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Old 9th February 2003, 14:26   #1  |  Link
easy2Bcheesy
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PAL to NTSC and NTSC to PAL

I've noticed many posts in the past about the process of converting footage from one format to another, either NTSC to PAL or PAL to NTSC.

I've come to the conclusion that the best consumer level tool to get is **easily** Canopus ProCoder. It's far superior to any avisynth script I've seen, and almost as good as some of the enormously expensive production house converters.

First of all, it's incredibly easy to use - you can input quicktimes, avis, anything - and just specify the output format (MS DV PAL/NTSC, Quicktime PAL/NTSC, MPEG2 PAL/NTSC)...

What I'm doing is recording UK TV shows onto my Philips DVD Recorder and then re-encoding them into NTSC using ProCoder to send to my friends in the USA. So in this case, PAL to NTSC. I use a lot of NTSC to PAL conversion footage at work, so I've tested both.

You simply demux the VOBs elementary files (M2V and AC3) and input the M2V into ProCoder, set up to output NTSC. I used a 1-Pass VBR at 'Highest Quality'. It's not fast (4.3fps on my 1.2gig Athlon) but the results are almost as good as some of the commercial £80,000 standards converters I've used.

I've also used ProCoder's NTSC to PAL conversion. Again, the quality is more than acceptable. The NTSC to PAL conversion is much better than the PAL to NTSC conversion. This is because it's stripping frames out of the former and blending them, as opposed to the latter where it is having to create new frames.

I've just done two two-hour sets of footage and the sync is PERFECT. It's even *exactly* the same length as the input footage. So no lip sync problems at all.


Most of the current conversion methods I've seen on field-based footage involve deinterlacing at some point - not good when you're effectively halving the clarity of the picture. ProCoder has a pretty decent field-blending algorhythm and keeps detail high. Impressive.

I've yet to try either process on progressive frame footage, but the results will obviously be a lot better (just resizing of frames and blending, no mucking about with blending fields).


I do a lot of standards conversion at work and I think that for this feature alone, ProCoder is worth getting at $699.

Last edited by easy2Bcheesy; 10th February 2003 at 10:55.
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Old 9th February 2003, 19:25   #2  |  Link
Swan
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For most people like me, who are not making any money out of video editing, Procoder costs way too much. 699 dollars, plus you're forced to use a USB dongle? That is not a tool for hobbyists. The dongle would drive me insane too.

I've been experimenting with aDVanced DV PAL/NTSC Converter which is much cheaper tool (it costs US$98, Euro 98) and produces nice results too. It only works with video in avi-format, but I believe Mpeg support is intended for future releases. The results from my PAL to NTSC tests are very impressive.
http://www.dvunlimited.com/

/Maria

Last edited by Swan; 9th February 2003 at 19:28.
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Old 10th February 2003, 10:52   #3  |  Link
easy2Bcheesy
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I've tried this and it's terrible with interlaced footage - not useable at all IMHO. The motion detection algorhythm seems unable to cope with very complex scenes.

But there's a free trial download so people should give it a go and see you how get on with it.

As for ProCoder being expensive for the home user, CCE costs twice as much and yet it seems the majority of posters on this forum own it!
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Old 10th February 2003, 13:03   #4  |  Link
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Just noticed that a new version of the utility mentioned was uploaded on Jan 13, 2003, so I took a look at it.

Both frame-blending and motion interpolation options seem to be little changed from the last version I looked at. Certainly on converting NTSC interlaced footage to PAL, ProCoder is far, far superior.
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Old 10th February 2003, 18:03   #5  |  Link
Swan
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Thanks for the info.
Yes, I tested with the latest version of aDVanced DV PAL/NTSC Converter.
Are you using the latest version of Procoder?
What is the version number of it?

I am mainly looking into a good solution for converting PAL to NTSC. It's my American friends that are causing the problem.
I want to be able to send material to them on an SVCD disc (and later DVD), and that's what's making me to look for a software standards converting solution. From PAL to NTSC.

/Maria
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Old 10th February 2003, 19:22   #6  |  Link
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An AVISynth-based standards conversion script can be very good. It's as flexible as AVISynth as far as input and output formats, and it's free.

I originally posted a generic script that uses my AVISynth port of Gunnar Thalin's SmoothDeinterlacer (http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=35387) complete with comments on use. That seems to have been a bit too daunting for many, probably because the script looks too long and complicated, and also because AVISynth itself (and the various codec issues it exposes) is complex as well.

To simplify things a bit and provide step-by-step conversions for as many source and destination formats as possible, I started my work in progress (so please be kind) Standards Conversion web page at http://www.geocities.com/xesdeeni200...ion/index.html.

One professional videographer who has been working with me on NTSC (Video) DVD to PAL DVD conversion says:
Quote:
"The result...was absolutely amazing, far better than I had ever hoped for.
...Iím sure it would rival the best of conversion processes as far as smoothness goes and over the years Iíve seen many. Very few people would not believe that the source did not come from PAL."
I'm not sure it's quite that good , but if I do say so myself, it's very good.

It might be a bit rough at first, but did I mention it's free?

Xesdeeni
(yahoo.com has a Xesdeeni2001 address for me)
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Old 10th February 2003, 19:45   #7  |  Link
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I was browsing around the net and ran across this technique. The only thing required is Premiere, and the author says the results are very good. I haven't tried it myself, but I'd be interested to hear some opinions/comparisons.
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Old 11th February 2003, 00:24   #8  |  Link
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@Xesdeeni
I did seee your script and gave it a shot a month ago (or more). Yes, it was too complicated for me. I am not very good with Avisynth, besides a simple fade in and out or something like that. I'll look into your guide and test it again. It's great that you take an interest in PAL to NTSC to this extent.
My source material will be PAL DV (avi) video and I want to make NTSC SVCDs.
I may have missed it, but don't see anything about color conversion in your script, doesn't one need to do some conversion in that area too? Or is that irrelevant in the Mpeg-world? It's just 4:2:0?

@SomeJoe
I will test the method you discovered too.

But why is so often deinterlacing mentioned when it comes to PAL to NTSC conversion?
I do not want to deinterlace, just in a clever way, by interpolation or similar, add enough frames (and fields) from the original PAL video, so it gets to be converted to NTSC.
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Old 11th February 2003, 10:30   #9  |  Link
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I should take a look at the "SmoothDeinterlacer" and see how it works, but I'm very suspicious about any method involving deinterlacing, because by its very definition, deinterlacing involves stripping out a great deal of the original detail on the movie and using interpolation to fill in the gaps.

I too am not keen on AVIsynth from a complexity standpoint - but hey, it's free, and therefore worth a look... cheers Xesdeeni, I'll take a closer look at that and let you know how I get on

The Premiere method by SomeJoe looks interesting in that it is attempting to create its own interlacing, but it's still deinterlacing the source and thus stripping out the detail, something ProCoder doesn't seem to do.

Last edited by easy2Bcheesy; 11th February 2003 at 10:59.
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Old 11th February 2003, 11:04   #10  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally posted by Swan
@Xesdeeni
But why is so often deinterlacing mentioned when it comes to PAL to NTSC conversion?
I do not want to deinterlace, just in a clever way, by interpolation or similar, add enough frames (and fields) from the original PAL video, so it gets to be converted to NTSC.
Deinterlacing is used because in converting PAL between NTSC, you are changing the frame rate and therefore completely mucking up the field order as you stretch (or contract) the available data in moving between 25fps<-->29.97fps and resizing between 720x480 (NTSC) and 720x576 (PAL).

If you want to see why deinterlacing is often used, set up a PAL project in Premiere, import an NTSC clip and set it to render. Enjoy the results!! Then deinterlace the same clip and import it again and you'll see an instant improvement at the loss of detail...
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Old 11th February 2003, 11:42   #11  |  Link
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Well it's official, I'm useless at AVI Synth! I'm trying to convert across a NTSC DV file in the Matrox DV codec into another AVI file, using the script in VirtualDub - all I get is this error in line 151 : "ConvertFPS: requires YUY2 input"

Hmmmm, I've tried re-exporting the same file as either a Huffyuv or uncompressed AVI and get exactly the same error.

Does the script not work in VirtualDub? Is there a problem copying and pasting the text using Notepad? Is there a download pack so I get all the files just right without worrying about copying and pasting adding carriage returns that could muck up everything?

Any chance of a GUI?
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Old 11th February 2003, 18:10   #12  |  Link
Xesdeeni
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Quote:
@Swan
I did seee your script and gave it a shot a month ago (or more). Yes, it was too complicated for me.
...
My source material will be PAL DV (avi) video and I want to make NTSC SVCDs.
Try this:
Code:
# PAL (50 fps) to NTSC (59.94 fps)
LoadPlugin("SmoothDeinterlacer.dll")
AVISource("PALDV.avi")
SmoothDeinterlace(doublerate=true)
LanczosResize(720,480)
ChangeFPS(59.94)
SeparateFields()
SelectEvery(4,0,3) # or SelectEvery(4,1,2)
Weave()
#ConvertToRGB() if you are using TMPGEnc
Quote:
I may have missed it, but don't see anything about color conversion in your script, doesn't one need to do some conversion in that area too? Or is that irrelevant in the Mpeg-world? It's just 4:2:0?
All of the codecs can provide and will accept YUV in 4:2:2 (some will also deal with 4:2:0 that can be used by AVISynth 2.5.0). The encoders also accept this format and internally convert to 4:2:0 as used by MPEG (this conversion is not needed if the format is already in 4:2:0, which is why AVISynth 2.5.0 is so cool).
Quote:
@easy2Bcheesy
I should take a look at the "SmoothDeinterlacer" and see how it works, but I'm very suspicious about any method involving deinterlacing, because by its very definition, deinterlacing involves stripping out a great deal of the original detail on the movie and using interpolation to fill in the gaps.
Actually that's not quite true. Deinterlacing doesn't by definition remove information. You have to differentiate between deinterlacing to the same frame rate and deinterlacing to double the original frame rate.

In the former case, you are right. Some temporal information will be lost. But in the latter case, for almost all deinterlacers (even dumb Bob), you can reclaim the entire original video by selecting one field from each frame (you'll usually need to ensure you are in sync with the original pattern).

It is this second method that is used for most simple standards conversion.
Quote:
VirtualDub - all I get is this error in line 151 : "ConvertFPS: requires YUY2 input"
The Matrox DV codec outputs only RGB? Weird. You can fix this by adding ConvertToYUY2() before the ConvertFPS(). Or you can use the MainConcept DV codec instead (free for decode).
Quote:
Any chance of a GUI?
Although I'm absolutely certain I'll never get there, from the beginning I was aiming at a GUI. But if it ever happens, it will be quite a while. In the mean time, the Standards Conversion page (http://www.geocities.com/xesdeeni200...ion/index.html) is the most user friendly ;-)

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Old 11th February 2003, 18:24   #13  |  Link
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Still having problems, but then I've never used AVI synth before today! I put ConvertToYUY2() in, but now I'm getting a "Invalid Arguments to functino ConvertToYUY2" error at line 147.

Obviously I've got the syntax wrong or put the command in the wrong place... can you correct this? I suspect that there's a lot of other stuff I need to alter (input fps, resize pixels etc), but I really don't know what.

And the user-friendly website doesn't seem to cover NTSC interlace to PAL interlace Any chance of some ready-made scripts to download just for the conversion process? I think a lot of us would be interested in NTSC to PAL scripts without the need to strip footage from MPEG2 and re-encode.



LoadPlugin(PluginPath + "SmoothDeinterlacer.dll")

vpro = Input.SmoothDeinterlace(tff=InputTopFieldFirst, \
doublerate=true)
vinfps = Input.framerate < OutputFrameRate ? \
vpro.BilinearResize(OutputWidth, OutputHeight) : \
vpro
ConvertToYUY2()
vfps = ConversionType == 2 ? \
vinfps.ConvertFPS(OutputFrameRate * 2, zone = 80) : \
ConversionType == 1 ? \
vinfps.ConvertFPS(OutputFrameRate * 2) : \
vinfps.ChangeFPS(OutputFrameRate * 2)
voutfps = OutputFrameRate <= Input.framerate ? \
vfps.BilinearResize(OutputWidth, OutputHeight) : \
vfps
vfields = voutfps.SeparateFields()
vlace = OutputTopFieldFirst ? \
vfields.SelectEvery(4, 1, 2) : \
vfields.SelectEvery(4, 0, 3)

Last edited by easy2Bcheesy; 11th February 2003 at 18:36.
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Old 11th February 2003, 20:07   #14  |  Link
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I didn't realize you were using the big honkin' script instead of the smaller one above. In that case, the best place to add the ConvertToYUY2() to is at the end of the "Input=..." line after a dot (.). E.g.:

Input = AVISource("PALDV.avi").ConvertToYUY2()
Quote:
And the user-friendly website doesn't seem to cover NTSC interlace to PAL interlace
Yes, I'm sorry I haven't gotten that one up yet. I've been working long distance with someone in a PAL country to help me work this out (I don't have any PAL equipment to view the results on, so I need to rely on others to help me be sure the process works correctly). I think I've got it worked out, but I haven't gotten the step-by-step up on the web site yet. Hopefully within a few days.
Quote:
Any chance of some ready-made scripts to download just for the conversion process? I think a lot of us would be interested in NTSC to PAL scripts without the need to strip footage from MPEG2 and re-encode.
I'm not sure what you mean exactly. The step-by-step will include the scripts as the current conversions on the page do. But I don't know what you mean by "...strip footage from MPEG2 and re-encode." If your source is MPEG2 (you said yours was DV, so I was sticking with that), then you can use either DirectShowSource() (assuming you have an appropriate MPEG2 codec installed) or a combination of DVD2AVI + MPEG2DEC.dll + MPEG2Source() to supply the input to the AVISynth script. But there's no way to make the conversion without completely decoding the MPEG stream, scaling it (both spatially and temporally) and then re-encoding it.

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Old 12th February 2003, 15:07   #15  |  Link
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ahhhh yes, the smaller script is far easier to get to grips with and I've had limited success converting NTSC interlaced to PAL interlaced using AVI Snyth and Virtual Dub. Here's my script:


# NTSC (29.97fps) to PAL (25fps)
LoadPlugin("SmoothDeinterlacer.dll")
AVISource("NTSC-Source.avi")
SmoothDeinterlace(doublerate=true)
LanczosResize(720,576)
ChangeFPS(50)
SeparateFields()
SelectEvery(4,1,2)
Weave()
#ConvertToRGB()


First of all, let me say that this is a brilliant script, it really does disprove what I was saying earlier about the horrors of deinterlacing! All the detail appears to be there.

BUT I get some pretty bad "tearing" effects when any kind of medium to fast movement takes place on screen. I hope you don't mind, but I've emailed you a sequence of three shots to your Xesdeeni2001@yahoo.com address so you can see this effect yourself.

Perhaps the script above (particularly the "SelectEvery" line) is still set for PAL to NTSC conversion rather than vice versa? Or maybe some tweaks need to be made to the settings in SmoothDeinterlace?

Any help much appreciated - when I see footage running without the fast movement, I can see that the quality level really is quite exceptional! But when anything moves, it's bad news

Last edited by easy2Bcheesy; 12th February 2003 at 15:13.
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Old 12th February 2003, 21:18   #16  |  Link
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I don't see the problem you describe. In this case, without the source video, I'm not quite sure what the output should look like. The only thing I can think of that you are seeing is the interlacing on your PC in the destination that, due to the type of video you are using as a source, may not be apparent on the source. The output will have interlacing artifacts when viewed on the PC. This will look correct on TV. Is this what you are seeing?

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Old 12th February 2003, 21:29   #17  |  Link
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Well, I'm viewing the output on a TV and it's definitely visible! If you put an NTSC interlaced clip on an Adobe Premiere timeline and render it you'll see a massively exaggerated version of the "tearing" I'm seeing when movement takes place, or if you have a sudden change of colour (like a white-out) etc.

Does the script look OK to you?

If you have a broadband account, maybe I could mail you a 5MB m2v or or something... which would show the tearing in motion... send me a PM if that's possible.

Last edited by easy2Bcheesy; 12th February 2003 at 21:33.
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Old 12th February 2003, 22:14   #18  |  Link
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The script looks fine to me. The only other thing may be that you have your fields reversed (in time, not in space). Static shots will look OK because the lines stack up right, but with motion, the fields will be coming in the wrong order. Try replacing SelectEvery(4,1,2) with SelectEvery(4,0,3). Normally DVDs want the former and DV wants the latter.

If that doesn't work, send a link to the source and destination clips to my e-mail and I'll check it out.

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Old 13th February 2003, 14:13   #19  |  Link
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I get similar distortion patterns just putting the bare Matrox AVI into ProCoder. So maybe it's a codec problem. I get around it in ProCoder by converting to an uncompressed AVI, or use the Huffyuv codec. Then the problem vanishes.

But no matter what conversion I do, the script still gives the same tearing distortion effect.

I've made three short six-second M2Vs (between 1.6MB and 2.4MB each). The NTSC original, a near-perfect ProCoder PAL translation and one with distortion using the script. I'll email you links when I upload them later when I get home...

I tried your suggestions in your last reply but that just introduced real bad field issues.

Last edited by easy2Bcheesy; 13th February 2003 at 15:46.
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Old 13th February 2003, 21:10   #20  |  Link
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@xesdeeni - email despatched to your Yahoo account...
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