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Chapter 1. DV 101 > Video Signals Around the World

Video Signals Around the World

As you can imagine, there is a lot of technical terminology in the video field. As an Adobe Premiere user, you should become familiar with some key terms and concepts. Every Premiere editor should know the different video signals used around the world. All VCRs are not created equal, and if you ever need to send your Premiere project overseas, it is important to know what signal is used on international playback devices.

NTSC

The NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) signal is the standard North American signal for playback. NTSC plays back at 29.97 frames per second (fps). This number is often rounded to 30 fps, causing some confusion. This odd frame rate is the result of some compromises made when color TV was introduced, and broadcasters wanted a signal that worked with both color TVs and black and white TVs. When digitizing NTSC video, there are three standards. Imagine the screen broken into small, discreet dots (pixels). Those dots could be either square or rectangular in shape. If the pixels are square, the dimensions of the screen are typically 640 wide and 480 down, which is the first standard. Some video cards using square pixels would actually digitize 486 lines down, but these are pretty rare. The second standard, employed by DV and DVD, uses 720 wide by 480 tall rectangular pixels. A computer uses square pixels. If you display a 720 image on a computer screen, it appears stretched horizontally on the computer screen, but it displays OK on a TV monitor. The final standard, a digital specification for a tape format known as D1, the gold standard of video, uses 720×486. There are many analog video cards that use this specification. The reasons for these specifications are beyond the scope of this book; suffice it to say that DV is the format you will most likely work with.


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