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Thread: Can an NTSC video be played at PAL frame rate [or vice versa]

  1. #1

    Question Can an NTSC video be played at PAL frame rate [or vice versa]

    This isn't really a problem, more a challenge, I hope some one can step up.

    Before anyone leaps on this, I'm not talking about NTSC to PAL conversion.

    I was wondering if anyone might know how to allow a video with 29.97 fps to play those same frames at 25 fps, effectively extending the video's duration

    This is an idea I've been batting around for a little while, now a forthcoming exhibition has given me reason to given it some serious thought.

    The hope would be that the two formats played simultaneously would gradually move out of sync. Maybe generating wonderful, visually arresting consequences, maybe just generating boredom, worth a shot anyway.

  2. #2


    I've taken PAL DVDs to America and they just wouldn't play on the player but this may be due to the region setting on the player. Perhaps with the right player it might work, I can't say because I havn't tried it. More modern players without regions locked in them may now work.

    What your trying to achieve is similar to the effect I get if I have my digi TVs on in the living room and dinning room at the same time they are a bit out of sync so there is an echo effect if you stand in the hall way.

  3. #3


    thanks for the feedback

    I'm afraid you may have misunderstood, quite alright because I'm struggling to explain this.

    My problem doesn't lie in trying to play an NTSC or PAL video. Instead I want to take the NTSC video [with its 29.97 fps] and play it at the speed of a PAL video.

    For example, in the first second of the video 25 of the 29.97 frames will play leaving 4.97 to move into the next second. Over an hour, if my calculations are correct , the video should then be extended by 11 mnutes 56 seconds.

    Its the kind of thing which would be piece of tasty cake with analogue mediums but digital introduces an ocean of complications.

  4. #4


    Ok just trying to get my head round this. The important thing to know is what will you use to play the movie. Computer, DVD player etc.

    If it's on a computer you will find that it will play the video second per second the same. It's just that one of the movies will have a faster frame rate this will not make one of them run the action faster, it just uses more frames to show the same action. The software in most players will recognise form the file headers how many frames per second to play the movie at. This could be adjusted manually though.

    If you are playing them back on a PAL DVD player it will play back the video at the standard rate of 25fps. This means the PAL DVD will play back in normal time and the NTSC DVD will played back it's 29.97fps recording at 25fps so will start to lag behind the PAL DVD. Which is the effect you are trying to achieve.

    Having said all that I am not a qualified technition, so I could be wrong.

    BUT and this is the really trick point. You will need Happy Potters magic wand to start them playing together at exactly the same time.

    Good luck
    Last edited by Midnight Blue; 02-18-2010 at 11:16 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    I think the simple answer to this is that it's the speed and not the FPS that you need to change.

    NTSC is recored at approximately 30fps and plays back at the same rate. In the same way, PAL is recorded at 25fps and plays back at 25fps. So an hour of recording is the same length in each format, it's just that there are more frames within NTSC.

    If you played back a PAL recording at 30fps, you would speed up the video. Rather like playing back an LP on an on SP setting (oh, how analogue of me). It would finish quicker because the video has been sped up. In the same way, you would slow down NTSC by a factor of the reduction in frame rate.

    Now that these two variables are explained, the way to achieve your affect is NOT to play back at different FPS, but to simulate this by speeding up or slowing the speed of your video by the factor you calculated. It doesn't matter what FPS is used, as you're just simulating the effect of playing PAL at an NTSC rate.

  6. #6


    BY GUM

    Your entirely right

    annoying that I'll have to surrender my purist morals but I guess the impression is all that counts

    thanks muchly for the help

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