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Shooting NTSC for a PAL final, using GH2 in PAL, and a Gh4 in NTSC as backup. Advice?
  • This Tuesday, I'm doing a shoot where the client requested that the final footage be in PAL format: 25fps, Quicktime, 1080i. Obviously, I'm in America, because this wouldn't be an issue otherwise. I have two questions for which advice would be appreciated.

    Happily, thanks to Vitaly's hack, I can use my GH2 to shoot PAL natively. And since I'm thinking of buying a GH4, I rented one for the weekend, and will bring it along as a backup/second unit camera. Thing is, the GH4 can only shoot NTSC.

    So I figure, I'll convert my GH2 footage to Quicktime fairly easily, but I'd like to know what the best Quicktime export settings would be for Premier Pro CC. That's question #1.

    The GH4 footage will be converted to PAL 25fps Quicktime, so I'd like to know what framerate would offer me any advantages in the conversion. Would it be better to shoot 24fps, or would shooting at 60fps enable a cleaner conversion to 25fps?

    (I won't be shooting 4K, though. I want to experiment with that, maybe tomorrow.)

  • 11 Replies sorted by
  • The GH4 is a world camera. Shoot pal, 25fps but set your shutter to 1/60 to take account of US mains frequency and any lights flicker

  • @mrbill Is that switch from NTSC to PAL done with the System Frequency setting? Forgive me if this is a stupid question, but I just got the camera on Friday, and I'm still poking around with it.

  • The easy way is what mrbill said above, set both cameras to PAL and live with an almost negligible 150º stacatto

    Disregarding audio setup and context of shooting (live event, mayhem on speed, controlled environment, available light, dragqueen's disco-funeral party, etc.), and taking in account this is very personal preferencing; I imagined a live event, so I'ld use GH4 in UHD 30p with a decent WA lens, flexibility of punch-in/reframe later... and those "extra" 4,976fps can proove handy. GH2 with solid HBR patch 1080p30 and switch to 720p60 (if flying bullets or slomo, not so big a deal to upscale) ALL at shutter 60, 720p at 125. Drop footage in a 25i timeline, edit, lock, (grade?) export to your PAL's needs. If the case was reverse (Europe delivering NTSC) I'ld most definitively still shoot 30p (which is what I normally use, often in 24p TL) at 1/50th of a sec... but I'm comfortable with a 216º SA. Find it odd that client wants 25i instead of 50i

    Below a prememé pic showing how to take advantage of those "extra" 4,97 frames in a 25i timeline

    1200 x 793 - 251K
  • Thanks, all. I can adjust the cameras, and stick to a 1/60 shutter. But I'm concerned about the lighting and flicker. Tell me: if I shoot this in PAL at 1/60, and there is flicker, will it show up on the camera's playback? That way, I can adjust while I'm at the location-- instead of shooting and seeing the flicker later.

  • Like @maxr, I have a preference for 30p in these situations but you will probably be safer shooting 25p on everything, especially if you have a lot of sync audio. The caveat is PAL may flicker with some older lights in 60Hz land, as @mrbill notes, so you need to check your shutter speed with the online flicker calculator, but it's much less of a problem that in the past. What you don't want is to shoot at two different rates/formats, although as we all know it happens. You will see the flicker, if it is there, but use the online flicker calculator.

  • The "gate" is open for 1/60th of a second, syncing to USA freq... in theory how many FPS you decide to record in, has no effect over it, but still relates to (defines) scene movement/detail rendition. Nevertheless I rarely use 25p, I have no use for it. 1/125th of a sec can be sometimes a prob, it's more tricky depending on lighting (as this shutter speed it is not so accurate a multiple)... Do some tests - tubes might go evil - you have a GH2 ,-)

  • You are safer shooting 25fps pal, and stick to 1/60 shutter for US lighting sources, at the risk of sounding like a stuck record. Some you won't see - I got caught out with some vintage delicatessen lights - but as has been pointed out, that's older lights for you. If you're being asked for pal rushes, no one will thank you for stuff that's been shot at 30fps

  • Brian, did you find the pal/ntsc menu for the gh4?

  • @mrbill I think I did: it's the System Frequency setting, right?

  • For the most part, any flicker will be visible in the camera's display while you are recording, to the extent that you can see small things on a small screen. The camera's shutter speed and frame rate may be altered when you are not recording, so be sure and start recording to test. But as others have said, a 1/60 s shutter speed setting will prevent flicker from 120-Hz light sources.

  • If you catch a non-film light in the image and you're not in right country hz setting, the light will flicker. If you control the shoot and have flicker free lights, or the sun, the hz setting won't make any difference.