1 2 Previous Next 40 Replies Latest reply on Jun 25, 2009 3:07 PM by Dan Isaacs

    Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?

    Joshua Isaac Stone

      Hello, my company just purchased CS4, so I'm still wrapping my head around all it's new features.

       

      I have a client that gave me uncompressed HD Quicktime mov files (1920x1080i) in PAL format, and they want them converted to NTSC.

       

      Is it possible to do this in CS4 without losing any quality? Just going from one HD format to another HD format?

       

       

      Thank in advance.

        • 1. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Uncompressed HD? I rather doubt that. Do you mean 1.485 Gbps data stream? In what way did he give that to you, on disk?

           

          Converting from PAL to NTSC will always entail losses. Going from 25 FPS to 29.97 FPS means interpretation, going from 0-255 colorspace to 16-235 colorspace means losses.

          • 2. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
            Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

            Well they claim it's uncompressed, and it's about 10GB per minute.

             

            In the video properties, it says it's average data rate is 148.3 MB per second.

             

            The client supplied a Hard drive with 280GB of video on it.

             

            What would be the best workflow for minimal quality loss?

             

            Right now I'm trying to export it as an uncompressed Windows avi, but it's default frame rate is 720x480.

             

            I changed to 1620x1080, but I'm doubtful the results are going to look good.

             

            I can't find any settings for exporting HD video anywhere.

            • 3. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
              Harm Millaard Level 7

              Right now I'm trying to export it as an uncompressed Windows avi, but it's default frame rate is 720x480.

               

              I changed to 1620x1080, but I'm doubtful the results are going to look good.


              Both these approaches are suboptimal. What you want to do, albeit with some quality loss, is export at full resolution (1920x1080) with either H.264 or MPEG2 BR settings, and use the highest possible encoding settings that will fit your media, taking the length of you timeline into consideration. This calculator may help you: http://dvd-hq.info/bitrate_calculator.php?PHPSESSID=6501b6b2b31f4c4a295bc8c2ba1e6f57

              • 4. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                Thanks Harm, I appreciate the advice, and I will try that next.

                 

                EDIT: looking at the H.264 settings, there's not one for 1920x1080i, just for 1440x1080i.

                 

                is that what I should aim for?

                 

                Also, the "estimated file size" is only 287 MB, whereas the "uncompressed Windows avi" came out as 18.7GB.

                 

                the H.264 is still going to be higher quality?

                 

                The client is going to be editing these files in AVID, they just need them converted from PAL to NTSC.

                 

                EDIT: ok i changed it to H.264 for Blu-Ray, and there's an option to change the resolution to 1920x10801, so I'll go with that for now.

                 

                It's still only going to be 366 MB though. =/

                 

                Message was edited by: Joshua Isaac Stone

                • 5. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                  Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                  I got a little more info on the job, and the client is going to be projecting this on to a jumbotron screen, and is very adamant about the files being "uncompressed" or as uncompressed as possible.

                   

                  so with that in mind, what is my best course of action?

                  • 6. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                    Harm Millaard Level 7

                    This is bound to be an ungrateful job. With uncompressed HD to start with (great material), why can't the client do the conversion from PAL to NTSC himself, especially since he still wants to edit the material. The general rule is to edit first and then convert to delivery format. You are now forced into converting first and then the client can edit. That sequence is not advisable. You will have the quality hit from converting, then - after editing - the client takes another quality hit when converting to delivery format.

                    • 7. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                      Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                      Well all I know is that he's using AVID. I don't know the specifics of his workstation, but I have to assume he's unable to convert the files himself, which is why he came to us.

                       

                      We bought CS4 because we thought it would be able to do the job we needed done, and now it's not looking like that's the case.

                       

                      Is the "uncompressed Windows avi" setting that I used HD?

                       

                      are there ANY uncompressed HD settings available?

                       

                      I was looking in to using the "Uncompressed 10-bit (4:2:2 YUV)" setting, but I'm still a little fuzzy about the specifics of that setting.

                       

                      I'm really grasping at anything right now to find a way to do this...

                      • 8. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                        Dan Isaacs Level 2

                        In any case, you will never get very good conversion fro PAL <-> NTSC in an Adobe worflow – especially with interlaced material. What is the original format? 1080/50i, 1080/25p, 720/50p?

                         

                        I disagree (somewhat and conditionally) with Harm: It is better to convert the PAL sources to NTSC first and then edit… unless (and this is the big "if") then final delivery format is going to be in PAL.

                         

                        So, if you are looking to present this @ 25 fps … Harm is correct. If this is going to be shown in the U.S., then I am correct (I hope?).

                         

                        I have some tools I have developed that can provide excellent conversion quality. Could you please describe to me the file format, frame rate, field settings, etc. of the source footage and what you plan to do with it? This will help me better advise you.

                         

                        EDIT:

                         

                        I have a client that gave me uncompressed HD Quicktime mov files (1920x1080i) in PAL format, and they want them converted to NTSC.

                        I just noticed this… sorry for skimming! Please just let me know the final delivery format you have in mind.

                        • 9. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                          Harm Millaard Level 7

                          The problem basically is that exporting is done to a delivery format, which is always compressed. There is no way that I know of to convert PAL to NTSC in uncompressed HD format, but maybe Google can help you. CS4 can not do that job. Sorry. H.264 BR may be the closest you can get with CS4, but that entails heavy compression and thus (some) quality loss. Hence my previous post, this is an ungrateful job.

                          • 10. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                            Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                            All we have to do to the files is convert them from PAL.

                             

                            So the final delivery would be a hard drive with these files on it, uncompressed and with as little loss of quality as possbile, and in NTSC format.

                             

                            EDIT: So how does one go about converting PAL to NTSC and vice versa?

                            • 11. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                              Harm Millaard Level 7

                              I hate to admit it, but there are certain topics where I just don't know.

                               

                              I know, I post often, sometimes mistakenly, but here I have no solution for you, not only because I never encountered this specific situation, but even if I had, I'm not sure I would have found a solution. Google may be your starting point.

                              • 12. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                                *sigh*

                                 

                                Well I guess I better start googling.

                                 

                                Thanks for your help guys, and I'll be checking back in case an epiphany occurs to one of you.

                                • 13. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                  Dan Isaacs Level 2

                                  If you are on a Mac, then there is nothing I can do for you. However, you can use some freeware tools in Windows to do the job nicely.

                                   

                                  1. Download and install VirtualDub
                                  2. Download and install AviSynth 2.5
                                  3. Download and install my dv2film package for AviSynth (place the unzipped files into the root of your AviSynth plugins folder)
                                  4. Download and install the QTSource plugin for AviSynth (place the unzipped files into the root of your AviSynth plugins folder)

                                   

                                  Open notepad and create a new blank text document and save the file as qt_pal2ntsc.avs – enter the following text:

                                   

                                  filename = "my1080i50.mov"


                                  QTInput(filename, color=1, raw="v210", mode=1)
                                  AssumeTFF()
                                  dv60i50i(deintmethod=1, OutputBFF=false)

                                   

                                  [ Note: this is assuming that the source is uncompressed YUV 10-bits. If the video does not come in correctly, you may need to alter the raw and/or mode parameters. More info is available in the QTSource_usage.htm that should be in your AviSynth plugins folder. If you are having trouble here, I can help you find a setting that works. ]

                                   

                                  Open the qt_pal2ntsc.avs file you created in VirtualDub. Go to Video / Compression and select Fast Recompress. Next, choose File / Save as .avi, which will output an uncompressed YUV 8-bit AVI file.

                                  • 14. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                    Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                                    Thanks for the links Dan.

                                     

                                    Do you know if the results of that will be better than the Quicktime export from CS4 using the uncompressed YUV 10 bit settings?

                                     

                                    because I just did that and it's a 16.7GB file. It's rendering now.

                                     

                                    I really don't know how to test the actual quality of any of these files I'm exporting. Is there any way to tell if a file is still HD or if it's been downconverted?

                                    • 15. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                      Dan Isaacs Level 2
                                      Do you know if the results of that will be better than the Quicktime export from CS4 using the uncompressed YUV 10 bit settings?

                                       

                                      I have no doubt. Good conversion of interlaced material begins with high-quality deinterlacing, which Premiere / AME does not have. Even though my process will result in YUV 8-bit instead of 10bit, I am fairly certain that AME "clips" your 10-bits to 8-bits anyway during the transcoding process.

                                       

                                      My process [ dv60i50i() ] has many, many options for improved quality (at the expense of processing speed). The options in the example I provided are reasonably good and fairly fast. To speed things up further:

                                       

                                      1. download the multithreaded version of EEDI2
                                      2. delete the eedi2.dll from your avisynth plugins folder and place the eedi2_imp.dll in there instead
                                      • 16. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                        Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                                        Ok thanks, I'll try what you suggested next.

                                         

                                        It's a little daunting to look at on paper though, hope I can figure it out.

                                         

                                        Also, quality is more important than speed right now, so would I just select a different "recompress" rate for a slower, better looking result?

                                        • 17. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                          Dan Isaacs Level 2
                                          so would I just select a different "recompress" rate for a slower, better looking result?

                                           

                                          No. This only prevents VirtualDub from comverting it from YUY2 -> RGB, which will only increase file size; not quality, in this case, as the video is processed internally as YUY2.

                                           

                                          I can provide you with some HQ options but first… Would your client rather have 30p instead of 60i? If this is being shown on a large screen, a progressive format might make more sense. Please let me know.

                                          • 18. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                            Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                                            If it's not too much trouble, I'd love to try both options and let the client choose which one they prefer.

                                             

                                            Otherwise, I'll just go with 60i.

                                             

                                            Heh, $300 later and freeware saves the day. Gotta love it.

                                            • 19. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                              Dan Isaacs Level 2

                                              OK… Some options: (simply replace the last line of the script I posted earlier)

                                               

                                              HQ 1080/30p (using partial motion-compensation - slow)

                                              dv60i50i(deintmethod=1, interlaced_out=false, type=6).SelectEven()

                                               

                                              HQ 1080/30p (using full motion-compensation - very slow)

                                              dv60i50i(deintmethod=1, interlaced_out=false, type=5).SelectEven()

                                               

                                              HQ 1080/60i (using partial motion-compensation - slow)

                                              dv60i50i(deintmethod=1, OutputBFF=false, type=6)


                                              HQ 1080/60i (using full motion-compensation - very slow)

                                              dv60i50i(deintmethod=1, OutputBFF=false, type=5)

                                               

                                              There are many options… Notice that these examples use motion compensation. When all goes well, MoComp will create a nearly perfect conversion. However, it is extremely slow and can be prone to artifacts on very fast motion. Type=5 will convert all frames with their MoComp'ed replacements. Type=6 only MoComps the frames that are farthest "out" from where they should be, time-wise.

                                               

                                              Also try changing these to Type=4, which will use a minimal blending scheme instead of motion compensation (faster, more predictable).

                                              • 20. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                Dan Isaacs Level 2

                                                Want even more speed?

                                                 

                                                Download the multithreaded version of AviSynth. Place the MT.dll file in your AviSynth plugins folder… and replace the avisynth.dll in your Windows\System32 (or Windows\SysWOW64 if you are using a 64-bit OS) with the one provided.

                                                 

                                                Insert the following as the top line of your script: SetMTMode(2). So…

                                                 

                                                SetMTMode(2)

                                                filename = "my1080i50.mov"

                                                QTInput(filename, color=1, raw="v210", mode=1)
                                                AssumeTFF()
                                                dv60i50i(deintmethod=1, OutputBFF=false)

                                                • 21. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                  Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                                                  Ok I'm going to jump in and try these now, I'll report back later this week with my results.

                                                   

                                                  You're a total lifesaver Dan, thanks for your time and efforts.

                                                  • 22. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                    Dan Isaacs Level 2
                                                    Heh, $300 later and freeware saves the day. Gotta love it.

                                                     

                                                    Well, yes… but, depending on how much footage you need to convert (and if you are providing both 60i and 30p versions) you should probably charge more. How many minutes of footage do you have to convert?

                                                    • 23. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                      Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                                                      Ok I downloaded the programs and the plug-ins, the plug-ins are in the appropriate folder.

                                                       

                                                      i copy and pasted your instructions, replacing the quotes with my actual file name.

                                                       

                                                      But when I try to open the file, I get an error:

                                                       

                                                      "Avisynth Open Error:

                                                       

                                                      Unable to open movie, err=50 : 5path of video file

                                                       

                                                      (G:\Virtual Dub files\qt_pal2ntsc.avs, line 4)"

                                                       

                                                      What am I doing wrong?

                                                       

                                                       

                                                      EDIT: it's 32 minutes in all, and almost 280GB!

                                                       

                                                      Message was edited by: Joshua Isaac Stone

                                                      • 24. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                        Dan Isaacs Level 2

                                                        Is the qt_pal2ntsc.avs file in the same folder as the QT file? If not, it should be… or, you can place the full path in the script, like:

                                                         

                                                        filename = "g:/path_to/subfolder/myfile.qt"

                                                        • 25. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                          Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                                                          That was the problem, it's cranking away now!

                                                          • 26. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                            Dan Isaacs Level 2

                                                            Excellent.

                                                             

                                                            Which script variation(s) are you using are what are you getting for processing speeds from VirtualDub (in average fps)?

                                                            • 27. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                              Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                                                              I was using the 60i full motion setting.

                                                               

                                                              When I set last night, it said it had about 13 hours to go (for a 2:22 clip).

                                                               

                                                              Unfortunately this morning Windows had decided to restart it's self, so I have to start it again.

                                                               

                                                              EDIT: the fps this time is 0.09.

                                                              • 28. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                                Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                                                                Now, should I be able to view video in VirtualDub?

                                                                 

                                                                Because right now, all I see is a green screen, and I'm feeling rather nervous about it. =/

                                                                • 29. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                                  Dan Isaacs Level 2

                                                                  SoPlease see the note I made earlier:

                                                                   

                                                                  [ Note: this is assuming that the source is uncompressed YUV 10-bits. If the video does not come in correctly, you may need to alter the raw and/or mode parameters. More info is available in the QTSource_usage.htm that should be in your AviSynth plugins folder. If you are having trouble here, I can help you find a setting that works. ]

                                                                   

                                                                  When you you said you had it working last night, I was assuming that you checked to see if there was an image. It is also good to run a short test before letting something crunch for hours and hours!

                                                                   

                                                                  So, open the .avs script file in VIrtualDub. Can you see an image or just green? If all you see is green, then you most likely need to adjust the raw parameter or mode parameter.

                                                                   

                                                                  QTInput("myfile.mov", color=2, raw="v210", mode=1)

                                                                   

                                                                  So, let's try to figure out what you need to open this QT movie (I hate QuickTIme, BTW. It is an evil invention. Things are much easier with AVI files)


                                                                  Try variations on this… change the line of the script, choose "save" in Notepad, and hity F2 (refresh) in VirtualDub until you see a proper image:

                                                                   

                                                                  QTInput(filename, color=2, mode=0)

                                                                   

                                                                  ...or...

                                                                   

                                                                  QTInput(filename, color=2, mode=2)


                                                                  If those don't work, try one of....

                                                                   

                                                                  QTInput(filename, color=2, mode=1, raw="rgb")

                                                                  QTInput(filename, color=2, mode=1, raw="argb")

                                                                  QTInput(filename, color=2, mode=1, raw="yuv2")

                                                                  QTInput(filename, color=2, mode=1, raw="vyuy")

                                                                  QTInput(filename, color=2, mode=1, raw="yvyu")

                                                                  QTInput(filename, color=2, mode=1, raw="yuyv")

                                                                  QTInput(filename, color=2, mode=1, raw="uyvy")

                                                                   

                                                                  Don't fear… there are not that many variations and we'll find one that works. If I knew more about Quicktime, it would probably be easier and save some guesswork, but, hey…

                                                                  • 30. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                                    Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                                                                    Yeah I was just so happy last night that I was thinking entirely straight.

                                                                     

                                                                    So, I tried both of the first options you gave, and they work better, as in I can actually see a picture on the screen, but I still can't hit play and watch the video.

                                                                     

                                                                    That is what I should be able to do, right?

                                                                     

                                                                    So I need to start trying the other settings until I find one that lets me watch the clip?

                                                                    • 31. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                                      Dan Isaacs Level 2

                                                                      What do you mean you can't hit play and watch it? What happens when you do that? It should play – perhaps quite slowly, but it should play. Try letting it write a few frames to AVI; then hit cancel and have a look.

                                                                      • 32. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                                        Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                                                                        When I hit play, vdub goes a little crazy, and starts "imprinting" images of my screen.

                                                                         

                                                                        If I don't touch anything, I can see the first frame in vdub.

                                                                         

                                                                        Now, the little test I did garnered an actual frame or two of the video as a result, so this setting "QTInput(filename, color=2, mode=0)" is at least a step in the rght direction. However it does seem to be a bit "slow" on playback. I'll let it run a little longer and get a longer sample.

                                                                        • 33. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                                          Dan Isaacs Level 2

                                                                          I think you should be all set; assuming that your test works out. As for speed, this will depend entirely on the options you set for the conversion. I did warn you that the "high quality" options (using motion compensation) would be extremely slow, didn't I? You should be able to get decent results by setting dv60i50i(Type=4) – or even dv60i50i(Type=0), which is the "stock" way of performing such conversions.

                                                                           

                                                                          What kind of material is the original? A lot of motion? Effects? Transitions? Please describe your source to me if you can.

                                                                           

                                                                          Also, what kind of CPU horsepower do you have? Did you install the MT version of AviSynth?

                                                                          • 34. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                                            Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                                                                            by "slow" i meant the actual speed of the video seems to be slower than it should be, but that might just be my computer playback.

                                                                             

                                                                            I switched to the "reasonably good and fairly fast setting" this morning, but it only cut the export time by a couple hours. after making these new changes, it cut the export time to about 3 1/2 hours...!

                                                                             

                                                                            It's machinery footage, nothing particularly fast, and it's raw footage, so no edits or effects at all.

                                                                            • 35. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                                              Dan Isaacs Level 2
                                                                              by "slow" i meant the actual speed of the video seems to be slower than it should be, but that might just be my computer playback.

                                                                               

                                                                              That's probably the case. However, when you open the final .AVI for viewing in VirtualDub, go to File / File Information and verify that it is (more or less) the original length in minutes and seconds and that the framerate is 29.97 fps. If those check out, then all should be good.

                                                                               

                                                                              Machinery footage on a Jumbotron? Sounds exciting! Actually, I deal mostly with industrial stuff myself so I know the gig.

                                                                               

                                                                              Assuming these are all tripod shots, low-motion, etc. the "basic" options (such as Type=4) should do fine. You can probably speed things up a hell of a lot also by changing it to DeintMethod=2 … but you'll have to evaluate if this is doing a good enough job at deinterlacing, which will depend greatly on the source.

                                                                              • 36. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                                                Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                                                                                The file information appears to check out, but when I pull it in to CS4, it still doesn't play "full speed" like the clips I tried exporting with CS4, although it also doesn't need to render...I still feel a little uneasy about it though. I guess I'll let it run it's course and see what it looks like.

                                                                                 

                                                                                As far as CPU speed, I'm on a machine with dual 2.80 Xeon processors and 3GB of RAM.

                                                                                 

                                                                                I don't have "(=Type4)" anywhere in the script that's running now, should it be there?

                                                                                 

                                                                                the last line i have is this: dv60i50i(deintmethod=1, OutputBFF=false)

                                                                                • 37. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                                                  Dan Isaacs Level 2

                                                                                  dv60i50i(DeintMethod=1, OutputBFF=false, Type=4)

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Try it… you might like it better than the default (Type=0, which simply duplicates fields in the case of PAL -> NTSC).

                                                                                   

                                                                                  When I wrote this function, I was surprised to discover how many "ways" there are to convert PAL<->NTSC. In my tests, Type=4 was the best of the fast options.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  It is entirely understandable that an uncompressed 1920x1080 AVI @ 29.97 fps may not playback in realtime on CS4. Instwad, open the file in VirtualDub and choose File / Preview output from start and see what it reports for playback FPS. This will give you a good idea of how well your PC can handle playback of this file.

                                                                                  • 38. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                                                    Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                                                                                    Ok, I'm going to let it do it's thing and cross my fingers.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    It reports the fps at 0.34 or so...so I'm guessing that's just a bit much for my poor machine.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Come to think of it, the original PAL file wouldn't playback smoothly either, so this is actually probably a good sign, meaning that it's comparable to the original in qulity.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    At least that's what I'm going to hang my hat on for now.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Thanks again for your persistant helpfulness.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    I'll check back with my results later tonight.

                                                                                    • 39. Re: Converting PAL HD to NTSC HD?
                                                                                      Joshua Isaac Stone Level 1

                                                                                      Oh man.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      I just got off the phone with my client. After all this, he's decided to farm out the editing, and apparently this wunderkind can't work with .avi footage.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      Which means I can simply output H.264 files from Procoder and call it a day.

                                                                                       

                                                                                       

                                                                                      Unbelievable...

                                                                                       

                                                                                       

                                                                                      But thanks for all your help and guidance Dan, I feel I learned a lot through this process, even if it all turned out to be unnecessary for this particular project.

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