PAL to NTSC question

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Charlie O., Jan 19, 2004.

  1. Charlie O.

    Charlie O. Supporting Actor

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    Is there a downside in using an all region DVD player to play PAL DVDs on a NTSC television?
     
  2. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    Well, there's at least one problem inherent in the PAL format itself, which is that films are usually sped up by a bit over 4%. Many viewers find this intolerable, while many others aren't bothered at all. As for the conversion process itself, it usually isn't perfect. PAL has more vertical resolution than NTSC, so it has to have this excess resolution downconverted to NTSC resolution (much like watching an anamorphic DVD on a set that cannot take advantage of the additional resolution). This downconversion often doesn't look very pleasing, giving some often obvious artifacts on horizontal lines (brick walls, car grills, etc.).

    DJ
     
  3. Charlie O.

    Charlie O. Supporting Actor

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    So when a player converts PAL it doesn't correct the speed? Since we're on the topic, what bad things happen if you convert NTSC into PAL?
     
  4. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    No.

    DJ
     
  5. Mark_vdH

    Mark_vdH Screenwriter

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    Since PAL is 50 Hz and NTSC is 60 Hz, players that convert NTSC to PAL have to filter out 10 of the 60 frames each second. NTSC can already seem a little bit jittery due to 3:2 pulldown, and the NTSC-PAL conversion makes matters a whole lot worse. In fact, I think that some (casual) European viewers with incorrect player settings (PAL instead of Multi*) think the conversion artifacts are artifacts inherent to the NTSC standard.

    * Of course, if you have a PAL-only TV you can't use the Multi-setting
     
  6. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    I recently watched my first PAL/Region 2 title - Kagemusha.

    I only noticed the speedup on fast moving objects,such as flags,horses,when people run.

    IMHO its noticeable but not distracting.The slight speedup is worth it - becuase its a amazing film.
     
  7. Mark_Wilson

    Mark_Wilson Screenwriter

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    I think most people notice it in voices. I've never had a problem with it. There were a couple of times I thought voices where a little higher but after comparing with an R1 version I couldn't tell the difference.

    Some companies compensated for PAL speedup in the Audio. LOTR: EE PAL dvd is one example.
     
  8. Scott_MacD

    Scott_MacD Supporting Actor

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    The audio is pitch corrected. It still runs at the wrong speed.
     
  9. andrew markworthy

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    Just to get a sense of proportion on this. For donkey's years (indeed, since TV was introduced) people watched movies on PAL TVs without any worry. However, when DVDs came along, someone whispered 'PAL speed up' into people's ears. Whereupon a lot of people suddenly decided they could detect it (in reality, speed up is no worse than it was on TV programmes they'd been happily watching for years). I'm prepared to accept that a very small minority of people genuinely detected speedup all along, but most people don't notice it at all or only noticed if they really looked (and listened) for it. What I'm trying to say is just forget about speed-up, number of lines, colour hues, etc, and just sit back and enjoy what you're watching.
     
  10. Scott_MacD

    Scott_MacD Supporting Actor

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    Quite correct, Andrew.. (although the "someone whispered 'PAL speed up' into people's ears." gave me a laugh. How delightfully insidious.) I'll completely echo your enjoy what you're watching sentiments.

    The point is simple though, if it bothers you, buy whatever serves you best.
     
  11. MartEvans

    MartEvans Stunt Coordinator

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    Just thirding the above - I've been watching movies in PAL for 20 years in the UK and had never heard of PAL speedup. Now, I've been in the USA for 4 years watching movies in NTSC that I'm familiar with from the UK and have never, never noticed any difference.

    I'm sure it does exist but personally I've never noticed it and it you have then you must have Batfink ears [​IMG]
     
  12. Jeff Mason

    Jeff Mason Stunt Coordinator

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    I have to respectfully disagree with you guys, but hey, to each their own[​IMG] ! I don't think the speedup is that noticeable with spoken dialogue, but with music it is VERY noticeable. I have a CD player with pitch control that allows to vary the speed of playback. If you speed up a song you are familiar with by 4%, believe me, you would notice the difference, even without bat ears[​IMG] !

    I personally sold my UK edition of Predator Special Edition because I couldn't handle the speedup on the background music. I thought Alan Silvestri wrote a great score that set the mood for the film effectively, but it just didn't sound right to me when speed up. The picture looked great, though[​IMG] !
     
  13. Charlie O.

    Charlie O. Supporting Actor

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    If they really wanted to, could they make a DVD player that slowed down PAL discs. The software I use on my computer to watch DVDs has an option to do so.
     
  14. Jesse Blacklow

    Jesse Blacklow Cinematographer

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    A little off-topic, but in these days of cheap computer parts and convergence, the HTPC is the way to go for the best region-free DVD viewing. Not only can you get full resolution of either NTSC or PAL (with an HDTV-capable TV/monitor/projector), but with a simple freeware program, your movies are automatically clocked at the proper speed for NTSC or PAL, video or film. The downside is that it can get damn complicated to set up.
     
  15. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    My Cyberhome CH-500 does no such thing, and I don't recall reading about such a feature.

    DJ
     
  16. Jesse Blacklow

    Jesse Blacklow Cinematographer

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    Damin: There were a bunch of posts here and elsewhere that touted the perfect PAL->NTSC conversion of the CH-DVD500, although the company sadly did nothing to promote this feature. I had one until I went the HTPC route. For the $50 I spent at Best Buy (before it was yanked), it was decent. It did have a progressive-scan problem, but there were some firmware releases that may hav fixed it. These guys have a whole forum section dedicated to Cyberhome.
     
  17. Charlie O.

    Charlie O. Supporting Actor

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    Does the PAL speed up and all the conversions set backs affect video game consoles such as PS2 and X-Box?
     
  18. Ronn.W

    Ronn.W Second Unit

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    That had nothing to do with adjusting for PAL speedup though. The CH500 does great PAL/NTSC conversion, as does the Toshiba SD 3900, among others. When you read that, don't think it has hardware that slows it down, it doesn't. That statement means that it correctly letterboxes anamorphic PAL video, something that very few players do (actually 'did' would make more sense, more and more players that do both PAL and NTSC do them correctly now that chipsets have changed.)
     
  19. Ronn.W

    Ronn.W Second Unit

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    I don't know about the XBox, but the PS2 can't convert PAL, so it's a non-issue.
     
  20. Mark_Wilson

    Mark_Wilson Screenwriter

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    The Xbox will.
     

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