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Matt Workman

Varicam to Pal

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Hi,

 

I have a job that we are shooting NTSC Varicam and we need to eventually convert to PAL.

 

Should I shoot 720 24p?

Or can we shoot @ 25fps?

 

We've been looking around and can't find the answer.

 

Thanks,

 

Matt

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I'd say it depends on your post path. You could shoot 25fps, and you'd probably have to set the clock frequency to 60.00Hz (not 59.94).

 

But I've never done it...

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Hi,

 

The obvious answer is to shoot 25p, since it's then just a rescale to achieve PAL. The problem is that if you're shooting in a 60Hz country, you risk a certain degree (it's usually very, very minimal) of flicker with mains discharge lighting. Flicker isn't really the word - it's a 2Hz ripple. I have shot heaps of PAL in the US, including on Times Square at night which must include more or less every technology humanity has for firing off photons, and it's really not a big problem, it's barely visible, but there's probably a shutter speed or synchro-scan option that'll fix it in any case. I should point out that most of the PAL I've shot in the US has been 50i and the characteristic of the flicker may change if you shoot 25p, so test for this first, and obviously talk to post to ensure they're OK with it as handling Varicam footage has a couple of lumps in it whatever you do, but I otherwise have no hesitation in recommending you shoot it at 25.

 

If you shoot it at 24, you will have to run it fast and resample the sound. This is not difficult - you can practically do it with free tools these days - but it's a suboptimal approach really.

 

P

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Flicker is easy to avoid with these cameras. When shooting 25P in 60Hz. lighting, set your shutterspeed to 1/60 second (instead of 1/50) or use a shutterangle of 150 (instead of 180). When shooting 24P in 50Hz. environment use a shutterspeed of 1/50 sec. or a shutterangle of 172.8.

 

Regarding the camera's frequency or other issues, Mitch Gross at AbelCinetech (and here on the boards) may be able to help you.

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Could anyone help elaborate on the post production requirements and work flow when shooting with the Varicam? From what i understand, it uses DVCPRO HD, and the drum speed is rotating at a speed four times the norm, resulting in tape lasting one quarter of the stated tape length. When shooting variable frame rates, i have been told to keep all variants in frame rate to separate tapes. This is to simplify the ingest of material when using the deck. Is this correct? What is the deck? And is there anything else of importance to know regarding the post production side?

 

any information would be really appreciated, thanks guys

 

Steve

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If you are doing a firewire ingest into Final Cut, there is the possibility that Final Cut itself will simply sort it all out for you based on flagged frames on the tape. It depends on the version and how it's all set up, but this is probably the easiest way.

 

The other, more complicated way to do it is if you're ingesting SDI into an Avid or something like that, which can involve specific bits of hardware.

 

This is where data recording to P2 scores, because it only records the frames that need to exist, rather than needing to pad it up to 60p all the time.

 

I'm sorry I can't be more specific on this. Mitch?

 

Phil

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