Why Have NTSC/PAL Menu Selection?

TeriTerryTarry

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In the age of digital broadcasting, why do some action cameras have a menu selection for the old analog NTSC or PAL broadcast standards?
 

Nigel

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So that they can broadcast the correct signal for your country out of their UHF aerial socket of course!

Except that no action camera has a UHF socket.

Some do have an analogue composite video output which is in either PAL or NTCS format and you need to select the format that matches your receiving equipment.

Most people use the setting to select between 25/50/100 frames per second and 30/60/120 frames per second but this really isn't anything to do with PAL and NTSC, PAL is normally 50fps and NTSC normally 60fps but some PAL systems used 60fps. Also not all cameras change the frame rate when you change the PAL/NTSC setting, the Git2 doesn't, for that camera the setting only affects the analogue composite video output - normally used for broadcasting FPV when flying model aircraft/quadcopters.
 

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yeah as Nigel has highlighted on some cameras it does alter the frame rate, on others it has no effect

on some cameras it only affects the frame rate of the analogue AV output which is either PAL or NTSC so it is still needed for that as well, not a common need but one that's out there all the same
 
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TeriTerryTarry

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You both touched on what would have been my next question. Especially on cameras with selectable 25/30 fps and their multiples, why would NTSC/PAL selection be needed? But you've explained that. I also wondered if it had something to do with 60Hz electricity in North America vs. 50Hz elsewhere, and how this would relate to 25fps vs. 30 fps and NTSC vs. PAL.
 

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In the age of digital broadcasting, why do some action cameras have a menu selection for the old analog NTSC or PAL broadcast standards?
NTSC and PAL are not old analog standards. Many people think they disappeared with the end of analog broadcasting but it's still them what determines the frame rate of digital broadcasting.

I also wondered if it had something to do with 60Hz electricity in North America vs. 50Hz elsewhere, and how this would relate to 25fps vs. 30 fps and NTSC vs. PAL.
Yes, the frame rate depends on the mains frequency.
 

jokiin

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Too many ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
it doesn't relate to the frequency setting as such although I think you'll find for other reasons that pre date this technology that for the most part the regions that are 50Hz power used PAL and the regions that use 60Hz power used NTSC
 

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I think i read somewhere that you get flicker from LED traffic lights if you have the wrong frequency for your country.
 
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I've heard that playing back 25fps videos with 60Hz mains or 30fps with 50Hz mains will cause the video to flicker. Any truth to that? I've never tried it.
 

jokiin

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I've heard that playing back 25fps videos with 60Hz mains or 30fps with 50Hz mains will cause the video to flicker. Any truth to that? I've never tried it.
maybe that's something that dates back to analogue technologies but playing 30fps or 60fps files in Australia where we have 50Hz power is no issue, it's recording where this becomes an issue and even then it's only really to do with artificial lighting
 

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I also wondered if it had something to do with 60Hz electricity in North America vs. 50Hz elsewhere, and how this would relate to 25fps vs. 30 fps and NTSC vs. PAL.
In the days before silicon transistors and quartz clocks, the most accurate clock available was the mains frequency, so to make it easy to decode the frames without the TVs going out of sync whenever the weather changed, places that used 50Hz mains used 50fps and places that used 60Hz mains used 60fps. The choice of NTSC or PAL protocol was a separate choice which depended on where the equipment was bought from, Europe and everywhere that bought European equipment used PAL and most of America used the USA's NTSC, except for some south American countries which decided to use PAL at 60fps either because it gave better image quality than NTSC or because the people that decided wanted to make the equipment incompatible with any that could be imported - lots of money to be made selling TVs when there is little competition.

If you still use an old vacuum tube TV then there will still be a problem if you want to play 50fps PAL using 60Hz mains, but any modern TV using silicon chips will have no problem.

The only real problem these days is that some of the big companies like Sony sell video cameras that use only 30/60fps in NTSC countries and only 25/50fps in PAL countries so depending on which country you bought the camera in, the fps may or may not be compatible with video from a 60fps action camera. If you want to be able to create a video containing footage from both cameras then it is necessary to set the action camera to 50 or 60fps to match the Sony since the Sony doesn't provide the option. This issue has nothing to do with the analogue PAL/NTSC standards, it is just a frame rate issue with the digital video files, however the option to change the fame rates may be called PAL/NTSC.
 

Module 79L

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I also wondered if it had something to do with 60Hz electricity in North America vs. 50Hz elsewhere, and how this would relate to 25fps vs. 30 fps and NTSC vs. PAL.
Here's the answer to all your questions. I would've done it myself but I can't beat a video explained in English by a native speaker of the tongue. :)

 
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TeriTerryTarry

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Here's the answer to all your questions. I would've done it myself but I can't beat a video explained in English by a native speaker of the tongue. :)

Thanks Module 79L! :)
 

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I live in PAL country but i mostly use NTSC at least when it come to FPS, besides it seem to me most things are able to auto - detect this and change to accommodate this.

PAL and NTSC are also not the same resolutions, NTSC is a little smaller as i recall.

But it should be said i rarely have my camera connected to my TV.
 

Module 79L

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PAL and NTSC are also not the same resolutions, NTSC is a little smaller as i recall.
NTSC has less horizontal lines than PAL: NTSC 525 vs. PAL 625.
 

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I've heard that playing back 25fps videos with 60Hz mains or 30fps with 50Hz mains will cause the video to flicker. Any truth to that? I've never tried it.
Only if you are using an old analogue CRT monitor or CRT TV and chances are you won't.
Having said that, using my cam as a webcam and filming, noticed the screen of said laptop in the background had horizontal (scan) lines moving moving slowly down at 50hz and slightly faster at 60hz (yes I had to try each when I noticed).
 
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In the age of digital broadcasting, why do some action cameras have a menu selection for the old analog NTSC or PAL broadcast standards?
If your camera has an analog composite video output, usually part of an AV (audio/video) output, the composite video signal output will likely conform to one of three predominate analog TV standards which are NTSC, PAL, and SECAM. Different countries use different standards. If your camera outputs one format, for example PAL, and your external display device (for example a TV) is a NTSC only system, the output will not display correctly. A menu selection for NTSC, PAL, or SECAM would allow you to match your camera's analog video output format to that of almost any external analog display device anywhere, as long as it has a composite video input (usually a RCA Phono Jack called "Video In"). This is the same input used to display the analog video output of older devices like some VCRs, DVD players, camcorders, games, etc. Unfortunately, the resolution is roughly Standard Definition no matter which format you use, due to the bandwidth constraints of analog broadcast TV. Some newer display devices can display multiple formats.
 
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