Converting NTSC to PAL Digitally

Digital File Encoding Services | 02 April 2012 | Services | | 0 Comments   

With the increase in digital file deliveries, the world of film and video is in a transitional phase. While it will probably be some time until it transitions to a completely digitally delivered medium, the fact is that today’s film industry already requires a lot of digital delivery and if you want to work in this industry you better get on board.

I was recently hired on at HD Creative Services to head up the File Encoding Department. My name is Rob and you can find my contact info at the bottom of this blog. Whether it’s encoding, color correction, closed captioning services, color grading, quality control, HDCAMSR or any other post-production services in Los Angeles, HD Creative Services can satisfy your needs. We also provide video production rentals.

Converting footage and files from NTSC to PAL is a tricky process. All sorts of problems like artifacts, misaligned audio tracks and badly blended frames can result from a poor encode. I recently took on the task of producing a high quality NTSC to PAL conversion for the feature film Bed and Breakfast starring Dean Cain, Bill Engvall and Eric Roberts. With this job quality was priority one. There were a number of pitfalls during the process. The source material already had some blended frame and interlacing artifact issues – not major problems but not ideal. I was also getting some artifacts and frame distortion on the first encode pass that were unacceptable.

Not getting the results I wanted using an Episode preset, I decided to break this job up into two steps. First, focusing on correcting the blended frames and interlacing issues then focusing on converting to the proper frame rate and resolution. Changing this into a two-step process increased the time it took to get the job done but greatly increased the quality. I’m happy to say that the new encoded PAL version of the film is higher quality than the original source material I was given to work with and the whole two-step encoding process for the entire feature film only took about three hours. We now have a PAL version of Bed and Breakfast that has clean cuts, smooth transitions, precise audio alignment and is virtually artifact free.

Robert Haynes

File Encoding Services

Ph/Fx: (323) 461 3715 • Sales: (323) 469 0209

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