Converting PAL DV to NTSC DV
As we still have a PAL (UK) based DV (Digital Video) Camcorder, any of the resulting DVDs that are created from captured video are in PAL format. PAL Formatted video/DVDs do not work on most 'standard' US DVD players or Televisions in the US uses NTSC format.
The issue is that there is no easy way to convert from PAL to NTSC and retain the high quality of the original DV video. The result is often a picture which 'stutters' or has 'combing' issues (most noticeable on horizontal movements of the video).
Video Format information
To perform a near perfect conversion of a PAL DV video to NTSC, it is important that you understand the format of the original video. For this article, I am using Video captured on my Sony Camcorder. Important details are as follows:
Camcorder: Sony TRV17E (PAL mini DV) More info on DV
Dell Dimension 8400 PC (Pentium 4) with 3GB RAM and 1TB of Disk (DV video requires a lot of disk space)
Firewire/IEEE-1394 connection between Camcorder and PC
Windows Movie Maker V2.1 Download
AVISynth V2.5 Download
VirtualDub V1.8.8 Download
DVDate V7.1 Download
Gspot V2.70a Download
Sony DV Codec V2.23 Download and How to check your installed codecs
Working with codecs can be confusing, I found that VirtualDub shows the codecs installed and their FOURCC code. Click here to see the image showing the Sony DV Codec 'dvsd'.
Click here to view all the available codecs and their FOURCC code
DV Imported as raw AVI Type 2 file
PAL 720 x 576 (4 x 3)
Frames Per Second = 25 (made up of 50 interlaced fields)
Audio 32000Hz 12(16)bits Stereo PCM
DV Color Format RGB888
BFF (Bottom Field First) Click here to view instructions on determining the field order.
Click here to view the standard AVI RIFF header
Click here to view the extended AVI RIFF header
Standard NTSC and PAL Format info
|Horizontal||Vertical||Frame Rate||Field Rate|
Click here to view an excellent article on interlacing
Click here for an Interesting article on PAL, FILM and NTSC fields
Methods for Converting from PAL to NTSC
There are various methods available for converting your PAL DV files to NTSC, generally the more complex the procedure, the better the result is.
For my tests, I used 4 different methods, rated 1 to 5 stars for easy of use and final quality.
*Output AVI would not play in any player including within DVDate
To determine the best AVISynth script, I ran over 60 tests to evaluate different settings. You can view all the tests and scripts by clicking here.
Here is the final AVISynth script for converting from PAL DV to NTSC DV
# PAL DV (50 fps) to
NTSC DV (59.94 fps)
Click here to understand the support of [Anamorphic] Widescreen (16:9) footage
Before converting your AVI file to NTSC, make sure you complete any edits to the AVI while the file is at a manageable size. Once the AVI has been converted using the procedure below, the file size can be very large making it difficult or slow for some AVI editing programs.
Download and install AVISynth
Download and install SmoothDeinterlacer
Download and install VirtualDub
To use the script, either copy and paste the script above into a text file and save as an 'avs' file, or you can download it from here.
Ensure that your source AVI file is "Type 2". You can use DVDate to check and convert if required.
Edit the AVISynth script by changing the AVISource line to specify where your PAL DV AVI file is located.
Open VirtualDub, then select File... Open Video File... then select the AVISynth script file PALtoNTSC.avs
VirtualDub should open the AVI file that is specified in the Script file.
To confirm, you can select View... Log
To convert the AVI file using the script, just select File... Save as AVI... and you will be prompted for a destination file name. Click on Save to begin.
Monitor the progress of the conversion with the VirtualDub Status:
Once completed, the new AVI file is generated in uncompressed AVI format. You can then use this AVI file in your favorite DVD authoring program or any other utility.
Note the AVISynth log:
The converted AVI files are very large, typically 1GB per minute
Do not try to recompress the converted AVI! The quality will be severely compromised, although I have had some success with using Windows Movie Maker to resave the AVI as Type 1. You can follow the same method below to resave your uncompressed AVI using Windows Movie Maker.
The codec for
uncompressed AVIs is
The quality from Windows Movie Maker is fairly good, but if you have a lot of horizontal panning or fast movements, the end result may not be desirable.
Open Windows Movie Maker, and then import your PAL DV AVI file into the Collections.
Select Tools...Options... and set the Video Properties to NTSC:
Click on OK to keep the settings.
Take your imported AVI Clip and add to the TimeLine. Note: You can make any edits or adjustments at this time if you wish.
Select File...Save Movie File...
Select My Computer
Enter the File Name and Location of the converted AVI File
Ensure that the output type is DV-AVI(NTSC):
Click Next> to write the NTSC AVI File.
Once completed, the new AVI file is generated in Type 1 compressed AVI format. You can then use this AVI file in your favorite DVD authoring program or any other utility.
The 62 different tests to find the best method
Overall I used 52 different combinations of scripts totaling 62 tests to determine the best video output. Testing was split up into 3 sections with the top few outputs carried forward for further refining.
Click the above icon to download all the scripts used in these tests
Click here to review the First round of 16 Tests
Click here to review the Second round of 33 Tests
Click here to review the Third round of 13 Tests
Click here to review the Final results and detailed description of the script