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Old 13th November 2011, 12:05   #1  |  Link
Chibs
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Creating all-region NTSC DVD, getting streak/band/ing on PAL player. [I'm hopeless!]

[EDIT: I recorded a video of the problem, and uploaded it to vimeo. The link is below.]


Hello all,

Later this year I'm getting my first film published, and to have full control I decided to make the DVD image myself.
Now, I want to be able to sell this film internationally, as there's been some interest from outside of Europe. However, we do not have the option of creating two DVD versions.

I read that PAL players are supposed to be able to play NTSC DVDs just fine, so I figured I'd create a region-free NTSC DVD.
However, on my PAL DVD player I'm getting a weird kind of streaking and banding. It does not look like an interlacing issue, but there's horizontal bands all over the screen in various shades of the actual image. This is most visible when exposure shifts happen. The bands vary in size, and make the film unwatchable...

Now, the issue for me is that it DOES NOT show up on the PC. It plays back perfectly on the PC.

The original source is a 1080p25 source file. To convert it to the right specifications I have used the following AviSynth scripts:

Code:
#Load Video
AVISource("G:\EFOS\lag.avi")

#Convert to YV12 colorspace for LSFmod
ConvertToYV12(interlaced=false)

#Spline 36 resize to NTSC standard
Spline36Resize(720,480)

#LSFmod sharpen without preblur
LSFmod(strength=90, Smode = 5, Smethod = 3, preblur="OFF", secure=true, soothe=true, keep=80)
Which is then loaded in the following script:

Code:
AVISource("resize.avs")
ConvertToYV12()
Tweak(bright=10)
Limiter(16, 235, 16, 240)
AssumeTFF() # NTSC
ChangeFPS(60000,1001)
Separatefields().SelectEvery(4,0,3).Weave()
The Tweak is there to brighten up the image slightly for TV playback.

The final AviSynth script I load into TMPGEnc Video Mastering Works 5, to deliver a DVD compliant MPEG2 stream with a max bitrate of 8000kbps, 29,97fps, 720x480 with a NTSC widescreen PAR. This is then loaded into DVD Architect Pro 5 where it is burned without re-encoding, video set to top-field interlacing.

At first I thought it might be an interlacing issue, so I removed the last command of the AviSynth script and let TMPGEnc do the interlacing, but to no avail. I tried setting both top and bottom-field interlacing in DVD Architect Pro, but to no avail.

I'm hopeless. What am I doing wrong? If any other information is required, let me know. All versions I've tried work perfect on the PC, but fail on all three DVD players I've tried. What's the key to making a universal DVD that can be used worldwide?

Thanks for reading and helping, I'm all out of options.

Last edited by Chibs; 13th November 2011 at 15:35.
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Old 13th November 2011, 14:31   #2  |  Link
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Put a photo taken from your TV with a camera. It may also be of interest what models did you use to play and watch the PAL DVD.
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Old 13th November 2011, 15:37   #3  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
Put a photo taken from your TV with a camera. It may also be of interest what models did you use to play and watch the PAL DVD.
It's not as visible in a still as it is in the actual moving image, so I've uploaded a video recorded from the TV. It is linked in the top of my first post. It's not a PAL DVD, it's an NSTC DVD, in a PAL DVD player. I've tried it on three players, one being a Pioneer DV-310, the other two no-brand POS. The recorded video is from one of the latter, a Provision PRDVD3100, on which the problem is slightly more noticeable then the Pioneer, though that might also have to do with the difference in TV.
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Old 13th November 2011, 17:47   #4  |  Link
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My guess is your DVD-Players are setup to always output PAL no matter what's on the DVD. This means they'll do a on-the-fly normconversion to PAL, or, how I'd describe it, they butcher it to PAL.

There might be something else going wrong to make things even worse in your case but please do not expect any DVD-Player to do even a decent on-the-fly normconversion. It'll always look inferior on DVD-Players that do not output your NTSC DVD in it's native format.
To get around this one has to change the setting of the DVD-Player's TV standard to "Auto" instead of PAL, usually there are three options: Auto, PAL, NTSC.
The problem however is, while Auto will never butcher a DVD to another TV standard, it requires the TV to be able to properly display the 525 Lines 60 Hz signal that is coming from the DVD-Player now. Modern TVs should all be able to display it correctly, older decent ones (sold after maybe around 1995) do mostly as well, but the chances of a correct display with those is much better if a Scart cable is used which supports RGB video (which also requires the Scart cable to be connected to the correct RGB-capable Scart connector on the TV if there is more than one). You see, there are many places where problems might occur.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chibs View Post
What's the key to making a universal DVD that can be used worldwide?
There is none.
There are too many "if's" and compromises when making a universal DVD.
If you want to deliver the highest compatibility and especially also the highest possible video quality then you simply have to make both a NTSC and a PAL DVD, no arguing about it, you've seen yourself what may happen otherwise.
Your source is 25p, converting it to NTSC 29.97i when not absolutely needed is not a good idea, a waste of quality for anyone watching that DVD in a PAL country, not even speaking of the problems that this may cause, like I said.

By the way, to "convert it to the right specifications" you should resize it to 704x480.
"Brightening" it using Tweak(bright=10) is not a good thing either, it'll make the video washed out on properly calibrated TVs, assuming the levels of your video are in TV-range to begin with (maybe they are not, have you checked it with histogram("levels")?).

I've had a brief look at your video, to me it doesn't look like your TV is having any problems with the actual signal (well, that might be because it's converted to PAL by the player).
Did you encode it explicitly as interlaced video within TMPEG?
You should first check what happens if you change the DVD-Players setting to Auto and then report back.


Edit: You might also notice certain problems with the probably exessive vertical sharpness of your video (Spline36 downsized and LSF'ed) like heavy line twitter in static shots and jaggies whenever detailed things move.

Last edited by TheSkiller; 13th November 2011 at 18:43.
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Old 13th November 2011, 18:29   #5  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSkiller View Post
I've had a brief look at your video, to me it doesn't look like your TV is having any problems with the actual signal (well, that might be because it's converted to PAL by the player).
Did you encode it explicitly as interlaced video within TMPEG?
You should first check what happens if you change the DVD-Players setting to Auto and then report back.


Edit: You might also notice certain problems with the probably exessive vertical sharpness of your video (Spline36 downsized and LSF'ed) like heavy line twitter in static shots and jaggies whenever detailed things move.
Thanks for your detailed reply. First of all, I'm not having trouble with the sharpening, and tweak is for now just a quick fix (The original is mastered for projection). I'll have a look at both later to make sure all is fine once this is out of the way. Why should it be 704x480 instead of 740x480 with a widescreen PAR?

Regarding the DVD players; They don't have the option to be switched to NTSC. It seems very plausible to me that this might be the issue at hand, but as I had asked around and looked for clues online into how to make a universal DVD, everyone just told me to make an NTSC DVD as PAL players would play it just fine. Guess not. Since the main group of interest is in Europe I wouldn't want people to have to switch settings and what-not... Is it incorrect that PAL players will just play NTSC DVDs? Of course, it plays it, but in this state that's unusable.

It is explicitly encoded as interlaced video in TMPGEnc. Am I correct in choosing top-field interlacing all through-out the process?

Is there any other way to make a 'universal' DVD, perhaps mixed content with both a PAL and NTSC track? Is that possible?
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Old 13th November 2011, 19:01   #6  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chibs View Post
Why should it be 704x480 instead of 740x480 with a widescreen PAR?
I assume the latter is supposed to be 720x480. Well, that's exactly it, you're not taking PAR into account, you are just resizing your 1920x1080 source picture straight to 720x480. If you do not want to deal with PAR then just resize it straight to 704x576, it is perfectly DVD compatible just like 720x480 is and it will give you 100% correct aspect ratio on both TVs and PCs. Believe me, it is a good thing to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chibs View Post
They don't have the option to be switched to NTSC
This is very unusual, there really should be such setting somewhere deep in the DVD-Players configuration setup. The only DVD-Player I know of that doesn't have this setting is a Playstation 2, it is on "Auto" all the time so to say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chibs View Post
Is it incorrect that PAL players will just play NTSC DVDs? Of course, it plays it, but in this state that's unusable.
That's exactly the point. Any DVD-Player is by itself able to play a NTSC DVD but this does not imply the whole thing will look correct or good on the TV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chibs View Post
Am I correct in choosing top-field interlacing all through-out the process?
Yes, your script looks correct it that regard (everything TFF) so you should select top field first in TMPEG.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chibs View Post
Is there any other way to make a 'universal' DVD, perhaps mixed content with both a PAL and NTSC track? Is that possible?
It is possible and for all practical applications it should not cause more problems than a NTSC DVD. However most if not all authoring programs will complain and possibly not let you do it because it is actually not really allowed by the DVD spec if I'm not mistaken. Anyway, it is indeed the second best thing to do right after separate PAL and NTSC discs. The first menu of such a DVD should be a NTSC menu where you select your Region (to make it easier for the audience who don't know about PAL and NTSC). Worth a try. If your authoring program complains when adding a PAL video to an NTSC project you can try to patch the PAL videos frame rate and resolution to NTSC to fool your authoring program, you have to patch it back to it's original values after the DVD is compiled. You can patch MPEG headers with DVDPatcher.

Last edited by TheSkiller; 13th November 2011 at 19:08.
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Old 13th November 2011, 19:11   #7  |  Link
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I'm not sure I've ever seen a PAL DVD player which doesn't have an option to set the output type when playing an NTSC disc.
I am sure I've never come across a PAL DVD player which won't play NTSC discs properly.

Try the same player with another TV. It's possible the DVD player is outputting NTSC fine but the TV isn't all that good at it. Can you get your hands on another NTSC disc to try?

Why interlaced?
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Old 13th November 2011, 20:09   #8  |  Link
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Thanks to both your responses. I double-checked, and the setting just isn't there. I can do anything from 96Khz to 48Khz conversions and progressive output, but no NTSC / PAL switch.

I did get to try it on another set-up, with a modern TV. ...No problems whatsoever. I got my hands on another NTSC DVD and tried it in the other set-ups, and alas, the same problems.

That is bot the answer / solution to the issue I'm having, but it sadly also means that what I was hoping to do is impossible. I will try to create a mixed-content DVD, instead.

Thanks everyone for helping out, I was really stuck, and knowing it was impossible to fix (Besides getting a new TV and forcing everyone that buys the DVD to do the same). I'll make the NTSC version to the correct resolution and export the PAL version in a more normal fashion.

Regarding interlaced... I thought that was the standard for TV-output? I'm trying to make this as compatible as possible, so if progressive is something else only modern TVs would be able to view properly then I'll stick to interlaced.
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Old 13th November 2011, 20:31   #9  |  Link
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Making an interlaced 29.97 fps video is one of two options you have (if the target is to be NTSC).
You cannot go from 25p to 29.97 progressive – it would be unwatchable; 29.97 fps interlaced will look fine (which is what you do).

The other option would be to slow down the 25p source video to 23.976 fps, encode progressive at that frame rate and add pulldown flags for 29.97 interlaced output (this is still perfectly compatible NTSC). Obviously, a lot more work and you have to deal with slowing down the audio which needs to be done properly otherwise voices will sound lower/deeper.

Btw, it does not affect compatibility at all whether the video is interlaced or progressive, it is a mere question of what's best for a given situation.


Edit: Don't set your DVD-Player to progressive scan if you're not connecting it via Component cable to a TV that supports progressive scan input! It should not have any effect on other connections and signal types, but you never know what's going on inside the DVD-Player with that setting enabled...

Edit2: PAL output should be 704x576.

Last edited by TheSkiller; 13th November 2011 at 20:43.
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Old 14th November 2011, 09:36   #10  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSkiller View Post
The other option would be to slow down the 25p source video to 23.976 fps, encode progressive at that frame rate and add pulldown flags for 29.97 interlaced output (this is still perfectly compatible NTSC). Obviously, a lot more work and you have to deal with slowing down the audio which needs to be done properly otherwise voices will sound lower/deeper.
A third option would be to leave the frame rate at 25 fps and use DGPulldown. This way you do not have to mess with the audio.


Cheers
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Old 14th November 2011, 10:50   #11  |  Link
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Thanks once more. Just to re-iterate and make sure I have it all correct:

I'll leave the NTSC version on the disc as 29,97 interlaced. I will change it's resolution to 704x480. Correct?

For the PAL version, would you suggest going Progressive or Interlaced? The source is progressive, so this seems to make the most sense. And I will make it's resolution 704x576?
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Old 14th November 2011, 11:53   #12  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chibs View Post
Regarding the DVD players; They don't have the option to be switched to NTSC. It seems very plausible to me that this might be the issue at hand, but as I had asked around and looked for clues online into how to make a universal DVD, everyone just told me to make an NTSC DVD as PAL players would play it just fine. Guess not. Since the main group of interest is in Europe I wouldn't want people to have to switch settings and what-not... Is it incorrect that PAL players will just play NTSC DVDs? Of course, it plays it, but in this state that's unusable.
They should play NTSC as smooth as PAL, I own several discs, several players and several TVs and never got any issues on any combination.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chibs View Post
AL and NTSC track? Is that possible?
http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=147176
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Old 14th November 2011, 12:32   #13  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manolito View Post
A third option would be to leave the frame rate at 25 fps and use DGPulldown. This way you do not have to mess with the audio.
Ah, yes indeed, glad you mentioned it, I forgot about that.
The result of that 25p -> 29.97i soft-pulldown during playback is exactly the same as the script Chibs uses (ChangeFPS and then interlacing it to 29.97i, a "hard-pulldown"), but the core video is encoded progressive and therefore, in theory, of slightly better quality since the encoder is not stressed as much.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
They should play NTSC as smooth as PAL
Sure they do, but as soon as a DVD Player is forced to output PAL while playing an NTSC DVD things won't be quite smooth anymore. It's only as smooth as can be if the DVD-Player is allowed to output NTSC (or PAL60) as well which might cause problems on a few TV's. And from what I've seen, the standard setting of DVD-Players sold in Europe is to always output PAL, you'd have to change it to Auto yourself.

Last edited by TheSkiller; 14th November 2011 at 12:40.
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Old 14th November 2011, 13:09   #14  |  Link
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Quote:
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They should play NTSC as smooth as PAL, I own several discs, several players and several TVs and never got any issues on any combination.

http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=147176
Thanks, very helpful link. I've tried playing a regular NTSC disc on four DVD / TV sets, all older TVs were not able to play it without the same problems as I was having with my disc, and that's enough for me not to go this route sadly, I wish I could've.

Re: Resolutions in my above post, are they all correct?
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Old 14th November 2011, 13:28   #15  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSkiller View Post
Sure they do, but as soon as a DVD Player is forced to output PAL while playing an NTSC DVD things won't be quite smooth anymore. It's only as smooth as can be if the DVD-Player is allowed to output NTSC (or PAL60) as well which might cause problems on a few TV's. And from what I've seen, the standard setting of DVD-Players sold in Europe is to always output PAL, you'd have to change it to Auto yourself.
See the image below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chibs View Post
Thanks, very helpful link. I've tried playing a regular NTSC disc on four DVD / TV sets, all older TVs were not able to play it without the same problems as I was having with my disc, and that's enough for me not to go this route sadly, I wish I could've.
I said that [almost] all PAL gear can play/display NTSC videos. I said however not that they will accept NTSC. Very few PAL gear, mostly in profi field, can natively treat NTSC videos. The rest of the NTSC compatible devices convert NTSC into PAL60.


MOD.PAL is actually PAL60, without entering into many details an NTSC-video having NTSC framesize and fps but encoded as PAL. Snapshot from my Pioneer's handbook.
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Old 14th November 2011, 20:21   #16  |  Link
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Yes, I know what PAL60 is. The term PAL60 might be confusing to many because it's not 625 lines PAL but with 60Hz (such thing does not exist), it is, like NTSC, 525 lines and 59.94 Hz but with PAL color modulaton (you've said it already). Which also means it does not exist with RGB-Scart.

However, the point is: different DVD-Players handle this matter differently.
There are players that (I'd say the majority, especially budget ones), when set to "PAL", always output standard PAL (not PAL60), doing a on-the-fly basic normconversion with moderate to very bad results (BUT: any PAL TV is capable of displaying that of course). Some players don't and will output PAL60 instead (like yours) which will at least display in color on any PAL TV but if the TV does not support a 525 lines/59.94 Hz mode at all, then this does not help too much. Even TVs that don't support such mode might show a squashed picture with color (squashed because they are using the same amplitude they use for 625 lines) which can be ok to watch, and others may show a rolling picture for example and are totally unwatchable. I have encountered both.

@Chibs Yes, they are correct. You can encode the PAL version at 25 fps progressive, encoding it interlaced does work as well but reduces encoding efficiency.

Last edited by TheSkiller; 14th November 2011 at 20:47.
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Old 25th November 2011, 15:06   #17  |  Link
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Quote:
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Yes, I know what PAL60 is. The term PAL60 might be confusing to many because it's not 625 lines PAL but with 60Hz (such thing does not exist), it is, like NTSC, 525 lines and 59.94 Hz but with PAL color modulaton (you've said it already). Which also means it does not exist with RGB-Scart.
I'm not aware of any limitation. My Pioneer is set to RGB and the corresponding TV-input doesn't accept Y/C (yes, it does, but I have to change it manually from RGB and vice-versa). That means that if the player would have changed (suddenly) to Y/C or composite when playing NTSC/PAL60, I would have noticed.
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