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Shooting NTSC in a 50Hz (PAL) Region

Photo Moment - December 07, 2018

If you're traveling to a PAL region, where the power cycles at 50Hz vs the 60Hz in North America, you'll get flickering in any shots with artificial light. Here's how to correct for it, and what to do when you can't.

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great explanation
Useful video thanks, glad I watched it before buying 50 Hz lights! When working with the safe shutter angles e.g. 108, 216, 324 at 30 fps would different shutter angles result in different looks? Would the higher shutter angle like 324 let in more/less light or provide more/less blur for example?
Lower shutter angle is the same as higher shutter speed. So if you’re shooting 30fps at a 10d shutter, that’s 10/360 x 1/30. I’ll let you do the math. So that will freeze the shot making no motion blur. Remember that motion blur is good in video. 180d shutter is ½ open do in a 30p shoot that’s 1/60 second exposure. Slow for still photography but perfect for video. So stay as close to 180d as you can, unless you have a creative reason to go higher or lower.
@PhotoJoseph Cheers, that's good to know! I own a GH5 so I guess, in theory, shooting at 60 fps with a shutter angle of 216 would be flicker-free, have improved continuous AF plus a more natural video look with some blur?
excelleent
WTF? Those seams like a 60's theories with the You Tube 📹 era and flat screen TV 📺
I don't know what you mean by your comment, but flicker is real. Watch this video for a very in-depth explanation https://youtu.be/0kAuDuV9K9U
That was enormously helpful. Especially since I live in a PAL region and was getting excited about shooting 4k 60p footage with my new cam. I'll now watch be able to get around the problem with your advice. Thanks a ton!
Awesome, glad to hear that!
Hi Joseph. Really a useful video, thank you very much for your explanation. 
Somehow I understand it completely because I also struggle with the same problems.
I've done shutter speed correction and slowing down footage just like you. 
Only figure out shutter angle from this video though. New things I've learnt from you so let me thank you again.

I am just a hobbyist videographer, mostly shooting my kid growing up. Therefore I'd just keep it simple by switching between PAL/NTSC in all of my cameras.
And I just knew from your video that G9 can't switch region, so thank God I didn't buy that camera.
I'm travelling to Japan soon and to keep it simple I will just shoot both PAL and NTSC and produce 2 separate videos (east & west Japan).
But there's still one problem that grind my gears, guess what? iPhone! It only shoots NTSC.
I am using Panasonic GX9 (and GH6 when it comes out), Sony A6400, GoPro Hero 7 Black and iPhone.

You know kids are unpredictable and iPhone still is the most used camera to capture spontaneously.
So it looks like I need to limit my iPhone usage in east Japan to compensate this single problem.

Wish you the best luck for your channel Joseph.. !!
Cheers!
Try downloading filmic pro for your iPhone. May give you more control. Also, since you enjoyed this video, watch this one next. Super techy on shutter angle and light flicker: https://youtu.be/0kAuDuV9K9U
Some city in Japan use 50hz instead of 60hz. but the video standard of Japan is NTSC. So how NTSC works on 50hz?
Wow I just had to look that up. 50Hz in Eastern Japan, and 60Hz in Western. Go figure. Watch this video to fully understand frequency, flicker, and how to avoid it: https://youtu.be/0kAuDuV9K9U
Really useful, thank you. I have to use ntsc on the Sony A7 to get 24fps and I live in a PAL country. Loved the way you explained everything, I wish you a nice growth on YouTube.
Thank you!
Thanks for a great video!
Hi, Im thinking about buying a camera in Japan, which is restricted only to ntsc, but it is a lot cheaper(a6500). Should I not buy it because of the fact that it doesn´t have PAL? My country is pal, but i have used 24,30,60 fps and never seemed to have a problem
If you plan on shooting under artifical light then you could experience the flicker problem described here. So I'd definitely recommend getting a camera that is for your region.
Great Explanation. So with a G9 NTSC Camera the workaround works for 30/60p in 1080/4K for PAL region but not with 180p. Is that correct?
Correct. As long as you can set the shutter to 1/50 or 1/100 you’re fine.
This was really helpful! I’m moving to Africa to teach film and capture stories and I’ve been thinking a ton about this and then your video came out! Good timing!

Now I have a question. Is the difference in frequency due to the lights and how they’re made or are they due to the voltage?

For example, if I brought lights from here in the US NTSC, but they can handle 220v, would those be on the same frequency as lights that I would buy there? Can I mix different lights (NTSC & PAL)? What if I use a step down converter? Would that change the frequency of the lights?
Hey Joseph, the calculator on Red's site doesn't go above 120fps. Any extra ideas on how we manage VFR high frame rates like 180 or even 240 on the GH5s?
I assumed that to mean you can’t do high frame rates at these odd lighting situations, since it says “none” for safe settings. Do you think that’s wrong? Ah yeah… the calculator goes to 400. Put in something over 400 and it says “Frame rate must be an integer between 5 and 400 fps”. So I think that’s right. 120fps may be the highest under 60Hz lighting.
Good to know. Thanks Joseph.
I just got a GH5 yesterday and was going through the set up. I live in Australia so should I set it to PAL or leave it on NTSC? I set it up to use shutter angle and have that set at 180.
Australia is a PAL region
​ Hi Allen I have a GH5 I live in Australia and I have the camera set on NTSC so I can get the higher frame rates and I did get light flicker when using a 180 degree shutter angle
So now I use a 216 degree shutter angle @ 30FPS and all is good
I am very curious if using so called hack on European cameras that switch between NTSC and PAL also works on American Panasonic cameras too. I have G7 in EU and also using it in "service mode" (hack) because I do like to shoot in 30 and 60 fps but then the shutter speed can be challenging with fast moving objects under the bulb.
I don't know anything about hacks, but any camera that can switch between PAL and NTSC makes this problem go away (assuming you don't mind shooting in an alternate format to what you're used to).
I think Peter McKinnon made a video himself of getting rid of the flicker in post, but copying the video in post, and offsetting one of the copies by 1 frame.... something like that anyway, https://youtu.be/YyQjFuFYchg (but I now think this won't work with a slow rolling flicker)
That video was about the neon light — yeah I don't think that would work here. If it did, he would have done it for his Dubai video.
PAL 1/50 or 216º. NTSC 1/60 or 180º with artificial light
If you're shooting PAL at 25p or 50p in a 50Hz region, you should be able to shoot at any shutter angle/speed. You don't need to go to 1/50th or 216˚. Same with NTSC; if you're shooting 29.97 or 59.94 in the US, any shutter speed/angle will work. Well technically 30 or 60fps, but honestly I shoot 29.97/59.94 at 180˚ shutter and have never seen a flicker. I suppose it's just unnoticeable most of the time. And yes if you're shooting 30p in a PAL region then 216˚ is what works (or according to the calculator, if you calculate 29.97 for PAL it's 208.8˚ so I'm guessing the variation is subtle enough to go unnoticed).
This makes me cry. Miles uploaded a video last week regarding this topic and I thought I would not be effected. How wrong I was. Now that I know the issue any night video I shot is rubbish with flickering and banding. My US videos are great because I set my GH5 to NTSC and I have been using 30 and 60 frames per second for most footage since then. My footage is all from South Africa, Malaysia and the UK and they are all in PAL regions. Imperialistic Americans! Ughhhh. :-) So the question now is what other options are available to fix this. In my Paris videos the flickering source is very localized (Even the spell checker said the word localised should be spelled wrongly as Localized - 'Muricans). Miles suggested that you could duplicate the timeline and move by one frame and mask. This is a very annoying issue and any further insight to kind of fix this would be very good! Thanks for the awesome work you do and if you think we don't appreciate it you are wrong. Here is the video from Miles - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCvYcTzNgs8&t=6s&index=47&list=PLxgfePhJ1bF-1rfcRf0bLARDGpAmu6Yq1
I wish I knew an easy fix. If the offset trick works, that's great, but I'm assuming it does not since Peter didn't do that on his Dubai video, even though he showed off that trick on a neon sign video a while ago so he's clearly aware of it. I'll certainly try the offset trick when I edit mine, since I definitely do have some of that flicker, but I don't have high hopes. And thank you for the kind comment. Good luck… sorry I don't have anything better for you
Very good information, thanks for sharing. On the iPhone, download SwiftKey Keyboard for free, and it gives you a decimal point in the numeric keyboard. I don't know how Apple could have overlooked this basic concept. SwiftKey is very nice and costs nothing.
Pal is 50Hz not 25Hz
Sorry I was going off the camera settings — NTSC 30.00Hz and PAL 25.00 Hz. But you're correct; the actual power delivery is 60Hz and 50Hz.
The U.S. uses 120v and 60hz not 110 and 30hz..as you state in the video, should of done a quick google search to fully understand the topic your explaining.. Broadcast is actually 60fps divided into 2 interlaced frames... These interlaced frames are just below 30fps so as to include the audio signal within the limited bandwidth of old cable tv
No, the US is 110. And video is 29.97 for sound, yes, which I said. 29.97p is not two interlaced frames; old interlaced TV is but not progressive video.
@PhotoJoseph Zack8133 is correct. The official US mains electricity supply is 120V and 60Hz (source Wikipedia). US TV's original frame rate was 30 frames per second - 60 fields per second interlaced. The frame rate was changed, for rather complicated reasons, to accommodate colour TV. In PAL regions the mains supply is (e.g. UK) 230V and 50Hz. The interlaced field rate is chosen to be the same as the mains frequency in both cases which makes the frame rate half.
​@Terry Odlum OK I did a little more digging. The system started at 110, and eventually moved to 115 then 120. If you even look at the back of something that's powered for our system only, you'll see it listed as 110-120V requirement. Even if you just google "US voltage", it lists 110, not 120. But yes you are correct, it does appear that technically it's run at 120 now. (I don't mind being corrected; I just don't appreciate arrogance like Zack laid down — if you're going to correct me, do it politely, don't tell me I "should of" [sic] researched something. The amount of effort that goes into these videos that so many people disregard completely is enough to make you want to swear off youtube). And yes, TVs were originally 30 and dropped to 29.97 for color (IIRC it had to do with audio sync, but that may be wrong); as I mentioned in the video that was a topic that was out of the realm of this discussion, but I did acknowledge that. Even European power is listed as varying from 220 to 240 depending on where you look, but that's actually an important part of this — it's variable. As for interlaced; yes that's the way it was (and still is for anyone broadcasting that way) but I'm talking about shooting 29.97p, which is most definitely not interlaced. No dSLR or dSLM to my knowledge shoots interlaced anymore; for that you have to go back to handicam and old video cameras. As to the 30 vs 60Hz and 25 vs 50Hz, I guess looking at the camera where it's setting is 30.00Hz for NTSC and 25.00Hz for PAL is where my mind went. You're right that 50 and 60 is the mains frequency. Ultimately thought the information is correct. If you want to shoot NTSC video in a 25/50Hz region (or vice versa), you have to adjust the camera. Thanks for the information (and thank you for being polite).
@PhotoJoseph Hi, the purpose of my contribution was to assist in improving the accuracy of your item. I realise the amount of work and expertise that goes into your YouTube videos which I have appreciated (especially the humour!) for quite some time now. The information in your video was very useful. BTW, you may have seen this already, but for interest you might have a look at a YouTube video with the title "Fix VIDEO FLICKER in 30 Seconds WITHOUT Plugins". It's for Premiere Pro but may work in other NLEs. I used it recently to successfully remove a very nasty flicker from a wedding video (band stage lighting was pulsing). Not really suitable, though, for correcting the sort of mains frequency flicker you encountered on your recent trip.
(Yes, I kept saying 25Hz and 30Hz when in fact the power systems are 50Hz and 60Hz. I was basing that off what the camera says in the settings, so I stated it incorrectly. But the solutions here are all still accurate)

If you're traveling to an PAL region, where the power cycles at 50Hz vs the 60Hz in North America, you'll get flickering in any shots with artificial light. Here's how to correct for it, and what to do when you can't.
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