Authoring region-free 24p DVD
I am about to produce a nature film, shot by myself using timelapse techniques and regular 1920x1080 24p (23.976) using DSLR in 1.78:1 (16:9 widescreen).
My goal is to distribute/sell this worldwide, region free, on both Blu-Ray and DVD, and combos.
The source footage is/will be 1920x1080 24p (23.976).
I am using Adobe CS6 suite (After Effects/Premiere/Encore)
From what I understand most (95%) of 24p Blu-Rays are done in 23.976p and not 24.000p.
Hence, as for Blu-Ray it should be pretty straight forward encoding and authoring it in 1080 24p (23.976).
For the DVD however I am a little unsure.
I know that I do NOT want to go through the hassle of converting 24p to 29.97 for NTSC and 25p for PAL. The DVD will be region-free, and we are in 2013 now, in the days of 16:9 HDTV's! - And from what I understand, most new DVD players today, both NTSC and PAL players, are capable of playing back progressive 24p/23.976p, or convert on the fly in the unlikely event that an old tube 4:3 TV is connected.
The few with older DVD players incapable of playing back 24p I do not care about. A new 24p progressive scan capable DVD player cost less than USD$30 today, and the work and time involved for me to reach the ones with very old non progressive DVD players, I consider is not worth all the extra effort, which involves a LOT of extra authoring/encoding time, 2(3) versions of the DVD, extra productions cost, etc etc etc..
Q1: So, for DVD, will then 24.000P or 23.976 be best?
Q2: Are there any other significant factors to consider for DVD?
(I know the down-conversion from 1080 to 480 (DVD) in Encore/Adobe is bad quality, so I have to use other software to ensure best possible DVD quality). The best will be if I do not have to convert frame rates from the source footage for the DVD, so I would prefer to go with 23.976p all the way.
I also know that to be able to send the Encore ISO image to production I need another conversion program, which will convert the Encore ISO, which I will buy.
A side question: Are there any recommended companies in the US that will be able to produce Blu-Rays/DVDs, and combos? (And maybe even ship these for you on request)
I'm working on a similar project right now. Downconvert your 1080/23.976P HD to NTSC by whatever high quality method available. The key to making this work is to encode the NTSC using an advanced encoder that has IVT - Inverse Telecine, which flags the unneeded field in the 3:2 pulldown. The DVD player can output 24P from an IVT encode if it is connected to a display that supports 24P video, otherwise it outputs standard NTSC with 3:2 pulldown. (Note that there is no support for a 24P video stream in DVD.)
AME and Compressor do not have IVT capability. We use a Sonic SD-2000 encoder.
Senior Editor/DVD Author
New York City
Bill, thanks for your reply.
(For 24p i now mean 23.976p.)
I have done some more reading, and if I understand this, and you correct;
A DVD player can read 24p footage, but never output native 24p. But the trick is to get the DVD player to do the necessary conversion on the fly.
And the best is to author the DVD in NTSC 24p region free. The encoder should insert neseccary flags (Encore/TMPEnc/AVIsynth etc.). Then ALL DVD players world wide should be able to playbak 24p footage @29,97fps progressive (Although my Samsung LED HDTV shows the 24p DVD footage as 59,94 when played back from my Samsung Blu-Ray/DVD player)
The whole point for me is to avoid unecessary work by doing any kind of conversion for the DVD, and let the DVD player do the conversion when playing back the DVD. Also this will ensure the DVD will play back correctly in both NTSC and PAL land..
Please note that a "24P" DVD is actually an NTSC DVD with the redundant fields flagged in the encode so that the DVD player can output 24P if the display can accept that format. Also, because NTSC is 29.97fps, the "24P" actually plays at 23.976P.
Beware that the NTSC/PAL issue has not gone away entirely. My clients in Europe tell me that compatibility with NTSC DVD on PAL players and TVs is about 75-80%.
It is a standard feature of NTSC DVD players to strip 3:2 pulldown, but I do not know how (or if) PAL DVD players handle these discs. I have dual-standard DVD players in-house, and these play the 24P DVDs correctly; but I have not tested on a PAL-only DVD player.
Please test thoroughly before proceeding with a big release involving PAL countries in order to avoid unexpected playback issues.
Senior Editor/DVD Author
New York City
Thanks for your input Bill!
I will test on PAL players.
Too bad however I have to use NTSC with 720x480, PAL has about 100 lines better vertical resolution! :(
Hence, I wish I could render the DVD out in 24p (23.976) regionfree PAL 720x576, and that it was possible to play back these discs in NTSC land.
Will see, if necessary I will consider a PAL version as well, however, I think I can live with 75-80% compatibility.
I am in a similar situation and mindset (where I don't care about people with 15-20-year old DVD players) and would really like to keep everything at 24p throughout the mastering process, and have it played back at 24p. Considering most displays are 24p capable these days (I think), it doesn't seem an unreasonable request, eh?
Anyway, I just wanted to make sure I was understanding your's and Bill's final conclusion. Am I right in understanding that I can simply go ahead an encode an elementary stream (.m2v / ac3) to a 720x480 24P format? I can than author the DVD with this format and the DVD players (or most of them) will play back with the 24p by decoding it correctly themselves? Is this accurate? Or do I still need something that inserts the proper flags?