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Old May 20, 2012, 3:59 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2012
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Default Hi from Australia & NTSC vs PAL question :)

Hello All,
relative newby here and I've found this site in my seemingly endless quest for an answer to the question:
Should I buy a NTSC or PAL camera for filming documentaries?

For all my reading, the final issue seems to be where I will be hoping to get this viewed, which at present is likely to be the biggest market, TV in the US (it is a travel channel type series). In which case it will be initially easier and cheaper to film in NTSC. And so I'm leaning toward NTSC.

I would also like to see it air on cable in other parts of the world so it seems inevitable that I will need to have one original version and one converted version, eventually anyway. In this case, the NTSC to PAL conversion seems to lose a lot of quality... Is it the same when you go the other way? Does it really matter to the channels what format they receive the original in?

If anyone has been in a similiar situation would love to hear your thoughts...
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Old May 20, 2012, 7:27 AM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,370

That's a good question (which means I probably don't have a good answer).

There's a lot of controversy lately over frame rates. For example, Peter Jackson decided to film the Hobbit at 48fps, which has led to a lot of criticism, since movies have traditionally been filmed at 24fps.


I get the feeling from reading through articles about it, that you're probably better off using a 24p type format if you plan on launching an international project, since it's a more accepted standard and conversion utilities that deal with it are more common (for example, speeding up playback by 4% for use with PAL broadcasts via conversion utilities).

But, on the other hand, I've seen comments that using 30p can offer fewer technical challenges converting to PAL, too.

This Wikipedia article goes into some of that kind of thing:


Note this comments in the 24p section:

30p can be preferable over 24p since performing a standards conversion to 25i PAL has fewer technical complexities - any NTSC-PAL converter will do.
Perhaps some of our members that know a lot more about video formats than I do will chime in.

BTW, Welcome to Steve's
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Old May 20, 2012, 4:30 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Australia, New South Wales central coast
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G'day Cerrydwen

Firstly - welcome to Steve's ... it's a great place to pose Qs and receive As

I am not a movie maker, so my answer would be "dunno mate", but my little understanding of it suggests that it's more than just a frame rate/speed > doesn't each format cover differing lines/inch shooting as well?

ps- where in Oz do you hail from??
Regards, Phil
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