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14. Audio / Video

How to convert between Norms, how to get tapes, etc.

14.1 Different Video Norms!

PAL format videotapes (as used in Germany) will not display properly using an NTSC (used in, eg, USA) based VCR and vice-versa.

There are services where video conversion from any format to any other format can be made for a fee (VHS, VHS-C and 8 mm types of cassettes.) This will allow playback of videotapes made overseas using US TV's and VCR's (PAL, SECAM -> NTSC) and vice-versa (NTSC -> PAL, SECAM, etc ...)

It is also not too expensive to get a VCR which is able to play NTSC and PAL tapes.

Only a few VCR's are able to record and play VHS tapes in NTSC and PAL (e.g. Panasonic AG-W1, about DM 5000). Cheaper VCR's are able to play different formats (NTSC, PAL, SECAM).

Do it yourself

With these setups you can transfer from NTSC to/from PAL at reasonable cost. Don't expect studio quality though:

Commercial conversion

Mind Logic

They charge US$18 for the first two hours of conversion. They also put together a technical overview of the subject. 1996-04


Merrill, Ia, USA, hamsmith@pionet.net, tel +1(712)938-2507 1996-04

International Video Conversion

520 Harvest Lane, Raleigh, NC 27606-2217, tel +1(919)233-8689

Fees: US$25 + 5 S&H, Price of a High Grade Cassette Included, 2hrs or less. Delivery: Mailed back the next day, express shipping at request. Payment: Check, Cash or Money Order mailed with tape.


does it for US$5 per hour + US$3 for the blank tape. Formats: NTSC, PAL, NPAL, MPAL, SECAM, MSECAM

Soffel VDO

2250 Monroe St #263, Santa Clara, CA 95050, tel +1(408)985-2098

US$20 per tape (up to 2h, each add. hour US$10). Tape, S&H included. Mail only, next day shipping, overnight available. Check, cash, money order. Does: NTSC (8mm, Hi8, VHS) -> PAL (VHS)

Video Conversion

tel +1(614)833-6872/NTSC http://www.videoconversion.com/

Price: $9.99 + S/H for one VHS tape containing up to 3 hours of material

Local shops

Give your local shops a try! I found a Camera Shop that does PAL <-> NTCS conversions; a bit expensive, though (US$20/h). But if you need something the very next day... 1994-1

14.2 Movies


American (and other foreign) films are almost always dubbed into German when they're released in Germany. Frequently, the title of the movie is changed, as well, so that it makes more sense in the German language.

It is a recurring subject for discussion in soc.culture.german whether this is desirable or despicable. Before judging an issue like this, please consider the market forces at work; the point is that dubbing costs more than mere subtitles. Why do they do it anyway, then? Obviously there is a sizable and steady demand which absorbs the added cost! If you feel that dubbing should be abolished, then, please, also provide an insight in how you believe this presently existing preference can be redirected! 1996-03


Producer's Masterguide (email producers@masterguide.com) is an international production manual for film, broadcast-tv, commercials, videotape & cable industries since 1980. 1996-03

14.3 Mail Ordering

Audio / Music

Some places where to get a hold of the latest from the charts; (did you know that modern match makers hold as an utmost important compatibilty criterion what the couple thinks about Volksmusik?)


Video Tapes

For conversion of videotapes (NTSC <-> PAL) see subject Audio / Video Tapes

German Language Video Center

7625-27 Pendleton Pike, Indianapolis, Indiana 46226, tel +1(317)547-1257

Free catalogue; hundreds of movies; prompt and courteous service. The movies cost US$10.50 to rent for 30 days (includes shipping time to and from you, so it's realistically about 2 1/2 weeks), with a US$20 initial deposit (refundable when you decide you don't want to rent any more videos from them). 1995-3

The Olivia and Hill Press

PO Box 7396, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48107, tel +1(313)663-0235, fax +1(313)663-6590

Selection of German-language cassette recordings of novels, plays, and radio plays, e.g. Dürrenmatt's Der Richter und sein Henker. Free catalogue.

Schau ins Land

PO Box 158067, Nashville, TN 37215-8067, tel +1(800)824-0829

Monthly audio magazine of news, stories, music, etc. Comes with a written transcription including a vocabulary glossary. Approx. US$120/yr. in the US.

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