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.: Moth3r's PAL DVD project :.

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Source Material
Video from the French 1995 THX PAL Laserdiscs.
Dolby Surround soundtrack from the UK 1995 THX PAL VHS tapes.

Hardware
Pioneer CLD-D925 Laserdisc player
Toshiba VT-728B VCR
Leadtek WinFast VC100 XP video capture card
PC: Athlon XP 2700, 1GB RAM

Software
Capturing:
btwincap drivers
VirtualVCR
Huffyuv codec

Post-processing:
VirtualDubMod
AVISynth

Encoding:
CCE 2.70 (video)
Sonic Foundry Acid Pro with AC-3 plug-in (audio)

DVD Authoring:
DVDAuthorGUI

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Why PAL?

If you live in an NTSC country, you will not gain any benefit from a PAL transfer - unless you have a truly PAL-capable player and TV (i.e. not just a player that does on-the-fly conversion). If however you live in Europe or Australia, then my project may be of interest to you.
  • Higher Resolution
    PAL images use 576 visible lines of resolution compared to only 480 for the NTSC system, that's a 20% increase in picture definition. Some of the extra lines are of course in the black letterbox bars, but the PAL laserdisc contains approx. 50 more lines of picture information than the NTSC version. Not as marked as comparing a letterboxed transfer to an anamorphic version (increase of 33%), but still siginificant.

    The difference can be seen in close-ups of areas containing fine horizontal detail. For example, compare the detail in the following two shots, one from my capture of the French PAL release, the other from the US NTSC definitive collection (pic stolen from Zion's website).
    (This is just a preliminary example, my pic is from a raw cap and clearly needs brightening up, and maybe some colour enhancemnt - I will edit this post to provide a better example in the future)
    http://img63.exs.cx/img63/5885/ntsc_ar.png
    http://img35.exs.cx/img35/3190/untitled131.png

    Look at the control panel in the background, in particular the diagonal line of lights to the top right. In the PAL version, you can clearly see each individual light. In the NTSC shot, these all combine into one. Of course this could be because of the filters that were applied afterwards, so I'd be interested to get a raw unfiltered shot to compare against. (Also interesting to note the framing of the image; the PAL version has more of the image at the sides but is missing some off the top.)

  • No 3:2 pulldown
    A movie shot to film has a framerate of 24 frames per second. Some adjustments are required to make this compatible with the NTSC television refresh rate of 59.94Hz. Each two frames are shown over 5 consecutive screen refreshes (3 use the first frame and 2 use the second - this is known as 3:2 pulldown). Frame 1 appears on screen for 0.050s and frame 2 for 0.033s and so on, this inconsistency results in a "motion judder" for fast moving objects or camera pans.

    Most people who live in an NTSC country are used to this judder and do not notice it, however for those of us in PAL countries who are used to seeing smooth motion the effect can be unbearable.

    One of the worst scenes is the "rebel fleet amassing" in ROTJ.
Disadvantages of PAL
  • Flicker
    The lower refresh rate of a standard PAL CRT TV may be noticeable as flicker, especially on larger screen sizes and white backgrounds. Most people who live in PAL countries are used to this flicker and don't notice it, but for NTSC people used to higher refresh rates the effect may be unbearable.

  • Speedup
    Although PAL does not suffer from motion judder, because every frame appears for 0.04s, this means that the movie plays back 4% faster at 25fps instead of 24fps. Again, if you are used to the regular speed you may notice an increase in audio pitch caused by this speedup. NOTE: It has since been noted that this pitch increase is not present in the PAL soundtrack used. The audio on the UK VHS release has been sped up using time compression, a method which preserves the original pitch.

  • Higher bitrate required
    Since PAL has a higher resolution, it therefore follows that you need to use a higher datarate to get the same encode quality as the NTSC counterpart. Use of multiple passes and a variable bitrate will help to make optimal use of the bytes available, but since space on a single layer DVDR is limited there will be no extras or animated menus on these discs.

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Nice project, um... Mother


As a fellow UK'er/PAL'er I am intrigued - and a nice example of the difference between PAL & NTSC in that pic of the MF cockpit.

I take it you are creating a Letterbox version?
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I find that answer vague and unconvincing. Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves?
Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? And say something righteous and hopeful for a change?

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Originally posted by: oojason
Nice project, um... Mother Yeah I'm a fan of Alien as well as Star Wars.

Originally posted by: oojason
As a fellow UK'er/PAL'er I am intrigued - and a nice example of the difference between PAL & NTSC in that pic of the MF cockpit.

I take it you are creating a Letterbox version?
No, actually, it will be a 16:9 anamorphic version (although of course there will still be black bars top and bottom, just not as large).

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I would just like to point out that my NTSC screenshot was the result of multiple filters, including dot crawl and spatial noise reduction. Also, I feel that I captured with slightly oversaturated color settings which resulted in excessive color bleed. Unfortunately the raw capture file doesn't exist anymore, or I would post a screencap for you.

Good luck with your project.

My Projects:
[Holiday Special Hybrid DVD v2]
[X0 Project]
[Backstroke of the West DVD]
[ROTS Theatrical DVD]

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One thing I'll never understand....

Why can't you take the high resolution of PAL, but play it at the normal speed like NTSC?
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well you can if you revert the pal back to the 23.976 progressive state of film. I know, I know, film is 24fps but for the sake of argument go with me here.

once you've got your PAL source to a progressive 25fps, make it 23.976, crop it for NTSC and you're laughing, but then it won't be the correct aspect ratio etc.

bear in mind you can't just make a PAL source run atNTSC frame rate and expect it to run on an NTSC TV because the resolution would still need to be corrected.
When a woman says yes, she means no - when she says maybe, she means no.

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I've replaced the screenshot above with a brighter version; I believe I've got brightness and contrast set correctly now (it's a dark shot anyway, that scene). Still unsure about colour saturation, it's set to "auto" ATM, I'll take a look at how some other scenes look. I also applied some noise filtering, but I forgot to correct the AR for the pic so it's at it's native resolution which is slightly too tall.

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Better yet, rather than crop to NTSC res and have the ratio off, scale it straight up to NTSC anamorphic DVD res. This way you not only keep all the PAL res, but have it in the correct ratio. This, I feel, would be the ultimate SW transfer (using the French set that has Eng audio) as it would run at the proper speed and res would not be inferior to a PAL transfer of the same set (since the extra res over the NTSC transfer would just be scaled res). Wish I had the set & equipment to do this, would be great. That PAL screencap looks awesome.
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Once Moth3r's DVD comes out it would be farely easy for someone to change it to NTSC speed without losing the PAL resolution.
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Not really. After it's already compiled to MPEG, it makes the work that much harder. Better to work with the original AVI.
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I always thought they should do something like this for the next generation formats (blu-ray etc.):

With current DVDs you can store the film as 24fps with 3:2 pulldown on playback (at least for NTSC). So with the next generation, they should have made ALL films stored at 24fps, and they play back at a certain speed depending on your player settings. eg. if you are in PAL-land, it plays it back 4% faster and adjusts the pitch on-the-fly (or have a separate audio track). If you are in NTSC-land, it performs 3:2 pulldown. It could possibly do SECAM stuff too but I forget what that would involve.
The resolution would be stored at PAL high-definition res, and could be scaled-down on playback for NTSC.

This would make truly universal discs that wouldn't need localising for different territories. And then you would start to see hybrid TVs with the better PAL resolution (and 24fps progressive) being sold in the US for high-end home theatres. Perhaps eventually we would all have TVs with the same formats.
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That's a silly idea.

There are already PAL-to-NTSC issues. NTSC people will just loose out, they should watch it in PAL. All your Brittish and Australian telivision is shot in 25fps anyway, which means NTSC has a worse pulldown applied than the regular 2:1. This also applies to movies like Aliens which was shot in 25fps and shown at that rate theatrically. It's pointless trying to pioneer a "universal" system. Just release the NTSC (true 30fps) stuff in NTS, the PAL stuff in PAL and create a new format for 24fps Film.
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Moth3r, is the French spoken LD set mising several parts at the end of disc or side. Like the wipe before you see Obi-Wan's hut. (On the French subtitled version it's missing). And if so, how are you planning to fix it?

A new release of Star Wars is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.

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Yes, unfortunately you're right, I've just checked the end of side one and that wipe is missing. I hadn't realised that before.

Anyway what to do about it? I'll have to insert those frames captured from another source, I'll try my VHS tape to see if the quality difference sticks out - I suspect it will. Maybe I'll have to get them from one of the NTSC captures and resize it to PAL res.

The French soundtrack is also going to end up with a gap at that point, fixing that is also going to be messy.

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I just got the French soundtrack discs posted to me didn't realise that a scene or frame is missing, can you use the SE to replace or add a wipe in FCP maybe?
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Progress:

I've had to take the sharpness down a notch because the current setting was producing unwanted noise, noticeable in some scenes.

Also ditched the Telecide() function, as it wasn't 100% sucessful; don't know why I didn't do this before but for a PAL movie a simple DoubleWeave SelectEven does the same job.

Got the VCR set up for capture now, and I'll see if I can get that screen wipe spliced into the laserdisc capture. It only lasts for less than a second, so it might not look too bad.

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Originally posted by: Moth3r
Also ditched the Telecide() function, as it wasn't 100% sucessful; don't know why I didn't do this before but for a PAL movie a simple DoubleWeave SelectEven does the same job.


Why exactly are you teleciding / doubleweaving a PAL capture?

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To reconstruct progressive frames.
It is my understanding that the denoising filters work best on full progressive frames, and the MPEG quality is a bit better if encoded as progressive.
Why do you ask, do I not need to do this?

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Because PAL is that way already, isn't it?

Moll.

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)

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OK, my bad.

Obviously when you capture, the video is field based because that's how it is transmitted from the LD player to the capture card. However AVISynth assumes frame-based video by default, so as long as the field order is correct, the full progressive frame is automatically reconstructed and you don't need to do anything else with it.

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PAL is progressive already the only thing you have to do is deinterlace it, if you want to but you dont have to.
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No, the raw capture is interlaced, because I am capturing the full 576 lines. If I capped 288 lines then it would be progressive.

But, as Laser and Moll pointed out, I don't need to do any implicit deinterlacing because AVISynth assumes by default that the video is frame based, so the full frame is processed when running the filters, etc.

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Originally posted by: Moth3r
No, the raw capture is interlaced, because I am capturing the full 576 lines. If I capped 288 lines then it would be progressive.


Uhm... no. It's also progressive if you're going with all 576 lines... when deinterlacing it you're throwing away half of your resolution, why would you want to do that? Maybe I am misunderstanding you here... could you post some screens of your your unprocessed capture?

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I think you are misunderstanding me, or we're misunderstanding each other.

When I say "progressive" (aka 576p) I mean all 576 lines that make up the full frame are together. Modern DVD players with component video connections can output 576p to a compatible display device.

A laserdisc player outputs 576i (interlaced), 2 fields with 288 lines each, and that's what my capture card samples. The video is stored that way on the disc, because it is an analogue video signal (although you could say that the original film print is progressive). When the capture is loaded in AVISynth, the 2 fields are automatically combined to retrieve the full frame - it doesn't throw away half the resolution! My mistake was thinking that I needed to do something else to join the two fields together before processing.

BTW there are some early (too dark) screenshots here:
http://www.originaltrilogy.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=9&threadid=1483

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