Pal/ntsc

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Odendaal, Oct 27, 2002.

  1. John Odendaal

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    I have pre-ordered a copy of the extended version of LOTR:FOTR from Amazon.com. Obviously this is a region-1 disc.
    I live in South Africa, which is a region-2 country.
    My question is this: If I buy a region-1 NTSC disc from Amazon.com, will I notice any difference from a region-2 PAL disc in terms of picture quality?
    I don't really know much about all this, but I do know that PAL has a higher picture resolution than NTSC. I'm not sure how it all works, but someone told me that an NTSC disc would look worse than the PAL version.
    But then again, I heard from someone else that the picture resolution remains 720x576, and the resolution is converted to whatever colour system my TV can handle (I have a Sony DRC TV which receives a PAL signal through my satellite decoder).
    So, what's the story? Should I rather buy a region-2 PAL disc? I'm not interested in any differing amounts of features -- just the transfer.
     
  2. Mark_vdH

    Mark_vdH Screenwriter

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    First of all, the PAL vs NTSC issue is always an interesting discussion, but one without an obvious winner; both have advantages as well as disadvantages.
    PAL (720 x 576) does have a higher resolution than NTSC, which is 720 x 480. All other things being equal, PAL will look a little bit better.
    NTSC, on the other hand, more accurately replicates the speed of film. Because PAL is 50 frames per second, and film is 24, most PAL DVD's (the ones that have a film or NTSC source) will run 4,2% faster than intended.
    NTSC (60 f/s) runs at the correct speed, but at the expense of so-called 3:2 pulldown. Because half of the frames are shown longer than the other half, some people notice some jerkiness (mostly in panning shots).
    I usually buy the best available version available, without looking whether it's in the PAL or NTSC format. The differences are negligible in my case, they don't detract from the experience at all. A few people have a problem with PAL or with NTSC though, and maybe you're one of them.
    My advice would be to just buy it, because the R1 will probably just be a tiny bit better: on the 2 disc PAL versions, burnt in subtitles (translating the Elves) were removed, as well as an opening title ("The Shire - 60 Years Later"), and replaced by player generated subs. I assume they'll do the same on the upcoming release.
    I've ordered the R1 5-disc set BTW, can't wait for it. [​IMG]
     
  3. John Odendaal

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    Thanks for the info.

    The only reason that I wanted to buy the R-1 set is because it costs around US$30 through Amazon.com (inc shipping). The 2-disc set is still being sold here in SA for the equivalent of that price. I would only expect the Extended version to be pricier.

    I've seen the theatrical version a number of times, so I guess I'm just worried that I would now have a copy that looked worse than before. Although, I've heard that the transfer compared to the first version should be slightly better (due to the amount of extra disc space used) -- perhaps that would cancel it out? Still, I'd prefer it if I had the sharper resolution (from the colour system) together with the enhanced transfer...

    But I'm still weighing the advantages between the two, though. I've got until the 12th to cancel the order...
     
  4. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    To clarify, PAL is 50 interlaced FIELDS per second, 25 FRAMES per second

    NTSC runs at 29.97 frames per second, 60 interlaced fields

    Since many (not all) PAL transfers, especially of TV shows are sourced from NTSC masters, you're getting conversion artifacts and no increase in picture resolution
     
  5. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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    Real Name:
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  6. Frederic_A

    Frederic_A Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a fairly large, conventional (i.e. non progressive) television set with a 16:9 squeeze function, meaning that I benefit from widescreen anamorphic transfers. In practice, I notice a difference in resolution only when the NTSC material is in 4:3 format, which is when scanlines are clearly noticeable. Anamorphic NTSC, on the other hand, looks just fine generally. So, as a rule of thumb, I insist on PAL for movies with an original aspect ratio of 4:3, but otherwise, if both transfers are anamorphic, I usually go for what's more readily available, and/or has more features.

    Exceptions:

    1. TV shows originally broadcast in NTSC (if it had a film source, PAL may still be better, but NTSC more 'authentic' historically - a matter of taste)

    2. Musicals or DVDs where the music is central (provided they are anamorphic): NTSC preserves the original tempo
     
  7. andrew markworthy

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    If you have a set-up which is dual PAL and NTSC and it's reasonably up-to-date, then in day-to-day use, you're unlikely to notice a difference. PAL discs on a direct comparison generally look a bit more detailed and the colours are a bit more convincing. However, unless you're in the habit of putting PAL and NTSC pictures next to each other, you're unlikely to notice much difference.

    NTSC-sourced video material such as old TV shows can look inferior to e.g. Brit TV stock of the same vintage, but this has as much to do with achiving standards/original production values as the NTSC-PAL difference.

    In other words, sit back and enjoy!
     
  8. YANG

    YANG Second Unit

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    "My question is this: If I buy a region-1 NTSC disc from Amazon.com, will I notice any difference from a region-2 PAL disc in terms of picture quality?"

    If you had calibrated your TVs presentation quality(contrast/brightness/color/tone) as according to your preference by using NTSC softwares,you will find that when you play PAL disc,the picture quality may look dull or slightly darker.
    You can not strike a balance by using one setting.

    As mentioned,PAL does look better in terms of HORIZONTAL RESOLUTION and other details.

    NTSC is much more closer to the theatrical running time.

    If your TV comes with multiple memory for picture setting,i suggest you use that.
    Or try to get something in between.It all depends on your eyes.
     
  9. John Odendaal

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    I don't think that the speed of the film is as much an issue as the picture quality -- not to me, at least.

    Everything I watch is PAL, and if the decrease in speed of NTSC is easily noticeable, it would merely disturb the impression of speed that I have become accustomed to.

    Additionally, if the difference in speed is not easily noticeable, then I see no point in going with NTSC, especially since the PAL resolution is slightly higher.

    My TV does come with a multiple memory for picture settings, but I normally use the Personal feature, which I adjust from movie to movie (if needed).

    I think I am going to ditch the NTSC pre-order, and order a PAL disc. Anybody know a cheap R2 retailer that ships to South Africa?
     

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