Posted by: maroonmaurader | January 17, 2010

PALling around

So the word is that while movies are shot at 24 frames per second, quite a few countries follow a TV standard called PAL – which displays 50 “fields” per second. One field actually is updating only half the screen (e.g., every odd line of pixels, then every even line) in a process called interlacing – that way you only need to store 25 frames per second but the visual effect is very much like a 50-Hz recording. The clever might have already noticed that that 25 is not equal to 24, and in fact there is a common solution to this problem: international releases of films in countries following PAL are generally sped up about 4%. Audio is slightly higher-pitched and faster, action quicker, film shorter.



  1. Actually, JJ, as someone who has had to deal with the damn interlacing on our Brawl footage, I can assure you that all standard TV’s interlace. NTSC (the standard that the US, Canada, and Japan use, which is also why Japanese games come here before Europe and vice versa) displays 60 fields or 30 frames a second interlaced. PAL, like you said, is 50 and 25.

    It seems like, with NTSC, they have taken the time to create a separate standard compatible with 24 frames a second, while taking the “close enough” approach you mentioned for PAL formatting.

    Wikipedia, of course, has more:

  2. I never said NTSC didn’t interlace (nor did I mean to imply that, although perhaps others would be a better judge of whether I in fact did), simply that PAL did and interlacing was a kinda cool process.

  3. Incidentally, while on the subject of frame rates…

  4. Jeffrey, that was one of the coolest videos I have seen on the interwebs, and certainly deserves its own post, if only so that Miles, Nick, and the lurkers can view it.

    • THat’s an oldie but goodie video. I don’t understand the “time can be reversed” part… how is that possible?

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