I need to make one region 0 DVD which will play in both PAL and NTSC countries. It is originated in PAL. Some suggestions are to author a NTSC DVD, and most PAL machines will decode and output a PAL signal... but is this the right way? Would this mean downgrading the picture for PAL viewers?
And will all players be able to handle it?
I have been going around in circles with this one, and not having any NTSC kit to test on makes it even harder!
If you master in PAL, the player would have to be Multiformat in the NTSC country, as well as the TV or display playing it. That's quite a risk to take, and I wouldn't recommend it.
If you master your disk at 23.98p however, it will be interlaced by the player to either 30 or 25 interlaced fps. This is how Hollywood films are mastered (23.98p is the video equivalent of 24p used in cinema with a small conform to alter the speed a fraction) - and means your project will play fine in either region. A progressive DVD player (most of them these days) will even give a better picture via Component or RGB scart. This noticeably improves the quality of your DVDs (which are pretty shoddy otherwise).
This is a great solution if you have not mastered or shot yet. If you've already shot video at 50i (25fps) then you should get a conversion made (or use something like Natress's standards converter) to an NTSC frame rate, and re-encode the disk for NTSC regions.
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Ben, your post on this topic was really useful – thanks very much – and I wonder if you could help me clarify a few things.
I am just completing a project for distribution in both PAL and NTSC regions on both DVD and Blu Ray. My project was shot in widescreen HDV.
1) If I understand correctly, you are suggesting I re-export my project at 23.98p and then both PAL and NTSC DVD players will be able to play DVDs mastered using this export. Have I understood this correctly?
2) How concerned do I need to be about the active pixel size? Should I prefer 720x576 for PAL or 720x480 for NTSC? Can NTSC DVD players cope with 720x576 pixels?
Ideally, I would like one DVD to play worldwide, though if customers in different countries would get significantly better products if PAL and NTSC versions were created specifically for them then I will do that.
3) How do the above discussions relate to Blu Ray discs? Should I stick with 23.98p for Blu Ray as well? And, what about the active pixels? Do I stick with 1920x1080 for both PAL and NTSC customers?