Stacking the Footage
Ok so from the last post we have captured our footage and are now ready to move this into Registax for stacking. What this program does is analyse the video, splits the video into frames, removes the frames that can’t be used and stacks the rest one on top of each other to produce a single image. There are a lot of options in Registax, the method I am going to show you may not be the best one, but it works for me. Experimentation is the key here. Luckily in Ireland there are plenty of cloudy nights, giving ample time to play with these settings.
Lets get Stacking
First let me remind you of the intial footage we got in our last post from Sharpcap.
Load the video into Registax.
Click Select and pick the video file you want to work with. Your screen should look something like this.
Before we get going on stacking I will try my best to explain the settings you need to go through at this stage.
Below the main areas you need to worry about are highlighted. Click on each section to get a more in depth description of each function.
Now that we have our video loaded into Registax and our settings set as per the screen above, we need to Set the Alignpoints.
To this scroll through the video using the slide bar at the bottom until you find your best looking frame, then click the Set Alignpoints button. You should get a screen similar to the one below.
Notice that Registax has place red dots over the image, these are the points that Registax will use to align this frame with the other ones in the video.
Now click Align, Depending on the number of alignpoints and the size of the video this process can take a wee while.
But once it is complete it is onto step 3
Once the Alignment is complete you will be presented with a screen similar to the one below.
You can see that there is an image with small circles and lines coming from their center. What you need to do now is scroll through your image until you find a frame that has as short as lines as possible.
Once you have found that you need to click on the Limit button. Registax will now run through all the frames in the video and remove the frames that don’t come up to scratch.
When Registax is finished removing the frames you will be presented with a single image. This image is now the combination of all the good frames in your video stacked one on top of each other.
Don’t worry if it still looks poor, the real magic is about to begin.
The panel on the left is what we will be concentrating on now. These are the wavelets and moving the sliders and adjusting the denoise and sharpen levels of each slider bring different levels of detail.
The best thing to do is play with the them, the slider settings will be different for every image. Below are the settings i used for the particular video we are working on.
You can see now without doing anything else to the image some impressive detail is coming out, We can see a Moon, a shadow of that moon and the Great Red Spot as well as some detail in the cloud bands.
We could leave the image here or move it into another processing program such as photoshop but i like to do one or two more things before going there.
First click on the Histogram button on the panel on the right hand side of the screen.
This will open up a screen with a curve, don’t worry if you don’t understand what a histogram is, I don’t.
But if you slide the Grey Arrow left and right you can quite dramatically alter the image, again experimentation is best here.
The next thing to do is click on the RGB Align button on the right hand side. You will be presented with a box which you can drag and re-size over the image of the planet.
Click the Estimate button and Registax will go and do some calculations. This process helps remove any colour around the edge of the planet.
Another thing to do is click on the Flip & Rotate button, this allows you to orientate the image the right way round.
Now we could do some more work in Photoshop if you like, but that is for another tutorial.
For now lets look at a before and after image.
Just a reminder of the equipment used here. The footage was taken using a modified Microsoft Lifecam attached to a 2x Barlow and using a Skywatcher 150p.
You can find the previous tutorials here
I hope you can see that by using some fairly simple and cheap equipment you can get some very acceptable images. I myself am still learning the processes to get as good an image as possible so if anyone has any advice or would like to add anything to these tutorial please let me know.