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OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)

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Emery
OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 25, 2005 at 5:12:44 am

Im doing a show that will be played all around the world and Im wondering what kind of pitfalls I might run into.

Ive been doing a little research and there seems to be many flavors of PAL (b, g, h etc).

Final delivery will be on DVD and I need to make sure each one I make will work everywhere.

Obviously this means making three versions... or does it mean making 10 versions?

I need to cover all the major countries, which I feel can be done with just PAL and NTSC. But France and Russia use SECAM?

So my question is, how many formats (or flavors) are out there?

Does a PAL dvd work with every flavor of PAL dvd player and television?

All the post will be done in HD (probably DVCPRO HD 720p @ 23.98 fps).

Thanks,
Emery

This was cross posted in broadcast design by accident... sorry


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Graeme Nattress
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 25, 2005 at 3:58:51 pm

There are only "PAL" and "NTSC" on DVD. There is no SECAM. With regards to PAL and NTSC, they're really transmission formats and hence the formats supported by DVD are 720x480 @ 23.98fps (NTSC 24p), 720x480 @ 29.97fps (NTSC) & 720x576 @ 25fps (PAL). I think there's also a PAL 24p format. So really, you only need two versions, 720x480@29.97fps and 720x576@25fps. Unless it's all from a film source, when you might be better off with the 24p option. It works great on NTSC, but I've never made a PAL 24p DVD.

Graeme

- http://www.nattress.com - Film Effects for FCP


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Barend Onneweer
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 25, 2005 at 6:36:53 pm

I've never seen (ore heard of) 24fps PAL - if that's to anyones interest.

As for SECAM: it's a broadcast standard. But the all the material fed into the SECAM broadcast is PAL. In France all DVD's are PAL.

Bar3nd

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Emery
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 25, 2005 at 6:47:05 pm

Thanks Barend, I was just aasking that question below.

so if im shooting with the Varicam @ 23.98 fps and make an NTSC 24p DVD and a PAL25p DVD i should cover all ground correct?

As far as I know there is no compatibility issue with 24p vs 29.97, is there?

I usually make NTSC 24p dvd's and have never run into compatability issues but this is the first project Ive done that will have thousands of discs sent all around the world so I just want to make sure.

Emery


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Graeme Nattress
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 25, 2005 at 7:07:22 pm

A 24p DVD sounds great. I think, according to the DVD SP3 manual, there's a way to also make a PAl 24p DVD, and the player itself will speed it up to 25fps for you. I'd personally just use Cinema Tools to speed up (conform) to 25fps with the HD media and do a seperate PAL downconvert from that.

Graeme

- http://www.nattress.com - Film Effects for FCP


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Emery
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 25, 2005 at 7:33:43 pm

thanks graeme, your always a great source of information. Im doing research on a number of tools that could do the downconvert, including your FC plug-ins, compressor, and algoliths HQV processing board.

Emery


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Emery
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 25, 2005 at 7:40:09 pm

actually i guess your standards conversion wouldnt necessarily apply to this situation.


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Graeme Nattress
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 25, 2005 at 10:34:23 pm

No, you can just conform 24p to 25p in Cinema Tools. Works great.

Graeme

- http://www.nattress.com - Film Effects for FCP


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Borjis
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 25, 2005 at 6:32:23 pm



Most pal DVD players can play NTSC discs if they are region free (DVD-+R is)
and if the TV set was made in the last 10 years (PAL 60 mode). NTSC won't play pal though.

I've made quite a few NTSC discs for our international clients and no troubles were reported on playback in europe.


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Emery
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 25, 2005 at 6:41:13 pm

Borjis are you telling me any failry new PAL tv can display an NTSC signal?

The audience for this project is an older group and I cant risk a compatibility issue so I guess my best bet is to make an NTSC and PAL version.

What are commercial DVDs mastered in for PAL countries? PAL right? What about countries like France and Russia that use SECAM, i imagine their displays and dvd players can handle an NTSC signal? Is a PAL or NTSC DVD better for SECAM countries?

All the dvds will be burned region 0 by the way


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Borjis
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 25, 2005 at 7:11:48 pm

>> Borjis are you telling me any failry new PAL tv can display an NTSC signal?

YES, but the signal MUST originate from a PAL player to make it work.



It's my understanding the tolerances between SECAM and PAL are pretty close.


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Daniel Weber
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 25, 2005 at 7:31:39 pm

I have made lots of DVD's for International use. We make NTSC DVD's because like Borjis said, most PAL dvd players can play NTSC discs. It is only the NTSC players in the states that can't do the conversion.

From what I have been told, if the DVD player was made in the past couple of years, it can handle NTSC discs. Just make sure that they are region encoded for all the world regions. This is more important than NTSC/PAL format.

Dan Weber



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Graeme Nattress
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 25, 2005 at 10:34:56 pm

All region 2 players can play NTSC and PAL as Japan and Europe are region 2.

Graeme

- http://www.nattress.com - Film Effects for FCP


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B.J. Ahlen
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 25, 2005 at 11:14:24 pm

...and in Europe even the top Japanese brands offer region-free players since years...

I'm intimately familiar with the reasons for doing regions in the first place (I have been on both sides business-wise), but I think this is a concept that is rapidly becoming obsolete.

The idea used to be that it was necessary to have an exclusive territory for each distributor. The distributor would pay a lot of cash upfront, handle translation for dubbing or subtitles, commit to high sales targets, etc.

Today people see prices in other countries, and they think "why should I wait 6-12 months to pay $40 for a localized version of a film on DVD, when I can buy it with an English soundtrack immmediately for $15, with delivery in a few days via air mail?"


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Graeme Nattress
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 26, 2005 at 9:56:54 am

It's not just that. The original idea was for regions to only protect first releases to make sure that people got the chance to see the movie in the cinema before the DVD was in the stores. Now the DVD is making more money than the cinema release, and even ancient back-catalogue DVDs have region codes.

However, there are some excellent companies in the UK that remaster, restore and release classic British television (Network Video comes to mind as a great example) and their discs are PAL, but not region coded at all. Now that just makes total sense, does it not?

Graeme

- http://www.nattress.com - Film Effects for FCP


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Emery
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 26, 2005 at 10:55:20 am

Graeme, perhaps im dense but it seems as though everyone is saying you can basically use NTSC as a universal format. But am I correct in assuming having a PAL version for PAL and SECAM countries is the "safest" way to go?

As I understand things based on the posts, most European dvd players work fine with NTSC, ok great. But then they also need to have a compatible television set correct? Some one above mentioned that almost all televisions built in the past 10 years can display NTSC, is that the final aswer on the subject?

As I mentioned my audience is older and will most likely have some older equipment.

Oh by the way, is it possible to use the hardware downconvert out of the decklink without going to tape? Or can you loop it's output back into itself? Am i way off base here or is that plausible? Is it better to go straight from the HD source into mpeg2 using a software solution or am I better off using the superior hardware downconvert and then encoding to mpeg2?


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Graeme Nattress
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 26, 2005 at 11:02:08 am

NTSC will play on any Region 1 (North America) or Region 2 (Europe and Japan) player. I don't know about the rest of the world. However, the rest of the world will either be PAL or NTSC when it comes to DVD there are no other formats.

You are right that it's the TV where the incompatibility lies in Europe. Most TVs work fine, but not all.

For safety and courtesy I would make a PAL and an NTSC version.

For conversion, you're 24p right - if you can cope with a 4% speed up, just conform to 25p in Cinema Tools for PAL, and I'd just use decent software MPEG2 compression.

Graeme

- http://www.nattress.com - Film Effects for FCP


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Borjis
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 26, 2005 at 9:16:38 pm



If you already have the files as captured .avi or .mov movies
I would just convert them with procoder 2.

I converted some PAL footage to NTSC and the whole picture
looked completely perfect, matching the original.
It also took care of the audio too. No timing or out
of synch issues at all.

amazing product.


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Darron
Re: OT: Mastering advice for universal compatibility (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)
on May 30, 2005 at 3:02:49 pm

Hi Emery,

This is just ancedotal information, but over here in Hong Kong (Region 3, PAL broadcast standard), the VAST majority of the DVDs here are in Region 3 and NTSC. All most all of 'em. In doing a quickie survey of my discs, only 1 out of about 15 discs is PAL. So far, all of my Region 1 (and thus NTSC) DVDs have played with no problems.

I spoke to one of my broadcast equipment suppliers today ('cause I need a NTSC only TV!), and she said that almost all PAL TV sets nowadays can play NTSC.

Hope this helps!

Darron


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Nick Brenner
Greetings from PAL land
on Jun 13, 2005 at 11:16:39 am

All the DVD's in the video stores here are PAL dvd's. The only NTSC ones here are from C grade films that no one has ever heard from. So make one of each.
cheers

docofilms PAL 25fps


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