Sherlock Holmes - "NTSC slow-down"?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Lars Vermundsberget, Feb 4, 2002.

  1. Lars Vermundsberget

    Lars Vermundsberget Supporting Actor

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    There is a debate going on about the "PAL speed-up" issue.

    I'm looking to buy some DVDs of the great Sherlock Holmes Granada TV series.

    My question:

    Would this be original PAL material and would the NTSC DVDs suffer from "NTSC slow-down"?
     
  2. John J Nelson

    John J Nelson Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi,
    The original TV series was made in PAL for broadcast on UK TV.
    If the DVDs you are buying are R1 (ie. bought from the US) then they will be definitely be NTSC.
    Conversion of video-originated or TV material between NTSC and PAL is achieved by using standards-conversion equipment of the type made by Snell & Wilcox. These processors uses complex computer algorithms to either increase or reduce frame-rate - in the case of PAL to NTSC conversion, to create 6 frames every 1/5th second where only 5 originally existed - and to increase or reduce the number of scan-lines.
    There is inevitably a drop in picture quality (although with the latest standards-conversion techniques, this is kept to a minimum), but the playback speed of the material will remain the same.
    -- John
     
  3. Lars Vermundsberget

    Lars Vermundsberget Supporting Actor

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    I live in a PAL country too, but I usually prefer to buy R1 NTSC DVDs. However, there wouldn't be much reason to prefer NTSC over PAL in this case, I guess.

    Should I look for R2 PAL DVDs of SH? How about Monty Python's Flying Circus?
     
  4. John J Nelson

    John J Nelson Stunt Coordinator

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    In the case of TV material that was originally shot on PAL or NTSC, it's always better to buy the "native version" - then you don't get the extra NTSC PAL processing stage.

    -- John
     
  5. Duncan Harvey

    Duncan Harvey Stunt Coordinator

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    Er no…the originals were not made in PAL. SH was shot on 16mm film and edited in the film domain. As far as I’m aware (and based on the first disc) the discs have been made from new NTSC telecine transfers.

    The issue I suppose is whether the films were shot at 24 or 25 fps. If the latter, then the PAL 50 fields broadcast would be the correct speed, if the former then there would be a PAL speedup for the transfer to PAL tape for broadcast, with the NTSC being the correct speed –ie 24fps with the pulldown.
     
  6. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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  7. Lars Vermundsberget

    Lars Vermundsberget Supporting Actor

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    IF it turns out that the Granada series was shot on film at 24 fps, I guess there is no reason to avoid the NTSC DVDs after all...

    I haven't seen anything close to all incarnations of Sherlock Holmes, but of the ones I have seen, I think Jeremy Brett is the greatest.
     
  8. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Phil,

    can I use your great signature graphic?

    Question for everyone regarding the conversion from PAL to NTSC. I fear that even for some programs originally recorded onto (24 fps) film, that what's happening for the R1 NTSC release is that they are taking the PAL transer...which already isn't ideal bcs of the mis-match between the 50 fps frame rate vs the 48 fps projected rate of film...and *converting* this PAL master to NTSC. This obviously would produce an inferior image compared to a direct film->NTSC transfer.

    My question is in 2 parts:

    1. What method was utilized for the BBC's R1 (new 16x9 SE version) of Pride and Prejudice? I'm asking because there are many "motion" artifacts that have a "conversion" look to them. Also, when I advance frame-by-frame every 4th frame or so looks like a "ghost" image with 2 different frames merged into one and thus is blurred. What gives?

    2. In the case of these PAL -> NTSC transfers, what happens when a good deinterlacing engine, like a Sage chipset, gets this image? Can it decode as film or does it give up and treat it like video since it can't find a reliable 3-2 sequence...or does it switch back and forth...from film to video...as it locks onto a momentary 3-2 pattern and then caugh when it gets to a point where the sequence is lost?

    Does anyone who has Pride and Prejudice and a good deinterlacer know? Could you try it out? I've been dying to take some of my BBC DVDs like this to the local high-end shop to see for myself!

    -dave
     
  9. Duncan Harvey

    Duncan Harvey Stunt Coordinator

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    Certainly some UK TV film productions are being transferred direct to NTSC from the PAL video master - the original A+E Pride and Prejudice, the Jeeves and Wooster discs, and the Prime Suspect ones certainly look smeary and standards converted.

    These are night and day when compared to the first Holmes disc (havent seen the others) which are definitely NTSC masters (ie the 16mm films scanned onto NTSC and not conversions from the PAL broadcast or video duplication masters).
     
  10. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    off-topic:
     

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