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Audio for PAL to NTSC short film conversion

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Sarah Davis
Audio for PAL to NTSC short film conversion
on Nov 3, 2011 at 7:45:11 am

Hello,

I have been doing a lot of reading on creative cow forums and others about PAL to NTSC conversion and have learnt a lot but have an issue with the audio and would be grateful for some help.

I want to make an NTSC DVD of a 1080 25p short film I have made. It's for film festival entries. If the films gets into a festival I will get a hardware conversion done as I know this will yield the best quality.

I have a 25fps 1080p master which I have taken into Apple Cinema Tools to do a frame rate conversion to 29.97.

I have taken the video into compressor 3.5 and created an MPEG2 and it looks ok.

Cinema tools was no use for the audio adjustment as it adjusted the sampling rate which kept everything in synch but is a non standard rate - 57.54KHz

I would be grateful on any advice about what to do with the audio. I have Soundtrack Pro but am not an experienced user and have had no luck jumping and trying things without some expert advice.

The short film is a drama and has synch dialogue and a fair bit of music so lip synch, speed and pitch are important.

Any help would be very much appreciated.

Thank you,

Sarah


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Mark Spano
Re: Audio for PAL to NTSC short film conversion
on Nov 3, 2011 at 9:39:13 pm

[Sarah Davis] "speed and pitch are important"

If that is the case, then abandon what you've already started. Cinema Tools does not do frame rate conversion. It does conform. Conform basically just tells the file to play back at a different speed. So now your 25fps file is playing back at 29.97fps, so it is playing back faster. Check the total running time. Much less I bet. So speed/pitch are not going to be accurate with this method. If you listen to the audio, it's in squeaky voice land.

What you need is the hardware conversion you alluded to. This will be the best. However, if you're looking for "good enough for now", then you should use Compressor. Compressor will allow you to transcode, and with optical flow, it will create the frames in between to get you to 29.97 with the same running time. Audio is not touched at all, naturally, since you're keeping the same running time.

You want to create a preset in Compressor that changes frame rate, using Frame Controls to engage optical flow to retime your video from 25fps to 29.97fps. If you need help with a preset, I can probably whip one up and pass it along. Be prepared for the processing to take a while, as retiming takes a while in software.



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Sarah Davis
Re: Audio for PAL to NTSC short film conversion
on Nov 3, 2011 at 9:55:58 pm

Hi Mark,

Thank you so much!

That is such a clear explanation of what is going on and what needs to happen. I think I will be ok with the settings. Thank you for the offer.

Will set it up to run overnight and will let the forum know how it goes.

I am very grateful for your help.

Cheers,

Sarah


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Sarah Davis
Re: Audio for PAL to NTSC short film conversion
on Nov 6, 2011 at 12:02:31 am

Hi,

Reporting back in after trying Mark's excellent advice.

Looks very good and, of course, sounds great and all in synch. One issue is that there is a flash to colour bars near the beginning which I guess is compressor's way of saying - "on no lost the plot for a moment". No other visual issues at all.

I realise that this is not the forum for discussing visuals, but Mark, since you are so knowledgeable about the visual side of things, I was wondering if you had any ideas about how to fix this issue.

The encoding took 3 hours, which surprised me as when I was making the PAL mpeg it took about 10 hours - the film is 19 minutes long.

Wondering if I should do the NTSC conversion to the same master format as the PAL master I am working from and then do the mpeg version?

I have included screenshots of my settings.








Anyway, Mark you have solved the problem I was having with the audio and I am very grateful for that.

Cheers,

Sarah


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Mark Spano
Re: Audio for PAL to NTSC short film conversion
on Nov 6, 2011 at 5:16:45 am

[Sarah Davis] "One issue is that there is a flash to colour bars near the beginning which I guess is compressor's way of saying - "on no lost the plot for a moment". No other visual issues at all."

Yeah I have seen slight visual issues like the one you describe. They are rare and usually only crop up near the beginning or end. I usually bring the resulting file into FCP to do a QC check anyway, and excise any errant frames like that. It's definitely a good idea to watch it down to check.

[Sarah Davis] "Wondering if I should do the NTSC conversion to the same master format as the PAL master I am working from and then do the mpeg version?"

If you're saying that you think you should make the DVD from the new 29.97 master file, then I agree. Compressor is happier to do one thing at a time, so doing a straight MPEG encode from the new file will be relatively quick. Your settings look OK, but think about setting the frame controls to best resize and fast everything else, since you've already handled the retiming and there is no deinterlacing necessary. Everything else is good.



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Sarah Davis
Re: Audio for PAL to NTSC short film conversion
on Nov 7, 2011 at 9:05:46 am

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your reply. I did what you advised and got rid of the offending frame in FCP.

All good, NTSC DVD happiness! Thank you so much for your help. You saved me.

Sarah


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Mark Spano
Re: Audio for PAL to NTSC short film conversion
on Nov 7, 2011 at 3:01:43 pm

You're welcome - glad to hear it.



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