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Converting PAL to NTSC for editing

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Heather Duncan
Converting PAL to NTSC for editing
on Sep 8, 2011 at 9:13:10 pm

Ok, so I have a british TV pilot that I am recutting for US airing. The raw footage is in HDV 1080i50, 25fps and size 1440x1080. I am looking to edit this in FCP and output as an Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), 23.98 fps and the same size. I have to admit I am not very familiar converting PAL formats and need a little help. Should I put them through compressor to convert them before I bring the clips into FCP? What settings would I use in compressor to do this? Should I finalize the edit in FCP and then run the final through compressor to change the fps/codec? Or can I edit in FCP and then output them in the format I want through Final Cut?? If anyone has a recommendation I would greatly appreciate it, thanks!


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John Pale
Re: Converting PAL to NTSC for editing
on Sep 8, 2011 at 11:35:00 pm

Edit in PAL. Use the ProRes 422 preset in Compressor. (You don't need HQ for this)
The preset will base everything off the source resolution and frame rate, so go to the Geometry Pane, and change the Frame Size to 1920 x 1080, and change the Pixel Aspect to Square. You may wish to go to the Frame Controls and change the Resize to Better or Best, however for this type of scaling, it will probably be unnecessary.

After editing, send your master out to a dub house to be converted to NTSC for delivery. Find one that uses an Alchemist, if possible.


If this is a no-budget thing, you can export your final PAL timeline as a Quicktime and bring that into Compressor. Then use the Pro Res preset once again, but change the frame rate to 29.97. Then go to the Frame Controls and set the Rate Conversion to Best.

Again...for broadcast delivery, I do not recommend software standard conversion unless this is a zero budget production. You will get the best quality using hardware made for the task.


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Sam Cole
Re: Converting PAL to NTSC for editing
on Sep 9, 2011 at 12:12:51 am

[John Pale] "Then go to the Frame Controls and set the Rate Conversion to Best."

ALSO - set 'motion compensation' to the 2nd highest setting and be prepared for a long conversion time.

Sam Cole
On line Mastering Facility
FCP, Avid, Adobe
Sydney, Australia


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