I'm sure this is an often asked question, but I'm having trouble finding a definitive answer.
Unfortunately my camera (Sony HVR Z1U) doesn't shoot at 24p and I am working on a very limited budget. I am considering shooting in PAL as an alternative.
The short film I am working on is with students from a local school and there is a possibility it will be used in student film festivals both in the USA and abroad. There is also the slight chance it will be transferred to film (24fps).
I typically have shot in NTSC (all video formats) and I used to shoot a lot of 16mm (in those far off days).
I understand that shooting PAL at 25fps will give me a slightly more film-like look and will also make any transfer to film simpler.
So, given that I want the best picture quality from a fairly limited (but decent) camera that will survive the degradation of editing and NTSC transfer am I bet to stick with NTSC format or shoot PAL?
Many folks plan to "filmout" their projects but very few do. Unless your "film" will be marketed and distributed to conventional cinemas there will be no need to do so. To get a film look for digital projection or DVD release is of course another matter and the principal reason why most people shoot at 24.
With your camera that does not offer this frame rate you really have two other choices; 25fps as you mention and 30p. You can shoot and edit in 25fps and convert to 24 at the end, but it will affect the actual time length and audio pitch which probably will not be noticeable. For that matter, every movie that is shot in 50Hz country at 25fps on film has to make the same correction when shown in America (or else just plays a little slow).
Another choice is to shoot at 30 (really 29.97) fps, this will result in a more seamless workflow and still have a very filmic look. Of course actual filmout will not be very effective, but you must consider how realistic that option is.
In both cases (25 and 30) make sure the shutter is on and at 180 degrees to give you 1/50th or 1/60th of a second exposure to best recreate the motion effect of shooting film.
If you do decide to try 25, please test the complete process to completion to make sure your NLE platform will perform as expected.
Another option is to beg, borrow or rent a camera that does shoot true 24 (23.97).