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EX3 - PAL or NTSC dilemma - advice please!

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Ofer Levy
EX3 - PAL or NTSC dilemma - advice please!
on Sep 1, 2008 at 5:22:34 am

Hi all,

I am using the EX3 to get wildlife stock footage that I hope to sell internationally.
I live in a PAL country but I would like to make sure I will be able to sell to both NTSC and PAL countries.
What should be my best way to shoot? Interlace/progressive? If progressive - 1080/30p or 1080/25p ?
Is it possible to convert in post ?

Thanks!
Ofer Levy
http://www.oferlevyphotography.com


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Don Greening
Re: EX3 - PAL or NTSC dilemma - advice please!
on Sep 1, 2008 at 5:44:43 pm

Someone emailed me with this exact question about a month ago. This person is living in South East Asia but is planning to come to North America within 2 years His situation is somewhat different than yours in that he wants to start a stock HD footage company here and sell to the North American market but still keep his options open to sell to PAL countries.

Between him and myself we agreed that he'll shoot in both HQ progressive modes if time permits him to get the same shot twice. If not, then he'll just get the shot in HQ 1080p 30. I recommended shooting in the largest frame size possible and 30 frames instead of 24 for the smoother look of panning and zooming. 30 fps is also easier to use for the purchaser of the footage in that it can be simply dropped into a 29.97 timeline here in North America.

There is software available to cross-convert between NTSC and PAL footage, so you have to decide what format you'll be selling more of and choose that one for shooting. But whatever format you choose, make sure it's progressive because it looks better on today's LCD and plasma displays.

But don't take my word for it. Do a test with interlaced and progressive and see the differences for yourself.

- Don


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Stephen May
Re: EX3 - PAL or NTSC dilemma - advice please!
on Sep 1, 2008 at 7:40:42 pm

The BBC has guidelines for footage submission. They are an authority on filmed nature, etc. They produced the box set DVD Planet Earth. One of the FCP Tutorials even features some of their clips on the topic, "Color" - a series of bumpers that they produced. I noticed that their work is excellent, and is all shot in PAL.

In standard definition, PAL is a higher res than NTSC, albeit 50 cycles instead of 60. I took a course in FCP6 for a Level 1 Apple Certification and one of the attendees mentioned shooting a documentary in PAL at 24fps - he said it looked great. It was in SD and that's why he tried it. Where it comes to HD - I guess the resolutions are standard, so it may not matter anymore.

Stephen May
Keystone Media Productions
Freelance Videographer


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Ofer Levy
Re: EX3 - PAL or NTSC dilemma - advice please!
on Sep 2, 2008 at 2:03:55 pm

Thanks Don, Stephen and Craig for your input so far.
It does look a bit tricky....
Do I lose quality when converting from PAL to NTSC ?



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Craig Seeman
Re: EX3 - PAL or NTSC dilemma - advice please!
on Sep 2, 2008 at 1:49:30 pm

FWIW the "universal" is 24p since a speed change can get one to 25p and pull down can get one to 29.97.
Alas you don't have the best temporal resolution at that frame rate.

In the past I've heard 30p is the worst to shoot at since that supposedly is very hard to convert to PAL but that was a while back and there's lots of conversion utilities both software and hardware. The issue with conversions is that hardware can be expensive and software can take time (and time is money especially when stock footage is supposed alleviate the cost of shooting original footage).

I've heard that shooting interlace has the advantage of having separate fields when combining to convert.

My hunch (although I could be wrong) is that 1080i60 or 1080i50 will give you better flexibility than 1080p30 or 1080p25 (which doesn't give you much better temporal resolution that 24p).

Your best bet is to do your own tests and cross conversions as well as talk to any stock footage house you might deal with.






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