Stacking software

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  • Member since
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Stacking software
Posted by tkerr on Friday, August 15, 2008 3:02 PM

What other software is available other than Registax that can open and stack avi files? 
Registax has been being a pain. Even with 4gb memory it keeps failing half way through the first aligning point.  That annoying "Problem decompressing avi file" message.
Or at least tell me how I can remedy this problem without having to go out an buy a new computer.    

Oh how I wish DSS could open avi files.  

 

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Posted by chipdatajeffB on Friday, August 15, 2008 3:44 PM

Tim:

Couple of questions --

  • How big is your AVI file?
  • What is the resolution (pixels by pixels) in the image?
  • What software did you use to capture the AVI file?
  • What OS are you using (Win2000, XP, or Vista)?

I only use Registax for registering and stacking AVIs, although I use utilities like Virtual Dub to help with certain aspects of it.

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Posted by johnjohnson on Friday, August 15, 2008 3:45 PM

Tim,

I have used this in the past. I have not used it in several years and don't know what it's capabilities are any more. In the past it worked very well for planets and handled the AVI files. The problem I had with it was the LRGB had to have each channel processed separately and then combined and saved at the end of processing. Time consuming and slow.

http://www.astrostack.com/ 

JJ 

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Posted by galactic_photog on Friday, August 15, 2008 5:12 PM

If you don't like Registax get a copy of K3CCD,it's the most popular alternative (there are other stacking capable programs too). Registax performs better on multi alignment points (IRIS, another general purpose program, also offers multi alignment point stacking), but Registax has a lower limit (~2000 from personal experience) on numbers of avi frames (8 or 16b) than K3CCD. Both Registax and K3 are successfully used by a large number of people, each is claimed as being the "best".

I use Registax 95-98% of the time since it offers a more versatile alignment capability, and a good (wavelet) sharpening function. Sometimes (infrequently), I use Virtual Dub, combined with K3 for stacking, to combine sequences into longer sequences.

Registax was also the first to offer the ".ser" (Lumenera RAW) file format support, which is advantageous since I use a Lumenera camera. K3 has since added this file format support (it's a handy format for running 100fps lum sequences (to better beat the turbulence) on Mars when its surface brightness supports the very short exposures at that frame rate).

Robert

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Posted by tasco-60mm on Friday, August 15, 2008 6:01 PM

i used both astrostack and K3 (free versions)- but i always went back to the freebie Regi. i cant really put anyone of em as superior as per my experiments- but regi hates large files and gives me a headache with that 'cannot decompress' issue- so i cut em down in handiAVI 1st to 300/400 frames

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Posted by tkerr on Friday, August 15, 2008 7:25 PM

chipdatajeffB

Tim:

Couple of questions --

  • How big is your AVI file?
  • What is the resolution (pixels by pixels) in the image?
  • What software did you use to capture the AVI file?
  • What OS are you using (Win2000, XP, or Vista)?

I only use Registax for registering and stacking AVIs, although I use utilities like Virtual Dub to help with certain aspects of it.

A couple, that's 4.. Smile,Wink, & Grin

I'm using Windows XP SP2 with 4gb ram and plenty of HD space.
I used the SPC900NC to capture the Videos, and since RAD is screwing up the conversion I switched to Virtual Dub to convert the files to avi.  
Obviously my files are to large for Registax. averaging around 3 minutes at 30fps on the moon surface videos.  The Jupiter videos worked fine and were shot at only about 15fps and half the recording time than that of the moon videos.
Using Virtual Dub,  I cut them in half and was able to stack in registax. 

There is a lot of tips I could use for using Virtual Dub. But since I've hardly used the program I will wait on that to allow me more time to read up on it.  If I can't find what I am looking for I know who to contact.

Thank You.

 

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Posted by chipdatajeffB on Friday, August 15, 2008 7:58 PM

I suspected you had too many frames in there!

You'll find much less noise in your AVIs if you shoot with webcams at lower frame rates. I usually focus at 30 fps then expose at 5 fps -- except for Jupiter, which rotates so fast you'll lose detail due to rotation blur after 3 minutes, so you want to use 15 fps.

With VDub, you're already halfway home by cutting the AVIs into smaller chunks. With Jupiter, Mars, and the Moon, you also want to resample the AVIs to double their size. This is done by selecting the resampling filter (I use the Lanczos one) and selecting the appropriate new resolution. THEN load all the resampled AVIs into Registax simultaneously so you only have to choose alignment points once. It will take longer to process them this way, but the results will be worth it.

My last step after Wavelets and Final in Registax is to re-resample (downsample) the resulting frame by 75%. This "tightens up" the detail in the image. You'll be amazed at how well this works ... and it works better on images that have a lot of detail.

Especially with lunar images, you want to imagine a 3x3 or 4x4 "grid" of alignment areas and find a good alignment point at the each intersection. This really eliminates the "rubber-band" effect caused by seeing variances, and it gives you nice detail fully across the whole image. To plan this out, make a screenshot of your Alignment image, save it to a file, then print it. Use a ruler to draw out the grid (start with 2x2 and work up from there as you need). Within each grid square, find a good alignment point. Then select an alignment box size that won't impinge on the neighboring grid's alignment point. This helps ensure you don't end up with processing artifacts (you know, where it looks like the resulting frame has cracks in it). If you are processing a small image, then make sure there is plenty of overlap among the boxes -- which will also help avoid the artifacts. Feathering is more important when you do it this way. Play around with feathering until you have nice blending in the final image.

Then up the ante by making a 3x3 grid, etc.

For the planets, you can often get by with a single alignment box surrounding the planet, but if you resample the image and you have good scale to begin with, you can fit in more alignment points. I almost always use 3 for Saturn, 3 or 4 for Jupiter, and up to 5 or 6 with Mars. With lunar images, by contrast, I have used as many as 32. It all depends on the image scale and the amount of detail you have that can be brought out.

Some readers may not understand about MAP (multiple alignment point) processing. Here's an example using a lunar image:

... and here's one with more than 20 alignment points (in a small image, using the overlapping method):

This shot of the same image shows Show Alignment Sections turned On, which will demonstrate where you are going to have processing overlap in the image. As long as those lines don't lie parallel, or get closer together than your Feathering setting in pixels, you shouldn't get the "cracks" in the output:

Here is the Wavelet step for the same image. Notice I'm not very aggressive with wavelets, gamma changes, or histogram stretches. It's important when stretching the histogram that you don't "cut into" the histogram itself. That is, avoid moving the left or right sliders inward too far or you'll lose data. In this image, the total histogram stretch is only about 5.5 points on white and black ... not aggressive at all, yet combined with the S-curve to gamma it really improves contrast.

With wavelets, the top slider attacks larger image details, and the successively lower wavelets move down in detail size. I find that minimizing changes to midrange details avoids over-sharpening the details. If your image has noise in it after wavelet sharpening, but is otherwise pleasing, then unclick the top wavelet slider setting and reprocess. This "traps" the noise to a large degree.

And this is how I generally do it with Saturn:

... those alignment boxes are like 30 or 45 pixels square, something like that.

As for VDub, you can do a lot with that. You can even write your own filters. I've found it better, however, to use some of the "canned" filters in iris. It's a command-line-driven scripting language that includes many "filters" of its own. You can use it with DSO images, too.

But that's another story. For now let's stick to your Registax questions.

The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we CAN imagine. --- JBS Haldane

Come visit me at Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus (we're on Google Maps) in Texas.

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Posted by tkerr on Friday, August 15, 2008 8:47 PM

Wow, Thanks Jeff. 
I've been exploring around VDub and just so happens I found the filters and have a video of Jupiter running in it now. 

Now it's time to see if they will work with Registax.

Unfortunately I went out early enough to beat the clouds and fog. My Video of Jupiter was Shot while it was still dusk.  And the seeing was awful shooting over my neighbors hot roof.  But I just had to get out and do something.  I might not have the  best image data but it gives me something to practice with.  

Thanks for all the helpful information.

 

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Posted by Kevin Bozard on Friday, August 15, 2008 10:14 PM

 That's helpful information Jeff. I've used three point stacking before, but never more than that. My avi's have never been over 30 -45 seconds either, so I'll have to try longer avi's, and bump up the alignment points a bit to see if I can improve my images. If I ever get the chance again to do any imaging. 2008 in the southeast has been the worse year since purchasing my first telescope for amateur astronomy. The cloudy nights have, by far, outnumbered the clear ones. I'll be sure to put this information to use when I'm able to get out and collect some data. Great post! Smile

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Posted by tasco-60mm on Friday, August 15, 2008 11:15 PM

now why you make that sticky jb?- its stuff like 'that' that should be on top as a good reference guide

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Posted by chipdatajeffB on Saturday, August 16, 2008 4:34 AM

Thanks, folks.

I forgot to mention that the first example above uses R3 while the second uses R4. In R3 you make multiple passes through the whole process, using a different alignment point each time, then you stack all the resulting single frames into a final single frame. Back before R4 was released you had to do it this way since it didn't have a multi-point routine built in.

The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we CAN imagine. --- JBS Haldane

Come visit me at Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus (we're on Google Maps) in Texas.

www.3rf.org

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