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NTSC vs PAL: Know your video modes

If you’ve ever shot video on a DSLR, you’ve probably been confused by this particular setting. If you look closely, you’ll find that this particular setting exists on almost every device that shows or captures video.

NTSC and PAL are the two video ‘modes’ in which digital video is streamed or broadcasted in the world. Just as different countries use imperial and metric measuring units, they use different standards for video broadcast.

NTSC

Starting with NTSC, it is the standard mode of video broadcast in countries like USA, Canada, Japan and so on.

Click here to see a list of all countries where NTSC is used.

Under NTSC, 30 frames are transmitted per second. This means that the whole system runs on 30 frames per second. Further, each frame is made of 525 scan lines.

Oh, by the way, NTSC stands for National Television Standard Committee.

PAL

PAL is the predominant mode used mostly in Asia and surrounding continents. PAL is also the standard of video broadcast in India.

Click here to see a list of countries where PAL is used.

Under PAL, 25 frames are transmitted per second, and each frame consists of 625 scan lines.

Also read: Camera Optics: Which lens to choose and when?

NTSC vs PAL: Which one to choose when recording video on your DSLR?

NTSC vs PAL: Know your video modes when shooting with your DSLR

This question comes down to what you’re planning to do with the footage and where in the world you’ll use it.

At this point, cross standard support has been improved. While this means you shouldn’t have any troubles broadcasting your content anywhere regardless of the standard, you should still always prefer to record in the predominant standard of the region.

On a DSLR, depending upon whether you’re recording on PAL or NTSC, the framerates you can choose from will differ.

Under PAL, you’ll be able to choose from either 25 FPS for cinematic recording or 50 FPS for slow motions. Under NTSC, you’ll get 30FPS or 60FPS depending upon what you want to do with the footage.

That said, however, NTSC/PAL are both hangovers from the days of the analogue TV broadcast.

As of right now, video broadcast works in a completely different way. While these standards are still hanging around, they are becoming more and more irrelevant every day.

There is no reason why a modern TV or display should adhere to these standards. If you connect your camera or any video source to an HDMI port, it’ll show either 25 or 30 FPS video without any problems.

So in the end, it doesn’t matter which one you choose, what matters is your choice of framerate.

Also read: Top 7 DSLR and Mirrorless camera for beginners

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