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NTSC to Pal conversion for Video Camcorder help!
NTSC to Pal conversion for Video Camcorder help!

10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9170 posted 12:45 am on Jul 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have a PAL HI8 Sony Video Camcorder I brought to the USA from New Zealand. Everything here of course is NTSC so I cannot play my video tapes. I can however buy American Hi8 tapes and they fit into my camcorder and record just fine until I play them and they only display black and white but I would like to be able to view and record all my pal stuff from my pal camcorder to ntsc. Any suggestions on the best methods to approach such a task. I am hoping to exclude a pc in this venture is at all possible.



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Msg#: 9170 posted 10:44 am on Jul 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm not an authority on this at all, but have heard that PAL and NTSC really don't mean anything if you digitize things and put them on a DVD. Taking a digital stream out of your camcorder and onto a PC would probably be the easiest conversion method. The only other way I know of would be to bring the tapes to a studio with NTSC and PAL equipment and dub them there.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9170 posted 12:38 pm on Jul 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you have a FireWire connecter/port on cam/PC, you can connect it, and if you also have a software such as (if you're a beginner) Ulead VideoStudio (intermediate) Pinnacle Studio or (professional) Adobe Premiere, transfer all the footage to the PC and burn them onto a DVD disk.

Oh whoops, I just remembered...if you have WinDVD Creator which comes with all the PCs here with NZ, there is a "one click" way to transfer all the footage from a tape to a DVD -- just leave it on overnight.

I have had the same problem as you are having, but nearly the other way round (how ironic is that!) -- bought a MiniDV video camera in Hawaii while on a vacation, turned out it was an NTSC one and luckily I was able to return it, get a refund and buy the same camera from a different but related supplier which was Pal. Not sure if you might be able to do that, though.



10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9170 posted 11:41 pm on Jul 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks you two for your help. It looks as though if I was going to do it through the PC I need to get myself a little bit more RAM, an external hard drive and I wouldn't even consider it without fireweire for transfer. I tried moving video through USB (Yuck). Let me give that a go with WinDVD and I will tell ya all how I go with it. Damn shame the world has to be so different with zones, formats and the rest.....


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9170 posted 6:38 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

You can buy a mulit-convertor videotape player/recorder. They handle most formats and you can buy them with Hi8 and/or VHS bays. So any vhs tapes you may have in another format will also play.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9170 posted 8:41 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

PAL and NTSC have very different tech specs, hence there are a few things to consider.

PAL runs at 50hz and utilises 625 horizontal lines in a full frame (576 of these are visible on a standard broadcast - without overscan - the rest are vertical blanking and non visible). NTSC runs at 60hz and holds 525 lines with around 480 visible.

The interlaced nature of both formats means that only half a frame is shown on each pass with a slight offset so that more detail can be shown when interlaced. This explains the flickering you can see on high contrast areas of a TV picture.

Converting well between the two used to be expensive but I would guess it is much cheaper now, although I have not looked. You will see that there are still issues with conversion as even broadcast networks have traits that I find annoying when the format has been changed, I am very picky though and used to do a lot of work in Computer/TV graphics.

The idea of going to DVD may not help as the DVD may well default to PAL, these can be read by DVD players but may not show on TV's that are NTSC. (I know that UK TV's used to have mixed results the other way around - and we all know that US companies are not the first to think about interoperability).

If you go down the Camcorder to PC to DVD route then that can handle the conversion but you will have to fork out for a few bits of equipment, including a card that can take an s-video analogue input. Hi-8 uses Luminance and Chrominance on separate lines so is better than composite signals (8mm or VHS C), the problem is that Hi-8 is not a digital signal (unless it's a Digital8). The quality after all of the steps may be dissapointing.

I suggest buying a new camcorder if you are staying in the US, it may sound a little drastic but you will be able to plug it straight into a TV over there, or hook it up digitally to your PC very easily, you could even hook it straight into a DVD recorder to do simple editing.

I'd be more than happy to answer your specific requirements, just post what you need to do (all the different places you need to send the stuff and what formats and your budget) and I'll take a look at it.

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