Converting NTSC to PAL or PAL to NTSC

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the February, 2010, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Ben King and I were talking about the best way to convert between formats recently. Since Ben is from the UK, he has more experience with this than I do, so he sent me this note as a follow-up:

There are lots of ways to convert media without, essentially, changing size:

  • PAL to NTSC
  • 25 frames per second to 29.97
  • 25 fps to 24 frames per second or 23.98 (23.976)
  • NTSC or HD 23.98 to 25 fps PAL or HD

You have four options:

  1. Buy a Snell & Wilcox Alchemist PHc (looks great, costs a fortune)
  2. Go to a post house that owns a Snell & Wilcox and get it done there.
  3. Use Graeme Nattress’ Standard Converter, its software but works great (
  4. If you are going to a 24/23.98 to a 25 fps or visa versa you can use Cinema Tools to Conform a frame-for-frame copy.

The main thing to make sure outside of this technique is that your output resolution and field interpolation is correct for the format you are using to master, but this is (usually) as simple as dropping a converted clip on to the timeline.

Larry replies: Thanks, Ben, for the update.


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