What did you find more annoying from the old SD NTSC/Pal system?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Kiko1974, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm watching right now a program on Spanish TV about the history of the last 40 years of the country and as you can imagine it features plenty of old archived video footage from the time. Today's programme is about 1992. The Program is broadcasted on 1080i HD and they respect the original 4:3 aspect ratio for archival material.
    Seeing program like this I realize how far we have come regarding video recording and TV broadcasting. I was 18 back in 1992 and I was a huge audio/video aficionado, sometimes I let my mind "fly" and try to imagine what advancements and improvements on both audio and video equipment. I knew for sure that the future was HD but I wasn't clear to me what resolution this should be. That year I went to the World Exposition Expo92 in Seville and I had the chance to see several HD demos from the era which I found superior to Pal but not outstanding like real HD from Blu ray did 24 years later.
    What were theartifacts from old NTSC or Pal video formats you found more annoying?
    Mine were living on a Pal country was flicker, I really hated how picture flickered on CRT displaying Pal video and as impressive as old 32" 16:9 seemed at the time I found them almost unwatchable as the bigger the set the more one could notice flicker. But you know that some people are more sensitive to flicker than other, I must be very sensitive to it. Flicker got old 4:3 rear projection TV's also unwatchable to me, I really disliked how they look and I found them disturbing and tiring for my eyes.
    The day I got my first multistandard Pal/NTSC Laser Disc player and some movies back in 1995 I found NTSC to be a revelation as flicker was almost unoticiable, picture was much more stable on NTSC for my test and I didn't notice its lower resolution.
    Moirè and Cross Color effect were also very annoying, I remember back in the time most news male anchors liked to wear ties with stripes which was where Cross Color was more noticiable. I also disliked hangin dots.
    I think being 18 I was obssesed with those artifacts except for flicker and I was constantly looking for artifacts instead of really enjoying what I was watching.
    What were your most annoying artifacts from old SD NTSC/Pal systems?
  2. townsend

    townsend Forum Resident

    Montrose, CO
    The fact that North America was NTSC rather than PAL. That meant that SD was 480 lines of resolution, while PAL was 576. For SD, PAL is clearly visually superior. This superiority is not irrelevant since the advent of HD formats, because lots of old stuff is still in NTSC or PAL.
  3. Interlace artifacts were the main things that bugged me when CRT SD was all we had. At first, they were mysterious like Johnny Carson’s irradiated suits. Then as I got older, lines on a football field, telephone lines or guitar strings that were all jagged approximations of smooth lines began to annoy me.

    I also would occasionally get bugged by color noise on laserdisc. It’s one thing for VHS to look ugly.
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  4. kevywevy

    kevywevy Forum Resident

    Not sure if this qualifies but I'm still annoyed that crappy-looking VHS won out over the obviously superior-looking Beta format.
  5. P.S. I kinda miss the old tube camera artifact of light trails coming off of American football helmets. On a night game especially, every players helmet had a little comet of light behind it. :D
  6. Amost everything about those low-definitition video formats was a joke compared to the HD we have now. Some of those big video-cameras & tape machines were impressive rigs, but the resolution itself was brutal.
  7. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Back in 1995 I got the US Laser Disc of Jurassic Park, on the next Christmas I got as a present the Spanish Pal Laser Disc (video scans either NTSC or Pal were done in the US) and they look very different. Remember the scene where they were feeding the velociraptors with a crane taking a cow down? On this scenes some wires that protected the perimeter where the velociraptors were confined were seen, on the Pal Laser Disc they flickered like mad and plenty of jaggies were seen, on the NTSC Laser Disc there were jaggies,but not flicker.
    Pinknik likes this.
  8. Here in the States, the vast majority of people never had to deal with PAL anything. I only know about it because I work in a video place where we had to transfer lots of PAL VHS to NTSC VHS. Those conversion added an extra layer of wonky, I'm sure.
    Chris DeVoe likes this.
  9. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I've seen Pal professionally converted to NTSC and also the opposite,on both cases there are motion artifacts because of the different frame rate, but Pal to NTSC looked better IMO than NTSC converted to Pal. not only frame rate had to be converted, lines had to be discarded (Pal to NTSC) or interpolated (NTSC to Pal) and then do the color conversion, which in both cases left weird looking colors.
    Some of this still happens with boradcast HD, I don't know why Europe insisted on keeping the old 50 Hz/25 frame inherited from Pal and went for 60 Hz/30 as it's more world-friendly and it also has better quality.
  10. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer Seeker of Truth

    Endless evolving formats cause craziness
  11. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    thank you BD!
  12. budwhite

    budwhite Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.

    Götaland, Sverige
    The 4% PAL sped up was annoying
  13. LeBon Bush

    LeBon Bush Hound of Love

    Badly ported NTSC video games for PAL regions. Fighting games like Virtua Fighter or Tekken, action titles like the early Metal Slug games aren't exactly the best examples of PAL porting done right... :(
    Sevoflurane likes this.
  14. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    The West
    Totally agree with your earlier comment on interlace artifacting. When I was a kid it used to drive me batty, like once you noticed it you couldn't unsee it. Everything else with SD at the time was just "it is what it is", but those crawling scanning lines...:realmad: I do not miss that.

    Also weirdly I too kind of miss the look of old tube cameras. Our eyes have the same kind of artifacts, comet tails and temporary 'burn in', so there's a strange level of naturalness to that look. :laugh: I also miss catching a glimpse at a broadcast camera the size of a small refrigerator in the background of some shows. No doubt the technicians who had to schlep them back in the day don't have such romantic memories of them...

    dan c
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  15. goodiesguy

    goodiesguy Forum Resident

    New Zealand
    It was a strange experience watching shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy at the correct NTSC speed for the first time.
  16. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    It was bad for animation but much worse for music.
    budwhite likes this.
  17. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I had to deal with a lot of PAL material back in the day, and I've had multi-format VCRs for decades. Back then quality standards converters were incredibly expensive, so we often had to do what we called optical conversions - aiming an NTSC camera at a PAL set, which we called an "optical conversion." It's as bad as it sounds, and a lot of my very old Kate Bush tapes were done using that technique.
  18. Quadboy

    Quadboy Forum Resident

    Seems pointless to start a new thread ......….and here seems as good as any other NTSC v PAL topic.

    So I recently purchased a USA 'ONLY' [I live in the UK] VHS tape from 1993 concerning The Who's Broadway Tommy show...…… and it arrived yesterday so I did a transfer.
    Luckily I have a VHS player that stated it accommodates NTSC and when I inserted the tape it seemed to realise/recognise a different format and switched mode from PAL to NTSC a put a message on the TV screen stating NTSC 443?
    Next I hooked up the Lite On DVD recorder, but as suspected [and heard about similar releases] the Disney/Buena Vista video had an input/copy protection system.
    I haven't managed to crack the DVD recorder Macrovision yet! …………….. Unfortunately [or fortunately?] as mentioned at the end.

    I then opened my Windows 7 laptop and the Honestech RCA/Scart to USB program.
    The first capture/recording [from the many PAL/NTSC/SECAM program options] I performed was in PAL 1 mode.
    It wasn't a bad transfer but I did notice some frame type freezing between the various talking heads switch over some lasting 3 or 4 frames when flicking slowly through them in the video editor/DVD authorer.

    I then today performed another Honestech transfer/capture in NTSC 443 [and am at the moment authoring an NTSC AVI for viewing/comparison].
    I noticed before authoring the NTSC that where the previous PAL transfer suffered the frame freezing at particular points it now seemed much smoother at the same places in NTSC.

    So is the moral of the tale that if I do ever purchase further NTSC/USA only VHS releases ........is it always best to transfer at the native frame rate/format?
    If after capturing in NTSC and I do decide to author to DVD in PAL format will it suffer from the dreaded 4% speed up?

    Also I suspect that if the DVD recorder had been allowed to capture the NTSC VHS tape would the recorder have recognised an NTSC input and captured it in NTSC or PAL? .........…. can recorders capture both formats easily?

    Thanks for any helpful replies/input.

  19. Was? If you watch television, it is still there. Watched "Supergirl" on TV then bought the first season on BluRay and immediately noticed the difference. It's because many north American scripted TV shows are now produced at 24 frames per second, with pulldown still applied for former NTSC regions and speedup for PAL regions. Why? Because this is considered the best format for exporting so it can easily be converted to all systems.

    Amusingly, 50Hz slowdown may have slowed down Sonic The Hedgehog but PAL speedup has improved The Flash!

    Videotape converted from NTSC to PAL won't get hit by speedup. Speedup happens for material produced at 24 frames as the easiest way to convert it to 25 frames for PAL TV is to just speed it up. I'm not sure what PC software converters actually do to convert but if you can capture in native format then you will always get a superior looking picture (i.e ~30 frames for NTSC and 26 for PAL/SECAM).

    Having said that, I don't know if a DVD recorder will switch from PAL to NTSC for recording NTSC material. I don't see why not, because every recorder I've seen will play back both. I've owned two that both had to be switched from NTSC to PAL in the settings (via the onscreen menu) when I first used them. The second time was easier as I knew exactly what was going on that time.

    But these days it seems nobody uses DVD recorders. It's all fed into the computer. Maybe it's because I live in Australia, but go to any electronics shop and good luck finding a DVD recorder. PVR/DVR? No problem. PC DVD burner? No problem. An actual DVD recorder? They virtually don't exist!
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  20. Quadboy

    Quadboy Forum Resident

    Yes you're right about the 24fps HD TV shows.
    I watched the first 6 seasons of [Green] Arrow on Amazon streaming HD format a while ago.
    Shortly after Paramount network TV started from season 1 and the PAL speed up was very noticeable in the voice difference.

    I just tried the DVD recorder first as by my eyes they seem to produce better picture quality than the PC USB videos.
    But why throw it if it still works fine?
  21. budwhite

    budwhite Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.

    Götaland, Sverige
    I haven't watched TV in years and years so I wouldn't know.

    Blu-ray and streaming is a fantastic thing, especially for old tv-series that is forever locked in the SD resolution like Deep Space Nine and Voyager.
    KatCassidy likes this.
  22. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    Worked for a few months in the tail-end of the '70s, at a television station in the Boise market. They ran a couple of syndicated Britcoms and Canadian-sourced shows; god knows why, but they were delivered to us in PAL (Boise is in Idaho. Idaho is is North America.)...! :yikes:
    This made it necessary for us to have a time-base corrector installed in Master Control. And, it's surprising, in those old-frontier days of small-market commercial television, how often we found reason to fire the thing up for other purposes, such as to put problematic spot breaks (previously assembled onto a "dub reel" to run the whole break from one source) back into sync, time-delayed live news actualities or beta taped pieces before inserting them into our locally-post-produced evening "magazine" show.

    The upshot of having the evening magazine show in the first place was, having the capital to invest in various tech to improve the quality of some things we broadcast. We had used the beta machines as time-shift decks (taping Eastern feeds for Mountain Time Zone broadcast), but now it was also being used to edit pieces for both the magazine show, and news programming, somewhat of an improvement; also I built "dub reels" (assembled full spot breaks to run in one pass) on 1-inch reel tape then, yet still had to fight with the production staff for whatever pieces they got in on 1" that they needed to build-into the magazine show every few nights. But 1" looked great, and not nearly as problematic or complex as 2" quad. With a decent single-button "switcher", changing sources and editing gave the picture that nice, "creamy" texture.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
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  23. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

    The Duke City
    The worst thing about the old systems by far was the whine of the CRT they were shown on.
  24. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    Given that a huge percentage of the folks on here have varying amounts of tinnitus, we can still hear the flyback transformer.
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  25. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    My opinion is that you're mistaken. In closed-circuit viewing, there is no visual difference between 525 lines and 625 lines. The main difference between NTSC and PAL is in the transmission, in that the color phase is locked more accurately in over-the-air PAL broadcasts. But if you're watching a DVD or videotape with a direct video cable, that doesn't apply. I've argued for years that PAL is actually more annoying because feature films are sped up 4% (the difference between 24fps and 25fps) and there's more flicker in 25-frame PAL than 30-frame NTSC.

    We routinely did both 525 and 625 mastering for decades here in Hollywood, and there were many days where I did passes on both in the same shift. The PAL was absolutely not visually superior. It's pretty much a moot point today, because 24fps progressive HD blows all of it away. And 4K HDR is better still.

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