DVD parameters, then create DVDs with those files. Lately I make MP4 videos and keep them on a harddrive.

I'll have to try making a test video and store it on a memory stick. Then I can plug it into my router and play it on the HDTV. If it works, I'll be golden!

The DVDs I make would be SD video anyway, and therefore converted to yet another format. My guess is that it will work just fine like that.
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Re: HD PAL to NTSC

Postby Dave McElderry » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:38 am

You indicated that you could return the camcorder and exchange it for an NTSC model. That's what I'd do.
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Re: HD PAL to NTSC

Postby ScrugneysGundogs » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:32 pm

I did some more testing this afternoon.

With the camera set at 1920x1080/50P, I used MPEG HDTV 10800p 29.97 High Quality as the output format. Previously, I tried
With the camera set at 1920x1080/25P, I used MPEG HDTV 1080p 29.97 High Quality as the output format. I can't tell the difference in the output.

Then I put 2 video clips on a memory stick. One was the test clip I just made, and the other was a raw video clip from the camcorder (1920x1080/25P). I plugged the stick into my blueray player, and both clips played fine on my HDTV. I guess the blueray player streams it to the T.V.

In that case, it's a non-issue for me! I can edit, play back, mix and match both formats (NTSC & PAL).

I don't think I'll ever go back to making DVDs or Blueray discs. Why would I when I can store my whole video library on 1TB portable hard drives? Then it's plug-n-play to any device with a USB port!
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Re: HD PAL to NTSC

Postby John 'twosheds' McDonald » Sat Oct 17, 2015 12:57 am

ScrugneysGundogs wrote:I don't think I'll ever go back to making DVDs or Blueray discs...

I'm with you. These days the only time that I burn to optical media is when I have to prepare a copy for someone that doesn't have any facility to stream/connect directly to the TV.
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