StarVision User Manual
Mallincam StarVision
Revision Sheet
[Version 1.0]
Michael Burns
Rock Mallin
[StarVision User Manual]
This document will quickly introduce you to the wonders of the MallinCam StarVision
Camera. It will include instructions on how to install the Software and Drivers and how
connect the StarVision to your computer along with explanations of the camera’s
major settings. The purpose of this guide is to quickly get you up and running with the
StarVision Camera so that you can quickly enjoy the process of imaging.
Mallincam StarVision User Manual
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Revision Sheet
Revision History
Version
Date
Revision Description
1.0
2016-10-04
Template Creation
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Table of Contents
Contents
Revision History ................................................................................................................................... ii
Table of Contents .......................................................................................................................... 1
1.
Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 5
The Contents of the StarVision Package............................................................................... 6
Specifications: ........................................................................................................................................ 6
System Requirements: ........................................................................................................................... 7
In the Box............................................................................................................................................... 7
2.
Installing Driver and Software ............................................................................................... 8
System Requirements ................................................................................................................ 8
Installing the Software ............................................................................................................... 8
3.
Connecting the StarVision.................................................................................................... 11
Connecting the StarVision to your Computer ....................................................................... 11
4.
Using the StarVision Software ............................................................................................. 13
The StarVision Window .......................................................................................................... 13
StarVision Quick Setup and Pictorial Work-Flow................................................................ 14
Live Stack Pictorial Work-Flow ............................................................................................. 15
Histogram Pictorial Work-Flow ............................................................................................. 16
ROI Pictorial Work-Flow ........................................................................................................ 17
Dark Field Pictorial Work-Flow ............................................................................................. 18
More Detailed Work-Flow Procedure .................................................................................... 19
Quick Workflow for StarVision ........................................................................................................... 19
Detailed Workflow of Video Imaging Planetary Objects .................................................................... 22
Detailed Workflow of Video Imaging Deep Sky Objects .................................................................... 27
5.
The StarVision Software Controls........................................................................................ 34
The StarVision Software’s Docking Controls........................................................................ 34
Icon Bar................................................................................................................................................ 34
Control Windows ................................................................................................................................. 35
Top Menu Line ......................................................................................................................... 37
File(F) .................................................................................................................................................. 37
Open Camera .................................................................................................................................... 37
Open Image ...................................................................................................................................... 37
Close Current Window ..................................................................................................................... 39
Close All Windows .......................................................................................................................... 39
Save .................................................................................................................................................. 39
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Save as .............................................................................................................................................. 40
Snap .................................................................................................................................................. 40
Continuous Snap .............................................................................................................................. 40
Save Camera Parameter.................................................................................................................... 41
Load Camera Parameter ................................................................................................................... 42
Default Camera Setup ...................................................................................................................... 42
Exit ................................................................................................................................................... 42
View(V) ............................................................................................................................................... 43
Tool Bar ........................................................................................................................................... 43
Docking Windows ............................................................................................................................ 45
Status ................................................................................................................................................ 47
Full Mode ......................................................................................................................................... 47
Simple Mode .................................................................................................................................... 47
Size ...................................................................................................................................................... 48
Zoom In ............................................................................................................................................ 48
Zoom Out ......................................................................................................................................... 48
1:1..................................................................................................................................................... 48
Adapt Size ........................................................................................................................................ 48
Full Screen ....................................................................................................................................... 48
Cursor .................................................................................................................................................. 49
Select ................................................................................................................................................ 49
Hand ................................................................................................................................................. 49
Image Opt ............................................................................................................................................ 49
Image Mirror .................................................................................................................................... 49
Image Rotation ................................................................................................................................. 50
Inverse .............................................................................................................................................. 50
Monochrome .................................................................................................................................... 50
Auto Exposure .............................................................................................................................. 50
Area Auto Exposure ......................................................................................................................... 50
Once White Balance ......................................................................................................................... 50
Area White Balance ......................................................................................................................... 50
Over Exposure Sign ......................................................................................................................... 51
Settings ................................................................................................................................................ 51
Capture Settings
................................................................................................. 52
Record Settings ................................................................................................................................ 53
Language Settings ............................................................................................................................ 55
Preference Settings ........................................................................................................................... 55
Advanced Settings ............................................................................................................................ 56
Windows .............................................................................................................................................. 56
Help...................................................................................................................................................... 56
Top Menu Icons........................................................................................................................ 57
Open Camera Icon ............................................................................................................................... 57
Open Image Icon .................................................................................................................................. 57
Play Icon .............................................................................................................................................. 58
Stop Icon .............................................................................................................................................. 58
Snap Icon ............................................................................................................................................. 58
Continuous Snap Icon .......................................................................................................................... 58
Real Time Snap Icon
..................................................................................................................... 59
Save Icon
....................................................................................................................................... 59
Save-As Icon
Settings Icon
................................................................................................................................. 59
................................................................................................................................ 60
Capture Settings
................................................................................................. 60
Record Settings ................................................................................................................................ 62
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Language Settings ............................................................................................................................ 63
Preference Settings ........................................................................................................................... 64
Advanced Settings ............................................................................................................................ 64
Zoom-In Icon
Zoom-Out Icon
................................................................................................................................. 65
.............................................................................................................................. 65
Zoom Drop-Down Icon
................................................................................................. 65
1 to 1 Icon ....................................................................................................................................... 65
Adapt Window Icon
....................................................................................................................... 65
Full Screen Icon .............................................................................................................................. 66
Select Icon
..................................................................................................................................... 66
Hand Icon
....................................................................................................................................... 66
Resolution Icon
................................................................................. 66
Fast ROI Icon
................................................................................................................................ 66
ROI Setup Icon
.............................................................................................................................. 67
Record Start/End Icon
.................................................................................................................... 68
Record Setup Icon
.......................................................................................................................... 68
Horizontal Flip Icon
....................................................................................................................... 69
Vertical Flip Icon
........................................................................................................................... 70
Monochrome Icon
.......................................................................................................................... 70
Inverse Icon
................................................................................................................................... 70
Overexposure Sign Icon
................................................................................................................. 71
Left Control Tabs ..................................................................................................................... 71
Camera Exposure ................................................................................................................................. 71
Camera Exp ...................................................................................................................................... 72
Camera Exp ...................................................................................................................................... 72
Light Frequency ............................................................................................................................... 72
Dark Field Correction ....................................................................................................................... 73
Image ................................................................................................................................................... 74
Image ................................................................................................................................................ 75
Raw to RGB ..................................................................................................................................... 76
Frames Stack or Mean ...................................................................................................................... 76
Dead Pixel ........................................................................................................................................ 77
Color .................................................................................................................................................... 79
Color ................................................................................................................................................. 79
White Balance .................................................................................................................................. 79
Camera Setup ....................................................................................................................................... 80
Camera Setup ................................................................................................................................... 80
Camera Setup ................................................................................................................................... 81
ROI ................................................................................................................................................... 81
Camera Setup ....................................................................................................................................... 83
Histogram............................................................................................................................................. 83
Guide.................................................................................................................................................... 85
Image List ............................................................................................................................................ 85
6.
Using Optional Software ...................................................................................................... 87
Running PHD2 with WDM Driver ......................................................................................... 88
7.
Appendix ............................................................................................................................... 94
Imaging in SharpCap............................................................................................................... 94
Start SharpCap ..................................................................................................................................... 94
Chose Cameras .................................................................................................................................... 94
SharpCap will start the imaging process .............................................................................................. 96
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First Aid for the StarVision Series ......................................................................................... 97
Dark Field Explanation ........................................................................................................... 98
Dark Field ............................................................................................................................................ 98
Dark Field Subtraction ..................................................................................................................... 98
Setting up to Broadcast on Night Skies Network ................................................................ 100
Introduction ....................................................................................................................................... 100
Focal Reducers ....................................................................................................................... 107
MFR-8 ................................................................................................................................................ 107
User Notes ............................................................................................................................... 108
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Introduction
For several years, MallinCam has been researching the production of a USB
camera that shares some of the features and technologies incorporated in our
MallinCam Xterminator true vision True video CCD cameras, as well as adding
several upgrade features. One of these is the use of the Sony ICX825AQA CCD
sensor. This sensor is 11mm measured diagonally versus 8mm for the Xterminator;
thus providing a wider field of view, which is desirable for larger objects. In
addition, this sensor is capable of producing pinpoint stars with zero star artifacts
and zero amp-glow. This camera can be used both in light polluted urban
environments or at dark sky sites. It will excel at outreach events where
MallinCam has been leading the world market with its full line of video astronomy
cameras for live applications.
At the heart of the StarVision are internal dual memory modules. This feature is
not found on the competition’s cameras. By having dual internal memory
modules, the data transmission load needed is dramatically reduced. Also by
incorporating DSP (digital signal processing) and other MallinCam developed
noise reduction technologies, the StarVision achieves a level of low noise not
achieved by other ICX825 CCD cameras.
Cameras from other manufacturers containing the ICX825 CCD sensor produce
single frame images suffering from noise. To achieve acceptable images,
stacking of multiple frames is needed. The StarVision is capable of producing
excellent smooth, live, noise free images without the need for stacking.
The front circuit board containing the CCD sensor is free of any other electronic
components. This eliminates electronically induced noise from affecting the
sensor and dramatically reduces heat from reaching it. This technology is not
utilized by other camera manufacturers. In addition, industrial grade
components are used throughout the cameras three double sided populated
circuit boards. Finally, the front CCD sensor board is made with 24 karat gold
plating to insure the ultimate in connection integrity and low noise performance.
Careful planning went into the design of this ultra-compact USB camera, making
it usable with ALT-AZ and EQ mounts.
The StarVision is designed and built for a lifetime of durability. The body is
composed of CNC machined aluminum and stainless steel, and the machine
screws are also of stainless steel. The rigidity of the case insure that the sensor will
maintain permanent alignment and the sealed, clear, multicoated optical
window insure that the CCD sensor will never need cleaning. This insures low
maintenance. The professional USB2.0 locking terminal and cable are designed
for use in all environments and are especially suited for use outdoors.
Special thanks to Glen Thompson, Jack Huerkamp and Rock Mallin whose
expertise and experience are way beyond my capabilities.
So thank you for your purchase, and let the adventure begin.
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The Contents of the StarVision Package
Specifications:



















PC Win XP, Win7, Win 8, and Win 10
Support and includes Full Trigger Mode
IMX825AQA EXview HAD II Scientific Grade CCD Sensor
11mm (Type 2/3) Diagonal
Approximately 1.45M Effective Pixels
Progressive Scan
6.45x6.45 Micron Square Pixels
2000mv Sensitivity
Color (Monochrome Available)
Binning Mode
Monochrome Mode Available For Color Sensor
Ultra Compact 2”x2”x1.5” Size
6.80 Ounces (192 Grams)
Professional, Industrial USB2.0 Locking Terminal
15’ USB2.0 Professional Grade Cable with Locking Connection
Aluminum and Stainless Steel CNC Construction
Gold Plated Main CCD Board
Sealed CCD Chamber
Live Observing and Imaging Modes
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System Requirements:

Equal to Intel Core2 2.8GHz or Higher

Memory: 2GB or More

USB port: USB 2.0 Port

Display: 17" or Larger Recommended
In the Box
The StarVision includes the following standard equipment:




MALLINCAM StarVision Camera
High Precision 1.25" C mount Eyepiece Adapter
15’ USB 2.0 Professional Grade Cable with Locking Connection.
MRF-8 Kit
Software Updates and Drivers can be down-loaded at the Software Downloads
Window located in the Support Tab at www.mallincam.net
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Installing Driver and Software
System Requirements
PC running either Windows ® (32-bit & 64-bit) 7, 8, 8.1, 10
Performance is not guaranteed if the following specification cannot be reached.





DirectX 9.0 or later installed
2.8GHz processor (Recommend dual core 2.8GHz or more)
USB 2.0 Port
2GB RAM (Recommend 2GB or more)
200MB Free HDD
Installing the Software
Step 1
Step 2
Visit the Software Downloads Page in the Support Tab located on the website:
www.mallincam.net
Select the Blue Click Here Button to download the Drivers and StarVision
Software for a Windows PC).
You will be installing all drivers, including Twain and DirectShow.
Make sure that the StarVision is not plugged into the computer.
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Step 3
Locate the MallinCam Sky_Drivers Download Icon on your download location.
Step 4
Depending upon the version of Windows, either Right Click on the Icon, then just
Click on the Extract button, else Double-Click on the Icon and jump to Step 8.
Windows should now open up the actual folder that contains the software to
install.
Step 5
Double-Click on the folder to open it up, revealing the 4 programs it.
Step 6
Double-Click on the Installer.exe file and the Installer window will open.
Step 7
The Install Check should be active, so Simply click on the Perform Button. Then
accept any warnings or permissions and the StarVision software and drivers will
be installed.
Step 8
Click the OK Button when installation is finished.
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You may need to close the Installer Window when process completed.
You should now have the MallinCam Icon on your desktop, ready for you to start
imaging.
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Connecting the StarVision
Connecting the StarVision to your Computer
Remove the rubber dust cover from the front of the StarVision camera (place it
back in the box for safe keeping).
Screw in the C-mount adapter to the front of the
StarVision.
Insert the StarVision (with C-Mount attached)
into a 1.25” eyepiece adapter on your
Telescope.
Depending upon the telescope, you may need extenders so that you can reach
focus with your telescope. It is recommended that you set this up in the daytime
so you can see what you are doing (plus can aim at an easy to find tree or
telephone pole).
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Attach the 5 metre USB 2.0 Cable from the back of the StarVision (lock it in place
with the two securing screws) to a free USB 2.0 port on your computer.
Hint
The StarVision has some strict power and thru-put requirements, and not all
computers are created equal. If you find you are having difficulties with the
following steps, it maybe the USB 2.0 port on your computer. If that is the case,
one option to try is; connected a Powered USB 2.0 Hub to your USB 2.0 port on
your computer. This simple step, can improve, both thru-put, power and distance
between your computer and the StarVision camera.
Windows will then automatically load the correct StarVision Camera Driver onto
your computer.
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October 4, 2016
Using the StarVision Software
The StarVision Window
③
①
②
④
⑤
The StarVision Software Window is segmented into a few regions to make viewing
and adjusting the StarVision camera easy and intuitive.
① The Top Menu Line provides dropdown menus and icons to allow you to
make major settings of the software
② The StarVision Left SideBar provides the simple click activation and selection
capabilities to control all aspects of the image and camera.
③ This Line provides single touch icons to allow for quick access to commands.
④ The Video Window will contain the display image from the StarVision
Camera. It is here that you will see the live video, or images.
⑤ The Information Line will indicate the current camera, current frame rate,
number of frames displayed, resolution, information about captures, etc.
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StarVision Quick Setup and Pictorial Work-Flow
A typical workflow when using the StarVision with the Mallincam Software.
Start Mallincam
Deep Sky Object
Planetary
Light Frequency DC
Take Dark Field
Short Exposure to Image
Short Exposure to Focus
Long Exposure to Image
Adjust Image
Save and Record
Activate Dark Field
Live Stack
Exit Mallincam
Adjust Image
Save and Record
Exit Mallincam
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Live Stack Pictorial Work-Flow
A typical workflow when Live-Stacking with StarVision.
Expose Object
Adjust Image
Choose type of Stacking
Live Stack
Adjust Image
Adjust Color
Save and Record
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Histogram Pictorial Work-Flow
A typical workflow when using the Histogram Command with StarVision.
Expose Object
Select Histogram
Increase Left number
or Move Left Bar in
Increase Right number
or Move Right Bar in
Darkens
Brightens
Select Exposure
Decrease Exposure
Histogram Moves to
Left
Mallincam StarVision User Manual
Increase Exposure
Histogram Moves to
Right
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ROI Pictorial Work-Flow
A typical workflow when using the Fast ROI Command with StarVision.
Expose Object
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Dark Field Pictorial Work-Flow
A typical workflow on how to Take and Apply Dark Fields.
Expose with Lens Cap On
Select the Capture Button on
Camera Exposure
Save Dark Field if Necessary
Expose Object
Check Enable
Done
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More Detailed Work-Flow Procedure
Quick Workflow for StarVision
So, you don’t like to read manuals, and you just want to just jump right into
imaging. Then this section gives you a Quick and Dirty method to get going.
Then, I follow this section with an even more detailed section on Planetary
Imaging Workflow, and finally a more detailed section on Workflow on Imaging
Deep Sky Objects.
The Mallincam StarVision Cameras provide a processing technique called Dark
Field Correction (see the Section Dark Field Explanation in the Appendix for a
complete description of Dark Field Correction).
Step 1
Double Click on the Mallincam StarVision Icon to start the program.
Step 2
You should be presented with the StarVision Main Window with the settings last
used.
If not already selected, ensure that the Camera Setup Tab is selected. This should
be the default setting and you will have Camera Exposure Window on top and
Output Window below.
If you are imaging planetary objects, jump to Step 6.
Step 3
Select an Exposure Time for Dark Field Correction
With the Camera Exposure Tab selected on
the Left SideBar, enter a desired exposure
that represents the maximum exposure you
plan to use during tonight’s session. You can
either enter in values into the appropriate
time units, or use the up-and-down arrows to
select the exposure time.
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I would recommend that you set the Light Frequency to DC (but this is up to you
and your preference, but at DC you can use lower exposure values).
Step 4
Take Dark Field Correction
Ensure that the Lens Cover is either on the StarVision
Camera or the Telescope itself is Covered (Cap is on),
then Left-Click on the Capture button in the Dark Field
Correction section in the Camera Exposure Tab.
The StarVision Software has an Output Window that displays the commands as
they are executed on the camera. This window should be below the Camera
Setup Window.
As the Dark Field is being exposed, you can watch the
exposure counter in the Remaining Time line just below the
Exposure control.
Once the Dark Field has been taken, you have the option of saving (so you can
use then again on another night) them with the Export button in the Dark Field
Correction line. You can import previously saved Dark Field by using the Import
Button.
Now, Left-Click in the Enable check box in the Dark
Field Correction’s box to have the Dark Field
applied in real time to your images.
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Step 5
October 4, 2016
Reduce Exposure Time to Align Telescope
As you will most likely use the camera to align your Telescope, now is the time to
reduce the Exposure Time to 1 or 2 seconds, and if not already attached to the
Telescope, remove the lens cap from the StarVision Camera and insert the cmount on front end of the camera and slide camera into eyepiece holder of
telescope. The shorter exposure will make it easier for you to align and focus your
telescope.
Step 6
Increase Exposure Time to Image
Now is the time to expose some Deep Sky Objects or Planetary Objects. So, enter
in a larger exposure time (if you are imaging Deep Sky Objects, else remain in
the short exposure time if imaging Planetary Objects) and adjust the Exposure
Time to match the current target and the equipment you are using.
If you have enabled the Dark Field Corrections for this session (Dark Fields are
stored directly in the StarVision Camera and will be deleted when the camera is
turned off), the StarVision will automatically apply the Dark Field Correction to
your image when Dark Field Correction is enabled.
Step 7
Adjust the Parameters
Choose a parameter from the Image Tab on the Left
SideBar and see what you can adjust, and how it affects
your image.
You will have to wait until the next image is exposed to
see how your adjustments look (keep an eye at the
bottom of the screen to see when the next adjusted
image will appear).
Step 8
Have Fun and Experiment
You can now spend some time to become more comfortable with the
Mallincam StarVision Software. This User Manual will go into more detail about all
of the options and adjustment you can perform with the StarVision camera. But,
don’t be afraid to experiment.
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Detailed Workflow of Video Imaging Planetary Objects
The following instructions will guide you in setting up your StarVision camera for
imaging Solar, Lunar, or Planetary Objects.
For planetary objects, the exposure setting will be very small (as the objects
themselves are usually very bright). It is recommended that you start imaging
objects, such as the Moon and Planets, as it will allow you to become
comfortable with all of the adjustments that StarVision provides for you. With
planetary objects, you want as much resolution and data as possible, so choose
the highest resolution in the Camera Setup Tab that your StarVision provides for
you. (which is 1390 x 1024).
Since the exposure rate is so short, you may find that you do not need to take
any Dark Fields preparation shots before imaging. But, if you do notice warm
pixels and would like to eliminate them. Then follow the step-by-step instructions
located in the section called: Dark Field Correction later in the manual.
Step 1
If not started, Double Click on the StarVision Icon on your Desktop to start
the program.
Step 2
If not already selected, ensure that the Camera Setup Tab is selected. This should
be the default setting and you will have Camera Exposure Window on top and
Output Window below.
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Step 3
October 4, 2016
Have your telescope pointed to the Planetary Image of interest, and it is
recommended that you use a Barlow Lens attached to your Telescope to
provide a “Larger (Longer Focal Length)” image.
Since you will want to “push” the capabilities of the StarVision in displaying the
Planetary object, you will require the highest resolution that your particular
StarVision can produce, along with the largest bits of data (for color or shades of
Back and White) for each pixel that the StarVision is able to produce. This will
provide enough data for external stacking programs to pull out the finest detail
from your video images.
Step 4
From the Camera Setup and Resolution sections on the StarVision Camera Setup
Tab, select the Largest Resolution values, the fastest Super Frame Rate, and
highest 12 bit resolution that your StarVision is capable of.
If you have a slow computer, you may need to lower the Resolution, Frame Rate,
or Bit Count to match the capabilities of your computer.
Step 5
So, let’s get started:
 Set your exposure to a small value, say 10ms as a starting point (we are
using a small time, but the actual exposure amount depends upon the
f/ratio, size of telescope, filters, seeing conditions, ...). You can adjust the
exposure using one of the two methods below:
o You can either use the mouse button and Click on the little up and
down arrows beside the appropriate time unit to adjust that time
unit’s value higher or lower.
o You can Click on the Exposure Time’s current setting and enter the
required exposure time in the appropriate time box.
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You should be able to see the Planetary object of interest on your screen.
So now adjust the Exposure Time to make the object bright enough
match you viewing requirements. You can also adjust the Gain just above
the Exposure Title to brighten your image (the larger the gain, the brighter
the image, but the larger the gain the larger the number of introduced
artifacts in the image).
Step 6
Now is the time to adjust the Image in the Image Tab (Contrast, Gamma, …) to
your required preferences.
If the appropriate check boxes are not set, then the StarVision uses its internal
defaults. So, to adjust Click on the appropriate check box and then use the
Slider to adjust the setting. The image will adjust in real-time. See later in the
manual for a detailed description of each of the settings.
You can adjust the setting to a particular value, but when you uncheck the
check box, the camera will revert to its default setting. But, by again Clicking on
the Check Box, the control will be reactivated to the slider’s setting.
Hint
Step 8
Read the appropriate section in the User Manual (it is great reading, if I do say so
myself) to obtain more information what each particular setting does in the Color
Balance and Color Adjustment Tabs in Mallincam’s StarVision software. There is
no precise value for every user, as we all use different equipment. This is a great
time to ‘play’ with the settings to see what value work best for you. Just have fun.
To improve the Though-put (Frames per
Second) or if you want to isolate the
planetary object, choose a Region of
Interest (ROI) that just includes the image
of the planetary object. You select the ROI
by either using the Fast ROI Button or the
ROI Setup Button located in the Camera
Setup Tab.
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The Fast ROI Button, once clicked, will allow you to draw a rectangle around the
Object that you would like to isolate by holding down the Left Mouse Button and
Dragging to contain the object. Once enclosed, simply release the button and
the screens image will now only contain what you had selected.
You will see, on the Icon Row, the Screen Resolution and the Capture Resolution
indicators both say ROI to remind you that you are in ROI Mode.
Screen
Resolution
Capture
Resolution
To return back to Full Video Mode, just choose the Screen Resolution that you
require from the left Screen Resolution drop down list (1360x1024).
Hint
Step 9
Using the Scroll Wheel on your mouse, when the mouse is over the Image
Window, will enlarge and reduce the image size in the Image Window.
To finely adjust the image characteristics, open up the Histogram Tab (it is next to
the Camera Setup Tab).
Once selected the Top Left Panel will show a real-time Histogram of the current
image.
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You can adjust the values using the up and down arrow next to the Left and
Right values so that you are not clipping data, on either side of the window.
These adjustments will help improve the image on the screen. The Histogram Tab
will take a bit of practice to become comfortable with it (read section in the User
Manual covering the Histogram Command). As you adjust the Left and Right
values, you will notice the Black Histogram Indicator Bars move to the left or right.
The data is represented by the colors on the Histogram.
The last couple of image adjustments you can make is located in the Color Tab
of the Camera Setup Tab.
Here you can adjust the individual Color’s Gain, Saturation, and the White
Balance.
When either the Area WB or Once WB is selected, the software will adjust the Red,
Blue, and Green Gain for the image. But, you are free to re-adjust them by
dragging the sliders to any value that improves your image.
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Detailed Workflow of Video Imaging Deep Sky Objects
The following instruction will guide you in setting up your Mallincam StarVision
camera for imaging Deep Sky Objects (DSO).
For Deep Sky Objects, the exposure setting will be very large (as the objects
themselves are usually very dim). It is recommended that practice
imaging bright objects, such as the planets, as it will allow you to
become comfortable with all of the adjustments that StarVision
provides for you. With Deep Sky Objects, you want as much
resolution and data as possible, so choose the highest resolution your StarVision
provides.
Since the exposure rate can be very long, you will need to prepare your system
by taking Dark Fields. If this is the first time imaging DSO’s, you may not have
saved previous Dark Fields, so this Walk-Through will take you through the Dark
Field preparation step.
Remember complete explanations of each of the processes and controls are
provided later in the User Manual. The following instructions are used as a guide
to assist you in doing Deep Sky imaging.
Have your StarVision connected to your telescope, and since you are video
imaging Deep Sky Objects, you should have a Focal Reducer attached. This will
provide you two benefits: first you will be presented with a larger field of view
(see more of the object), and second, you will have a faster telescope (shorter
exposure times).
Step 1
If not Started, Double Click on the Mallincam StarVision Icon on your Desktop to
start the program.
Step 2
If not already selected, ensure that the Camera Setup Tab is selected. This should
be the default setting and you will have Camera Exposure Window on top and
Output Window below.
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Since you will want to “push” the capabilities of the StarVision in displaying the
Deep Sky Objects, you will require the highest resolution that your particular
StarVision can produce, along with the largest bits of data (for color or shades of
Back and White) for each pixel that the StarVision is able to produce. This will
provide enough data for external stacking programs to pull out the finest detail
from your video images.
Step 3
From the Camera Setup and Resolution sections on the StarVision Camera Setup
Tab, select the Largest Resolution values, the fastest Super Frame Rate, and the
highest 12 bit resolution that your StarVision is capable of.
If you have a slow computer, you may need to lower the Resolution, Frame Rate,
or Bit Count to match the capabilities of your computer.
Due to the Large Exposure times you will be using in imaging Deep Sky Objects,
the StarVision (in fact every camera no matter what the cost) will sometimes
display noise such as, warm pixels and amp glow. The longer the exposure the
more noise that can appear on your image. The StarVision software can remove
this noise, by applying pre-prepared Dark Fields to your images, effectively
removing the noise.
Step 4
Either place the Lens cap over your Telescope, or place the dust cover cap over
your StarVision camera to block any light from hitting the sensor of the camera.
Step 5
Determine the maximum exposure time that you will be using for the evening,
but to get started for the first time, we will choose a 30 seconds Exposure. Adjust
the Exposure to 30 seconds in the Camera Exposure Tab (make sure Auto Exp is
unchecked). The Remaining Time indication will start counting down.
StarVision Software may adjust the time, very close to 30 seconds based on its
internal exposure correction techniques.
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Take Dark Field Exposure
Click on the Capture Button in the Dark Field Correction section of the Camera
Exposure Tab to initialize the Dark Field capture.
Once the Remaining Time indication has completed it cycle, you should see the
line Dark Field Correction Inited! appear in the Output Window.
If possible and you know what Gain settings you are going to use, apply those
settings as well before taking a Dark Field.
You now have the option of saving the current Dark
Field by Clicking on the Export… Button in the Dark
Field Correction section. The software will open up a
location for you to save your Dark Fields.
We recommend to create a Dark Field location to save you Dark Fields, and
using a naming technique so you can recall that specific Dark Field for later use.
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Hint
Step 7
October 4, 2016
You can apply the Dark Field at any time by just Checking the Enable
Checkbox. To disable Dark Field, just Uncheck the checkbox.
Center Deep Sky Object
We will use a small exposure so we can verify that the object is someplace in the
field of view (if in using 1 second the star or object is too dim, increase exposure
to 2 seconds).
If the image is too dim, try increasing the Gain.
Now, you have your Deep Sky Object (or a least a dim version of it, centered in
your screen. It is time to crank-up-volume. Well, for us, time to increase the
exposure time.
Step 8
Increase the Exposure
Set the exposure to a time that provides you with an image you are happy with.
In this example set the exposure to 30 seconds.
The Remaining time will count down and after the Remaining Time has reset, the
image of your Deep Sky Object will appear on your screen. The image will be
updated each time the Remaining Time re-cycles.
You can now apply the Deep Field correction (Click on the Enable checkbox) if
you have previously taken a Deep Field exposure.
Before Deep Field Correction
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Now, we are heading into the “Art” of video imaging. You can decrease the
Exposure Time, as long as you increase the Gain. But, by increasing the Gain, you
also increase any noise that is present. Use your own judgment in what you are
willing to accept on your image.
Obtaining an Image of our First Deep Sky Object is enough for most to start the
celebration process (again most of us will call for our spouse to have a look at
the amazing image we have just produced, again trying to justify the money
used in buying those extra pieces of hardware).
Next, we want to fine tune our image to perfection (at least that is what you will
tell yourself), but this is a great time to get familiar with some of the adjustment
options available in the Mallincam StarVision Software.
Step 9
Now is the time to adjust the Image in the Image Tab (Contrast, Gamma, …) to
your required preferences.
If the appropriate check boxes are not set, then the StarVision uses its internal
defaults. So, to adjust Click on the appropriate check box and then use the
Slider to adjust the setting. The image will adjust in real-time. See later in the
manual for a detailed description of each of the settings.
You can adjust the setting to a particular value, but when you uncheck the
check box, the camera will revert to its default setting. But, by again Clicking on
the Check Box, the control will be reactivated to the slider’s setting.
Hint
Step 10
Read the appropriate section in the User Manual (it is great reading, if I do say so
myself) to obtain more information what each particular setting does in the Color
Balance and Color Adjustment Tabs in Mallincam’s StarVision software. There is
no precise value for every user, as we all use different equipment. This is a great
time to ‘play’ with the settings to see what value work best for you. Just have fun.
To finely adjust the image characteristics, open up the Histogram Tab (it is next to
the Camera Setup Tab).
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Once selected the Top Left Panel will show a real-time Histogram of the current
image.
You enter in a value via the of use the up and down arrow next to the Left and
Right values so that you are not clipping data, on either side of the window.
These adjustments will help improve the image on the screen. The Histogram Tab
will take a bit of practice to become comfortable with it (read section in the User
Manual covering the Histogram Command). As you adjust the Left and Right
values, you will notice the Black Histogram Indicator Bars move to the left or right.
The data is represented by the colors on the Histogram.
The last couple of image adjustments you can make is located in the Color Tab
of the Camera Setup Tab.
Here you can adjust the individual Color’s Gain, Saturation, and the White
Balance.
When either the Area WB or Once WB is selected, the software will adjust the
Red, Blue, and Green Gain for the image. But, you are free to re-adjust them by
dragging the sliders to any value that improves your image.
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This is where you have to take over, as each telescope, night-sky, seeing
conditions are different from user to user. So, have fun and experiment with the
settings and see how they affect your image. Remember, these are your images
and you decide what is best for you.
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5.
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The StarVision Software Controls
This Chapter of the User Manual will describe in exact detail what each control
on both the Top Line Menu and the Icon Toolbar does. This Chapter is best read
on a rainy day, or can be used to jump to the specific section that describes
how to use a particular control.
The StarVision Software’s Docking Controls
One of the unique properties of the StarVision Software is its ability to allow you to
modify its display panels.
The Software has its default panel locations and even default icon placement,
but the software allows you to modify these to suite your needs (later versions of
the software will allow you save you modified positions so they appear in your
preferred location automatically when you start the software).
Icon Bar
You can slide the Icon Bar’s subsection by left-click-hold-and-dragging the
index marker ( ) to a new location. This location can be on or off the menu bar,
or even off the StarVision’s Main Window (even onto another monitor, if you are
using two monitors).
These Icon Subsections contain a set of chosen symbols automatically
chosen for their related operations. You can change the size of these
subsections, or even (by clicking on that Subsection’s Down Arrow) modify
what icons are included in that Icon Subsection. You have complete
control.
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We recommend that you keep the chosen icons in
their respective subsections as it will be easier for
you to locate the icon of choice, but this is your
software and you can modify it to the way you
prefer.
Clicking on the X (the close symbol) on the Icon Subsection will remove that
section from the display. You can reactivate that Icon Subsection thru the View>Tool Bar Tab at the top of the screen.
Dragging the Icon Subsection close to the original position will cause the Icon
Subsection to snap into place.
Control Windows
You can also drag the Control Windows off StarVision’s Main Window and place
them wherever you want. This option, for example, allows you to place the
Camera Setup and Output Box on one monitor and the Actual live image
Window solely on another monitor.
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Double Clicking on the Camera Setup Title or Output Title on the respective
Window will automatically return them back to their original position.
By clicking on the Anchor symbol, you can even have the Window’s Tabs
appear on the Side of your StarVision Screen, and slide in horizontally.
This will allow you to just place your cursor over the Side Tab, and that window
will slide over part of the image to allow you to make adjustments. Just slide your
mouse over the image and the side window will slide back closed.
When it is time to place everything where you had it when you started, you may
notice that when dragging a window around the monitor that translucent arrow
symbols appear on the screen.
Dragging your Window onto a specific symbol will dock the Window in that
location (you will see that location high-light when window is dragged over
symbol, just release mouse button to place it there). With just a bit of practice
you will be able to move and resize all of the StarVision Windows to meet your
needs.
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Top Menu Line
File(F)
This Drop-Down Menu will allow you to Load and Save
images, take image snapshots, as well as load and
save the parameter settings for the StarVision
camera. You can also reset the StarVision camera
back to its default settings from the File Drop-Down
list.
Open Camera
The Open Camera command is used to open an existing StarVision Camera that
is connected to your computer. If you have more than one StarVision camera
connected, you can use this command to activate a selected model form the
displayed list.
Once selected, the StarVision software will open up
a Window displaying a list of compatible camera
connected and their current status. Just select the
Compatible model that you would like to view and
click on the OK Button. That camera’s image will
then display in the StarVision Video Window.
The status indicates which camera you are currently using (Playing).
Open Image
Use the Open Image Command to open an existing saved image on your
computer and display it in a Video Window Tab.
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Once selected, the Open Image
Command will open up a Window
that allows you to select an image
saved on your computer. You can
use the window to locate a folder,
and select an image file to display
in the StarVision Software Window.
The only format currently accepted
is in the Bitmap format (bmp)
Once the Image is selected, the software will create a Window Tab and will
display the selected image. The StarVision’s Active Camera Tab will be available
for you to select, if you would like to return to its window.
You can open as many Image Window as you need, you need only select the
Tab that matches the Image File Name of interest. StarVision will close the Left
Camera Setup Window and will open the Image List Window in its location.
If you require the Camera Setup and
access to the camera controls, first
select the Mallincam Vision Camera’s
Active Tab to display the StarVisions’s
image.
This will then allow you to select the
Camera Setup Tab from the Left Action
Tab. Just Click on the Camera Setup
Tab to reactivate it.
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Close Current Window
The Close Current Window command will close the current Video Window Tab
that is opened. If it is a previously opened Image File, that image will be closed. If
the current Tab is a StarVision Camera, then the camera will be shut down.
You can re-activate the StarVision Camera by using the File->Open Camera
command from the Top Command Line. Then you should see your camera in the
Open camera (Searching…) pop-up window with the Status displaying
Connected. Click on the Mallincam Vison camera to select it and then Click on
the OK button to activate it.
Close All Windows
This command will close ALL image and live camera
windows. Just Click on the Yes Button when the
Confirmation Window pops-up. See the above Note on
how to reactivate the camera after it has been shutdown.
Save
This command will take a Snapshot of the current camera image and will save
that image in the format(s) and location specified in the Settings->Capture
Settings image location using the specified naming convention.
You can open up the Image List Window on the left of the program so you can
see a preview (bmp format) of the currently saved images.
You can double click on the preview image to open it up in the Video
Window Tab.
If you require the Camera Setup and access to the camera controls, just Click on
the Camera Setup Tab to reactivate it.
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Save as
This command will take a Snapshot of the current camera image and will save
that image in bmp format to the location specified in the Save As Pop-up
Window that appears. Use the Window to select a location, files name, and
format that you would like the image to be saved under.
Snap
This command (so far identical to Save Command) will take a Snapshot of the
current camera image and will save that image in the format(s) and location
specified in the Settings->Capture Settings->General.
You can open up the Image List Window on the left of the program so you can
see a preview (bmp format) of the currently saved images.
You can double click on the preview image to open it up in the Video
Window Tab.
If you require the Camera Setup and access to the camera controls, just Click on
the Camera Setup Tab to reactivate it.
Continuous Snap
This command will take continuous Snapshots of the current camera image and
will save those images in the format(s) and location specified in the Settings>Capture Settings->General image location taking the specified number of
imaged with an indicated time separation between each image as defined in
the Settings->Capture Settings->Advanced tab. When activated, the
Continuous Snap Command will have a checkmark beside it, to remind you that
the software is taking continuous snapshots.
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The Mallincam StarVision Software will continue taking snapshots until you again
Click on the Continuous Snap Command.
You can open up the Image List Window on the left of the program so you can
see a preview (bmp format) of the currently saved images.
You can double click on the preview image to open it up in the Video
Window Tab.
If you require the Camera Setup and access to the camera controls, just Click on
the Camera Setup Tab to reactivate it.
Save Camera Parameter
This command will allow you to save the current settings that you have set for the
StarVision Camera. The software will open up a Save as Window and you will be
allowed to choose a location and a file name for the parameter file (.ini format)
The ini files contains all of the Star Vision camera settings you have made on the
camera along with image locations and file formats.
It is recommended that you choose a file name that makes sense about the
current camera settings (deep Sky, Mars, mag 3 skies,…).
Once you have chosen a name and location, Click on the Save Button to save
the .ini file.
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Load Camera Parameter
This command will allow you to load a parameter settings file that you have
previously saved for the StarVision Camera. The software will open up an Open
Window and you will be allowed to choose a location and a parameter file (.ini
format) that you have previously saved. The Software will then adjust the current
StarVision camera settings to match he file’s contents.
Default Camera Setup
This command will reset the StarVision settings to the factor default. Use this
command if you get totally lost in the settings you have adjusted for the camera.
Exit
This command will shut down the StarVision camera and will them terminate the
Mallincam StarVision Software. You use this command when your imaging session
is over and you want to turn off the software and camera.
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View(V)
This Drop-Down Menu will allow you to choose what
information and commands you would like to be
displayed on the Mallincam StarVision Software.
Tool Bar
On choosing this control, the software will open-up its side drop-down list where
you can select which one-click-icons you would like to see displayed on the
Icon Tool Bar at the top of the screen. The checkmark will indicate if the
matching set of icons are displayed.
The following is a description of each of the Icon Tools Bar options:
General Bar
The General Bar Icons allow for quick access to commands that appear on the
Tab line or appear within a specific Tab. The descriptions of each of these
commands appear within the User Manual in the Tool Bar Icon section.
These set of icons include:

Open Camera




Open Image
Play (activate StarVision camera’s video stream)
Stop (pause StarVision camera’s video stream)
Snapshot


Continuous Snapshot
Real Time Snapshot



Save
Save As
Settings
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Size Bar
The Size Bar Icons allow for quick access to commands that control the size of
the actual Video Window that is displaying the video signal being captured by
the StarVision camera. The descriptions of each of these commands appear
within the User Manual in the Tool Bar Icon section.
These set of icons include:


Zoom In
Zoom Out




Percentage Size Drop-Down list
Image Aspect Ratio
Adapt Window Size
Full Screen
Cursor Bar
The Cursor Bar Icons allow for quick access to selecting either the Hand Cursor or
the Select Cursor. The descriptions of each of these commands appear within
the User Manual in the Tool Bar Icon section.
These set of icons include:


Select Cursor
Hand Cursor
Resolution Bar
The Resolution Bar Icons allow for quick access to commands that control the
resolution of the visual image, the resolution of the saved image, along with the
selecting of the Region of Interest (ROI) size. The descriptions of each of these
commands appear within the User Manual in the Tool Bar Icon section.
These set of icons include:

Display Image Resolution



Record Image Resolution
Quick Region of Interest
Region of Interest Setup
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Record Bar
The Record Bar Icons allow for quick access to selecting either the Star/Stop
Recording or Recording Setup Controls. The descriptions of each of these
commands appear within the User Manual in the Tool Bar Icon section.
These set of icons include:


Start/Stop Recording
Recording Setup
ImageOpt Bar
The ImageOpt
Bar Icons allow for quick access to commands
that control the orientation and display options of the visual image. The
descriptions of each of these commands appear within the User Manual in the
Tool Bar Icon section.
These set of icons include:

Horizontal Flip




Vertical Flip
Monochrome
Inverse
Overexposure Sign
Each of these bars can be moved and adjusted by left-click and hold on the
symbol that precedes each bar . This will allow you to customize the feel your
StarVision Software.
Docking Windows
On choosing this control, the software will open-up its side drop-down list where
you can select what Information Windows you would like displayed on the
screen. You will have the option of either displaying the Camera Setup Window,
the Histogram Window, the Guide Window, or the Image List Window. Plus, you
have the option of also displaying the Output Window with any of the above
Windows. The checkmark will indicate which Windows are currently being
displayed.
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The following is a description of each of the Windows and their functions:
Camera Setup Window
This Window displays the controls for adjusting the
settings on the StarVision Camera. For details on the
individual commands, look for the Camera Setup Title
later in this User Manual.
Histogram Window
This Window displays the Histogram Window for
adjusting the image on the StarVision Camera’s
output. For details on the usage of this Window, look
for the Histogram Title later in this User Manual.
Guide Window
This Window displays the Guide Window (miniduplicate) for examining the current output when the
main Image Window is covered by another
application. For more details on the Guide Window,
look for the Guide Title later in this User Manual.
Image List Window
This Window displays the Image List Window for
examining the current image files that have be
previously opened in this session. Snapshots of the
image will appear in the window for easy access. For
more details on the Image List Window, look for the
Image List Title later in this User Manual.
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Output Window
This Window will be located below any of the previous
selected Windows. It displays a list of the selected
commands made by you so you can review what
major operations you have performed on your image.
For more details on the Output Window, look for the
Output Window Title later in this User Manual.
Status
This command displays the status line located on the bottom of the StarVision
Window. This line displays current mouse location on Window Grid, current Color
components at the Mouse location. Number of Frames Captured, Displayed or
Lost, and the current Captured and Displayed Frames per Second.
Full Mode
This command displays all of the Windows selected in the View Command Tab.
This should be the default setting for you to view the controls as well as see the
live image in the Video Window.
Simple Mode
This command displays just the View Window of the live StarVision camera’s
output. No other Information Windows or Command Icons are displayed.
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Size
This Drop-Down Menu will allow you to Zoom in and out the
Live Video image as well as set the aspect ratio of the Video
Window.
Zoom In
This control Zooms-In on the live Video Window (enlarges the Video Image).
Every time you select this command the image will increase by 5% to a
maximum of 1000%.
Zoom Out
This control Zooms-Out on the live Video Window (reduces the Video Image).
Every time you select this command the image will decrease by 5% to a
minimum of 10%.
1:1
This control sets the Video Image to the aspect of 1 to 1 to maximize the image
within the current Video Window Size. The true aspect will be maintained on the
screen as scroll bars may appear to allow you to move the image to view other
areas that are off screen.
Adapt Size
This control sets the Video Image to the correct aspect ratio, but the whole
image is resized to fit inside the Video Window. The true aspect will be
maintained on the screen and no scroll bars will be displayed as the whole
image is inside the Video Window. Use this command when you want to view the
complete image in your Video Window after you have resized your StarVision
Window or have manual resized the image using the Zoom Commands.
Full Screen
This control sets the Video Image to full size of computer monitor. No other
commands are visible on the monitor besides the Video Image. You can use
your mouse’s scroll wheel to Zoom-In or Zoom-Out of the image.
To return back to the StarVision’s original size (with all commands available), just
press on the Escape Key (esc) on your keyboard.
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Cursor
This Drop-Down Menu will allow you to choose between two
mouse cursor techniques when inside the Video Image
Window. You have the option of either Select or Hand. We
recommend you use Select as the default. The checkmark will indicate the
current setting.
Select
This control sets the cursor style to the standard cursor arrow. With this style
chosen you are able to point and click with the mouse, and well as left-click and
hold to select areas of interest on the screen when required by specific StarVision
software commands.
Hand
This control sets the cursor style to the hand symbol. With this style chosen you are
able to left-click and hold to drag the Video Image around the Video Window.
The mouse will automatically change back to the arrow when pointing outside
the Video Window.
Image Opt
This Drop-Down Menu will allow you to choose the options on how
you would like the image displayed in the Video Window. Also
from here you can select Auto Exposure and White Balance
settings along with on screen Over Exposure indicators.
Image Mirror
This control will open-up its side drop-down list that provides options on either
flipping the image horizontally and/or vertically. A checkmark will indicate if
either or both have been activated.
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Image Rotation
This control is not yet activated.
Inverse
This control will inverse the image on the Video Window. This can be useful when
imaging the Sun.
Monochrome
This control will convert the color image on the Video Window to a black and
white image. This can be useful when examining subtle details on the image.
Auto Exposure
This control will activate the Auto Exposure control on the StarVision Camera. The
camera’s exposure will automatically change to reflect the conditions displayed
in the whole Video Window. This command is not too useful for astronomical
imaging.
Area Auto Exposure
This control will allow you to select an area on the Video Window by left-click
and drag technique (you will notice a red rectangle being drawn to show the
selected area). The StarVision camera will use this selected area as the region to
look at when setting its Auto Exposure value.
Once White Balance
This control will allow you to have the StarVision Camera perform a white
balance on the image. With an image on the screen, this command will adjust
the colors to try to provide the proper color range for the object (based on the
while video image).
Area White Balance
This control will allow you to select an area on the Video Window by left-click
and drag technique (you will notice a red rectangle being drawn to show the
selected area). The StarVision camera will use this selected area as the region to
look at when setting its White Balance value. This is useful if multiple targets are
on the screen, and you are interested in correcting color on one of them.
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Over Exposure Sign
This control will allow let the StarVision Camera indicate areas of overexposure
via a sparkly red overlay on those real-time image.
Over
Exposure
Settings
This Drop-Down Menu will allow you to choose the
settings on how you would like the single image
snapshot capture and video capture. You can set the
language and StarVision display Preferences from these
commands. Selecting: Capture Settings, Record Settings,
Language Settings, Preference Settings, and Advance
Settings will pop-up the same Settings Window. It is from
within the Settings Window that you will be allowed to
adjust the individual settings.
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Capture Settings
This control will pop-up the Settings Window. In the settings
Window select the Capture Settings -> General on the side
to display the Capture Settings controls (this should be the
default).
This Settings Window will allow you to set
the format of the saved images under
the Image Type Heading. You can select
one or more formats the images to be
saved under (if you select more than
one format, then StarVision will save the
same image in those selected formats).
Just check the format(s) that you are
interested in having StarVision save the
image under when you select the save
(snapshot) command.
Image Path will allow you to select the location where you would like the
image(s) to be saved. You can select a Prefix and a Profix addition to be joined
to your file name to provide a more informative file name description.
The Image Name Setup will show you the selected naming convention you have
chosen using the Prefix and Profix types.
Once happy with your selection, just click on OK to accept.
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If you select the Capture Settings -> Advanced on the side
to display the Capture Settings controls, then the Settings
Window will provide controls for you to set the Continuous
Snapshot settings.
You can set the time separation (in minutes and seconds) between each
successive snapshot (StarVision will wait this duration before taking first image),
plus you can also indicate how many frames to take (End condition) before the
snapshot process aborts.
Click on the Continuous Snapshot Icon to start the process, and again Click on
the Continuous Snapshot Icon to abort the process after settings have been
made (unless you have set an End condition).
Record Settings
This control will pop-up the Settings Window. In the settings
Window select the Record Settings -> General on the side to
display the Record Settings controls.
This Settings Window will allow you to set
the format Quality of the saved Video
under the Image Record Codec
Parameter Heading. You can also set
location and naming convention used
when saving a video of the currently
displayed image.
Record Path will allow you to select the
location where you would like the
image(s) to be saved. You can select a
Prefix and a Profix addition to be joined
to your file name to provide a more
informative file name description.
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The Record Name Setup will show you the selected naming convention you have
chosen using the Prefix and Profix types.
Once happy with your selection, just click on OK to accept.
If you select the Record Settings -> Advanced on the side to display the Capture
Settings controls, then the Settings Window will provide controls for you to set the
Optional End condition settings.
You can set the time duration (in minutes and seconds) that the recording
should take (else the recording will continue until you tell it to stop). Select the
Checkbox, then enter the duration in minutes and seconds. Click on OK to
accept these settings.
Click on the Record Start/Stop Icon to start the process, and again Click on the
Record Start/Stop Icon to abort the process after settings have been made
(unless you have set an End condition).
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Language Settings
This control will pop-up the Language Settings Window
providing you a drop-down list of current langauges.
Clicking on the drop-down box will provide a choice of languages (Simplified
Chinese and English). Choose your language of choice (most likely English), then
click on OK to accept.
Preference Settings
This control will pop-up the Preference Settings Window. In
the Settings Window should be a checklist of what
information you may need to display on the Status Bar. Just
Check-mark the require information and Click on the OK
button to activate (the default is all checked).
Coordinates
RGBs
Capture
Frames
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Rate (fps)
Total
Frames
Display
Frames
Lose
Frames
Capture
Rate (fps)
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Advanced Settings
This control will pop-up the Advanced Settings Window. In
the Settings Window should be three sections for advanced
control: GigE, Color Matrix, and Camera Advanced
Settings.
GigE Parameter: This is for possible future usage and is currently de-activated.
Color Matrix: This allows you to set a RGB Color Matrix setting for your system’s
color display. It is recommended that you leave this control alone unless you are
familiar with a RGB matrix and how to apply them to your images. You can save
your own matrix pattern and reload it again when required from this control.
Camera Advanced Settings:
Clicking on the drop-down box will provide a choice of languages (Simplified
Chinese and English). Choose your language of choice (most likely English), then
click on OK to accept.
Windows
This Drop-Down Menu will provide you a list of the
current Video Windows (live or image) open in
StarVision. It will place a checkmark beside the
Window that is currently active. You can also click
on a window to make it the active window.
Help
This Drop-Down Menu will provide you a list of
information about the version of software and drive
currently installed on your computer.
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Top Menu Icons
Open Camera Icon
The Open Camera Icon is used to open an existing StarVision Camera that is
connected to your computer. If you have more than one StarVision camera
connected, you can use this command to activate a selected model form the
displayed list.
Once selected, the StarVision software will open up
a Window displaying a list of compatible camera
connected and their current status. Just select the
Compatible model that you would like to view and
click on the OK Button. That camera’s image will
then display in the StarVision Video Window.
The status indicates which camera you are currently using (Playing).
Open Image Icon
Use the Open Image Icon to open an existing saved image on your computer
and display it in a Video Window Tab.
Once selected, the Open Image
Icon will open up a Window that
allows you to select an image
saved on your computer. You can
use the window to locate a folder,
and select an image file to display
in the StarVision Software Window.
The only format currently accepted
is in the Bitmap format (bmp)
Once the Image is selected, the software will create a window Tab and will
display the selected image. The StarVision’s Active Camera Tab will be available
for you to select, if you would like to return to its window.
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Play Icon
Use the Play Icon to start the live video imaging from the StarVision Camera. This
icon is active by default.
Stop Icon
Use the stop Icon to stop (pause) the live video imaging from the StarVision
Camera. Use the previous Play Icon to restart the live video imaging.
Snap Icon
This command (so far identical to Save Icon) will take a Snapshot of the current
camera image and will save that image in the format(s) and location specified
in the Settings->Capture Settings Command or the Settings Icon.
You can open up the Image List Window on the left of the program so you can
see a preview (bmp format) of the currently saved images.
You can double click on the preview image to open it up in the Video
Window Tab.
If you require the Camera Setup and access to the camera controls, just Click on
the Camera Setup Tab to reactivate it.
Continuous Snap Icon
This Icon will take continuous Snapshots of the current camera image and will
save those images in the format(s) and location specified in the Settings>Capture Settings image location. The number of Snapshots and time separation
between each image is set in the Settings->Capture Settings->Advanced
location. When activated, the Continuous Snap Icon will be indented to remind
you that the software is taking continuous snapshots.
The Mallincam StarVision Software will continue taking snapshots until you again
Click on the Continuous Snap Icon or the it has reached the set number of
snapshots.
You can open up the Image List Window on the left of the program so you can
see a preview (bmp format) of the currently saved images.
You can double click on the preview image to open it up in the Video
Window Tab.
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Real Time Snap Icon
This Icon will take continuous Snapshots of the current camera image and will
save those images in the format(s) and location specified in the Settings>Capture Settings image location. It will take the specified number of Snapshots
set in the Settings->Capture Settings->Advanced location with no time
separation between each image. When activated, the Real Time Snap Icon will
be indented to remind you that the software is taking continuous snapshots.
The Mallincam StarVision Software will continue taking snapshots until you again
Click on the Real Time Snap Icon or the it has reached the set number of
snapshots.
Save Icon
This Icon will take a Snapshot of the current camera image and will save that
image in the format(s) and location specified in the Settings->Capture SettingsGeneral image location using the specified naming convention set in the
Settings->Capture Settings->Advanced tab.
You can open up the Image List Window on the left of the program so you can
see a preview (bmp format) of the currently saved images.
You can double click on the preview image to open it up in the Video
Window Tab.
Save-As Icon
This Icon will take a Snapshot of the current camera image and will save that
image in bmp format to the location specified in the Save As Pop-up Window
that appears. Use the Window to select a location, files name, and format that
you would like the image to be saved under.
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Settings Icon
This Icon will allow you to choose the settings on how you would like the single
image snapshot capture and video capture. You can set the language and
StarVision display Preferences from these commands. Selecting: Capture Settings,
Record Settings, Language Settings, Preference Settings, and Advance Settings
will pop-up the same Settings Window. It is from within the Settings Window that
you will be allowed to adjust the individual settings.
Capture Settings
This control will pop-up the Settings Window. In the settings
Window select the Capture Settings -> General on the side
to display the Capture Settings controls (this should be the
default).
This Settings Window will allow you to set
the format of the saved images under
the Image Type Heading. You can select
one or more formats the images to be
saved under (if you select more than
one format, then StarVision will save the
same image in those selected formats).
Just check the format(s) that you are
interested in having StarVision save the
image under when you select the save
(snapshot) command.
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Image Path will allow you to select the location where you would like the
image(s) to be saved. You can select a Prefix and a Profix addition to be joined
to your file name to provide a more informative file name description.
The Image Name Setup will show you the selected naming convention you have
chosen using the Prefix and Profix types.
Once happy with your selection, just click on OK to accept.
If you select the Capture Settings -> Advanced on the side
to display the Capture Settings controls, then the Settings
Window will provide controls for you to set the Continuous
Snapshot settings.
You can set the time separation (in minutes and seconds) between each
successive snapshot (StarVision will wait this duration before taking first image),
plus you can also indicate how many frames to take (End condition) before the
snapshot process aborts.
Click on the Continuous Snapshot Icon to start the process, and again Click on
the Continuous Snapshot Icon to abort the process after settings have been
made (unless you have set an End condition).
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Record Settings
This control will pop-up the Settings Window. In the settings
Window select the Record Settings -> General on the side to
display the Record Settings controls.
This Settings Window will allow you to set
the format Quality of the saved Video
under the Image Record Codec
Parameter Heading. You can also set
location and naming convention used
when saving a video of the currently
displayed image.
Record Path will allow you to select the
location where you would like the
image(s) to be saved. You can select a
Prefix and a Profix addition to be joined
to your file name to provide a more
informative file name description.
The Record Name Setup will show you the selected naming convention you have
chosen using the Prefix and Profix types.
Once happy with your selection, just click on OK to accept.
If you select the Record Settings -> Advanced on the side to display the Capture
Settings controls, then the Settings Window will provide controls for you to set the
Optional End condition settings.
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You can set the time duration (in minutes and seconds) that the recording
should take (else the recording will continue until you tell it to stop). Select the
Checkbox, then enter the duration in minutes and seconds. Click on OK to
accept these settings.
Click on the Record Start/Stop Icon to start the process, and again Click on the
Record Start/Stop Icon to abort the process after settings have been made
(unless you have set an End condition).
Language Settings
This control will pop-up the Language Settings Window
providing you a drop-down list of current langauges.
Clicking on the drop-down box will provide a choice of languages (Simplified
Chinese and English). Choose your language of choice (most likely English), then
click on OK to accept.
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Preference Settings
This control will pop-up the Preference Settings Window. In
the Settings Window should be a checklist of what
information you may need to display on the Status Bar. Just
Check-mark the require information and Click on the OK
button to activate (the default is all checked).
Coordinates
RGBs
Capture
Frames
Display
Rate (fps)
Total
Frames
Display
Frames
Lose
Frames
Capture
Rate (fps)
Advanced Settings
This control will pop-up the Advanced Settings Window. In
the Settings Window should be three sections for advanced
control: GigE, Color Matrix, and Camera Advanced
Settings.
GigE Parameter: This is for possible future usage and is currently de-activated.
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Color Matrix: This allows you to set a RGB Color Matrix setting for your system’s
color display. It is recommended that you leave this control alone unless you are
familiar with a RGB matrix and how to apply them to your images. You can save
your own matrix pattern and reload it again when required from this control.
Camera Advanced Settings: It is better to control Hot Pixel removal thru the
Camera Setup>Image>Dead Pixel control rather than play with the Hot pixel
remove routines here.
Zoom-In Icon
Clicking this Icon Zooms-In on the live Video Window (enlarges the Video
Image). Every time you click this Icon the image will increase by 5% to a
maximum of 1000%.
Zoom-Out Icon
Clicking this Icon Zooms-Out on the live Video Window (decreasing the Video
Image). Every time you Click this Icon the image will decrease by 5% to a
minimum of 10%.
Zoom Drop-Down Icon
This drop-down window allows you to select from a list of preselected Zoom Sizes. Click on the drop-down arrow to display the
Size options and move cursor to the required Zoom Size. The
current Zoom Size appears in the main Zoom Drop-Down Icon.
1 to 1 Icon
This Icon sets the Video Image to the aspect of 1 to 1 to maximize the image
within the current Video Window Size. The true aspect will be maintained on the
screen as scroll bars may appear to allow you to move the image to view other
areas that are off screen.
Adapt Window Icon
This Icon sets the Video Image to the correct aspect ratio, but the whole image is
resized to fit inside the Video Window. The true aspect will be maintained on the
screen and no scroll bars will be displayed as the whole image is inside the Video
Window. Use this Icon when you want to view the complete image in your Video
Window after you have resized your StarVision Window or have manual resized
the image using the Zoom Icon.
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Full Screen Icon
This Icon sets the Video Image to full size of computer monitor. No other
commands are visible on the monitor besides the Video Image. You can use
your mouse’s scroll wheel to Zoom-In or Zoom-Out of the image.
To return back to the StarVision’s original size (with all commands available), just
press on the Escape Key (esc) on your keyboard.
Select Icon
This Icon sets the cursor style to the standard cursor arrow. With this style chosen
you are able to point and click with the mouse, and well as left-click and hold to
select areas of interest on the screen when required by specific StarVision
software commands.
Hand Icon
This Icon sets the cursor style to the hand symbol. With this style chosen you are
able to left-click and hold to drag the Video Image around the Video Window.
The mouse will automatically change back to the arrow when pointing outside
the Video Window.
Resolution Icon
The Resolution Bar Icons allow for quick access to commands
that control the resolution of the visual image (the left drop-down
box) and the resolution of the saved image (the right drop-down
box). Click on the down arrow and choose
the required resolution.
Fast ROI Icon
To improve the Though-put (Frames per Second) or if you want to isolate the
planetary object, choose a Region of Interest (ROI) that just includes the image
of the planetary object.
The Fast ROI Icon, once Clicked, will allow you to draw a rectangle around the
Object that you would like to isolate by holding down the Left Mouse Button and
Dragging to contain the object. Once enclosed, simply release the button and
the screens image will now only contain what you had selected.
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You will see, on the Icon Row, the Screen Resolution and the Capture Resolution
indicators both say ROI to remind you that you are in ROI Mode.
Screen
Resolution
Capture
Resolution
To return back to Full Video Mode, just choose the Screen Resolution that you
require from the left Screen Resolution drop down list (1360x1024).
Hint
Using the Scroll Wheel on your mouse, when the mouse is over the Image
Window, will enlarge and reduce the image size in the Image Window.
ROI Setup Icon
The ROI Setup Icon will allow you to manual define the Region of Interest size. By
selecting this icon, StarVision will pop-up the ROI Area Setup Window.
You can select the upper left anchor point (x1, x2) and the lower Right anchor
point (x2, y2), or set the required Width and Height (you can even lock it in
place). It easier to use the Fast ROI Icon to select ROI Window Size.
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Record Start/End Icon
This Icon Starts and Stops the live Video Recording process. The recording name
and location are set using the Record Setup Icon.
Record Setup Icon
This Icon will pop-up the Settings Window. In the settings
Window select the Record Settings -> General on the side to
display the Record Settings controls.
This Settings Window will allow you to set
the format Quality of the saved Video
under the Image Record Codec
Parameter Heading. You can also set
location and naming convention used
when saving a video of the currently
displayed image.
Record Path will allow you to select the
location where you would like the
image(s) to be saved. You can select a
Prefix and a Profix addition to be joined
to your file name to provide a more
informative file name description.
The Record Name Setup will show you the selected naming convention you have
chosen using the Prefix and Profix types.
Once happy with your selection, just click on OK to accept.
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If you select the Record Settings -> Advanced on the side to display the Capture
Settings controls, then the Settings Window will provide controls for you to set the
Optional End condition settings.
You can set the time duration (in minutes and seconds) that the recording
should take (else the recording will continue until you tell it to stop). Select the
Checkbox, then enter the duration in minutes and seconds. Click on OK to
accept these settings.
Click on the Record Start/Stop Icon to start the process, and again Click on the
Record Start/Stop Icon to abort the process after settings have been made
(unless you have set an End condition).
Horizontal Flip Icon
Clicking on this Icon will flip the window image Horizontally. That is, the Left side
of the screen image will become the Right side, and the Right Side of the screen
image will become the Left side.
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Vertical Flip Icon
Clicking on this Icon will flip the window image Vertically. That is, the Top side of
the screen image will become the Bottom side, and the Bottom Side of the
screen image will become the Top side.
Monochrome Icon
Clicking on this Icon will change the colored image to a monochrome image.
Inverse Icon
Clicking on this Icon will invert the colors on the Image Window.
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Overexposure Sign Icon
This Icon will allow let the StarVision Camera indicate areas of overexposure via a
sparkly red overlay on those real-time image.
Over
Exposure
Left Control Tabs
The Left side of the screen provides active Windows
for you to control the StarVision camera and make
adjustments to the Image Window.
When you select the Camera Setup Tab (see middle
Tab area), then the StarVision software will allow you
to control the Camera Exposure, Image, Color,
Camera Setup, and Triger setup.
Camera Exposure
Sometimes you may not see the whole Camera Exposure Window, if this is the
case just click-hold-and drag the top of the Output Window down to see the
whole Camera Exposure Window.
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Camera Exp
Check marking the Auto Exp will activate the auto exposure routine within the
StarVision camera. The camera will attempt to provide the proper exposure for
the image, based on the target value (not too useful for astronomical
applications).
If you also select the Area AE button, then you are able to draw a rectangle
around the portion of the image that you would like the auto exposure treat as
the input zone when making its adjustments.
You can also include the automatic gain settings in the auto exposure routine by
checking the Adjust Gain check-mark box. This way both the exposure and gain
are set by the StarVision camera.
If Adjust Gain is unchecked, then you can adjust the gain, and the StarVision will
adjust the exposure with your gain setting.
For our astronomical applications, it is recommended that you leave the Auto Ex
unchecked. This way you have complete control of the exposure and gain
settings to match your requirements.
Camera Exp
This control allows you to set the StarVision’s exposure value.
You can either select a time unit and directly enter in a value, or use the up and
down arrows in the time unit to increase or decrease StarVision’s exposure.
Light Frequency
For complete astronomical exposure control, set this to DC. This will allow you to
set a minimum exposure of 0.53 micro-seconds. This will allow to image very
bright daytime objects. The maximum exposure of 59 minutes 59 seconds.
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Dark Field Correction
One of the more power features of the StarVision software is its ability to take a
Dark Field. This technique will aid in removing Amp glow and hot/warm pixels
from you live image.
The process is simply to determine what your maximum exposure will be, then
cover the telescope and have the StarVision Camera take a Dark Field image at
this exposure length (thus determining what where the amp glow and hot/warm
pixels are located). Then you can simply apply this Dark Field exposure to your
live image and amp glow and hot/warm pixels will drastically be reduced.
Step 1: Determine and set your maximum exposure (and gain settings).
Step 2: Cover the Telescope
Step 3: Click on the Capture Button in the Dark Field Correction section of
the Camera Exposure Tab to initialize the Dark Field capture.
Once the Remaining Time indication has completed it cycle, you should
see the line Dark Field Correction Inited! appear in the Output Window.
Step 4: Uncover the Telescope.
Step 5: Image object of interest.
Step 6: Check the Enable check-mark Box to apply the Dark Field (you
can always uncheck it if you don’t want Dark Field applied.
You now have the option of saving the current Dark
Field by Clicking on the Export… Button in the Dark
Field Correction section. The software will open up a
location for you to save your Dark Fields.
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We recommend to create a Dark Field location to save you Dark Fields, and
using a naming technique so you can recall that specific Dark Field for later use.
You can also click on the Import Button to load a previously saved Dark Field.
When you power down the StarVision camera, the internal Dark Field data is lost,
so by saving a Dark Field you have the ability to reload a specific Dark Field of
your current evenings imaging.
Hint
Most of us, will take a new Dark Field during the current session, since it matches
the current seeing conditions, and not worry about saving or reloading specific
Dark Fields. Experiment to see which approach is best for you.
Image
While Still in Camera Setup, Clicking on the
Image Tab will provide Image controls.
From here you can modify (ensure that
the appropriate checkmark is clicked) the
Gamma, Contrast, Black Level, Sharpness,
Noise, and 3D Noise. This Window also
provides an alternative way to do
Horizontal and Vertical image flips,
Change image into Monochrome, or even
set the Image to its Inverse.
One of more powerful routines are hiding
in this Window, Frame Stacking. Finally, you
can have StarVision analyze the image for
Hot or Warm pixels for later removal.
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Image
If any of the Image Controls are unchecked, then StarVision will choose the best
value for you. But, you can manually take control of these settings by checkmarking the appropriate image setting, and then dragging the control to the left
or right. This allows you to either increase or decrease the value of the current
control to better tweak your image. Experiment!
Gamma
Since each device has its own unique color handling characteristics (or
tendencies), color information cannot be output exactly as input. The color
handling characteristics that arise in input and output are known as Gamma
characteristics. When you adjust the Gamma, you can lighten up area of the
screen that otherwise may be too dim to see the detail.
Contrast
Contrast is defined as the separation between the darkest and brightest areas of
the image. Increase the contrast and you increase the separation between dark
and bright, making shadows darker and highlights brighter. Decrease the
contrast and you bring the shadows up and the highlights down to make them
closer to one another. Adding contrast usually adds "pop" and makes an image
look more vibrant while decreasing contrast can make an image look duller.
Black Level
Black Level is defined as the level of brightness at the darkest (black) part of a
visual image or the level of brightness at which no light is emitted from a screen,
resulting in a pure black screen. Adjusting this slider, you can make the “Black”
more prominent.
Sharpness
Sharpness can be defined as edge contrast, that is, the contrast along edges in
a photo. When we increase sharpness, we increase the contrast only along/near
edges in the image while leaving smooth areas of the image alone.
Noise
Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) technology utilizes temporal noise reduction. This
technique basically compares one frame to the next and removes any tiny
specs in each frame that do not match. The idea is that by blending the frames,
the overall noise content in an image is reduced. By adjusting the slider, you are
affecting the aggressiveness of the routines in the StarVision Camera.
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3D Noise
Not only does 3D DNR handle the traditional frame-to-frame noise reduction, but
it also incorporates spatial noise reduction.
Spatial noise reduction compares a pixel with its neighboring pixels to detect
and remove unwanted noise found within the frame. It processes the entire
image to remove digital artifacts and grainy appearance while better
maintaining image clarity and sharpness.
Raw to RGB
StarVision uses its own image capturing algorithms to enhance its features, but
then has to convert it to RGB for you to perform color corrections. This Drop-down
lost provides alternative conversion techniques. We recommend you leave it as
Normal, but hey it’s your camera, so don’t be afraid to see if you notice any
improvement when using other conversion algorithms (especially when imaging
sun, moon, or planets).
You can also flip the Window Horizontally or Vertically (or both) as well as invert
or make the image monochrome by checking the appropriate checkmarks
under the Raw to RGB control.
Frames Stack or Mean
This control allows you to stack the images that appear on the screen. This will
improve the signal to noise level and thus improve (brighten with more detail) the
image without having to perform long single exposures.
Using the slider, or enter in a number to indicate how many image you would like
stacked at the current exposure.
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Select if you want the imaged stacked (Stack) on top of each other (will make
brighter with more details), or do you want them averaged together (Mean)
which will reduce noise in image.
Check the Enable box to start the Stacking or Averaging. The
Output Window will keep you informed of the progress.
To stop the Stacking, just uncheck the Enable box.
You also have the ability to save every stacked image to your designated file
location with the chosen formats (See Settings Tab or Icon for instructions on how
to set these.
Check-mark the Save Check Box
When stacking, the default process is to display the final Stacked image, but you
can also have it display each image as it stacks on to the previous image by
Check-marking the Display All Box.
Dead Pixel
Every camera will exhibit hot or warm pixels (it’s the nature of the beast).
A Hot pixel is a cell of the imaging chip of a camera that is always reading on so
will appear white (or another color). A warm pixel is a cell that after long
exposures will act like a Hot pixel, but will act normally on short exposures.
The StarVision software will give you the ability to map those pixels, and will
mathematically remove them from the real time image. This way there are no
bright pixels on your screen.
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To Start the mapping process, Click on the Collect pixel button. StarVision will
then pop up an Instruction Window.
We recommend covering the telescope so your Screen image is dark (except for
any hot pixels that the camera is producing).
You can use the sliders on this Window to adjust the Gain and the Exposure Time,
but you will not have an idea of what the settings are. We find it easier to use the
Gain and Exposure Time settings in the Camera Exposure Tab to determine a
condition in which Hot/Warm pixels appear. Now go back to the Collect Dead
Pixel Window and you will notice that the sliders have self-adjusted to your
settings.
To start the process, Click on the OK Button.
StarVision will then pop-up a Tip Window informing you that it is determining
where those Hot/Warm pixels are. The process may take about a minute to
complete.
Once completed, a Message Window will appear indicating if it was successful
in determining where those Hot/Warm pixels are.
That’s it. You can repeat this process as necessary. But we recommend you to
use this procedure when Hot/Warm pixels are affecting your image.
StarVision will automatically apply the correcting to your live imaging.
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I have found that sometimes after using this command, the StarVision software
resets some of the setting on the Camera (Auto Exposure is Set, Frequency to 50
Hz, color balance needs to be re-adjusted). So just re-adjust them back to your
required settings.
Color
The Color Tab will present the Control Window that allows you to tweak the colors
and saturation of the image, plus given you the option setting the White
Balance.
Color
These controls allow you to set the individual color gain (red, green, and blue).
Just move the slider unstill required colors match your needs. The box beside the
slider will indicate its value for reference sake.
You can also set the color saturation by first check marking the Saturation Check
Box, then moving its slider to achieve the desired results.
White Balance
White balance (WB) is the process of removing unrealistic color casts, so that
objects which appear white in the real environment are rendered white in your
images. The color of an object is affected by the lighting conditions under which
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it is viewed. Our eyes and our brain compensate for different types of light—
that's why a white object appears white to us whether it's viewed in sunlight,
under overcast skies or indoors under incandescent or fluorescent light. But
digital cameras need help to emulate this process, to compensate for different
types of lighting and render a white object white. This is the purpose of White
Balance.
To activate (correct) the White Balance, just Click on the Once WB buttons and
the StarVision camera will adjust the White Balance based on the whole image.
You, can also select a region for which the camera will examine and then adjust
the White Balance. To perform this latter task, Click on the Area WB button and
then using your mouse (left Click and Drag) to define a rectangular region for
the camera to examine.
Camera Setup
This Window will allow you to determine the frame rate and bit resolution that the
camera uses to capture and display its images. This Window also allows you to
set the Preview and Capture resolutions along with Region of Interest size.
Camera Setup
Frame Speed
This control lets you choose from 3 frame speeds when
download the images from the StarVision Camera.
Your choice are: Normal, High, and Super.
Depending upon the age of your computer and its processor, along with
number of active usb ports, these factors determine what setting to use. Try
Super first and if you drop frames, or image lags, move to High, then down to
Normal if High is too much for your hardware.
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Media Type
This control determines the bit resolution the StarVision
camera uses to capture and save its images. Your
choice is either in an 8-bit or a12-bit mode.
8-bit data is faster and takes less space than 12-bit data, but 12-bit data gives
you more color separation in its images.
Camera Setup
Preview
This drop-down folder allows you to select what
resolution you would like to display the current real
time images in. you have a choice of: 1360 x 1024,
1280 x 720, 680 x 512 mono, 680 x 512 color, and 340
x 256 mono.
We recommend using the full 1360 x 1024 unless you have another preference.
Capture
This drop-down folder allows you to select what
resolution you would like to save your images or
videos in. you have a choice of: 1360 x 1024, 1280 x
720, 680 x 512 mono, 680 x 512 color, and 340 x 256
mono.
We recommend using the full 1360 x 1024 unless you have another preference.
ROI
Fast ROI Button
To improve the Though-put (Frames per Second) or if you want to isolate the
planetary object, choose a Region of Interest (ROI) that just includes the image
of the planetary object.
The Fast ROI Button, once Clicked, will allow you to draw a rectangle around the
Object that you would like to isolate by holding down the Left Mouse Button and
Dragging to contain the object. Once enclosed, simply release the button and
the screens image will now only contain what you had selected.
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You will see, on the Icon Row, the Screen Resolution and the Capture Resolution
indicators both say ROI to remind you that you are in ROI Mode.
Screen
Resolution
Capture
Resolution
To return back to Full Video Mode, just choose the Screen Resolution that you
require from the left Screen Resolution drop down list (1360x1024).
Hint
Using the Scroll Wheel on your mouse, when the mouse is over the Image
Window, will enlarge and reduce the image size in the Image Window.
ROI Setup Button
The ROI Setup Button will allow you to manual define the Region of Interest size.
By selecting this icon, StarVision will pop-up the ROI Area Setup Window.
You can select the upper left anchor point (x1, x2) and the lower Right anchor
point (x2, y2), or set the required Width and Height (you can even lock it in
place). It easier to use the Fast ROI Icon to select ROI Window Size.
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Camera Setup
This Window will allow you to set up an exposure trigger situation. This has no
application for our astronomical needs.
We recommend that you leave the Trigger Mode as Continuous and not
experiment with these controls. As it can confuse the camera settings. If you did
experiment and cannot seem to fix, then use the File->Default Camera Setup
command from the top Tab. You will need to readjust some of the Camera
exposure settings.
Histogram
Selecting Histogram from the Middle Tab Location will replace the Camera Setup
Window with the Histogram Window.
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This Window displays a real time Histogram of the current images being
displayed. A Histogram is a graphical representation of the pixels exposed in your
image. The left side of the graph represents the blacks or shadows, the right side
represents the highlights or bright areas and the middle section is mid-tones
(middle or 18% grey). How high the peaks reach represents the number of pixels
in that particular tone. Each tone from 0-255 (o being black and 255 being
white) is one pixel wide on the graph, so imagine the histogram as a bar graph
all squished together with no spaces between each bar. The purpose of the
Histogram is to allow you complete control of the gain and color levels being
generated on your image. The Histogram represents the data being displayed,
so you can enhance the parameters by selecting the range of data to be
displayed.
For more detailed information on Histograms visit the following website:
http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/histograms2.htm
You enter in a value via the of use the up and down arrow next to the Left and
Right values so that you are not clipping data, on either side of the window.
These adjustments will help improve the image on the screen. The Histogram Tab
will take a bit of practice to become comfortable with it (read section in the User
Manual covering the Histogram Command). As you adjust the Left and Right
values, you will notice the Black Histogram Indicator Bars move to the left or right.
The data is represented by the colors on the Histogram.
You can adjust the Histogram from either the RGB, or from each
individual color, plus grey. Just select your choice from the DropDown menu beneath the Histogram, then the left and right value
will just adjust the specified colors.
You can click on the Auto Button to have the StarVision choose what
it believed is the best, but we recommend setting your own values.
If you get completely confused with the histogram just go back to
RGB and Click the Defaults Button (0 to 255).
It takes a while to become comfortable with the Histogram, and most users will
control you image settings via the Image and Color Tabs.
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Guide
Selecting Guide from the Middle Tab Location will replace the Camera Setup
Window with the Guide Window.
The Guide Window duplicates the Video Window in the upper left corner. The
advantage of this is that you can drag this window (Left-Click-Hold-and-Drag in
the darker grey Guide Line) to the side and have a continuous small version of
the StarVision’s live Video Window on your screen. This way if you have a small
real estate issue, you can still see the image while another program may overlay
the primary Video Window.
Left Click Hold
and Drag in this
area to move
Guide Window
If you dragged the Guide Window to the side and you would now like to return it
to its proper location, just Double Click on the Grey Guide Line and the Guide
Window will re-seat itself to its home position.
Image List
Selecting Image List from the Middle Tab Location will replace the Camera Setup
Window with the Image List Window.
This Window displays the Image List Window for examining the current image files
that have be previously opened in this session. Snapshots of the image will
appear in the window for easy access.
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The Image List Window keeps track of previously opened images during this
session or snap shots you have taken during this session. The Image List Window
will display small duplicates of these images in it window. Double-Clicking on the
Duplicate Image will display the full image inside the Main Image Window under
its own tab setting.
You can return to StarVision’s live image by clicking on the tab “Mallincam
Vision” in the Video Window.
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6.
October 4, 2016
Using Optional Software
When you installed the StarVision Software, the installer also included DirectShow
Drivers and Twain Drivers. These drivers make the StarVision Camera available to
be controlled by other software packages that can control DirectShow or Twain
cameras.
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Running PHD2 with WDM Driver
Step 1
Start PHD2 software
Step 2
Click on the Camera Icon to open up Connect Equipment Window.
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Step 3
Choose WDM-style webcam camera from Camera Dropdown List.
Step 4
Left-Click on the Connect button on Camera List.
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Step 5
The Camera choice window will pop-up. Select MallinCam Vision and Click on
OK.
Step 6
Select Resolution 1360x1024 and Click on OK
Step 7
Choose your ASCOM Mount driver from the Mount Dropdown List
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Step 8
Left-Click on the Mount and Camera Connect Buttons activate the connection
between both the mount and Camera.
Step 9
Click on Close to close the Connect Equipment Window.
Step 8
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You will be returned to the PHD Main Screen.
Step 10
Left-Click on the Looping Icon to start the StarVision imaging.
Step 11
PHD2 cannot control the StarVision WDM driver directly thru the timer (so leave
this at 0.01s). You set the StarVision timer controls via the Camera Settings Icon
This will pop-up the StarVision Properties Window where you can control all
aspects of the camera.
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Click on OK to set these time parameters and control will return back to PHD2, so
it can display the image and do its auto-guiding
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7.
Appendix
October 4, 2016
Imaging in SharpCap
With the addition of the StarVision Direct Show Driver, you can control the
StarVision with a variety of other pieces of Software such as SharpCap. Now this is
the first generation of DirectShow/Sharpcap driver interaction and as such, not
all of the commands are perfect for user control.
SharpCap can be obtained at http://www.sharpcap.co.uk/
Start SharpCap
Chose Cameras from the Top Heading Tab, then in the DirectShow Cameras,
pick MallinCam Vision.
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Once you have selected, the Mallincam Vision Driver, SharpCap will display
what the StarVision is imaging.
The controls on the right of the screen (Exposure, Gain, Gamma, …) allow you to
change the settings of the StarVision.
It takes a bit of practice to become familiar with the settings as these a more
generic controls, the majority of the controls have their own scales (the exposure
does not indicate seconds, but has moves up by a factor of 2).
Sharpcap will display the exposure you have set on the bottom of the SharpCap
window after the first exposure is taken.
SharpCap has the ability to Pop-Up the StarVision Video Filter (DirectShow control
window). Click on the Show Button in the Video Capture Control
The Pop-Up Window gives you some familiarity with settings as it provides you
with more comfortable units.
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You can choose the Exposure Tab in the Filter window to set the exposure to the
decided value as well as setting the gain. The ISP Tab will allow you to adjust
other image properties.
Once you are comfortable with the settings, Click on the OK Button in the
Properties window to close it.
SharpCap will start the imaging process and will, on the bottom of the
window, display information about the exposure and remaining time. You can
watch the green status bar move to the right as the exposure is being taken.
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First Aid for the StarVision Series
When I click on the StarVision camera from the Camera list, a message pops up
saying Failed to Start: StarVision
There is an issue establishing fulltime communications with the camera. This can
occur for a variety of reasons but the mist common one is the cable is too long
for the USB port on that specific computer to establish the correct timing
protocol. This is more so with USB 3.0 devices.
Recommended solution: if you need to use a longer length of USB 2.0 cable for
the StarVision, then there are two options:
 Connect a powered USB 2.0 hub to the computer and connect the USB
cable between the hub and the StarVision camera.
 Connect an active (not passive) USB 2.0 extension cable between the
camera and the included USB 2.0 cable. Something along the lines of the
Tripp-Lite USB 2.0 superSpeed Active Extension Repeater Cable
When I try to connect I receiver message “Catastrophic failure (Exception from
HRESULT:0x8000FFF(E_UNEXPECTED))”
This message indicates that something has blocked or over written the driver.
Installing another driver or even a major Windows update has played havoc with
the original StarVision Drivers.
Recommended Solution: Uninstall the current driver through the Control Panel (or
if you cannot find it in the Control Panel check out the c:/PROGRAM
FILES(x86)/MALLINCAM/mallincam folder, there is a program called Mallincam.
Double-Click on Mallincam to start the program. You can uninstall StarVision and
its drivers from here.
Once uninstalled, reboot your computer, then reinstall StarVision again using the
same Mallincam program as in the above. Do not plug in the StarVision camera
until you have reinstalled the software.This should fix the issue.
All I see is a White image
Recommended Solution: Move Gain to the extreme Left (1). Ensure automatic
exposure is off. Make sure you are in Camera Exposure Mode. Move exposure to
minimal value say 10ms. Now slowly cover telescope to see if image darkens up
to a black image as you completely cover up the telescope. If this occurs, then
the StarVision is working properly so you need to check your telescope and focus
setup.
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Dark Field Explanation
The following is the best explanation of what Dark Field is, and it comes from the
work of Simon Hanmer.
Dark Field
Dark Field Subtraction
First, take an image with the camera shutter closed or the camera/scope
covered under the same conditions of exposure time and temperature as the
light frames you are going to capture of your astronomical target. Many
astronomers will take ten or more such dark frames and then combine them into
a master dark frame, principally for statistical reasons: the more sub-frames, the
better quality of master frame.
This will give you a single (master) frame of hot and warm pixels generated in the
imaging chip, electronically and thermally, including amplifier glow.
Second, subtract the dark frame from each of the light frames in order to
remove hot and warm pixels and amplifier glow. However, other noise will remain
and needs to be removed with other manipulations and software.
Now, how does this work in practice – and why is it called a Dark Field
correction?
The Dark Field correction is prepared by the user at the beginning of an
observing session by covering the camera or scope, pre-determining the
exposure time and setting the software to take up a Dark Field. We all know our
equipment and the skies we observe under (or we certainly will with a bit of
practice). We also have an idea of what range of filters we might use that night
and the effect they have with respect to exposure times. Take this into account
when selecting your exposure time for your Dark Field.
But remember: this is NOT a Dark Frame subtraction – the exposures required for
dark frame subtraction must be close to those used for the light frames of our
astro-targets. Not so for Dark Field correction. The point here is that camera and
software will select the appropriate Dark Field for the correction, for both shorter
and longer light frame exposure times from the same « library ».
In addition, unlike the single frame of a CCD dark frames, the images used for
Dark Field correction are designed to remove ALL NOISE, not just hot and warm
pixels.
The important point to retain here is that, because of the stacking and
combining to form the library of images for the correction procedure, long light
exposures do NOT require similarly long exposures for the Dark Field correction
images. For example, a 2-minute light exposure using a narrow-band h-alpha
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filter may still only require the user to prepare a 30 second dark image for the
dark field correction. The precise number will vary with your equipment and
conditions.
The two screen captures below demonstrate the difference that applying a Dark
Field to an image can provide.
90 second exposure,
lens covered. No Dark
Field Applied
90 second exposure,
lens covered. Dark
Fields Applied
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Setting up to Broadcast on Night Skies Network
Introduction
I found that when I first started connecting tonight Skies Network (NSN), things started
happening too fast for me to keep track of everything at once. So, pre-planning was the most
the most crucial step for me. I found that by doing test runs in the comfort of my house allowed
me to develop my techniques that work for the equipment and software that I use. Below are
the results and steps that I use to broadcast on NSN, feel free to follow them and/or made
modification as you deem as necessary.
Note
Computer real-estate will be your nemesis. So, depending upon the size of the
monitor (laptop), then number of screens that you are using, then number of
software programs that using are simultaneously are using, will dictate how you
will manage your windows. I will describe how I have organized my windows
under a variety of situations (1 computer, 1 computer with 2 monitors, which
software packages am I using, and what am I trying to do this session).
Remember, it’s all about having fun, and time and patience are your best friends
(not to mention all the guys and gals, and the Yahoo – MallinCam site:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mallincam/messages
One of the most important decisions you will need to make with broadcasting the image of the
StarVision is what Video capture software are you going to use. Some simple suggestions:
Currently StarVision is not capable of modifying the Video Image and having that Video Image
be directly captured by NSN Flash. So if you want to use all the features of the StarVision
software and broadcast those results, as well as save screen shots and videos of your images,
then we need another program to capture StarVision’s output and have the output from that
program linked to NSN’s Flash grabber.
You currently have three choices for that other program: Splitcam, Manycam, WebcamMax. All
three have about the same features, some of these have versions that will cost you, but all have
a version that is free (reduced functions, advertisements, etc…). My current program of choice
is Splitcam (I can live with the Advertisements). You will then use Manycam/Splitcam/Webcam
Max along with StarVision Software to broadcast the images on NSN.
Step 1
Plug in the StarVision camera into an USB port on your computer.
Always use the same port for your connected devices. I even mark on my laptop
which USB port is for which device.
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Start StarVision
Get the image of your object on the Image Window of StarVision, adjust the settings on the
software for your planned object and size the window so you have room for other software on
your monitor real-estate. If you have a dual Monitor system, move StarVision to the second
monitor.
During your initial NSN experience, you will find it easier to even get the object of
interest onto the StarVision Software window. This allows you to spend some
time playing and adjusting the settings prior to connecting to NSN. As you become
more comfortable, you will not worry about that and will adjust while connected
to NSN (with the whole universe watching you live).
Step 3
Start Manycam/Splitcam/WebcamMax
Size the Manycam/Splitcam/WebcamMax window so that is beside the StarVision
Window and you can see both with little overlap. If you have a dual monitor
system, you can slide both the StarVision Software Window and the
Manycam/Splitcam/WebcamMax window to the second monitor.
Step 4
Have Manycam/ Splitcam/Webcam Max grab the window image
All of these packages have the ability to get a desktop image. Choose this option
and overlay the sizing window on top of your StarVision Software Image
Window. You may need to play with the sizes until you obtain the ideal
combination of both the fit in your screen. You want to ensure that you get a
good image of whatever the StarVision Software is looking at inside the
Manycam/ Splitcam/ Webcam Max window.
This allows you to select
the size and location of
the desktop that you
want on the SplitCam.
Just slide and adjust the
overlay on top of your
StarVision’s Software
image.
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Step 5
October 4, 2016
Adjust the Resolution and frames/second (fps) value on Manycam/Splitcam/WebcamMax
This will be trial and error; it all depends upon resolution, bandwidth, and what
over members on NSN experience from your broadcasted image. You will end up
adjusting both on the Manycam/Splitcam/Webcam Max side as well and on the
NSN side to get the best image. A helpful hint: I slide over the Manycam/
Splitcam/Webcam Max window so that some of the text appears in the
Manycam/Splitcam/Webcam Max window. Can the members on NSN read the
words? If not, adjust. Remember, this may take a couple of sessions until you
obtain the ideal resolutions for your particular setup. For me I have set both
Manycam /Splitcam at 640 x 480 at 15 fps.
Step 6
Minimize the Manycam/Splitcam/WebcamMax software window
Click on the little underscore on the top right side of the Manycam/Splitcam/Webcam Max
window. This will eliminate the Manycam/Splitcam/Webcam Max window from your desktop (it
should now appear on the bottom of your desktop monitor), but note that the software is still
running and still has hold of your desktop (StarVision) Image location.
Do not move the StarVision Window around your desktop when broadcasting,
since Manycam /Splitcam/WebcamMax is just grabbing the real-estate location
that currently your StarVision Software image is situated at. If you move the
StarVision Software Window, then Manycam /Splitcam/ Webcam Max will still
grab the desktop location, but may not grab the whole StarVision Video Image.
Don’t be afraid to practice moving the StarVision Software window when not
broadcasting to learn how it affects the displayed Manycam/ Splitcam/
WebcamMax Window. If you need to, you can again use the Manycam/ Splitcam/
WebcamMax desktop select icon and select or change the location or size of the
window for it to grab.
If you have a dual monitor, you can leave the Manycam/Splitcam/WebcamMax
window open on the second monitor since real-estate will not be an issue in the
situation. In fact with Splitcam, you have an option to view the displayed image in
full screen mode by clicking on the ”[ ]” symbol in the upper right side of the
screen (the escape key returns you back to normal size).
Step 7
Start your Web Browser of Choice
You may have to play with a number of Browsers to see which one works well with your
particular computer setup. I have had success with many browsers: Chrome, Internet Explorer,
Firefox, and Maxthon.
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Step 8
October 4, 2016
Log into Night Skies Network (NSN)
Have your Web Brower go to the location: http://www.nightskiesnetwork.ca/ . Locate and click
on the BROADCASTERS AND MEMBERS SIGN IN button. The next Login screen will ask you to
enter your username and password. You will next be presented with the Channel Line Up
screen for Night Skies network. Click on the Login selection on the upper right hand side of the
screen.
You will be presented with the Channel Launch Sign In screen for NSN. Again enter your
Username and Password and click on Publish Channel button.
Step 9
Allow Adobe Flash to use your Manycam/Splitcam/WebcamMax
The Adobe Flash Player Settings window will pop up on your screen asking you for permission
to use your camera and your microphone. Select Allow.
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Turn off your Microphone
Until you have your microphone figured out, it is best to initially turn it off. If you do not, the
viewers on NSN may hear an extreme loud buzzing (feedback noise). Later on we will look at
using the microphone, but until then I recommend CLICKING on the little microphone symbol on
the upper right corner of the NSN video display window to disable the microphone.
Step 11
Set a message for the NSN observers
It is a good idea to display a message above the NSN display window, so that the other NSN
views understand what you are doing. When initially setting up (which usually takes longer
when you are learning), I usually type the message “Setting Up the Camera” then CLICK on the
SEND button to have it displayed.
When you are us and running and everything is working as it should, you will
change the message to indicate, what telescope, mount, and camera you are
using. For that is the most frequently asked question from the NSN viewers.
Step 12
Select the Camera
Now is the time to activate the camera, or in our case have NSN driver point to our
Manycam/Splitcam/Webcam Max output.
 RIGHT CLICK inside the NSN Video window to bring up a Settings Window
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 CLICK on the Settings choice and you will be presented with the Adobe Flash
Player Settings Window.
 CLICK on the Camera Icon and you will be presented with a pull down menu to
select your camera.
 CLICK on the Pull Down list to select your camera of choice.
 CLICK on CLOSE to Continue.
NSN will remember what camera you chose from the last visit. So usually you only have to go
through this process whenever you want to change what camera device you would like the NSN
flash driver to use.
Step 13
Choose your Camera Settings
We will now select the settings for our camera. We have the option of changing: The
Bandwidth, Picture, Resolution, Framerate, and even the microphone rate (when you are
ready). The changes will not be activated until you CLICK on the Green OK symbol in the
window.
 LEFT CLICK inside the NSN video Window to bring up the Camera Settings
Window.
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 Use the sliders for Band Width and Picture values. I usually have both of my
sliders way on the right. Over time you will find the sweet spot for your system.
 Select your Resolution from the Pull Down Menu. Select a starting value of (640
x 480) for the system. Again, play with these to see what settings the NSN
viewers say is the best.
 Select your Frame Rate. From its Pull Down Menu. I usually leave it at 15 fps,
but I have used 30 fps at times. Again trial and error for your system.
 CLICK on the green OK symbol to accept these settings.
That’s it, you are done. If everything is working well and the Window’s gods are in a good mood,
you should be broadcasting whatever object the StarVision is capturing. You should now enter
another Message and SEND it out to indicate what system you are using and what object you
are viewing.
There is a time delay on what you say (if you have your microphone activated)
and do on your computer as compared to what others see (and hear) on the NSN
broadcast.
You will freeze (and I don’t mean like what Chris does when he broadcasts in
winter till 3am), I mean from time to time your NSN connection will freeze for no
apparent reason. It happens to us all. When this happens, you can simply
terminate the Web browser program (Ctrl –Alt-Del). Then restart your browser
and Log back into NSN. This usual is a very quick process. But, sometime we all
have to restart our computer (this takes longer for we need to power down
hardware and software) and reactivate everything before login back in. Don’t
worry, the NSN viewers sense what is happening and will keep the conversations
going while waiting for you to come back on.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice by typing in on the Video chat window, as we are all learning
and are willing to assist whenever we can.
When ready, try activating the microphone (click on the microphone symbol). Other will let you
know if they can hear you, or if there is noise. Remember there are settings for the microphone
in the camera settings window.
When you are finished with your session, you simply say your good nights to the
crowd of NSN viewers to let them know that your session is ending. CLICK on the
red STOP button on your NSN Window and NSN will shut down your channel and
you can power down your system and call it an evening (It won’t force the NSN
viewers off the channel and some viewers will continue chatting long after you
have gone to bed).
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Focal Reducers
MFR-8
MFR 8 Mk II Kit. This focal reducer is made for the StarVision Series of cameras.
Typically, it is a MFR-5 II without the rear (MFR-6) small part. The front lens has a
high precision achromatic 25 mm double sided coated lens, and includes two 10
mm spacers and a 5 mm spacer offering a variety of variable focal reduction for
just about all telescope type. This is an ideal combination for the StarVision Series
of cameras. If a user already owns a MFR-5 type focal reducer there is no need
to purchase the MFR-8 II Kit.
The MFR-8 Mk II Kit will vary focal reduction from 0.55X down to about 0.4X. Test
result did confirm reduction as low as 0.38X reduction when using the StarVision
using all supplied spacers.
Mallincam StarVision User Manual
Page 107
StarVision User Manual
October 4, 2016
User Notes
Mallincam StarVision User Manual
Page 108
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