What Is 3:2 Pulldown?

Last Update Date : Apr 09. 2018

In North America, televisions use the NTSC broadcasting format. Film is shot at 24 frames per second (fps), but NTSC television signals run at 30 fps. As a result, it is necessary to convert the 24 distinct frames in a second of film into 30 new frames that can be played back on television. If you were to ignore this different frame rate and attempt to play back your film material at a 1:1 ratio with video frames, your material would play back at 125% of the actual speed __ a one minute film clip would playback in 48 seconds!


During "telecine" ( film-to-tape transfer) when film material is converted into video, a 3:2 pulldown sequence is introduced into the footage which mixes alternating combinations of 3 and 2 video fields. This process stretches the 24 frames per second of film into 30 frames, so that when a converted film is played as video it has the appropriate number of frames per second.


Note: Only NTSC video contains this 3:2 pattern. PAL video - which is the format used in much of the rest of the world - runs at 25 fps and requires an altogether different pattern to solve this problem (24:1 pulldown).

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