How do I Convert an MP4 PAL to an NTSC?

by Garrett Unglaub

Video standards exist to conform to a country's televisions and broadcasts. The European union chooses to use PAL, which runs at 25 frames per second and has a DVD resolution of 720 by 576 pixels. The Unites States uses NTSC, which has a faster frame rate of 29.97 fps but a lower resolution of 720 by 480 pixels. It is difficult to speculate which achieves better quality. To play PAL video on an NTSC device, the video must be converted to match the NTSC frame rate and resolution using a video editing or conversion program such as Adobe Media Encoder, Adobe After Effects or VirtualDub.

Adobe Media Encoder

Open Adobe Media Encoder, then click the "Add" button.

Navigate to the PAL MP4 video file, select it, then click the "Open" button.

Select "H.264" from the "Format" drop-down menu, then select "NTSC DV High Quality" from the "Preset" menu. H.264 is a compressor used to create an MP4 video file.

Save the file in an easy-to-find location, then click the "Start Queue" button.

Adobe After Effects

Open the PAL MP4 file in After Effects by selecting "Open" from the "File" menu.

Right-click in the "Project" window and select "New Composition." Make the resolution NTSC compatible. For DVD, this would be 720 by 480 pixels.

Drag the Pal MP4 file over to the "Preview" window. Right-click and select "Transform: Fit to Comp Width" or "Transform: Fit to Comp Height."

Drag the composition down to the "Render Queue" and select "Custom" from the "Render Settings" drop-down menu.

Select "Enable Field Rendering" under the "Time Sampling" subsection by selecting "Upper Field First" or "Lower Field First." DV footage is "Lower Field First." So if shot on a DV camcorder, enable that.

Enter 23.976 or 29.97 under "Frame Rate" to convert the PAL MP4 to NTSC.

Click the "OK" button, then save the video file by clicking the "Render" button.

VirtualDub

Open VirtualDub. From the "File" menu, select "Open Video File."

Select "Filters" from the "Video" menu, then click the "Add" button.

Scroll down to "Resize" then click "OK." Change the "Absolute (Pixels)" option to "720x480." Hit "OK" in the "Resize" window and then "Filters" window.

Select "Frame Rate" from the "Video" menu. Under "Source Rate Adjustment" click "Change Frame Rate to (FPS)" and enter 23.976. Click the "OK" button.

Select "Save As AVI" from the "File" menu.

Tips

  • check Other video programs such as Adobe Premiere, AVISynth, Nero Recode, TMPEGenc and FinalCut Pro can also convert PAL footage to NTSC using similar steps.
  • check Mpeg4 video is often progressive. If that is the case, the upper or lower fields option is not necessary.
  • check NTSC video can be either 23.976 or 29.97 frames per second.

Warnings

  • close Changing the frame rate could cause the audio to become unsynchronized.
  • close Also, video converted to 23.976 frames per second can look choppy if not natively shot in that format.

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About the Author

Garrett Unglaub has been writing professionally for more than five years. Unglaub's articles can be found in "The Menifee Times" and "Living by the Gulf." He attended Edison State College and Florida Gulf Coast University and has won numerous awards for his short stories, music and poetry.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera video image by MATTHIEU FABISIAK from Fotolia.com