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Standards Conversion

What is video conversion? Video standards conversion is the combination of duplicating one videotape or DVD to a second tape or DVD while simultaneously changing the video standard. Video conversion is necessary because NTSC uses 30 frames (pictures) per second and PAL uses 25 frames per second.

World Video Standards: NTSC, PAL, and SECAM

  • NTSC is the video system used in North America and most of South America. In NTSC, 30 frames are transmitted each second. Each frame is made up of 525 individual scan lines.
  • PAL is the predominant video system used overseas. In PAL, 25 frames are transmitted each second. Each frame is made up of 625 individual scan lines.
  • SECAM is a video system that has become a thing of the past in every country except France. SECAM camcorders and SECAM-ONLY televisions and VCRs are no longer in production. SECAM countries are now compatible with PAL.
  • PAL and SECAM video is not compatible with NTSC (American) television sets.


  • A PAL DVD, playing in a normal multi-region player using an NTSC television will produce a black and white picture that rolls vertically. If the PAL disc is put in a basic North American DVD player, the disc will not even boot up because of the different region number encoded on the disk.

What happens to the original video?

  • The original video is not changed or altered in any way. The conversion is made on a separate VHS or DVD and both the original and conversion are sent back to you.

I don't know what video standard my tape is?

  • The equipment we use will automatically identify any video standard.

2 field or 4 field conversion?

  • Some standards converters track motion over 2 fields (one frame, or 1/30 second) while others track 4 fields. The greater the number of fields tracked, the more accurate the converted video. At Bright Images we use 4 field converters.