I have a VHS of a movie that was originally filmed with PAL standard but transferred to NTSC for American release. That means it plays a little slower than it was originally intended to. I have the PAL version, but it seems the NTSC has much better picture and sound quality overall.
Normally, I would wait around for a good DVD version to show up, but so far the only DVD release seems to be taken from a worse source than the original VHS (and it's still at a slower pitch).
If I were to transfer the NTSC VHS over to my computer, would I be able to simultaneously adjust the speed of the audio and video to match that of the PAL?
What type of program should I use, if so?
Thanks in advance.
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No. A PAL version of a 90-minute movie will play at 25FPS for 90 minutes. An NTSC version of the same 90-minute movie will play at 29.972 FPS for the same 90 minutes. PAL is usually converted to NTSC by the addition of pulldown or telecine and in some cases by duplicating frames periodically. If you think this means that the 90-minute movie plays for the same duration because the NTSC version displays more frames at a faster rate, you would be correct.
If he original video was film, it was shot at 23.976 or at 24FPS. You would restore the original frame rate and audio rate to the original film speed. How long would it play at 23.976? It would play for the original 90 minutes. But on the usual TV its motion wouldn't be as smooth as in the original film. If you restore 23.976, you can add pulldown or telecine using one method to get 25 FPS playback, and the same technique using another method to get 29.972 FPS playback. All three versions would play for 90 minutes. All three versions would display a different total number of images during that time.
How you would restore the official film rate depends on how the PAL->NTSC conversion was made. Some shops do a decent job of converting film speed to other frame rates, but many make a complete and irreparable mess of it. The only way anyone could prescribe a restoral method would be to see a few seconds of the video you're working with. If you don't know how to cut and post a short sample, ask here.
Last edited by sanlyn; 19th Mar 2014 at 11:44.
Film is normally shot at 24 fps. For NTSC broadcast it is slowed to 23.976 fps. A 90 minute movie would play for 5.4 seconds longer on TV (if they don't cut it, add advertizing, or speed it up to make room for more ads). The PAL release, most commonly, would be sped up to 25 fps and would run about 86.4 minutes. The audio would also be about a semitone higher in pitch.
Why stop at seconds. Milliseconds would be a closer figure. But I agree: they will not all play at exactly the same duration, but close enough to appear "natural".
We're mostly guessing anyway. That PAL->NTSC mod, if it's anything like some of the conversions seen in the forum recently, could just be another disaster. Or it could be legitimate work. Only a sample will tell. The O.P. did state that one version appeared to be speeded up. I wouldn't be surprised.
Last edited by sanlyn; 19th Mar 2014 at 11:44.
The movie in question is 200 Motels starring Frank Zappa and Ringo Starr.
The NTSC VHS I have is a clone of the official US laserdisc edition. The PAL copy suffers from some bad sound dropouts and lower picture quality but it does play at the correct speed. Most of the movie was filmed in London on videotape and then transferred to film. The only elements of the movie that play at the correct speed in the NTSC are the animations (which must have been done in the US).
Here's a YouTube comparison of the NTSC and the PAL.
NTSC (start around 40 second mark):
PAL (start around 45 second mark):
[Beware if you watch either past the first three minutes, some parts are intended for mature audiences]
Yes, video tape would be different: usually 50 fields per second native PAL. For TV (or VHS tape) that's usually converted to 59.94 fields per second NTSC with field blending -- but no change in running time. If that was done you'll probably want to remove the field blends. The only tool for that is AviSynth and the SRestore() filter. Another possibility is that it was deinterlaced and slowed to 23.976 and 3:2 pulldown applied. That's easily restored to 23.976 fps progressive frames with an inverse telecine. Then you can speed it up to 25 fps (and the audio too). Otherwise, you'll have to provide a sample.
I don't know if this means much but at Netflix it appears to be 25 fps sped up to ~30 fps by duplicating every 5th frame.
Last edited by jagabo; 12th Nov 2013 at 22:56.
Glad you gave the title because this is an odd one.
The program was recorded originally on PAL video and transferred to 35mm film for theatrical release in pre-digital scan days. The speed of the 24fps film was probably correct in relation to the video original.
Based on film dust speckles, my best guess is the NTSC laserdisc was made from the 35mm film, probably slowed down to 23.976, though the YouTube is too crappy to make a good judgment about it.
The PAL YouTube also appears to be made from the 35mm film (again based on dust speckles) so it is probably sped up 24 to 25.
The point being, without knowing the history of all the elements, it's very hard to say which one is really correct. Neither version is optimal.
edit: Here we go, sort through this to figure out what to do:
Last edited by smrpix; 13th Nov 2013 at 01:33.
From the article:
being shot and edited on PAL and then transferred to 35mm yielded some annoying side-effects, most notably in terms of the film's running time. PAL video runs at 25 frames-per-second whereas films are projected at 24. It would appear that the solution - such as it was - to this conundrum was a reversal of the traditional PAL telecine process, which speeds films up from to 24 to 25 fps for TV broadcasts. In other words, 200 Motels slowed down the action from 25 to 24 fps - thereby increasing the running time
WhatEverSource("filename.ext") TFM() TDecimate() AssumeFSP(25)
Last edited by jagabo; 13th Nov 2013 at 08:09.
The article you provided was actually what inspired me to start this project in the first place. The laserdisc has the cleanest picture of all home video releases so I was hoping I could get a good speed corrected version out of it for my archives.
Thanks for everyone's know-how so far. What type of software/hardware would I need to inverse telecine and apply all the changes suggested? A little bit of a newb when it comes to doing restoration in the digital realm.
Do you have a VHS deck? A video capture device?
For the best results you want an S-VHS deck with a line TBC. You may get adequate results using a regular VHS deck along with a DVD recorder like the Panasonic ES10 or ES15 in pass-through mode instead. Some DV camcorders with composite inputs have line TBCs that can be used in pass-through mode.
The tape may have Macrovision so you may also need a full frame TBC that ignores Macrovision, a "video clarifier", or a capture device that ignores Macrovision.
The video processing can be done with free, open source software like AviSynth, VirtualDub. Encoders like HcEnc (if you're making DVDs) or x264 (or any of the GUI front ends, if making MKV or MP4 files) can be used.
Not sure if this would help at all but the MGM HD channel aired a restored version of 200 motels and I am pretty sure they window boxed it (pillar box). I recorded this using a homedeck recorder, so if your project causes you a problem, shoot me a PM