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NTSC to WMV in PAL land

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Jim Cunningham
NTSC to WMV in PAL land
on Jan 9, 2010 at 4:55:06 pm

I will be shooting in Europe and need to edit and screen videos that will be shot on site. Initially I was thinking of just renting a PAL camera & lighting package and doing the whole project in PAL. However, I was wondering if I shot in NTSC with my own camera (HVX200 P2 720pn, using flicker free LED lights - Litepanels) and created WMV files of the masters; then connected a laptop to the projector to screen the videos, are there problems with this type of work flow. (aspect ratio, etc.)

Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,


Jim



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Walter Soyka
Re: NTSC to WMV in PAL land
on Jan 11, 2010 at 1:03:33 pm

If you shoot in NTSC and display in PAL, your frame rates will be different, so your 30 fps video will appear to stutter.

If you cannot shoot natively in PAL, you might consider a 24p workflow, where the final output is sped up about 4% to match the PAL frame rate. You could try a sample clip to see if speed change will impact your footage too much.

You could also look into a software-based standards converter. If you're using FCP, I'd recommend Nattress Standards Conversion.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jim Cunningham
Re: NTSC to WMV in PAL land
on Jan 19, 2010 at 1:57:48 pm

Walter,

Thanks for your input; and I had planned to shot in 720pn.

However, since I would be playing back from a computer to a projector does the difference in (NTSC/PAL) frame rates matter? Won't the computer & projector conform to the 29.97fps (w/ drop-down) of the original footage? Or is there something inherent in the European projectors (50hz power) that would force them to clock at 25fps?

Cheers,

Jim





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Walter Soyka
Re: NTSC to WMV in PAL land
on Jan 19, 2010 at 4:00:03 pm

It's not the difference between NTSC and PAL frame rates that matters; it's the difference between your media frame rate and output display refresh rate that matter.

European video gear will likely run at 50 Hz (possibly 75 Hz), and your computer's refresh rate should be set to match the output refresh rate. That means your output will be sampling your video 50 times per second, while your video runs at 23.976, 24, 29.97, or 59.94 fps, depending on your standard.

Your computer's video card will not add pull-down automatically; you would need your software to have this feature.

Are you connecting directly to the projector, or are you going through a switcher? Is the switcher PAL, HD, or multi-format hi-res?

I just did a project where we showed 23.976 media on a 59.94 Hz system; it was tolerable, but a little jerky.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jim Cunningham
Re: NTSC to WMV in PAL land
on Jan 20, 2010 at 3:57:31 pm

Walter,

We are still fleshing out the specifics of this project, so nothing is set yet.

If we shoot the vignettes in NTSC, I would use my HVX200, 720pn, edit in FCP7 w/ pull down (29.97) and output in wmv. Playing the wmv file from a laptop to the projector. (If I have the time I would consider trans-coding to PAL (Episode 5.3), but the turn around time might be too short for the render process.)

I guess a question would be, will the projector/computer reset its refresh rate to accommodate the video? I have played PAL footage files (wmv, QT) on my laptop in the States and did not notice anything unusual.
I have not, however, hooked my laptop up to a projector and viewed the results.

The other plan would be to rent PAL gear there, edit PAL in FCP7 and master to tape or wmv and project.

The reason for shooting in NTSC; I already own the gear, and we might use the interviews for future projects. It would be more convenient to have NTSC back in the States.

Thanks for any insights.

Cheers,

Jim



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Walter Soyka
Re: NTSC to WMV in PAL land
on Jan 20, 2010 at 8:26:06 pm

I think we're making this more complicated than it needs to be.

I'd shoot at 23.976/24p and edit at 23.976/24p, as this is about as close to the universal frame rate as we'll get. Avoid 29.97 with pull-down at this stage.

On-site in Europe, export your finished 23.976/24p timeline as a self-contained movie. Use Cinema Tools to conform the clip to 25 fps. This takes seconds to do. The clip is now about 4% faster. If the pitch change absolutely kills you, reimport the conformed clip into FCP, add the AUPitch audio filter, and set the pitch value to about -90.

Not only will your projection be flawless on 50 Hz systems, but you can now deliver to a European HD video standard.

Back in the States, keep it at 24p if you're going to NTSC DVD or Blu-ray; only add pull-down to 29.97 if you need to for tape or broadcast.

Keeping your footage "universal" like this will give you the most flexible for delivery or re-use later.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jim Cunningham
Re: NTSC to WMV in PAL land
on Jan 22, 2010 at 12:48:26 pm

Thanks Walter

Cheers,

Jim



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Walter Soyka
Re: NTSC to WMV in PAL land
on Jan 22, 2010 at 5:15:11 pm

You're welcome, Jim -- I hope I was able to add some value.

We'd love to hear back once your event is done about how you solved your workflow challenges and what kind of results you saw.

Thanks!

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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