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Because DVD footage is kinda complicated, and thats sorta what most of this guide is dedicated to, I've decided to bring all of the most important information here onto one page, so that it can be easily understood.

First, lets talk about the difference between NTSC and PAL DVDs. If you live in North America or Japan, then your DVDs follow the NTSC standard. Anime is made in Japan, so that means if you live in North America, then your DVDs are going to be in the same format that the original was in. This is a very good thing. However, live in an area that uses PAL, then your anime DVDs are converted from their original NTSC source. This conversion is often very poor, and thus it is recommended that you DO NOT USE PAL DVDs.

The main hurdle that we have with DVDs, is that they are very inflexible. NTSC DVDs have a resolution of 720x480, and a framerate of 29.97. PAL DVDs on the other hand, have a resolution of 720x576, and a framerate of 25. What this means is that no matter what aspect ratio your footage has, and no matter what framerate the footage is supposed to play at, on the DVD it will always have the same resolution and aspect ratio. Thus, in order to view the footage correctly, we have to restore both the aspect ratio and the framerate to what they should be!



As I just mentioned, NTSC DVDs have a framerate of 29.97. This presents a problem though, because the vast majority of anime uses a framerate of 23.976!

As we mentioned earlier in this guide, the process of converting video from 23.976 fps to 29.97 fps is called telecine. There are 2 kinds of telecine used with DVDs: hard telecine, and soft telecine.

Soft telecine is the easiest to deal with. In this case, the footage is actually stored on the DVD at the correct fps of 23.976, and a flag is set which tells the DVD player to telecine it in realtime during playback. In order to fix this, all we have to do is change that flag when we are grabbing the footage in order to tell it not to telecine it! Unfortunately, soft-telecined anime is fairly rare. You will usually only see it on some movies, as tv series are almost always hard telecined.

Hard telecine is the tough one, and it's caused headaches for many people. In this case, the footage has been telecined before it was stored on the DVD, and we have to restore it using a technique called inverse telecine, or IVTC. Fortunately, the process is fairly automatic, so once you learn how to do it, its not really a big problem anymore.

Finally, some anime does have an actual framerate of 29.97 fps. This is usually limited to only the opening or ending clips of the anime, but some OVAs are known to be completely 29.97 fps throughout. In that situation, your footage may either be progressive or interlaced. If it is progressive then you really don't need to to anything. But if it is interlaced, then you need to deinterlace it.


Aspect Ratios

This has already been covered in a some detail, so let me just restate the key points. Please note that I am grossly oversimplifying things here, but this should really be sufficient for most people. There are 3 main cases that you will have with NTSC DVDs: 4:3, 16:9 anamorphic, and 16:9 letterboxed.

The difference between the two 16:9 cases, are that with anamorphic footage, the video uses up the entire frame size of the dvd, whereas with letterboxed footage, you will have large black bars along the top and bottom.

16:9 letterboxed is actually the same as 4:3, so we can treat it exactly the same. This means we really only have 2 cases to worry about.

No matter which case you have, we start off by cropping 8 pixels from the left side, and 8 pixels from the right side, because those pixels really aren't supposed to be part of the picture. If you forget to do this, its not a big deal, but just know that this is what you should do.

Now, if you have 4:3 footage, you can just resize to 640x480, and everything should be just dandy. If you have 16:9 anamorphic footage, then you can resize to 848x480. See, its really not all that complicated, right?

If you are unsure if your footage is at the correct aspect ratio, here is a handy trick: Look for a round object, such as a ball or the moon, and then ask yourself, "does that object look round?" If you answer "no", then your aspect ratio is incorrect.


Can't I just put the DVDs straight into my editing program?

Nope. While the aspect ratio doesn't really cause any problem in this regard, since it can be corrected at any time, the framerate issues are the major trouble here. If you don't restore the framerate before you begin editing, then it will be impossible to correctly fix it later. That's basically all it boils down to.


I found a tool that automatically converts the DVD into an AVI, can't I just use that?

Nope. There's a very high likelyhood that it will screw something up, especially if you don't know what you are doing. Also note that some of these programs, such as "Super", can screw with your system and actually BREAK some of the tools that we use.


So how do I do this stuff?

In the remainder of this guide, it will be explained how to resize your footage and how to fix the framerate (along with some other nifty things!), using an amazing tool called AviSynth. So, simply read on to learn all about it!


Key Concepts

- You HAVE to fix the framerate and aspect ratio of your DVDs! Otherwise, you should just ignore this entire guide.