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PAL or NTSC for web/computers?
  • This is a really fundamental question that I realized I don't really understand. People at different places all around the world are filming with different frame rates PAl or NTSC. So every day I will view both PAL and NTSC videos on my computer. Does the frame rates only matter when watching on a TV (but many modern TVs have adjustable refresh rates?) or while recording to reduce flickering of lights? Isn't Win 7 default refresh rate 60Hz? Wouldn't that make NTSC more suitable for viewing on computers even in PAL-countries? Is NTSC the ideal web-distribution format since Win 7 often uses 60Hz refresh rate to make the videos display smoothly?

    How does it work, does PAL or NTSC matter for web distribution or computer viewing? I couldn't find any answer in any other thread.

  • 49 Replies sorted by
  • For computers - 30fps or 60fps. Period.

  • Thanks! What about 23,976 frps? Is that better or worse than 25 frps for web?

  • @Alfaerik

    It depends. But people are quite accustomed to look at 24p on 60p monitors despite all flaws.

    If you are making things specially for online distribution, 30p and 60p just are better options.

  • Usually 60Hz is framerate of most modern monitors connected to computer. Of course, you could have some old CRTs with weird 85Hz, or some tweakers. But main mass usually have such rate.

  • @jasonp

    Right now it is very very small part.

    And this requires detailed research. As nothing prevents PAL TVs to have default 60Hz.

  • If the display frame rate is at least about 2.5x the content frame rate, it's not necessary to have a precise ratio like 2:1 or 3:2 between them for it to look alright. The player repeats frames as necessary to make up the difference, and our eyes are not too sensitive to the irregularity of the lengths of the repeated spans of frames. 30 fps on a 50-fps display is less than ideal, but 30 fps on a 100-fps display is just fine.

    As Vitaliy said, if the web is your target format, I would not worry about people playing online videos on their TVs, as it's a small fraction of viewers. The vast majority play them on their PCs, which typically have 60-fps displays. For those viewers, 30 fps holds an advantage over 25 fps or 24 fps, both because of the higher rate, and because of the precise 2:1 ratio between the display rate and the content rate. The motion will be smoother and more uniform.

    There is virtually no 60-fps web video delivery right now. Shooting in 60 fps gives you options for other delivery formats and for the future, but you'll use a 30-fps downconversion for today's web delivery. You can upload a 60-fps video to YouTube, which they automatically convert to 30 fps. Perhaps someday in the future they'll re-encode those videos and deliver them at 60 fps for suitably equipped viewers.

    If you are targeting theaters, professional broadcasts, and Blu-ray, unfortunately 24 fps remains the universal standard, since there are clean ways of converting it to every standard around the world. That's slowly changing, with some theaters now able to show higher frame rates like 48 fps and 60 fps.

  • Will the internet force the TV industry to start producing more multi-system TVs?

    I do not know that you understand under "multi-system".

    All modern TVs can perfectly show and play all normal framerates (up to 60fps).

    They do not have any restrictions.

    My comment was about video mode on TV used during running internal youtube app or browser.

    Most probably it is 60fps in all countries.

  • I'm in PAL country (OZ) and all my outdoor shoots are 60fps then down converted to 30 for web upload. Why I changeover is when 50 fps is down converted to 25 and played back on 60hz screens it is very noticeably jerky, even tearing if motion is fast. Add this to the slight strobing from a 1/100 shutter and it can be uncomfortable to watch.

    One strange observation though, 25p on an iPad looks much better, smoother, maybe it's the small screen, much better than on LCD monitor and laptop.

  • That's interesting @Rambo, I wonder if the ipad actively changes the scanrate for different content. I'm in a PAL country too, and all computer screens default to 60hz

  • Just to be clear, on an ipad, 25fps doesn't look better than 30fps, just better than a desktop LCD monitor or Laptop.

  • What about DVD and Blu-ray discs? Can PAL machines and TVs playback NTSC 60i/p discs? The reverse is not true. NTSC devices cannot playback PAL discs.

  • @Ralph_B

    NTSC devices cannot playback PAL discs.

    Who told you this? If you remove regional protection all play fine.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev @Ralph_B

    "Who told you this? If you remove regional protection all play fine"

    Sorry Vitaliy, that is not true.

    In Europe, yes, all PAL DVD player can playback NTSC DVDs, when there is no regional code on the DVD. But the american DVD Player CAN NOT playback PAL DVDs. You have to buy a multiystem DVD player. Cheap, at for below 40 US$, but still: standard US Player do not playback PAL DVDs.

    I sell DVDs to the US and that is the problem of the customers there with PAL DVDs. NTSC here in Germany, no problem.

  • It's true that DVD players in a computer can play both NTSC and PAL discs, but stand-alone NTSC DVD/Blu-ray players cannot play PAL discs. And NTSC TVs will not sync to 50 Hz.

    But my question is can PAL standalone players and TVs playback NTSC discs?

  • @AKED

    Are you saying that PAL TVs will automatically sync to 60Hz if you feed them a 60 Hz signal?

  • But the american DVD Player CAN NOT playback PAL DVDs. You have to buy a multiystem DVD player.

    I got it. You mean playback of region free disks on original (with non removable protection) players. I think this is that you mean. This can be only special artificial protection.

    As for DVDs, I have only old TV serier remaining on DVDs. DVD players are not really popular here.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev I think yes. Probably a feature that the big companies think is neccessary in Europe, that they can play back NTSC DVDs, but do not think neccessary, that NTSC players can play back PAL DVDs.

    @Ralph_B Two different things: A, Many TV can accept the 60 Hz and playback the signal that the DVD player sends. Also, when you connect a native NTSC DVD player to this TV set.

    B, Stand alone DVDs player play back the NTSC DVD which can be watched also on non NTSC compatible TVs. The colors might be wrong, but you can see the content. This is not possible in standard US stand alone DVD players.

  • But I have a question too. I produce martial arts instructional DVDs. I filmed up to now with a GH1 and a GH2 in 720/50p, so PAL, soon with the GH3 in 1080/50p MOV 50 Mbit or the AVCHD 28M bit version. I have to see.

    So I edit on the PAL 720 timeline and render for PAL a PAL SD mp2 file for DVD production and for american DVDs I render a NTSC SD mp2 file. So far, no problem. The NTSC version does not look as nice., because of the different resolution and the other framerate.

    Now, from the 720 timeline, I also render a file, that is for download purposes. If I understand it right, the HD resolution (720 and 1080) is the same in NTSC and PAL (contraty to SD), only the framerate differts. Correct?

    So for the download files you say it would be best to convert in a 30p format?

  • So for the download files you say it would be best to convert in a 30p format?

    It makes a difference if you editor makes good frame interpolation. If it just doubles frames, it'll be almost the same as 25p.

    All this DVD stuff is really horrible. @AKED, start just writing 720p H.264 to 2GB flash drives and send them. WIll be cheaper and with much better quality.

  • @AKED

    If you convert from 50P to 30P, you can do it three ways. From poorest to best: 1) Simple frame skipping 2) frame blending 3) Frame interpolation (ala Twixtor or After Effects with Quality set to best)

    Most editing programs do frame blending as their default method of changing frame rates. It's sort of OK, but not great. The advantage is it renders fast. But the best way to change frame rates is to use frame interpolation where new frames are synthesized. This results in the smoothest motion. It works well going from a higher frame rate to a lower one. After Effects does an excellent job. No plug-in needed.

  • @Ralph_B
    I do not have After Effects. I use Edius. I do not know which way it converts. I can render an NTSC file from the PAL timeline, but I have been tole the best way would be, to
    The way I have be to render highest quality HD, then ceate a NTSC project, import the HD fiile into the NTSC timeline and then export as NTSC file. But I will inquire. Thnaks fro the help. The PAL-NTSC DVD player question is clear?

  • Back to the PAL/NTSC-Problem: Looking for a new Flatscreen abour 2 years ago, I found out that the current models (most of them fron LG) demanded 60hz refresh rate from my Mac laptop only - not 50hz ,as I live in PAL region. Will be the same with PC. Ended up in buying a used Panasonic TH-42PZ70E Plasma from a friend, which offers 50I/50p / 60i / 60p. He used it for 3D animation. Same with Displays. Only one on the market - EIZO Foris FX2431 as far as I know - offers true 50hz. All others, like NEC Multisyncs, do convert internally to 60hz and I assume, also many TV´s. Ever wondered, why they are touting scan rates based on 60 but not 50hz? One classical route for 60hz display (as well as 60p): Convert 24fps tp 60 based on 2:3 pulldown

  • With the GH2 I shoot at 50p, to avoid jerk problems. It looks good on PC and TV, had only one time problems with lights flicks. When I get the GH3 I will switch to 30p and 60p when I will slow down the footage.

  • Looking for a new Flatscreen abour 2 years ago, I found out that the current models (most of them fron LG) demanded 60hz refresh rate from my Mac laptop only - not 50hz ,as I live in PAL region

    All LG TVs I checked worked with 50Hz.

    All this require real and systematic testing, not just fast "demand" and "convert" claims.

  • New question:

    What is the scan rate of computer monitors in PAL countries, 50Hz or 60Hz?