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International standards question

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Nick Griffin
International standards question
on Feb 14, 2007 at 9:07:57 pm

Hey, guys. Got a question for those of you with NTSC to PAL experience.

I'm producing a short industrial which will be shown as part of a speech at a trade conference in Sydney next month. Since it's all being shot and edited here, it's being done in good old SD NTSC. (OK, it didn't seem economically sensible to do anything else since our cameras and main mastering deck are NTSC.) Now the question becomes showing it and the need to (or not to) up-sample / convert to PAL.

My client is under the impression that he wants to play the show either off hard disk or DVD from his laptop which will also contain his Powerpoint show which will go in the front and back of the video. His logic is that this will avoid any standards issues.

My first question is: Do the data projectors into which the laptop is plugged observe PAL/NTSC or are they some form of progressive scan that will take any digital output? If so, will the 50/60 hz difference make anything unpleasant?

How prevalent are multi-standard DVD players down under? We've had DVDs mastered in America play just fine in Europe (or so I'm told). Will a multi-standard player provide the proper feed to a data projector?

I've done international work several times before but it was primarily intended for NTSC consumption. The few times we've converted a finished show to PAL -- even with expensive motion-corrected transfers -- I've always been greatly disapointed by the image degradation.

Thanks for any ideas/input you can provide on any of the above.

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Re: International standards question
on Mar 12, 2007 at 4:26:44 pm

Ok let's take these questions one at a time. the projector. A computer, unlike a standard tv, has a varible refresh rate. Computer DVD players don't really care at all about PAL vs NTSC. Region coding for commerical DVDs can be an issue but all computer DVD players are capable of playing either format. You didn't specifiy how the projector was getting hooked up to the computer though. You'd need to find out more on the specs of the projector and it's setup to definately know if it will work.

Multi-Standard DVD players aren't that hard to find but may cost a bit more. You had luck in Europe because the majority of PAL DVD players will play back NTSC DVDs. The playback quality can vary from player to player however. Almost no native NTSC players will be able to play PAL though.

As far as the transfers go a good post facility that specilaizes in standards conversion should be able to give you a high quality copy. Be sure to always give them the best quality master you have. If you give them a DVD as a source expect to get junk because you're going from a low-quality compressed file. Digi-Beta is always a solid choice. Even if you have to rent a deck for a day to output it'll be worth it in the long run. Standards conversions aren't a place to skimp and try to save a few dollars. Also learn to ask questions like how many fields thier converters are and if they're doing an SDI, component or composite level transfer. Places that avoid the questions probably aren't using good converters.

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