24 January 2007 @ 16:46Converting PAL to NTSC
If you want to watch a PAL movie in an NTSC DVD player, you are out of luck. There are DVD players out there that will play both PAL and NTSC discs, and, in fact, I have one of those. The problem with that solution is that see flickering lines and some jagged lines when watching PAL discs. This could just be a flaw of my cheap DVD player.
Anyway, on to the point of this article. There are a lot of people out there pursuing the topic of converting PAL to NTSC. The same method can be applied for NTSC to PAL as well.
First of all, the two main differences between PAL and NTSC are 1) resolution and 2) framerate. PAL is 720 pixels wide by 576 pixels high, whereas NTSC is 720 pixels wide and 480 pixels high. PAL is 25fps whereas NTSC can be 23.98fps or 29.97fps.
Resizing is a simple matter, but adjusting the framerate can be slightly troublesome. It would seem that converting from 25fps to 23.98fps would be the way to go, because it is less drastic of a change than 25fps to 29.97fps. In my experience, though, I get smoother results with the latter.
You will first need to extract the video from the disc. There are many utilities out there that can do this for you. I will use ffmpeg to do the conversion. The command I use is as follows:
ffmpeg -i moviePAL.vob -target ntsc-dvd -aspect 16:9 -acodec copy movieNTSC.mpg
Let me break down this command a bit. The
ffmpeg is, of course the binary that will be doing the video processing. The source PAL file follows the
-i tag. The
-target ntsc-dvd flag is there to make the output a suitable NTSC file for DVD. Other targets include
film-dvd as well as others. The
-aspect should be
4:3 depending on your source. The
-acodec copy is there to make an exact copy of the audio stream. Nothing needs to change with the audio in this conversion. And finally, put the name of the ouput file at the end of this command. Simple enough.
This process could take anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple hours depending on the length of your source video and the speed of your computer. Once that is done, I author the DVD with dvdauthor, but there are other options out there for authoring and burning an MPEG-2 file to a DVD.