Switching between NTSC and PAL is rarely necessary. Many users never have to do it at all. Most users typically set it to either NTSC or PAL and continue shooting without changing it. If you’re in the United States, it’s likely set to NTSC. If you live in the UK, Europe, or Australia, it’s probably set to PAL.
But maybe you’re traveling and need to shoot for an international audience or playback on a local television. Or maybe you need to match a clip to some previously shot footage at a specific framerate or are collaborating with someone else (mixing and matching can cause problems).
There are good reasons to choose the right setting before you shoot. For one thing, while it is possible to convert from PAL to NTSC and vice-versa, it makes things much easier to get it right during the capture. It also influences which framerates you have available when you’re shooting. For instance, 100 fps will only be available in PAL (50Hz), and 120 fps will only be available in NTSC (60Hz).
So here’s how to switch between NTSC and PAL on the HERO12 Black. And the reason I’m posting this is that it’s not as intuitive as it could be. You won’t find this under the Regional settings, and you won’t see “NTSC” or “PAL” anywhere in the settings.
How to Switch Between NTSC and PAL on the GoPro HERO12 Black’s On-Camera Menu
The reason I’m going to the effort of writing this quick guide isn’t that it’s particularly hard to change between NTSC and PAL on the HERO12 Black, but because it’s not as obvious how to do it as it could be. That’s because you won’t find “NTSC” or “PAL” anywhere in the settings or menus, not even in the setting help description.
GoPro has done away with those since the HERO8 Black, now instead referring only to frequency. The menu item is called Anti-Flicker. And it’s not under the regional settings, which is one logical place for it (and where it is on the HERO7 Black, for instance, under
Preferences > Regional > Video Format > NTSC or PAL). On the HERO12 Black, it’s also in a slightly different location on the menu than it is on the HERO11 Black.
To find this setting on the HERO12, go to:
Preferences > Video > Anti-Flicker
From there, you can choose between 60Hz (which is NTSC) and 50Hz (which is PAL).
How to Switch Between NTSC & PAL Using the GoPro Quik Mobile App
GoPro doesn’t always have the wording on the camera menu system matching exactly what’s in the GoPro mobile app, but in this case, it does. So it’s straightforward.
In the mobile app, go into the camera’s settings by hitting the wrench (spanner) icon at the top right. (You’ll need to be connected to the camera first.)
Then in the first, large batch of settings under the Setup heading, scroll down to Anti-Flicker. You can then toggle between 60Hz (for NTSC) and 50Hz (for PAL).
NTSC vs PAL
NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) and PAL (Phase Alternating Line) refer to different broadcast formats used in various regions of the world.
NTSC is the standard in the Americas and Japan, while PAL is used in the UK, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and parts of Asia. There are technically others, but NTSC and PAL are the two major ones still used today. 1 For NTSC, the underlying power system for broadcast television is based on 60 hertz. For PAL, it’s 50 hertz. 2 They’re primarily relevant to broadcast signals and are much less relevant if you’re shooting footage that will be shared on the web.
The practical difference between them when it comes to shooting video with your GoPro is that they have different refresh rates. When shooting video with a GoPro—or any camera, for that matter, that impacts the frames per second that are available in each mode. In NTSC, they’re multiples of 30 (eg. 30fps, 60fps, 120fps, 240fps). In PAL, they’re multiples of 25 (eg. 25fps, 50fps, 100fps, 200fps). 3
Enabling these options will unlock new framerate choices in the video settings. Selecting 60Hz will provide framerate choices in increments of 30, while choosing 50Hz will offer framerate choices in increments of 25.
Put another way: if you need to match some footage previously shot at 100fps, you’ll first need to set the anti-flicker setting to 50Hz before you can choose the 100fps framerate.
Converting between NTSC and PAL can be challenging. Direct conversion can lead to issues like motion judder or mismatched color profiles. Specialized software or hardware is often required for a smooth transition. So it’s best to get it correct right off the bat, if possible.
- The other big regional standard was SECAM, which originated in France. But it has been mostly phased out, and the countries that were using it have migrated to PAL, NTSC, or DVB-T (a European digital TV standard).
- There are other differences, such as the number of lines, which in turn affects image resolution and pixel aspect ratio.
- More precisely, it’s a fractional framerate of 29.97, but it’s nearly always rounded up to 30fps in settings menus and when talking about it. That is, when talking about NTSC video, 29.97 and 30 are referring to the same thing.
New Model: GoPro HERO12 Black
Released in September 2023, the HERO12 Black is GoPro's newest model.
- 5.3K60 / 4K120 / 2.7K240 Video
- 27MP Photos
- Waterproof to 33ft/10m
- HyperSmooth 6.0 Stabilization
- Shoot 5.3K60 & 4K120 video at up to 120Mbps bitrate
- HDR video up to 5.3K30
- Horizon Lock keeps level even during movement
- Take 27MP photos (5568 x 4872 pixels)
- 1/1.9" CMOS sensor
- Waterproof to 33ft / 10m, so you can take it swimming, paddling, surfing, or snorkeling without a separate housing
- Built-in mount point
- HyperSmooth 6.0 In-camera Video Stabilization creates smooth video without a gimbal
- Shoot up to 8x slow motion