Sorry but I didn't think I was.
This post asked if what I'd done would work. The answer came back as No.
I asked a follow-up question here, but as the problem and solution probably lie in Premiere, I thought it wiser to seek answers in the appropriate forum - Premiere, not Encore. If I get no joy here, I'll have to re-post in the other forum again. However, as time is an issue, I can't wait too long to do that.
The problem with 2 threads dealing with the same subject is that most likely someone will answer in one and not the other. If you get 2 or more helpful people answering in different topics, then it becomes a mess really quickly.
If you like, I can move this to the Pr forum. But your answer only partially lies in Pr -- you'll need 3rd-party tools to do the job even halfway decently. It'll be a costly process, either in time or money.
Time: A nifty little AviSynth filter called dv2film. Although its primary function is converting 29.97 fps NTSC video into 24 fps video to give the video a film-type look, it also does NTSC <--> PAL conversions. And the final quality is noticeably better than than the Atlantis output; at least it was a couple of years ago. I don't know if Atlantis has gotten any better since then. If you're not already familiar with AviSynth and how to create and use its scripts, then you'll need some instruction. I have 2 tutorials on my web site that can help you get started: The Essential Open-Source Toolkit and dv2Film - Giving Your Video a Film Look If you decide to watch the dv2Film tutorial, then be aware that although the method details don't seem to apply, the general method itself does. Towards the end, I mention the NTSC <--> PAL thing, and Dan's filter has documentation on how to set up the conversion.
Typically in the past, most people to whom I've given this information have given up and just created an NTSC DVD from NTSC footage, because most PAL DVD players will play NTSC discs. But you seem serious about this, and if I understand correctly there is no NTSC footage available, so there ya go.
Or you can just do the conversion in Pr, but as Jim hinted, you're not going to like the results.
EDIT: It's not just the frame rate that's the problem -- the frame size is an issue, too.
is that a remote chance or pretty much guaranteed?
I guess that depends on your tolerance for quality. The PAL sourced videos I've converted to NTSC for viewing on my TV do seem a bit "off". Not quite as sharp or smooth as genuine NTSC sourced content. But that's to be expected, I guess, given the resolution and frame rate conversions necessary.
Do you have any suggestions for a solution?
Yeah - don't convert. If you need NTSC, shoot it that way.
Thanks for elaborating.
I created a DVD from a m2v rendered for widescreen NTSC and when I played it, it wasn't that sharp, as if someone had been overly heavy with the soft focus. It was watchable, but just not a great picture, which is what you want for DVD. Even though I watched it on a PAL TV is that a good judge of what someone in the US would see on a NTSC TV, or would the picture be significantly different, please?
Thanks for all the info. Great stuff.
Yes, you're right - the footage is PAL and can't be re-shot in NTSC.
I have zero experience with AviSynth. Quality is a factor, but time is a factor too, so this might not be the best option.
I don't mind spending a few bucks to get the job done with a minimum of hassle, because if this is successful, there are a few other PAL conversions I'd like to do. However, while I've seen numerous mentions of Atlantis and another piece of conversion kit, DVDate, I've never seen anything anywhere from someone whose used either of these and is raving about how easy it was or the quality of the results. From what you say, you've obviously used Atlantis. I don't think it's been updated for at least 3 years. Does it do a decent job, even professional level, or is it really something you should only use for home videos you want to send to family overseas?
Another problem with using such software is I don't have NTSC equipment to be able to test anything once it's converted. Do you know if there is anything online, some sort of player, that can replicate the playing of video on a NTSC machine, please? (For all I know, what I've created already might not be that bad.)
I've used Atlantis for years now, and Jeff is perfectly correct when he says that AviSynth is just - better.
It's worth taking the trouble to learn how to use it and there are some helpful films on Jeff's website here
Atlantis can do the job, don't get me wrong, but there is no real "one size fits all" preset so you're still looking at a learning curve.
The only way to check footage that has been converted is on a glass monitor. Anything else will not show up any field order problems that may be there.
We've also used Atlantis on commercial projects (and not had any complaints) but there are better tools. One that immediately comes to mind if you want to spend is Canopus ProCoder, or it's big Brother Carbon Coder - both are the same engine, but Carbon Coder has more options.
Another possible way around the problem might be to convert the PAL to 720x480 24p, and use this for your NTSC DVD source, as players that can upscale will handle this with ease, and players that will not will pull to NTSC anyway. The Adobe Media Encoder does a good job of these (24p to DVD, not the standards conversion - although you can manage this in After Effects as well)
In general, there is little you need to spend big bucks on that cannot be handled - and often with better results - in Open Source packages. With the expensive retail packages you are generally paying for the GUI and support. This may be more suited to what you need though, and I wish you luck whatever route you choose.
Thanks for the advise. Interesting, to say the least!
Procoder is out at $500. Too much for this project.
I've got a 19" glass monitor I can use to view the video. What exactly are field order problems for me to look for them, please?
Are you saying that if I convert something and it plays well enough on this monitor that it will be fine on a NTSC DVD player and TV?
I didn't appreciate Atlantis had a learning curve. From what I'd read, it sounded pretty much like you load your file, push a button and it's done. Is it a lot easier to get to grips with than AviSynth or isn't there much in it, please? Time really is a major problem, so conenience, $50 bucks and a minor decrease in quality would be far better than days and days and days of learning and trial and error.
First, I'd like to try the 720x480 option. What format would you recommend to render that to in Media Encoder, please? Would H264 be okay? AVI will produce some massive files which could cause other problems.
Also, if it's 720x480, 24 frame rate, what should the field order be, please?
(I've never used the Profile or Level to know what those do, so have always just left them at their default values. Any advice on those for this situation?
Sorry, but I don't get that last part about standards conversion and After Effects. Is that another option that I could explore somehow?
Hope I'm not overwhelming you with questions, Neil!
Thanks for all your help so far.
Let's try & break this down then, as I can sometimes be a little windy.
Atlantis usually works fine at default settings, but you are codec dependent and you will need to know how to tweak a quicktime render session to get the best from it as you do not want it spitting out cinepak AVI files by mistake, which is something that can all too easily happen with anything quicktime dependent in the way Atlantis is. When you get right down to it, it is simply a special codec and retimer that plugs into Quicktime.
So you'll need to know what type of codec to tell quicktime to use or you may get degraded output by accident. It's not a bug in the software, just the way Quicktime defaults. The plus side is that once you done this once, you can simply use the "use previous settings" option that Quicktime adds at this point.
Your next problems will come when you cannot get a good transcode with the stock settings - so you'll need to learn how to tweak it. Their support is excellent though as I can personally attest. If you're in a hurry, Atlantis is the way forward..
I'm getting lost in the next bit though. For an NTSC DVD, you simply have to go 720x480 - there is no real other choice (unless we want to get picky & look at MPEG-1 but frankly who cares?). If it is DVD you are making, then you need to tell Atlantis to output NTSC DV or, if you have the Aja codecs installed you might want to try their 10-bit 2VUY mode. Outstanding quality - obscene file sizes though. You would use H264 for the Blu-Ray, but if outputting in the AME you need to tell it it is for Blu-Ray, so that it turns on the right bits you need to make it BD compliant. H264 is totally unsuited to DVD though. The basic rule of thumb to follow when transcoding any files is to try & avoid any data loss that will create quality loss - perceptual encoding. You simplu must use DV at the very least - this is far from ideal (I prefer to use 10-bit files) but you must avoid lossy transcodes as you will still have to use a lossy transcode when you build the final DVD.
I'd advise going from 25 to 24 unless you are prepared to do some awful things to your audio, or else hit the books once more to learn how to compromise either the video or the audio. It's usually sped up, or else every 25th frame gets dropped. Best way to do all of these in software is to take the small amount of time required to learn how to run the scripts in AviSynth, it really is. THese tools use lossless codecs like Lagarith (open source codec, works beautifully) and some well tuned code.
Check the links in Jeff's post above for the tools & the tutorials - it costs you nothing except the time to learn how to do it!
Thanks for the extra info.
Over the weekend, I've been experimenting with your suggestion to use AME to create 24p footage. My original footage is PAL 1080, so I need to keep that frame size so I can just slot the new files into place in the edited Premiere project. I did try H.264 as the file sizes were manageable, but I take it that was a mistake from what you say above. What format would you recommend that keeps file size down, please? (By the way, the footage is of an interview, so it needn't be of the very highest quality and there's obviously little motion. Final output will be 720x480 DVD.)
Also, should I set the frame rate to 24 or to 23.976?
How about the Profile and Level?
Atlantis looks like a good bet for the next project after this one. Though, I will look at Jeff's site.
Thanks again, Neil.
Steve - this is my fault and I am sorry.
I must admit it was just that when you said you has PAL footage to turn into an NTSC DVD - andI am in the wrong here - I just kinda assumed you has SD PAL footage, and not HD. I simply did not consider that you might also be downrezzing as well.
Again, Jeff has tutorials for doing this with AviSynth.
Also, Atlantis can do this too - but I do not know how good it is at doing it.
Avoid H264. Seriously, do not go there.
If space is tight, try going straight to NTSC DV Widescreen, and crank quality to the max, tick the frame blending box, tick the max quality box, tick maximum render quality box & use a 10-bit lossless codec if you have one installed or else Lagarith AVI - available for free.
No need to apologise - you're being a huge help!
Maybe if I explain what I have and what I need, it'll help.
I have PAL 1080 interview footage that I need to convert to 720x480 NTSC DVD. (The DVD is full, so rendering quality for this footage is probably going to be a maximum of around 6.)
The source footage is made up of many mts files which have all been cut and edited together in Premiere. (Quite complex editing.)
What I'd like to do is make a copy of the Premiere file and simply swap out the PAL for NTSC equivalent files, so that, after a little tweaking, the new NTSC Premiere file is already edited together properly. The last thing I want is to have to start from scratch in Premiere again.
The easiest way seemed to be your suggestion to use Media Encoder to create 24p files. I tried this by converting the mts to 24p AVI files and it seemed to work fine (except that it was 720, not 1080). I then started converting the mts to 1080 H264 at 23.976... only to read your warning about H264, so knocked that on the head.
Now I'm stuck as to what to do for the best.
(By the way, the first thing I did when I realised I had this problem was take my edited HD PAL Premiere file and render it as high quality NTSC widescreen at 30fps. It worked on my PAL TV and DVD player, except that the picture looked like way too much soft focus had been used. The picture wasn't that bad, but it just wasn't good either. [This may well be useable, but without actual NTSC equipment to test it on and see if the picture is any worse, I can't risk it.])
Ideally, I'd like to use Media Encoder as you suggested to convert to 24p (is that 24 or 23.976?), but I'm stuck on which file format to use now you've said to stay away from H264. This is the easiest and most cost effective solution, so I have to try it. (File size is a concern as there is around 90 mins of footage in 20 files all together.) Would multiplexed Mpeg2 work?
If Media Encoder fails, then I'll have to look at AviSynth and/or Atlantis.
Finally, many of Media Encoder's NTSC presets set the frame rate to 24 - should I leave it at that or set it to 23.976, please?
Thanks for all your help and patience!