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PAL to NTSC in FCP settings

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tom bailey
PAL to NTSC in FCP settings
on Feb 10, 2013 at 9:58:45 pm

Hi there,

I have an uncompressed .AVI export of a short film that I am try to convert to NTSC.
I've been reading around on how to convert using various programs, like compressor,etc but I don't have these and I'm skint. I'm just worried because i can't test this... just wanted to run my settings by people for NTSC export from FCP:

>In quicktime conversion
Compression: None
frame rate: 23.98 (Can i set this manually?)
dimensions: 720x480

Is there any lo-fi way to test that this NTSC dvd will work?- considering I have a UK (PAL) setup?

Many thanks!


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Neil Patience
Re: PAL to NTSC in FCP settings
on Feb 10, 2013 at 10:53:17 pm

You cant simply put your PAL master into a NTSC sequence and let it render that out and export. FCP will make a total mess of that and you will get all kinds of frame skipping and other visual issues.
Probably the cheapest option outside of Compressor is the Nattress standards convertor plug-in. I don't think there is a demo version but it is $100US which is about £65.
http://www.nattress.com/Products/standardsconversion/standardsconversion.ht...

I have not seen a free plug-in or other software to do this. Maybe someone else has a suggestion there ?

Most PAL DVD players will happily play NTSC DVD's and as long as your TV is not too ancient likelihood is that will switch too, but without proper conversion you are going to end up in trouble with that one.

best wishes
Neil
http://www.patience.tv

8 Core MacPro, Kona 3, Tangent Wave, Mackie Universal Symphony 6.5 FCP7
i7 2.7 Gig MBP (non retina) 16Gigs Ram Blackmagic Monitor Mini Symphony 6.5 FCP7


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Steve Eisen
Re: PAL to NTSC in FCP settings
on Feb 10, 2013 at 11:55:42 pm

[Neil Patience] "I have not seen a free plug-in or other software to do this. Maybe someone else has a suggestion there ?"

Compressor can do it but Nattress plug in does a better job.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Creative Pro Users Group


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Neil Patience
Re: PAL to NTSC in FCP settings
on Feb 11, 2013 at 12:12:34 am

[Steve Eisen] "Compressor can do it but Nattress plug in does a better job."

Totally agree with Steve, the only reason I did not mention Compressor in my post was that Tom said he did not have it.

It would be even cheaper to buy Compressor 4 at £34.99 however it is designed for use with FCPX, While I am pretty sure it does not directly interface with FCP7 maybe you can use it as a standalone App ? I don't know the answer there again others will.

If thats a possibility make sure your hardware is up to running it first though.

best wishes
Neil
http://www.patience.tv

8 Core MacPro, Kona 3, Tangent Wave, Mackie Universal Symphony 6.5 FCP7
i7 2.7 Gig MBP (non retina) 16Gigs Ram Blackmagic Monitor Mini Symphony 6.5 FCP7


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tom bailey
Re: PAL to NTSC in FCP settings
on Feb 11, 2013 at 12:34:39 am

Hi both,
Thanks very much for your responses. I'll look into compressor again, the reviews of it said it was really bad and complicated to work out... which didn't sound inviting! I'll check it out again.

Do you guys know if it does infact works stand alone? and would earlier versions of compressor work if i can find one?

Thanks for your responses.


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Neil Patience
Re: PAL to NTSC in FCP settings
on Feb 11, 2013 at 1:01:04 am

Hi Tom

Compressor is not that hard to work out, there are many tutorials available.

Which version of FCP do you have ? If it is 7 then Compressor should be bundled in that software its not a standalone purchase the version for that is 3.5.3

I would have thought Compressor 4 would work as a standalone App, although it is designed to be integrated with FCPX not FCP7 - what probably wont work is the ability to simply "Send to Compressor" from FCP7 directly.

As I said though I am not clear on that so maybe someone else can confirm.

Here is a link to how to use the frame controls in compressor 3 for standards conversion

http://documentation.apple.com/en/compressor/usermanual/#chapter=23%26secti...

best wishes
Neil
http://www.patience.tv

8 Core MacPro, Kona 3, Tangent Wave, Mackie Universal Symphony 6.5 FCP7
i7 2.7 Gig MBP (non retina) 16Gigs Ram Blackmagic Monitor Mini Symphony 6.5 FCP7


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Massimo Alberto Croce
Re: PAL to NTSC in FCP settings
on Feb 11, 2013 at 9:05:23 am

Totally agree with Neil. Frame control do a good job.

Massimo Alberto Croce
Video Editor, Colorist, Pro Tools Editor
massimoalberto.croce@gmail.com


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tom bailey
Re: PAL to NTSC in FCP settings
on Feb 11, 2013 at 9:45:31 am

Hi Everyone.

Compressor it is then, I'll get on with that today. Thank you all for your time!

Bailey.


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tom bailey
Re: PAL to NTSC in FCP settings
on Feb 12, 2013 at 2:10:13 am

Hi Guys,
I've got compressor 4 now. I've been trying to find the best method of converting 25fps PAL to 23.98 NTSC, but having trouble.
In frame control> retiming controls>'set duration to'> you can drop down 'of source' and pick some preset, but none of these options include when the original media at 25fps.
Has anyone got any tips on where i should be looking?


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tom bailey
Re: PAL to NTSC in FCP settings
on Feb 12, 2013 at 11:59:00 am

I've been reading that cinema tools is able to conform the frame rate, but it seems I might have to do a conversion first- can anyone tell me what the settings are for this and the workflow in compressor?

My biggest issue is that its all very well trying these DIY solutions, but I don't know how to check its worked! (I don't have access to an NTSC dvd player).
Will it look a certain way (is it to do with how the frames run together)? How can i tell its right?

Thanks.


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Neil Patience
Re: PAL to NTSC in FCP settings
on Feb 12, 2013 at 9:39:17 pm

If you have cinema tools ( I perhaps wrongly assumed you only had FCP to do this) you can conform the frame rate. You will need to first make sure you have a ProRes master file. You can use Compressor or download MPEG Streamclip (free) to create this. This file will still be 25fps. You can then use cinema tools to conform this file to another frame rate. Its instant because all it does is re-write the metadata in the file that controls the speed. The conversion will be clean in terms of picture quality however the audio will change pitch.
So you are then in a situation where you need to re-pitch the audio without changing the duration so it stays in sync.

It is possible to do this, I think Logic can do it and there is also a programme called Audacity, which I think is free, that can alter pitch. I have not actually tried this but there will be posts here having done it for sure.
I have never had to make an NTSC DVD from a PAL file so I cant advise you on the workflow for that sadly or if this is going to be a proper way to attack it.

You should be able to test the NTSC DVD by playing in on your Mac. I believe it should be 29.97 frames/sec and 720x480 in terms of frame size. However Compressor will have a preset for an NTSC DVD that should work just fine as long as the file you use to create it is correct.

best wishes
Neil
http://www.patience.tv

8 Core MacPro, Kona 3, Tangent Wave, Mackie Universal Symphony 6.5 FCP7
i7 2.7 Gig MBP (non retina) 16Gigs Ram Blackmagic Monitor Mini Symphony 6.5 FCP7


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tom bailey
Re: PAL to NTSC in FCP settings
on Feb 13, 2013 at 12:51:48 am

Thanks Neil! I'll try this.

I just want to ask more specifically about testing the NTSC dvd once its burned- Both PAL and NTSC work on Mac's- so if it plays in a Mac, i still don't know if it will work on (just) NTSC dvd players in the U.S.

It seems like it is possible to change the frame rate but get it 'wrong': for example I've been told in this thread that is wrong the just change the frame rate in FCP- but how will i know its gone wrong- is it something you can judge by eye, does it play wrong?
or how else can i judge it?

Thanks.


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Neil Patience
Re: PAL to NTSC in FCP settings
on Feb 13, 2013 at 6:58:41 am

Hi Tom

Most UK Pal DVD players will play NTSC DVDs equally most TVs, unless ancient, will switch to NTSC. If your TV has one of those on screen displays that pop up and say "1080p" or "Pal" etc then it should tell you your disk is NTSC. You can laos play it in your Mac but thats really all the testing you can do.

[tom bailey] "It seems like it is possible to change the frame rate but get it 'wrong': for example I've been told in this thread that is wrong the just change the frame rate in FCP"

OK to do a proper standards conversion from PAL to NTSC you would use a hardware standards convertor. You will see names like Snell and Wilcox and Tennerex mentioned in this regard. This correctly adjusts the frame rate and line structure of the signal to go from 625 PAL at 25 frames to 525NTSC at 29.97 frames in the case of standard def TV which your DVD will be. It is more complex than simply changing the frame rate.

FCP is incapable of doing this conversion correctly on its own. It does not process the frames in the correct way so although, in theory, you are changing the frame rate the structure within that is all messed up. You will not get a smooth playback it will be obvious.

This is why you need additional software like Nattress or Compressor in order to make this conversion correctly. In doing this the audio is also correctly adjusted so that it remains in sync. These software convertors will never be as good as a proper hardware conversion but they do an "OK" job some slightly better than others.

Cinema Tools is a kind of odd one in that all it does is to change the flag that controls the frame rate in the quick time file. It literally tells it to play at a different speed. While this does not result in any problems with the picture, apart from the obvious speeding up or slowing down, which may or may not be acceptable. It also changes the pitch of the audio. So you need to correct that.

I hope that helps

best wishes
Neil
http://www.patience.tv

8 Core MacPro, Kona 3, Tangent Wave, Mackie Universal Symphony 6.5 FCP7
i7 2.7 Gig MBP (non retina) 16Gigs Ram Blackmagic Monitor Mini Symphony 6.5 FCP7


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tom bailey
Re: PAL to NTSC in FCP settings
on Feb 13, 2013 at 9:52:55 am

Thats fantastic Neil, really helpful! So i will be able to see if it works in the playback.

I have just run a test in cinema tools it looks good to me, i'll sort out the audio somehow- thanks neil!

Bailey.


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