SkyRaider DS2.3 PLUS User Manual

SkyRaider DS2.3 PLUS User Manual
SKYRAIDER DS2.3 PLUS
Revision Sheet
[Version 3.2]
Michael Burns
Rock Mallin
[SkyRaider DS2.3 PLUS User Manual]
This document will quickly introduce you to the wonders of the MallinCam SkyRaider
DS2.3 PLUS Camera. It will include instructions on how to install the Software and
Drivers and how connect the SkyRaider 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 SkyRaider Camera so that you can image.
SkyRaider DS2.3 PLUS User Manual
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Revision Sheet
Revision History
Version
Date
Revision Description
1.0
03/03/2016
Template Creation
2.0
07/09/2016
For Software update 3.7.7670 includes stacking
3.0
01/15/2017
Latest Software Updates 3.7.8190
3.1
01/21/2017
Black Level
3.2
10/21/2017
Digital Binning
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Table of Contents
Contents
Revision History ................................................................................................................................... ii
Table of Contents .......................................................................................................................... 1
1.
Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 6
The Contents of the SkyRaider-DS2.3 Plus Package ......................................................... 7
Specifications: ........................................................................................................................................ 7
System Requirements: ........................................................................................................................... 8
In the Box............................................................................................................................................... 8
2.
Installing Driver and Software ............................................................................................... 9
System Requirements ................................................................................................................ 9
Installing the Software ............................................................................................................... 9
3.
Connecting the SkyRaider .................................................................................................... 13
Connecting the SkyRaider-DS2.3 Plus to your Computer ................................................... 13
Connecting AutoGuider Cable to the SkyRaider-DS2.3 ...................................................... 15
4.
Using MallincamSky Software ............................................................................................. 16
The MallincamSky Window .................................................................................................... 16
SkyRaider Quick Setup and Pictorial Work-Flow................................................................ 17
Live Stack Pictorial Work-Flow ............................................................................................. 18
Histogram Pictorial Work-Flow ............................................................................................. 19
ROI Pictorial Work-Flow ........................................................................................................ 20
Save Image Pictorial Work-Flow............................................................................................ 21
Record Video Pictorial Work-Flow ........................................................................................ 22
Batch Record Pictorial Work-Flow ........................................................................................ 23
Auto Capture Pictorial Work-Flow ........................................................................................ 24
Save Sequence of Images Pictorial Work-Flow (Trigger Mode) ......................................... 25
Digital Binning.......................................................................................................................... 26
More Detailed Work-Flow Procedure .................................................................................... 27
Quick Workflow for MallincamSky .................................................................................................... 27
Detailed Workflow of Video Imaging Planetary Objects .................................................................... 30
Detailed Workflow of Video Imaging Deep Sky Objects .................................................................... 36
SkyRaider Quick Guide
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The SkyRaider Software Controls ........................................................................................ 45
Top Menu Line ......................................................................................................................... 45
File ....................................................................................................................................................... 45
Open Image ...................................................................................................................................... 46
Open Video ...................................................................................................................................... 47
Save .................................................................................................................................................. 48
Save As …........................................................................................................................................ 48
Batch Save… .................................................................................................................................... 51
Paste as New File ............................................................................................................................. 53
Recent Files ...................................................................................................................................... 53
Exit ................................................................................................................................................... 54
Edit ....................................................................................................................................................... 54
Cut .................................................................................................................................................... 54
Copy ................................................................................................................................................. 55
Paste ................................................................................................................................................. 55
Paste Shortcut ................................................................................................................................... 55
Delete ............................................................................................................................................... 55
Image Select ..................................................................................................................................... 55
Select All .......................................................................................................................................... 55
Select None ...................................................................................................................................... 56
View ..................................................................................................................................................... 56
Browse.............................................................................................................................................. 56
Sidebar.............................................................................................................................................. 57
Grids ................................................................................................................................................. 58
Best Fit ............................................................................................................................................. 61
Actual Size ....................................................................................................................................... 61
Full Screen ....................................................................................................................................... 61
Track ................................................................................................................................................ 61
Reticles ............................................................................................................................................. 62
Browse ................................................................................................................................................. 62
Sort ................................................................................................................................................... 63
Icons ................................................................................................................................................. 63
Refresh ............................................................................................................................................. 63
Properties.......................................................................................................................................... 63
Open Record Folder ........................................................................................................................ 63
Open Image Folder .......................................................................................................................... 63
Setup .................................................................................................................................................... 64
Start/Pause ........................................................................................................................................ 64
View Properties… ............................................................................................................................ 64
ST4 Test… ....................................................................................................................................... 65
Capture ................................................................................................................................................. 66
Capture Image .................................................................................................................................. 66
Auto Capture .................................................................................................................................... 66
Start Record… .................................................................................................................................. 67
Batch Record .................................................................................................................................... 68
Image ................................................................................................................................................... 70
Mode ................................................................................................................................................ 70
Adjust ............................................................................................................................................... 71
Rotate ............................................................................................................................................... 76
Crop .................................................................................................................................................. 77
Scale… ............................................................................................................................................. 78
Histogram ......................................................................................................................................... 79
Process ................................................................................................................................................. 81
Image Stacking ................................................................................................................................. 84
Options ................................................................................................................................................. 86
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Window................................................................................................................................................ 91
Close All........................................................................................................................................... 91
Reset Window Layout ...................................................................................................................... 92
Windows… ...................................................................................................................................... 92
About ................................................................................................................................................... 93
MallincamSky Toolbar ............................................................................................................ 94
Open ..................................................................................................................................................... 94
Save...................................................................................................................................................... 95
Browse ................................................................................................................................................. 95
Target ................................................................................................................................................... 96
Auto Capture ........................................................................................................................................ 97
Batch Record........................................................................................................................................ 97
Pause Video Capture ............................................................................................................................ 97
Pause Video Capture ............................................................................................................................ 97
Zoom .................................................................................................................................................... 98
Image Select ......................................................................................................................................... 98
Track .................................................................................................................................................... 98
Histogram............................................................................................................................................. 99
Reticle .................................................................................................................................................. 99
ST4 Test ........................................................................................................................................ 100
Advance/Reverse ............................................................................................................................... 101
Stitch ............................................................................................................................................. 101
Panorama Straighten: ..................................................................................................................... 102
Projection Type: ............................................................................................................................. 102
Seam Finder: .................................................................................................................................. 103
Exposure Compensation: ................................................................................................................ 103
Bundle Adjust:................................................................................................................................ 103
Preferences ......................................................................................................................................... 105
6.
Controlling the SkyRaider .................................................................................................. 106
Camera List ............................................................................................................................ 106
Capture and Resolution ......................................................................................................... 107
Resolution .......................................................................................................................................... 107
Snap ................................................................................................................................................... 107
Record ................................................................................................................................................ 108
Gain.................................................................................................................................................... 109
Exposures ........................................................................................................................................... 109
Video Mode .................................................................................................................................... 109
Trigger Mode.................................................................................................................................. 112
Bit Depth ................................................................................................................................. 114
Color Balance ......................................................................................................................... 114
White Balance .................................................................................................................................... 115
Color Adjustment ................................................................................................................... 115
Hue ..................................................................................................................................................... 116
Saturation ........................................................................................................................................... 116
Brightness .......................................................................................................................................... 116
Contrast .............................................................................................................................................. 116
Gamma ............................................................................................................................................... 117
Frame Rate ............................................................................................................................. 117
Color/Gray .............................................................................................................................. 118
Flip ........................................................................................................................................... 118
Sampling ................................................................................................................................. 119
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ROI .......................................................................................................................................... 119
Histogram ............................................................................................................................... 121
Digital Binning........................................................................................................................ 123
Method ............................................................................................................................................... 124
Number .............................................................................................................................................. 124
Usage suggestion in digital binning. .................................................................................................. 124
Dark Frame subtraction in Digital Binning ........................................................................................ 125
Dark Field Correction ........................................................................................................... 126
Black Level.............................................................................................................................. 128
Live Stack................................................................................................................................ 129
Cooling .................................................................................................................................... 132
Parameters .............................................................................................................................. 133
7.
Installing Optional Software .............................................................................................. 136
Installing DirectShow Driver ................................................................................................ 137
Installing Mallincam ASCOM Driver .................................................................................. 139
8.
AutoGuiding with SkyRaider.............................................................................................. 141
Guiding with MaximDL and Mallincam ASCOM .............................................................. 141
Guiding in PHD2 with Mallincam ASCOM Driver ............................................................ 145
Running PHD2 with WDM Driver + ToupST4 Driver ...................................................... 149
9.
Appendix ............................................................................................................................. 154
Imaging in SharpCap............................................................................................................. 154
Start SharpCap ................................................................................................................................... 154
Chose Cameras .................................................................................................................................. 154
SharpCap will start the imaging process ............................................................................................ 156
AstroToaster and MallinamSky............................................................................................ 158
AstroToaster Work Flow ................................................................................................................... 158
Start AstroToaster .............................................................................................................................. 158
Preparing AstroToaster ...................................................................................................................... 159
Click on the View Tab ....................................................................................................................... 159
Click on Monitor ................................................................................................................................ 160
Tell MallincamSky to Save images in to the Monitoring Folder of AstroToaster. ............................ 160
Stop the Looping ................................................................................................................................ 160
Click on the Stack Tab ....................................................................................................................... 161
Adjust the Image in AstroToaster ...................................................................................................... 162
AstroLive and the SkyRaiderDS2.3 Plus ............................................................................. 163
Start AstroLive ................................................................................................................................... 163
Click on the Choose Still Button ........................................................................................................ 163
From the Pull Down list select ASCOM Mallincam Driver .............................................................. 164
Click on the Properties Box ............................................................................................................... 164
How Do I … ............................................................................................................................ 165
How do I get rid of the Green Exposure Rectangle? .......................................................................... 165
How do I Select a part of the Image and Zoom in? ............................................................................ 165
How do I automatically save 1 image every 30 seconds? .................................................................. 166
How do I adjust the brightness in my monochrome SkyRaider? ....................................................... 166
How do I Broadcast my image onto Night Skies Network (NSN)? ................................................... 166
Can I Use MallincamSky with One SkyRaider and Auto-Guide with another? ................................ 166
How Do I Pause the Video? ............................................................................................................... 167
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How do I Undo an Operation? ........................................................................................................... 167
How do I make my ROI the whole Image Again? ............................................................................. 167
How do I Turn Off Dark Field correction? ........................................................................................ 167
How Do I take Another Dark Field? .................................................................................................. 167
My ROI Window is Black? ................................................................................................................ 167
First Aid for the SkyRaider Series ....................................................................................... 168
Dark Field Explanation ......................................................................................................... 169
Dark Frame vs Dark Field .................................................................................................................. 169
Dark Frame Subtraction ................................................................................................................. 169
Dark Field Correction ..................................................................................................................... 169
Setting up to Broadcast on Night Skies Network ................................................................ 172
Focal Reducers ....................................................................................................................... 179
MFR-8 ................................................................................................................................................ 179
User Notes ............................................................................................................................... 180
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Introduction
After years of designing and testing under all operative conditions, MallinCam
has created the next generation of Live Astronomical Video CCD Cameras. Not
only is live observation possible, the series of SkyRaider Cameras can take images
and video recording too! No one in the industry has developed and pushed the
envelope in an astronomical camera with such a state of the art product. We
are the leader in the Live Video CCD camera industry and plan to stay that way
for the benefit of astronomical advancement for the amateur community and
professionals alike.
The software package features the most advanced live video imaging system
ever created. MallinCam has created the world's first software with the MC
DarkField Subtraction System, on-the-fly eliminating the need of a Peltier cooler
under live application and yet retaining the best low noise live image ever
encountered on the market today. A MallinCam Advanced exclusive, the
MallinCam Dark Field live subtraction feature is unique to the MallinCam
SkyRaider Series of cameras. Images can be saved in the same manner or video
files can be created with the same On-The-Fly DarkField correction. Among
other advanced features, a live on-the-fly histogram make final image
adjustment possible to produce the finest live image, with the option to save
your view as an image or video file.
The New Mallincam SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus camera's Sony EXmor sensor sensitivity is
augmented by incorporating CDS (correlated double sampling) procedures. This
feature ensures that the SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus is perfect for astronomy and other
dark field applications, as well as the bright field applications required for lunar,
planetary and solar observing. The SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus camera can be used to
replace traditional CCD cameras to some extent since its unique features
(including high sensitivity, low noise, and group shutter) are found only in this
MallinCam model. Only a few sensors produced have the group shutter
function. By utilizing USB3.0, the image download time is nearly instantaneous.
The DS2.3 Plus utilizes a 2.38 effective megapixel, ceramic CMOS sensor. The
Type New type sensor is larger than a 1/2" type sensor and measures 13.4mm
diagonally. The camera delivers high resolution images using all telescope types
and a standard focal reducer can be used to further increase the field of view
needed for those spectacular large astronomical objects. The EXview HAD,
called EXmor, sensor has significantly improved sensitivity in the near infrared light
region, and it utilizes square 5.86 µm unit pixels with high signal-to-noise ratio.
Special thanks to 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 SkyRaider-DS2.3 Plus Package
Specifications:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
PC Win XP, Win7, Win 8, Win 10. Mac.
Support and includes Full Trigger Mode
Built-in Memories
CDS (Correlated Double Sampling)
2.35 Mega Pixels IMX302 CMOS ceramic sensor
13.4 mm diagonal
Pixel (μm): 5.86 square
Number of effective pixels 1920 (H) × 1200 (V)
Sensor Size 7.20mmx4.5mm
Sensor Gain: Variable to 50X
Sensor G Sensitivity: 1016mv @ 1/30s
Binning: 1x1,
Transfer method: All-pixel scan
Full HD
Hand Selected sensor class 0 Scientific grade
Sealed Multi-Coated Optical Window
FPS/Resolution: up to30@1920x1200 (computer performance dependent)
Progressive Scan
Guiding: ST4 standard protocol
All Aluminum construction, precision CNC machining
Hand crafted electronics assembly.
USB 3.0 operation, 5 meter long (15 feet long) high grade cable included
1.25" adapter included,
Weight : 429 Grams (15.10 oz)
Dimension: 3.1 inch diameter, 3-1/4 inch long
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System Requirements:
•
Equal to Intel Core2 2.8GHz or Higher
•
Memory: 2GB or More
•
USB port: USB 3.0 Port
•
Display: 17" or Larger Recommended
In the Box
The SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus includes the following standard equipment:
➢
➢
➢
➢
MALLINCAM SkyRaider-DS2.3 Plus Camera
High Precision 1.25" C mount Eyepiece Adapter
5 metre USB 3.0 cable.
SkyRaider-DS2.3 Plus also includes a 2 metre ST4 Guider cable.
Software 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) XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, Mac, Linux
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 3.0 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 MallincamSky
Software for a Windows PC (there is a Click Here that contains a non-stacking
version along with ASCOM drivers).
If you have a Mac, or Linux computer, just choose the appropriate download
form the download page. The following instruction will represent a Windows
Computer.
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Make sure that the SkyRaiderDS2.3 Plus is not plugged into the computer.
Step 3
Place your mouse on the zipped file, Right-Click to pop-up an Action Window,
and choose Extract All …
Just Click on the Extract button, when the next Window pops-up. Windows
should now open up the actual folder that contains the software to install.
Step 4
Un-Zip the folder, then Double-Click on it to open it up, revealing the 3 programs
it contains (or 1 program if just downloading MallincamSky).
The ASCOMMallincamSetup contains the ASCOM Drivers for the camera
The MALLINCAMDshowSetup contains the Direct Show Drivers for the camera
The MALLINCAMSKYSetup contains the camera control software.
Step 5
Double-Click on the MALLINCAMDshowSetup file and follow instructions to install
the driver (see Installing Direct Show Driver for more in-depth details).
Step 6
Optionally (see Installing the ASCOM Driver for more in-depth details), DoubleClick on the ASCOMMallincamSetup file and follow instructions to install the
ASCOM driver.
Step 7
Double-Click on the MALLINCAMSKYSetup File
Windows may display a warning asking for permission to run the program, if it
does, select YES.
The following MallincamSky Setup Screen will then appear:
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Click on Next to start the installation process.
The installation program now wants to know where you would like to install the
software. Either choose your own location, or select the default.
Step 9
Click on Install to proceed.
Windows may again ask for permission to install the device software.
Step 10
Click on Install to accept.
The MallincamSky Software will take about a minute to be installed. When
completed, the following screen will appear:
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Click on Finish, and the MallincamSky will start and will appear on your screen.
Now you can plug in the SkyRaiderDS2.3 Plus into your computer (see the next
Chapter called “Connecting the SkyRaider” for more details). It will take a
moment for Windows to attach the drivers to the port, then you are ready to start
imaging.
Hint
You can determine is MallincamSky recognizes the camera (and thus the drivers)
by noticing the SkyRaiderDS2.3PLUS name in the Camera List Tab (see Chapter 3
for detailed instructions). If by chance you are running the SkyRaiderDS2.3 Plus on
a USB 2.0 cable, you will see the name as: SkyRaiderDS2.3PLUS (2.0).
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Connecting the SkyRaider
Connecting the SkyRaider-DS2.3 Plus to your Computer
Remove the rubber dust cover from the front of the SkyRaider-DS2.3 Plus camera
(place it back in the box for safe keeping).
Screw in the C-mount adapter to the front of the
SkyRaider-DS2.3 Plus.
Insert the SkyRaider-DS2.3 Plus (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 3.0 Cable from the back of the SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus to a
free USB 3.0 port on your computer.
Hint
The SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus 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 3.0 port on your computer. If that is the
case, one option to try is; connected a Powered USB 3.0 Hub to your USB 3.0 port
on your computer. This simple step, can improve, both thru-put, power and
distance between your computer and the SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus camera.
Windows will then automatically load the correct SkyRaider Camera Driver onto
your computer.
Once the driver has been successfully loaded, you will see the name of the
SkyRaiderDS2.3PLUS Camera in the MallincamSky Camera List on the upper left
of the Window. You can install more than one SkyRaider Camera to your
computer, but the software can only control one SkyRaider Camera at a time.
If you notice that the SkyRaiderDS2.3Plus has a (USB2.0) behind it, then you are
either using a usb 2.0 port, or the distance is too great for the usb 3.0 cable, and
the system has entered usb 2.0 speeds.
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Connecting AutoGuider Cable to the SkyRaider-DS2.3
If you are going to use your SkyRaider Ds2.3 Plus as an Autoguider, then you will
need to attach the provided ST4 cable.
Attach one end of the ST4 cable into the ST4 slot on the back of the SkyRaiderDS2.3 Plus, and the other end into the ST4 port on your Telescope Mount.
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Using MallincamSky Software
The MallincamSky Window
①
②
④
③
⑤
The MallincamSky Software Window is segmented into a few regions to make
viewing and adjusting the SkyRaider 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 MallincamSky Left SideBar provides the simple click activation and
selection capabilities to control all aspects of the image and camera.
③ The Left SideBar Base provides selection options for Camera, Folders, or Undo.
Left Clicking on the selection choice will fill the Left SideBar with its options.
④ The Video Window will contain the display image from the SkyRaider
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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SkyRaider Quick Setup and Pictorial Work-Flow
A typical workflow when using the SkyRaider DS2.3Plus with MallincamSky.
Start Mallincam
Deep Sky Object
Planetary
Video Mode to Image
Take Dark Field
Video Mode to Focus
Adjust Image
Trigger Mode to Image
Activate Dark Field
Save and Record
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 MallincamSky.
Expose Object
Choose and Activate Video
Mode or Trigger Mode
Live Stack
Choose type of Stacking
Adjust Image
Save and Record
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Histogram Pictorial Work-Flow
A typical workflow when using the Histogram Command with MallincamSky.
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
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Increase Exposure
Histogram Moves to
Right
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ROI Pictorial Work-Flow
A typical workflow when using the ROI Command with MallincamSky.
Expose Object
Trigger Mode
Video Mode
Video Mode
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Trigger Mode
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Save Image Pictorial Work-Flow
A typical workflow on how to Save an Image with MallincamSky.
Expose Object
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Record Video Pictorial Work-Flow
A typical workflow on how Record a Video with MallincamSky.
Expose Object
Video Mode to Image
Enter File Location, Format,
Prefix, Type, Number of Seconds
Options->Preferences…
Number of Videos, Time between
each Video
If No Time Limit Set
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Batch Record Pictorial Work-Flow
A typical workflow on how to Batch Record a series of Videos with a single Click.
Expose Object
Enter File Location, Format,
Prefix, Type, Number of Seconds
Number of Videos, Time between
each Video
Done
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Auto Capture Pictorial Work-Flow
October 28, 2017
A typical workflow on how to Auto Capture a series of Images with a single Click.
Expose Object
Choose Exposure Time
Enter File Location, Format,
Prefix, Type, Capture Mode,
Total number of Images from:
Options/Preferences
Done
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Save Sequence of Images Pictorial Work-Flow (Trigger Mode)
A typical workflow on an alternative method to Save a Sequence of Images with
the Sequence Command in Trigger Mode with MallincamSky.
Expose Object
Stop Looping
Choose Location
Select Number
Start Sequencing
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Digital Binning
October 28, 2017
A typical workflow on applying Digital Binning. Choose a Method (usually
Additive), now select a Binning Number from 1 (default) to 4. Notice the video
window will decrease in size, so you may need to increase the Zoom factor.
Choose Binning Method and Number
Start Exposing
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More Detailed Work-Flow Procedure
Quick Workflow for MallincamSky
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 SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus 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 MallincamSky Icon to start the program.
Step 2
Select the SkyRaiderDS2.3PLUS from the Camera List in the Camera Tab.
With the Camera Tab selected on the Left SideBar, Left-Click
on the SkyRaiderDS2.3PLUS (between lines in Camera
Heading). Once the SkyRaider is selected, a black rectangle
(with SkyRaider Camera name) will appear in the Video
Window of the MallincamSky Software along with the
Horizontal and Vertical Rulers, and the fan on the SkyRaider
DS2.3 Plus will start to run.
If you are imaging planetary objects, jump to Step 6.
Step 3
Select an Exposure Time for Dark Field Correction
With the Camera Tab selected on the Left SideBar, Left-Click
on the Capture & Resolution (a Green Rectangle with the
word Exposure will appear in your Video Window if you are in
Video Mode). The Exposure & Gain Window will expand
select the exposure time for the Dark Field.
You must determine what you believe will be the maximum
exposure for this session. As, you will create Dark Field’s with
this time (or close to it).
If you are taking a maximum exposure under 5s, then select
Video Mode, but since most Deep Sky Objects will require an
exposure of over 5s, choose Trigger Mode.
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Either enter in the time into the appropriate boxes, or use the up and down
arrows beside the chosen Exposure time unit to set your maximum time.
To start the SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus taking continuous exposures, Left-Click on the
Loop button.
If the Green Exposure Rectangle annoys you, you can Left-Click Hold and Drag
corners of the rectangle to resize it to either cover the whole image window, or
even to be a zero-size box at one of the corners of your image window. This way
you can always have the Capture and Resolution Tab open without the
annoying green rectangle in the middle of your image.
Step 4
Take Dark Field Correction
Ensure that the Lens Cover is either on the SkyRaider Camera
or the Telescope itself is Covered (Cap is on), then Left-Click
on the Dark Field Correction Line.
The Dark Field Correction Line will open up allowing you to
select the Quantity of Dark Fields and the option to start the
Dark Field Capture process.
Select up to 99 for the Quantity (Start with 5 exposures to get
a feel of the process). Then Left-Click on the Capture Button.
The Software will display its progress above the selected
Quantity. Remember, it is beneficial to set the Dark Field
exposure time greater than the longest time you will be
imaging at.
As the Dark Fields are being exposed, you can watch the exposure counter in
the Dark Field Correction Tab go up, and on the bottom right side of the
MallincamSky window, you will see a counter letting you know how long is left in
that particular exposure.
Once the Dark Fields have 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 Tab.
You can import previously saved Dark Fields by using the Import Button.
Now, Left-Click in the Enable check box in the
Dark Field Correction’s box to have Dark Fields
applied in real time to your images.
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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 SkyRaider 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.
Left-Click on the STOP button in the Trigger Mode screen, and now select Video
Mode. Move the slider (or enter the time) to some value less than 5 seconds
(note that the units are in milliseconds, so 1 second = 1000 ms), and align and
focus your telescope. In Video Mode, images are continuously taken.
Step 6
Increase Exposure Time to Image
Now is the time to expose some Deep Sky Objects or Planetary Objects. So, go
back into Trigger Mode (if you are imaging Deep Sky Objects, else remain in
Video Mode 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 SkyRaider Camera and will be deleted when the camera is
turned off), the SkyRaider will automatically apply the best Dark Field Correction
to your image when Dark Field Correction is enabled.
Step 7
Adjust the Parameters
Choose a parameter from the Camera 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
MallincamSky Software. The SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus User Manual will go into more
detail about all of the options and adjustment you can perform with the
SkyRaider series of cameras. 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 SkyRaider 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 MallincamSky provides for you. With
planetary objects, you want as much resolution and data as possible, so choose
the highest resolution your SkyRaider provides (which is easy as that is set for you).
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.
The following instructions are used as a guide to assist you in doing planetary
video imaging. Don’t forget, when finished with a particular step that uses a
particular feature Tab, you can close the Tab (This will remove, the green and
blue boxes which may be displayed over your image) by Clicking on the little
up- arrow in the right corner of that Tab.
Step 1
If not started, Double Click on the MallincamSky Icon on your Desktop to start
the program.
Step 2
Select the SkyRaiderDS2.3PLUS from the Camera List in the Camera Tab.
With the Camera Tab selected on the Left SideBar, Left-Click
on the SkyRaiderDS2.3PLUS (between lines in Camera
Heading). Once the SkyRaider is selected, a black rectangle
(with SkyRaider Camera name) will appear in the Video
Window of the MallincamSky Software along with the
Horizontal and Vertical Rulers, and the fan on the SkyRaider
DS2.3 Plus will start to run.
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Step 3
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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 SkyRaider in displaying the
Planetary object, you will require the highest resolution that your particular
SkyRaider can produce, along with the largest bits of data (for color or shades of
Back and White) for each pixel that the SkyRaider 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 Capture and Resolution Tab on the MallincamSky ToolBar, and select
the Largest resolution values that your SkyRaider is capable of.
The SkyRaiderDS2.3 Plus currently has only one resolution of 1920 x 1200, so it is set
for you.
Step 5
If you are going to be saving and processing images taken with the SkyRaider,
you may want to increase the Bit depth to the highest value your particular
SkyRaider camera supports.
Since you have chosen a High Resolution and a Large Bit Count, this will slow
down the Frames per Second rate at which the MallincamSky can process the
images (huge amounts of data moving through the system). We will make an
adjustment in a later step that will increase the Frames per Second rate.
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Step 6
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With MallincamSky running, Left-Click on the
Capture and Resolution Tab to expand the
exposure window.
➢ Click in the Video Mode Selector to
choose Video Mode.
➢ Move the Gain Slider all the way to the
Left.
➢ Make sure that the Auto Exposure
CheckBox is unchecked.
The SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus has two exposure modes:
•
•
Video Mode
Trigger Mode
Since we are imaging planetary objects, our exposure should not exceed 5
seconds. Therefore, we will be using Video Mode exclusively for setting our
exposure times. Video Mode will continuously take and display images at the
duration you set in the Exposure time.
If the Green Exposure Rectangle annoys you, you can Left-Click Hold and Drag
corners of the rectangle to resize it to either cover the whole image window, or
even to be a zero-size box at one of the corners of your image window. This way
you can always have the Capture and Resolution Tab open without the
annoying green rectangle in the middle of your image.
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 three methods below:
o You can either use the mouse button and Left-Click-Hold and Drag
the Slider Marker (This method is best for making large movements).
o You can also Click on the Slider Marker, then use the Left and Right
arrows keys on your keyboard to precisely move the Exposure
Marker (this method provides the most accurate tiny adjustments
to the exposure times).
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o
October 28, 2017
You can Click on the Exposure Time’s current setting and a pop-up
window will appear that allows you to enter the required exposure
time in milliseconds (This allows you to be very precise in the
exposure time you require, 5000 ms = 5 seconds).
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 to the
Right to brighten your image.
Step 7
Hint
Step 8
Now is the time to adjust the Color Balance and Color Adjustment (Contrast,
Gamma, …) to your required preferences.
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 MallincamSky. 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.
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You select the ROI by using Left-Click-Hold and Drag the handles of the Blue
Rectangle that will appear over your Image Window when you selected the ROI
Tab. Once you have framed the Blue ROI Rectangle over your image, Click on
the Apply button in the ROI Tab to accept it.
This will make the Video Screen contain just the object that was enclosed by the
ROI’s Blue Rectangle. To return back to Full Video Mode, just Click on the
Defaults Button on the ROI Open Tab.
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.
Step 9
To finely adjust the image characteristics, open up the Histogram Tab, and either
enter in the Left and Right values, or Left Click, Hold and Drag the two Vertical
Bars 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). Set the exposure so that the peak of
the histogram is someplace between 50 and 100.
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Hint
October 28, 2017
For any Exposure over 3 seconds (3000 ms), you can determine how long your
camera’s exposure time has left by looking at the lower right hand corner of the
MallincamSky’s Window. It will provide a real-time indicator that informs you of
the current time remaining of the exposure time that you had previously set.
The example on the left is telling us that we have 2
seconds remaining on our 5 second (5000ms) exposure.
If you have created Dark Field Corrections for this session (Dark Fields are stored
directly in the SkyRaider Camera and will be deleted when the camera is turned
off), then when you enable the Dark Field corrections, the SkyRaider will
automatically apply the best Dark Field Correction to your image.
Remember to enable Dark Field Correction just check the Enable Button in the
Dark Field Tab, to disable Dark Field Correction, just un-check the Enable Button
in the Dark Field Tab.
Again, for most planetary imaging, Dark Fields will not be necessary.
Hint
Go into Options from the Top Menu Line, and choose Preferences. It is here that
you can set options for the MallincamSky. If you go into Misc., you can change
the Color Style of the MallincamSky software. If you select another Color Style,
Apply, then Left-Click on OK. Choose the Color Style which works for you. (Use a
bright Color Style if using computer in Daylight).
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Detailed Workflow of Video Imaging Deep Sky Objects
The following instruction will guide you in setting up your SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus
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
objects, such as the these, as it will allow you to become comfortable with all of
the adjustments that MallincamSky provides for you. With Deep Sky Objects, you
want as much resolution and data as possible, so choose the highest resolution
your SkyRaider 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. Don’t forget, when finished with a particular step that uses a particular
feature tab, you can close the Tab by clicking on the little arrow in the corner of
a Tab (This will remove the green and blue boxes which may be displayed over
your image).
Have your SkyRaider 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 MallincamSky Icon on your Desktop to start
the program.
Step 2
Select the SkyRaiderDS2.3PLUS from the Camera List in the Camera Tab.
With the Camera Tab selected on the Left SideBar, LeftClick on the SkyRaiderDS2.3PLUS (between lines in
Camera Heading). Once the SkyRaider is selected, a
black rectangle (with SkyRaider Camera name) will
appear in the Video Window of the MallincamSky
Software along with the Horizontal and Vertical Rulers,
and the fan on the SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus will start to run.
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Since you will want to “push” the capabilities of the SkyRaider in displaying the
Deep Sky Object, you will require the highest resolution that your particular
SkyRaider can produce, along with the largest bits of data (for color or shades of
Back and White) for each pixel that the SkyRaider 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 Capture and Resolution Tab on the MallincamSky ToolBar, and select
the Largest resolution values that you SkyRaider is capable of.
The SkyRaiderDS2.3 Plus currently has only one resolution of 1920 x 1200, so it is set
for you.
Step 4
If you are going to be saving and processing images taken with the SkyRaider,
you may want to increase the Bit depth to the highest value your particular
SkyRaider camera supports.
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Due to the Large Exposure times, you will be using in imaging Deep Sky Objects,
the SkyRaider (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 MallincamSky software can
remove this noise, by applying pre-prepared Dark Fields to your images,
effectively removing the noise.
Step 5
Either place the Lens cap over your Telescope, or place the dust cover cap over
your SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus camera to block any light from hitting the sensor of the
camera.
Step 6
Open up the Dark Field Correction Tab on the Left SideBar of MallincamSky. You
will normally determine the maximum exposure time that you will be using for the
evening, but to get started for the first time, we will choose 5 exposures of 30
seconds. Adjust the Quantity to 5.
Step 7
Select an Exposure Time for Dark Field Correction
With the Camera Tab selected on the Left SideBar, Left-Click
on the Capture & Resolution (if you are in Video Mode, a
Green Rectangle with the word Exposure will appear in your
Video Window).
You must determine what you believe will be the maximum
exposure for this session. As, you will create Dark Field’s with
this time (or close to it). In this example, we will choose 30
seconds.
In the Capture & Resolution Tab; Click on the Trigger Mode
Radial Button (Trigger Mode is used to select any exposure
time over 5 seconds).
Move the Gain Slider to about 50.
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Either enter in the time into the appropriate exposure time unit boxes, or use the
up and down arrows beside the chosen Exposure time unit to set your maximum
time. For us, set the seconds (s) time unit to 30 for 30 seconds.
To start the SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus taking continuous exposures, Left-Click on the
Loop button.
Since we have chosen 30 seconds, you will notice, on the bottom right of the
Main Window of MallincamSky, the Time Left indicator. This indicator shows you
the remaining time of the current set exposure time.
The example on the left is telling us that we have 24 seconds
remaining on our 30 second exposure.
Step 8
Take Dark Field Correction
Ensure that the cover is either on the SkyRaider Camera or the
Telescope itself is covered, then Left-Click on the Dark Field
Correction Line.
The Dark Field Correction Line will open up allowing you to
select the Quantity of Dark Fields and the option to start the
Dark Field Capture process.
Select 5 for the Quantity, then Left-Click on the Capture Button
(which will change its name to Stop, in case you need to
abort the Dark Field capture). The Software will display its
progress above the selected Quantity. Remember, it is
beneficial to set the Dark Field exposure time greater than the
longest time you will be imaging at.
As the Dark Fields are being exposed, you can watch the exposure counter in
the Dark Field Correction Tab go up to let you know how many Dark Fields have
been taken (2 out of 5 in the above example).
Once the Dark Fields have been taken, you have the option of saving them by
Clicking on the Export button and saving them in a folder of your choice. This
way you can use then again on another night.
You can also import previously saved Dark Fields by using the Import Button.
Now is the time to get busy with actually imaging our Deep Sky Object since the
preliminary work is done. So, remove the Len Cap from the Telescope, or Len
Cover from the SkyRaider.
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Hopefully, your telescope is mostly polar aligned, and you are ready to visit your
first DSO, and produce an image to impress one friends, neighbors, and spouse
(so you can justify spending all of your hard-earned money on those extra pieces
of equipment that you just had to have for imaging).
The first thing we need to align and verify focus of our Telescope. To do that we
only need a short duration exposure (under 5 seconds), so we will use Video
Mode.
Step 9
Open up the Capture and Resolution Tab, and ensure that the Auto Exposure
box is unchecked. Move the Gain slider to about the same value you set in the
Dark Field, say 5.
Step 10
Now Select the Video Mode Radial indicator button, then either use the slider or
Click on the Current Exposure Time Value to open up the Exposure Time Window.
Enter in 1 second (1000 ms) in this window and Click the OK button to accept.
Hint
If the Green Exposure Rectangle annoys you, you can Left-Click Hold and Drag
corners of the rectangle to resize it to either cover the whole image window, or
even to be a zero-size box at one of the corners of your image window. This way
you can always have the Capture and Resolution Tab open without the
annoying green rectangle in the middle of your image.
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). This is a great time to check your focus as the images will be
updated very quickly. You can use the Crosshair’s Button at the top of the
MallincamSky Window to assist in centering you object (or focus a star). Click on
the Crosshair to activate, and again Click on the Crosshair to deactivate it.
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.
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Step 11
October 28, 2017
If the Capture and Resolution Tab is not open, then Click on it to expand its
Window.
When imaging Deep Sky Objects, we will need to use an exposure over 5
seconds (5000ms), this is where the Trigger Mode comes in, on the SkyRaider
DS2.3 Plus.
➢ Click on the Trigger Mode Radial selection button to activate Trigger
Mode.
➢ Set your exposure to a large value, say 30s as a starting point (we are
using 30 seconds, 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 Click in the Time Unit Box and enter in an amount (30
seconds) using your Keyboard.
o You can Click on the up or down arrow in the Time Unit Box of
choice to move the exposure time to your required value (30
seconds).
➢ Click on the Single Button to a take a single exposure to see if the image
of the object is close to the brightness you need.
➢ If you are satisfied with the single image, then Click on the Loop Button to
have the SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus continuously take images (at 30 seconds in
our example.
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Since we have chosen 30 seconds, MallincamSky will continuously display the
exposure time and the current amount of time left in the exposure info box
located on the Bottom Right side of the MallincamSky Window (MallincamSky
does this automatically for any exposure over 3 seconds).
The example on the left is telling us that we have 24 seconds
remaining on our 30 second exposure.
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.
Now, that we have an image that we are happy with, it is time to enable Dark
Field subtraction (if you took Dark Field Images).
Step 12
Click on the Enable CheckBox in the Dark Field
Correction Tab. Dark Fields will be automatically be
applied during the next image refresh, so in our
example you may have to wait up to 30 seconds
before the Dark fields are applied.
M57, 20 Seconds exposure, VRC 6", F/4.5
with MallinCam 0.5X focal reducer, NO
Dark Field Correction. No processing, as
seen live on monitor. Single frame.
M57, 20 Seconds exposure, VRC 6", F/4.5
with MallinCam 0.5X focal reducer, One
Single DARK FIELD CORRECTION APPLIED
LIVE, no processing, as seen live on
monitor, Single frame.
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).
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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 MallincamSky.
Step 13
Hint
Step 14
Click on the Color Balance Tab and the Color Adjustment Tab to open them up
and have access to the Color Balance and Color Adjustment (Contrast,
Gamma, …) settings to tweak your image.
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 MallincamSky. 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. The best part, is if
the mess up, there is always the Defaults Button to bring your image back.
To finely adjust the image characteristics, open up
the Histogram Tab, and either enter in the Left and
Right values, or Left-Click-Hold and Drag the two
Vertical Bars 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. For more detailed
information on how to use the Histogram Tab,
locate that section in the User Manual. Set the
exposure so that the peak of the Histogram is
someplace between 50 and 100.
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Remember, every adjustment in MallincamSky such as Exposure, Gain, Gamma,
Brightness, Contrast, … will not appear on the Video Window until the SkyRaider
has done its next refresh (which depends upon the current exposure time).
This is where you should 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.
Step 15
To shorten the exposure (also reduces
the resolution), you have the option of
selecting Digital Binning. You can
choose no Binning (1) all the way to 4 x 4
Binning. Note, you will need to re-adjust
appropriate histograms, contract, …
after choosing a binning number. You
will also notice the Video Screen image
size is reduced to match the “digital
resolution” of the Mallincam Camera
when the Digital Binning is applied. You
need only increase the Zoom factor to
increase the size of the window.
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5.
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The SkyRaider 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.
Top Menu Line
File
This Drop-Down Menu will allow you to Load and
Save images, play video files.
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Open Image
The Open Image command is used to open an existing image file. This command
can also be used to preview an image in small size, or to view its statistics and
information without actually opening the image itself. You can use this
command to quickly locate a particular image on your computer. MallincamSky
supports, and can open a variety of image formats. These are identified in the
Files of type list box.
MallincamSky can open more than one image simultaneously by:
➢ Ctrl + Left Mouse Click on each required File, then Left-Click on Open
➢ Shift + Left Mouse Click method to highlight the files to be opened, then
Left-Click on Open
When an image is opened, MallincamSky places it into a new image window
and it then becomes the active image.
MallincamSky maintains, at the File>Recent Files submenu, a list of the last
opened files.
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Open Video
Use the Open Video Command to open an existing video on your computer.
The Open Video command is only enabled when no SkyRaider Camera is
present when MallincamSky is started. Only a single video can be opened at a
time. If the SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus is active, then this Open Video command will be
disabled.
Hint
Right-Click on Video [SkyRaiderDS2.3PLUS] Title in Video Window, then choose
Close. This will shut-down the video stream and allow you use the File>Open
Video command.
Select the name of the file you want to open. If the file does not appear, select
the option for showing all files from the Video Files Drop-Down Button. The video
file type can be wmv, asf, or avi format.
You can preview the Video by Left-Clicking on the Play Button on the Preview
Window on the right side of the Open Window.
Click on the Open Button to open a video file, this will create a New Video
Window and begin to start playing the video stream. The video window will be
associated a name called “Video [XXX.XXX]” (i.e., its title bar will display “Video
[XXX.XXX]”, here, XXX.XXX is the video file name). No sound will be heard when
playing the video stream.
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Save
The Save command allows you to save the updated image (not live Video) onto
your computer. The command immediately stores the current window image to
its filename (the filename is listed on the window's title bar) while leaving the
image still active in its window.
If the image is untitled or titled with a digit, MallincamSky will issue the File>Save
As dialog automatically. The default “Save as type” will be “Window Bitmap
(*.bmp,*.dib,*.rle)”.
The File>Save command can be used to save the most recent changes to disk. It
is often performed as a precautionary measure during lengthy or involved
processes to reduce the amount of reprocessing that might be required in the
event of a system failure or operational error.
When an image is being closed (Right-Click on Image title) and you have
chosen not to save its changes from the Popup Window, MallincamSky discards
all changes made since the last File>Save operation.
The File>Save command saves the contents of the entire window, unless if there
was an ROI (Region of Interest) defined on it, in which case it will save the ROI
contents. The File>Save command will be disabled if the file is not changed or
the changes have been saved.
Save As …
The Save As command allows you to save an image onto your computer with a
specified file format. At the end of a File>Save As ••• operation, the image
window will be associated with the new file and the new format (i.e., its title bar
will display the new file name). MallincamSky supports the following file formats:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Window Bitmap (*.bmp,*.dib,*.rle)
JPEG (*.jpg,*.jpeg,*.jpe,*.jif,*.jfif)
Portable Network Graphics (*.png)
Tag Image File Format (*.tif, *.tiff)
PCX(*.pcx)
Targa (*.tga)
JPEG 2000 Standard (*.jp2)
JPEG 2000 Codestream (*.j2k)
MallincamSky File Type (*.tft)
FITS (*.fit, *.fits)
The Save As command has several important uses beyond simply storing an
image to a new file name. Left-Click on the Option button to select the different
parameters to encode the file (based on selected Save as Type).
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JPEG
Image quality
Progressive
Optimize Huffman codes
Smoothing
Save these setting as defaults
If you save an image in JPEG format (*.jpg),
you may adjust image quality in the edit box.
The values range from 0 to 100. Default value
is 75.
The default is unchecked.
The default is unchecked.
The values range between 0 and 100. The
default value is 0.
When saving a file, the current settings will be
saved as defaults for the next file save
operation.
PNG
Interlaced
Save these setting as defaults
The default is unchecked.
When saving a file, the current settings will be
saved as defaults for the next file save
operation.
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TIFF
Appended Pages
Compression
Image Quality
Save these setting as defaults
Determine whether the current image will be saved in
multiple pages’ style or not.
Specifies a method for compressing the composite
image data. For saving a 32-bit TIFF file, one can
specify that the file be saved with predictor
compression, but have no option to use JPEG
compression.
If choosing Compressions as "JPEG", the Image quality
can be adjusted by the slider bar. The values range
between 0 and 100. The Default value is 75.
When saving a file, the current settings will be saved
as defaults for the next file save operation.
JPEG 2000
Compress Ratio
Save these setting as defaults
If choosing Compressions as "JPEG 2000", the
Image quality can be adjusted by the slider
bar. The values range between 0 and 100.
The Default value is 0.
When saving a file, the current settings will be
saved as defaults for the next file save
operation.
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TFT
Compression
Image Quality
Save these setting as defaults
Choose Lossless or JPG (Lossy)
If choosing Compressions as "JPEG", the
Image quality can be adjusted by the slider
bar. The values range between 0 and 100.
The Default value is 75.
When saving a file, the current settings will be
saved as defaults for the next file save
operation.
For Bitmap (*.bmp), PCX (*.pcx), Targa (*.tga); There is no Option choices.
Batch Save…
The File>Batch Save••• command will be enabled when:
a) An image is opened.
b) An image is captured from the camera using Snap.
c) An image window is created by choosing the File>Paste as New File
command.
d) An image window is created copied from the Undo/Redo Sidebar.
To start the File>Batch Save•••command, you have to:
1. Choose the File>Batch Save ••• command which will bring up a Batch
Save dialog:
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Directory: Enter the name of the drive and directory where your captured
images will be saved. You may either type the path information, or use the
Browse button to locate it from a standard Browse Folder dialog.
Name Format: The year, month, date, hour, minute and second or a
number nnnn (sequence) are used as part of the filename. If more files are
saved within a second when using a time format, a (xx) suffix is attached
to the end of Name Format to avoid the possible name conflict. For the
nnnn (sequence) “Name Format”, no suffix is needed.
File Prefix: Enter a file name prefix for Batch Save when generating files
names for a series of images. This prefix will be combined with Name
Format to form a final file name naming paradigm.
File Type: In this combo box, select the format in which you want the
image to be saved (can be BMP, JPG, PNG, TIF). Click the Option Button
to set the different parameters for encoding the file (For BMP format, the
Option will be disabled. See File>Save As ••• command about the details
of the format encoding methods).
Sample: The final file name is shown at the right of the Sample label for
quick reference to see if you like it.
2.
Once the settings are made, Left-Click the OK button to begin the file
batch save process or Cancel to cancel the File>Batch Save •••
command and return to the application.
When the File>Batch Save••• command has finished, the Title on the Image Tab
or Image Window will be modified with the file name formed in the Batch Save
dialog.
The File>Batch Save••• will perform no saving operation if the file is not modified.
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Paste as New File
The File>Paste as New File command will be enabled when there is valid image
data on the clipboard first (see the Edit>Copy command). If there is no image
data on the clipboard, the File>Paste as New File command will be disabled.
Choose the File>Paste as New File command to place the contents of the
clipboard image into a new image window, which becomes the active image.
The new image type will be the same as that of the original image.
This is useful for bringing in a previously saved image (that you have selected via
the operating systems copy command) into the MallincamSky Image Window.
You can modify the image properties via the Image Menu choice (see Image
section in user Manual).
MallincamSky will accept image data from other applications via the clipboard
as long as it is in Windows Bitmap (DIB) format.
MallincamSky will assign a digit to the Paste as New File command in the
created image window Title Bar.
Recent Files
MallincamSky maintains 4 (default) of the most recently opened document files
under the Recent Files command. Choosing one of these submenus will reopen
that file immediately.
➢ The maximum number of Recent Files can be modified by choosing the
Options>Preferences••• command and clicking the Misc selection. Here,
clicking the 4 (default) edit box will allow you to enter the number of the
Recent Files Submenu that you want. The value ranges from 0 to 8, the
default is 4;
➢ One can also check the Clear the Recent Files when exit the application
to clear the Recent Files after exiting the MallincamSky application.
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Exit
Choosing the File>Exit command will close video, all of the image windows and
Browse window and remove their windows from the screen. After all of the
windows are closed, MallincamSky will end itself.
If an image has been modified before attempting to Exit, MallincamSky will issue
a warning to ask if user wants to save the images or not.
Edit
This Drop-Down Menu will allow you to Cut, Copy and
Paste Layers over your images. From the Edit Menu
you can also select a Region of Interest (ROI) from
your image and copy it to the Windows Clipboard, or
even de-select the ROI if you have changed your
mind.
Cut
This command is or future implementation (I cannot find a use for this
command).
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Copy
This Edit>Copy command can be used to copy a selected part of your image
(see Select Image command) to the Windows Clipboard. Then you can use
another software’s Paste Command to place this selected image inside that
software, or File>Paste as New File to paste into a new MallincamSky Window.
Hint
Using the Select Image command, you can select a region of your currently live
image (using the Left-click Hold and Drag technique) then choose Edit>Copy (or
Ctrl+C). Now you can Paste that selected image into another document (such
as Microsoft Word, or Microsoft Paint) for later use.
Paste
This control allows you to place a Copied File (you have previously selected the
File and then used Edit>Copy) into your currently selected folder. Remember to
use File>Paste as New File to paste image into a new MallincamSky Window.
Paste Shortcut
This control allows you to place a copied File Shortcut (you have previously
selected the File and then have used Edit>Copy) into your currently selected
folder.
Delete
This control allows you to delete a selected file from your currently selected
folder.
Image Select
You can select a Region of Interest on your Image Tab (live or static) by using the
Left-Click Hold and Drag technique. Once selected then you can Copy (Ctrl+C)
the selected region and then Paste it into another software program.
Select All
You use this command to select the Whole Video Image Window (live or static).
Once selected, then you can Copy (Ctrl+C) the selected region and then Paste
it into another software program or File>Paste as New File to paste image into a
new MallincamSky Window.
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Select None
This command can be used to De-Select the image that was selected using
either the Image Select or the Select All commands.
View
This Drop-Down Menu will allow you to Browse folders,
Display or Remove Tabs from the Sidebar, Activate
Grids or Reticles on the Video Window, Change the
Video Window Size to match your computer realestate, and Allow you to move the image around in
your Video Window.
Browse
The View>Browse command from the View Menu (or the
Browse Icon on the Icon Tool Bar) is used to browse
images under the specified directory in the Folders
Sidebar.
The Browse Window resembles the Windows Explorer. LeftClicking on the + will expand a folder so that you can
examine its contents.
You can Right-Click on a Folder (or file) and the actual
Windows controls will pop as in Windows Explorer.
As you get deeper into the Browse Window, you can
Back-Out or Move Deeper via the Green Left or Right
Arrow in the Browse Window.
The Blue Right Arrow will take you to your computer’s Root Directory.
Left-Double Clicking on a Folder will open up a Window Tab in the Video Window
(this Window will be labeled Browse). This Tab will display all of the graphic files
inside that Folder. If you Left-Double Click on a Graphics File inside the Video
Window, it will open up that Graphics File in a new Tab in the Video Window.
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You can close the Browse Tab in the Video Window by Right-Clicking on the
Tab’s Title (Browse), then choosing Close.
Sidebar
The SideBar can contain 3
different Tabs: Camera, Folders,
and Undo/Redo.
Left-Click on the SideBar control to expand it. You will see the 3 choices (each
with a check-mark beside it), Left-Click on the check-mark to Select or DeSelect which ones of the 3 you would like to see displayed in the SideBar.
The Tabs on the SideBar can remain docked to the SideBar or can be free
floating. Just use the Left-Click Hold and Drag technique to move the Tab to
another location on your Desktop Window.
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To Dock the Floating Tab back to the SideBar, just Left-Double Click on its Name.
Grids
The View>Grids control has the
ability to display a grid overlay
on top of your Video Window.
You can use the Auto Grid style
of create your own grid format.
Left-Click on the choice you require (No Grids, Auto Grids, or Manual Grids) to
activate.
Auto Grids
Auto Grids can be set in the View>Grids>Settings control.
This command will pop-up the Preferences Window.
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Left-Click on the Grids option on the left of the Preferences Window and adjust
the Style (No Grid, Auto Grid, and Manual Grid), Line Style (Solid, Dash, Dot, or
DashDot), and Color that you are interested in.
Left-Click on the Apply button to display the Grid, then Left-Click on OK to
accept.
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Manual Grids
Choosing this control will display two small Blue Right Arrow and Down Arrows
overlaid on the top of the Vertical Ruler and on the left of the Horizontal Ruler as
shown below:
Use the Left-Click Hold and Drag technique to move the Blue Down Arrow along
the Horizontal Ruler to where ever you want. When it is dragging over the
video/image, there will be a Vertical Line (in the Color and Style chosen by you)
aiding you in judging where to release this line on the video/image. You can
drag as many lines as you require to overlay them on the video/image.
Similarly, you can drag down as many Vertical Lines as you like to create Vertical
Grids.
Hint
You can at any time, grab and move the Blue Arrows to adjust the locations of
the Horizontal and Vertical Grid Lines.
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No Grids
The No Grids control can be used to temporarily remove the grid overlay from
the video/Image.
If you re-select Manual Grids, your previous designed Grid Lines will re-appear.
Remove All Grids
This will remove the Grid Overlay from your video/image. It will also delete your
Manual Grid Lines settings (thus allowing you to create a new set of Manual Grid
Lines).
Best Fit
Select the control View>Best Fit to automatically resize the image/video to fit
inside the Video Window Tab.
Actual Size
Select the control View>Actual Size to reset the Zoom to 100% (Actual Size will be
disabled if the View is already set to 100%) and place the image/video inside the
Video Window Tab.
Full Screen
Selecting the View>Full Screen control will display the video window in full screen
mode. You will not see any commands or controls while in this mode.
Pressing the Esc key on your keyboard will return MallincamSky to the Default
Video Window.
Track
If the video/image's actual size is larger than the video/image Window, then this
control will allow you to position the actual video/image within in the
video/image Window. This control is activated automatically when necessary.
Its function is similar to the scroll bars. It is an alternative to using the arrows on the
scroll bars for positioning the video/image within the window. Position the mouse
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(make sure to choose a location outside a Region of Interest rectangle. You may
need to close the ROI rectangle if necessary) on the actual video/image.
Left-Click and Hold (the Open Hand will change to a Closed Hand). Now drag
the image around inside the video/image Window
If the video/image size is smaller than the video/image Window size, then the
track operation will be disabled.
Reticles
MallincamSky provides three Reticles (or cross-hairs) styles to aid in aligning your
telescope to a star (or another stellar object). You can change the color of the
Reticle via the Option>Preferences control in the Top Menu Line.
Left-Click on Reticle
icon to Activate and
Left-Click again on
Reticle icon to DeActivate.
Browse
This command is used to determine how MallincamSky
should display the graphic files when you are viewing
the Folders. This command will allow you to change the
size of the image icons, determine how to sort the files,
add shortcuts to the folders, delete files, refresh the
folders, and even determine the properties of the image
file all without having to perform these tasks thru the
Windows Environment.
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Sort
This control allows you the option of
rearranging the image files via a
variety of choices (Name, Type, size,
Width, and Height. All in either
Ascending or Descending order.).
Just Left-Click on the choice that best
suits your needs and MallincamSky
will automatically rearrange the files.
Icons
This control allows you to display the Graphic Files as
either Large or Small Icons. Simply Left-Click to make
your Selection.
Refresh
This control allows you to refresh the contents of the currently selected folder.
Properties
This control will display the current File properties for the Graphics File that you
have selected (This is identical to Right Clicking on a File while using Windows
Explorer).
Open Record Folder
This control will display the current Video Record Folder (the default Video
Record Folder is selected thru the Options->Preference Command).
Open Image Folder
This control will display the current Image Folder (the default Image Folder is
chosen by using the Options->Preference Command)
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Setup
This Top Menu Line Command is used to
provide you information about the
SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus Camera activated thru
MallincamSky, as well as test the ST4 port on
the camera. You can also pause the Video
image on the Video Window from here.
Start/Pause
Left-Clicking on this control will Pause the SkyRaider Camera’s live display. LeftClicking on this control again will activate the live display.
View Properties…
Left-Clicking on this control will pop-up the View Properties Window that contains
information about the currently activated SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus Camera.
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ST4 Test…
The SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus series of
cameras have a ST4 port, so it can
be used to AutoGuide your
telescope mount.
This control is used to check if the
camera can correctly communicate
with the Telescope Mount.
Connect the ST4 cable provided with the SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus Camera to the ST4
Port on your Telescope Mount. Turn on the Telescope Mount to ensure that it is
ready to be tested.
Left-Click on this control and the ST4 Popup Window will appear.
The ST4 Window will contain 4 Green Arrow keys that when pressed will send a
specific direction command thru the ST4 cable. Press each Green Arrow and
note if the Telescope Mount moves in a specific direction.
Due to the various orientations of the SkyRaider Camera once inserted inside the
telescope, the Green Directions Arrows will not necessarily match the direction of
Mount movement. Don’t worry, all guiding software will automatically orient itself
with the movements.
You can abort the movement by Left-Clicking on the Red Stop button in the ST4
Popup Window.
The number box located in the middle of the 4 Green direction Buttons can be
increased or decreased to affect the distance the Telescope Mount moves
when a Green Direction Button is pressed. You can directly enter a number into
the number box, or Left-Click on the up and down arrows to scroll up or down
the value in the number box.
Hint
Attempt to orientate the SkyRaider Camera in the eye piece holder of the
telescope in such a manner as to match the Green Directions Buttons movement
of the stars in the video display.
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Capture
This Top Menu Line command allows you a
more in depth capture routine of either a still
image or a video stream. This command will
offer connection to Night Skies Network (NSN)
in future releases.
Capture Image
During the video preview, you can always choose the Capture>Image Capture
command to capture the video image. After the image is captured, the
captured image (still image) will be placed the current active window with an
automated title (0001*).
The Capture>Capture Image menu now be disabled (as you are now viewing a
still image). If you wish to capture another image again, Left-Click the active
video window (Video [SkyRaiderDS2.3PLUS]) title to activate the Video Window
and the Capture>Capture Image menu will be enabled again.
Hint
The Snap Button on the Camera SideBar can continuously shoot the image even
if the video window is not activated. Left-Click this Snap button on the Camera
Sidebar to a capture image quickly
Only when the video window is active, the Capture>Capture Image menu will be
enabled. If the Live and Snap resolutions are different, then MallincamSky needs
to switch the resolution from Live to Snap in the background to capture an
image with Snap resolution. After the Snap is finished, then MallincamSky will
switch back to the Live resolution to continue the video stream process.
Therefore, it will take more time to capture a still image.
Auto Capture
This function can capture a sequence of pictures when using either Video Mode
or Trigger Mode.
First you must set up the location, File Format, Prefix, number of exposures
required in the Options>Preferences Tab (see OPTIONS Tab for more detail).
To start the capturing process, just Click on this tab or press the F7 Function key.
Note: Tab name will change to Stop Capture, so Click on it to stop the process.
You will see a counter on the bottom left of the screen indicating the capture
process i.e. 05/20 (this says taking the 5th image of the required 20).
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Start Record…
First you must set up the location, File Format, Prefix, and duration required for the
video in the Options>Preferences Tab (see OPTIONS Tab for more detail).
To start the capturing process, just Click on this Tab or press the F9 Function key.
Note: The Tab name will change to Stop Capture, so Click on it to stop the
process.
Hint
Follow instructions in User Manual on using the Record Button on Left Side Panel,
to record video in Trigger Mode as this command is identical.
When the Recording process starts, the SkyraideDS2.3 Plus will toggle the fans
when recording starts and when the recording sequence stops.
The only way to view Videos (must be saved in ser format) using MallincamSky is
to Right-Click on Video Tab to Close that Video Window, then you will be able
open a video using the File>Open Video command.
When capturing; the resolution is chosen from the Capture & Resolution settings
in the left window pane. You will also notice that the Blue Arrow Record icon now
change to a Red Stop icon. Clicking on this Button will stop the capture process.
Hint
Use Windows Explorer to View your saved videos.
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Batch Record
This command will allow you to save a sequence of video onto your computer.
You will need to have already chosen the location, number and duration of the
videos in the Option->Preferences… tab.
See Options->Preferences… Tab for more detailed information on setting up the
parameters for Batch Record, but below is a quick walk-through
In the Record Tab in Options->Preferences…, choose the location and file type
and duration for recorded Video Files
In the Batch Record Tab in Options->Preferences…, chose the number of Videos
to be recorded, plus the time interval between each Video.
Once these have been set, all you need to do is Click on the Batch Record Tab
(F10) in the Capture Tab.
MallincamSky will automatically start the recording process (notice how the
Batch Record Tab has changed (and the Record Button on Main Window turns to
a Red STOP symbol), it remains highlighted).
By Clicking on the Batch Record Tab again, MallincamSky will then abort the
whole capturing process.
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By Clicking on the Red STOP symbol, MallincamSky will only abort the current
Video, but will continue with the next sequence.
MallincamSky will also provide you in a status on how the recording are going by
displaying a Status Information line on the bottom of its window.
It will provide you the current status of the Recording process
And the current status of the pause between each Recording.
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Image
The Image menu will allow you to adjust the
properties or any captured image in an active
Image Tab in MallincamSky video/image
window.
Hint
You can use the SideBar’s Undo/Redo Tab to revert any correction back to a
previous state.
Mode
The Mode Control will
give you the ability
Color Quantize, Gray
Scale, and Decolorize
the selected still image.
The Color Quantize••• command is widely used
to change the image bit. MallincamSky supports
the mutual changes among 24 bit, 8 bit, 4 bit or 1
bit images. When the Colour Bits dialog is
opened, the default checked color bit is the
current image's color bit. Check the desired bit
and click OK to end the command. The image
will be converted to the selected color bits in the
image window.
The Gray Scale command to convert a color image (true color image or index
color image) to a gray scale image. If the original image is 24 bit, the new image
is 8 bit. Otherwise the bit of the image will not be modified.
The Contrast Preserving Decolorization command to convert a color image (true
color image or index color image) to a gray scale image with a unique algorithm
to preserved as much of the color contrast for each channel into Monochrome
image. If the original image is 24 bit, the new image is 8 bit. Otherwise the bit of
the image will not be modified.
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Adjust
The Adjust menu will allow you to adjust the
Brightness and Contrast of the image. You will
be able to modify the RGB Color balance, as
well as the High Lights, MidTones and
Shadows values. Color Curves and Filtering
algorithms are also in the menu control. You
will have the ability to Invert the image as well
as perform some Detail Enhancement
procedures on the image.
Adjust Brightness/Contrast
The Image>Adjust>Brightness/Contrast••• command offers simple adjustments
to the tonal range of an image. This command makes the same adjustment to
every pixel in the image. The Brightness/Contrast command does not work with
individual channels and is not recommended for high-end output because it
can result in the loss of details about the image.
Brightness: Dragging the slider bar to the left decreases the level and dragging it
to the right increases the level. The numbers on the right of the slider
bar displays the Brightness value. Values can range from -150 to
+150. The Default value is 0.
Contrast: Dragging the slider bar to the left decreases the level and dragging it
to the right increases the level. The numbers on the right of the slider bar
displays the Contrast value. Values can range from -150 to +150. The
Default value is 0.
Make your adjustments to the Brightness and Contrast values and Left-Click on
OK to accept.
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Color
Choose the Image>Adjust>Color••• command to modify the overall mixture of
the colors in an image.
There are four color modules that are supported by MallincamSky:
RGB
MallincamSky uses the RGB model. It assigns an intensity value
to each pixel ranging from 0 (black) to 255 (white) for each of
the RGB components in a color image.
For example, a bright red color might have an R value of 246, a
G value of 20, and a B value of 50. When the values of all three
components are equal, the result is a shade of neutral gray.
When the value of all components is 255, the result is pure white;
when the value is 0, pure black.
RGB images use three channels to reproduce up to 16.7 million
colors on-screen. In addition to being the default mode for new
Mallincam images, the RGB mode is used by computer monitors
to display colors. This means that when working in color modes
other than RGB, such as CMYK, MallincamSky uses RGB mode
for display on-screen.
Although RGB is a standard color mode, the exact range of
colors represented can vary, depending on the application or
display device.
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The CMYK mode is based on the light-absorbing quality of ink
printed on papers. As white light strikes translucent inks, certain
visible wavelengths are absorbed while others are reflected
back to the eyes.
In theory, pure cyan (C), magenta (M), and yellow (Y) pigments
should combine to absorb all light and produce black. For this
reason, these colors are called subtractive colors. Because all
printing inks contain some impurities, these three inks actually
produce a muddy brown and must be combined with black (K)
ink to produce a true black. (K is used instead of B to avoid
confusion with blue.) Combining these inks to reproduce color is
called four-color process printing.
The subtractive (CMY) and additive (RGB) colors are
complementary colors. Each pair of subtractive colors creates
an additive color, and vice versa.
HSI
Based on the human perception of color, the HIS model
describes three fundamental characteristics of colors:
Hue is the color reflected from or transmitted through an object.
It is measured as a location on the standard color wheel,
expressed as a degree between 0° and 360°. In common use,
Hue is identified by the name of the color such as red, orange,
or green.
Saturation, sometimes called Chroma, is the strength or purity of
the color. Saturation represents the amount of gray in proportion
to the hue, measured as a percentage from 0% (gray) to 100%
(fully saturated). On the standard color wheel, Saturation
increases from the center to the edge.
Intensity is the relative lightness or darkness of the color, usually
measured as a percentage from 0% (black) to 100% (white).
HLS
The HLS model is very similar to the HSI color model. The main
difference between them is the calculation used to produce
the brightness value. In the HLS model, a pixel's brightness (L) is
derived from its three (R, G and B) color values. That is, a pixel's
brightness (L) is determined by the minimum and maximum
values of its three-color values.
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The values beside the slider bar show the color changes in various color
channels.
•
•
•
•
The RGB channel values can range from -100 to +100. The Default values
are 0.
The CMYK channel values, they can range from -100 to +100. The Default
values are 0.
In the HSI channel, the H value can range from -180 to 180, the S value
can range from -275 to 275, and the I value can range from -442 to 442.
The Default value are 0.
In the HLS channel values, the H value can range from -180 to 180, the L
value can range from -100 to 100, and the S value can range from -100 to
100. The Default values are 0.
HMS
Select the Image>Adjust>HMS••• command to adjust the HL (Highlight), M
(Midtone), and S (Shadow) parts of the image.
Each part's value ranges from -100 to 100. This command is only available for 24bit true color image.
Curve
Sometimes you may desire more precise
control, or more unusual, nonlinear
effects. The Curves tool in MallincamSky
provides more arbitrary remapping of
the color channels; it is the colorcorrection tool of choice among many
print and photographic professionals.
Using Curves, the input-output mapping
of color channels can be defined by an
arbitrary cubic spline or can be drawn
freehand. This flexibility provides extreme
generality.
It is worth the effort to review how color curves work in such graphics programs
such as Photoshop (tons of information about curves on the internet).
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Filter Color…
Select the Image>Adjust>Filter Color
command to filter out a special color
channel from a color image. Check
either Red, Green, or Blue color to
filter.
For Example, if Red color is checked,
then only information about the Red
channel will be discarded. The Green
and Blue information will remain
there.
Extract Color…
Select the Image>Adjust>Filter Color
command to retain a special color
channel from a color image. Check
either Red, Green, or Blue color to
filter.
For Example, if Red color is checked,
then only information about the Red
channel will be retained. The Green
and Blue information will be
discarded.
Invert
Select the Image>Adjust>Invert command to reverse the pixel values of the
active image.
Edge Preserving Smooth
This control looks for the most
homogeneous neighborhood area around
each point in a picture, and then gives
each point the average gray level of the
selected neighborhood area. It removes
noise in a flat region without blurring sharp
edges, nor destroying the details of the
boundary of a region. This smoothing also
has the ability to sharpen blurred edges.
Choose either a Recursive or the Normalized Convolution. By adjusting the
Spatial Sigma (like the domain) and the Range Sigma, you can affect how many
pixels the algorithm uses when applying the smoothing.
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Detail Enhance
This filter works by
identifying sharp edge
boundaries in the image,
such as the edge
between a subject and a
background of a
contrasting color, and
increasing the image
contrast in the area
immediately around the
edge. This has the effect
of creating subtle bright and dark highlights on either side of any edges in the
image, called overshoot and undershoot, leading the edge to look more
defined when viewed from a typical viewing distance.
Choose either a Recursive or the Normalized Convolution. By adjusting the
Spatial Sigma (like the domain) and the Range Sigma, you can affect how many
pixels the algorithm uses when applying the smoothing.
Rotate
This control allows you to rotate and or flip your image
across an axis.
Your options include:
➢
➢
➢
➢
Rotate the image90 degrees Clockwise (CW)
Rotate the image 180 degrees Clockwise (CW)
Rotate the image 270 degrees Clockwise (CW)
Rotate the image an Arbitrary amount
To Rotate the image a specified
amount (in degrees) in a chosen
direction (clockwise or counter
clockwise), Left-Click on the Arbitrary
control. When this option is selected,
the Image Rotate Window will popup,
where you can enter in the required
values. You also have two redrawing
algorithm choice for it to use when
rotating the image (Bilinear or
Bicubic). Bicubic seems to be better
for images, but it is your choice that
counts.
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This control also allows you to flip your image Horizontally or Vertically.
Flip Horizontal reverses the image in the application area so that the top right
corner of the original image is now the top left, and the top left corner of the
original image is now the top right corner.
Flip Vertical reverses the image in the application area so that the top right
corner of the original image is now the bottom right corner, and the top left
corner of the original image is now the bottom left corner.
Crop
Choose the Image>Crop command to remove the portions of an image that
does not want so that the focus is on the part of the image that is left.
First select Edit>Image Select (the mouse cursor will change into cross hairs) from
the Top Menu Line. Next use the Left-Click Hold and Drag technique to draw a
rectangle around the portion of the image you would like to keep. Finally select
Image>Crop and your image window will now only contain the portion of the
original image that was inside the Image Select’s Rectangle.
When you create an Image Select Rectangle, you can Left-Click Hold and Drag
the rectangle around your full image to move it to a different location.
You can also resize the Image Select Rectangle by grabbing one of the little
boxes around the rectangle and dragging the mouse to increase, decrease, or
change dimensions of the rectangle.
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Scale…
Select the Image>Scale•••
command to change the
image to a specified size. This
process actually changes
spatial resolution by adding
(replicating) or removing
(decimating) pixels to achieve
the specified dimensions.
Width and Height:
When choosing the Image Scale command; the dialog
box displays the dimensions of the original image in pixels.
The Width and the Height can be set on the new image
by adding or removing pixels. If Constrain Proportions is
checked, the Width and Height will stay proportionate to
each other. If the Constrain Proportions is unchecked, the
Width and the Height can be set independently, but this
will distort the image.
Reset:
Resets the image’s Width and Height to the original
settings.
Constrain Proportions: To maintain the current proportions of pixel Width and
Height, check Constrain Proportions. This option
automatically updates the Width as the Height is modified,
and vice versa. Otherwise, uncheck the Constrain
Proportions button.
Scale method:
There are 2 options for the algorithm that the Scale
method uses to resize the image. They are: Bilinear, and
Bicubic. The default scaling method is Bilinear.
Once you have selected your parameters, Left-Click on OK to make the new
Image Scale final.
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Histogram
A Histogram illustrates how
pixels in an image are
distributed by graphing the
number of pixels at each
color intensity level. The
Histogram shows detail in
the shadows (shown in the
left part of the histogram),
mid-tones (shown in the
middle), and highlights
(shown in the right part).
A Histogram can help you
determine whether an
image has enough detail to
make a good correction.
A histogram is a mathematical graph that shows you the current tonal range of
an image. This way you can evaluate it and, if necessary, correct it.
Tonal range refers to the range of brightness levels in the image. A histogram
shows us how much of the image is currently pure black, how much is currently
pure white, and how much of it falls somewhere in between.
It is very important to note that even though we're talking about brightness
levels, we're not just talking about black and white (grayscale) images, but
Histograms work equally well, and are just as important, with full color images.
This is because, even though we don't always think of color as being anything
but color; yet every color in your image has its own brightness level.
Orange, for example, are typically very light; while blues and reds are much
darker. These differences in brightness values mean that color can have a huge
impact on the tonal range of your image.
Do a Google Search on How to Read and Understand Image Histograms in
Photoshop to find out more information on how to use Histograms to improve
your images.
Choose the Image>Histogram••• command to open the Histogram Window.
Depending on the image’s color mode, choose R, G and B, or Luminosity to view
a composite Histogram of all the channels.
If the image is RGB true color, choose Luminosity to display a Histogram
representing the luminance or intensity values of the composite channel.
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If the image is RGB true color, choose R, G and B to display a composite
Histogram of the individual color channels in color.
Do one of the following:
➢ To view information about a specific pixel value, place the mouse pointer
in the Histogram.
➢ To view information about a range of values, click down the Left-Click
hold and Drag the mouse into the Histogram to highlight the range.
The Histogram Window displays the following statistical information below the
Histogram:
Pixels:
Represents the total number of pixels used to calculate the
Histogram.
Level:
Displays the intensity level of the area underneath the pointer.
Count:
Shows the total number of pixels corresponding to the intensity level
underneath the pointer.
Percentile:
Displays the cumulative number of pixels at or below the level
underneath the pointer. This value is expressed as a percentage of
all of the pixels in the image, from 0% at the far left to 100% at the
far right.
The Histogram from Image>Histogram (still images) provides different information
about the video/image window than the SideBar’s Histogram (live video
capture).
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Process
MallincamSky provides some very advance image processing tools. You can
apply these tools to your image to tweak the final output. It would take a novel
to explain each of these standard graphical enhancement tools. So, I will leave it
up to you to Google Search the enhancement type to see if it is something you
could use.
Hint
You can use the SideBar’s Undo/Redo Tab to revert any correction back to a
previous state.
Stitch: See Stitch section later in the manual
You can find Enhancement Filters inside the Process command to sharpen your
image.
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You can modify the color effectiveness range with the Range control to color
sharpen your image.
You can modify the image the pixel/no pixel count with the Binary control
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You can examine the image as a 3-D color contour map with the 3-D setup
control
You can apply the Pseudo Color application tools to turn a Black and White
image into color tones.
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Image Stacking
Image Stacking control will allow you to select a saved video file, then it will do
an elementary stacking process on the file.
In the Image Stacking process, MallincamSky takes the first frame as the
reference image, this means the first frame is very important and should be
assure the first frame to be the right image scene and the subsequent frames
have a greater overlap region with the first frame.
The stacked image signal to noise ratio is greatly improved. The stacked image
may have had some black edges, this is because the images in the video has
moved and in the stacking process, MallincamSky will added black to the
image area that has no corresponding pixel in the reference image.
This Image Stacking process will not align the video images, so may be better
suited for Deep Sky than for planets.
Left-Click on the control and MallincamSky will open up a Dialog Window.
Using the Open Dialog Window move to the directory and Left-Click on the File
you would like to apply the Stacking process to, then Left-Click on Open.
MallincamSky supports the following video formats for the Image Stacking
process: wmv,asf,avi,mp4,m4v,3gp,3g2,3gp2,3gpp,mov,mkv,
flv,rm,and rmvb.
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MallincamSky will Open an Image Stacking Progress Bar to inform you of the
process.
Once completed, the stacked image will appear in the Video/Image window.
You can now apply other processing techniques to this image which has a large
signal to noise ratio.
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Options
The Options Menu provides 7 Tabs in the Preference Window. They are: Record,
Batch record, Auto Capture, File, Grids, Video, and Misc.
The Options/Preference/Record tab will allow you to set the location, File Format,
File Prefix, File Type, duration or Frame Limit for the Video recording of the current
SkyRaider camera.
Directory:
The file Directory can be select by Left- Clicking the Browse button (…).
File:
The File Name; This can be a combination of Name of Format, File Prefix, and File
Type (avi or ser format) as shown in the Sample.
Limit:
You can either choose capture a specific number of seconds (from 0 seconds to
36,000 seconds) or a specific number of frames (from 1 frame to 1,000,000
frames). Just Check the box under limit and enter the required amount. If none is
checked, MallincamSky will record until you Stop the recording by Clicking on
the Red Stop Recording button on the Left of the Screen.
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The Options->Preferences…->Batch Record tab will allow you to set the number
of Video recordings in the batch, plus the time interval between each separate
recording.
Clicking on OK accepts the settings.
The Options->Preferences…->Auto Capture tab will allow you to set the location,
file format, type, interval and number or required images for the Auto Capture
(F7) function of MallincamSky.
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Directory:
The file Directory can be select by Left- Clicking the Browse button (…). You can
also set a subfolder as a specific name such as the Target name.
File:
The File Name; This can be a combination of Name of Format, File Prefix, and File
Type as shown in the Sample. The File Type can be bmp, png, jpg, tiff or fits.
Capture every frame:
You can either choose capture every frame or select a Time slot. If Capture
every frame is chosen, then MallincamSky will capture the number of images
indicated by the Total Images count (do not leave unchecked).
Time Slot:
This Time slot (in Seconds from 2s to 3600s) is the time that MallincamSky waits
before capturing another image (5s would indicate waiting another 5 seconds
before capturing another image).
Total Images:
Checking Total Images will enable its edit box. You can enter the Total Images
(from 1 to 9999) to be captured. MallincamSky will stop the Time-lapse capture
process automatically when the Total Images are reached.
If Total Images is unchecked, MallincamSky will capture the images continuously
until you choose the Capture>Stop Auto capture command again to stop the
Time-Lapse capture.
Left-Click OK to begin the Time-lapse capture, or Cancel to cancel the Start
Time-Lapse (Auto Capture)••• command.
Clicking on the OK Button accepts the capturing settings. To active the
Capturing process use Capture->Auto Capture (F7).
After the Time-lapse capture is started, the Capture>Start Auto Capture••• menu
will be changed to the Capture>Stop Auto capture menu. Choosing this
command will stop the Time-lapse capture.
There are a variety of image formats available (they are bmp, jpg, png, and tif)
to save the captured image. For example, when choosing the jpg format, you
can set the parameters of Option to adjust its compression quality or encoding
method. Please check the File>Save As••• menu for more details.
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One can check a File Extension
for the specified file Format
and its Abbr. (abbreviation), to
determine whether or not it will
be displayed in the Browse
window or not (The checked
Format can be displayed in the
Browse window).
The Target Tab allows you to label the target that you are currently shooting. The
10 solar system objects are set as the defaults, but you may change the names
of the objects, add new objects, export or import list from others from this Tab.
The target list appears in the drop down list available on the Top Line icons.
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The Grids Tab allows you to determine if you would like a Grid displayed, and if
so how should it be draw. Grids can also be used to define the color of the
Reticle that can be drawn over the image.
Grid Style:
The Grid Style can be No Grid, Auto Grid or Manual Grid.
Default is No Grid.
Grid Line Style:
The Line Style for the grid can be Solid, Dash, Dot or DashDot.
The Default is Solid.
Grid Line Color: The color of the grid line. The Default color is Red (255,0, 0).
Reticle Color:
The color of the Reticle. The Default color is Red (255,0, 0)
You can overlay the
Date and Time on the
Video Window (With a
location and color of
your choice). You can
also have MallincamSky
display the Clarity
Factor (can assist in
focusing) on the image.
These overlays are
updated in Real-time.
For Example:
The settings on the Right will overlay the
video stream with
Will produce the
overlay in the top
left corner.
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The Misc page is mainly used
for the control of the
MallincamSky’s User
Interface. It mainly includes:
1. MallincamSky’s special file
format warning
information.
2. Sidebars.
3. User Interface Style;
4. Language.
5. Graphics accelerator
6. Privacy.
Just Left-Click in a checkbox to choose your required Option.
Window
The menu control will close all open windows
(Tabs), and can reset the lays back to its default
settings.
Close All
Selecting the Closes All command will close all of the pictures opened or
captured inside MallincamSky’s frame. If you have made any modifications to
the pictures or if you have captured some pictures from the camera, choosing
the Close All will let you finish the saving operations quickly.
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The Close All will actually close down the live Video Stream window. You can
now use the File>Open Video to view a saved video. Left-Click on camera will
again open the Video Stream window.
Reset Window Layout
Choosing this command will reset the MallincamSky window layout to the
original one. The reset will be effective after restart.
Windows…
Choosing the Windows>Windows••• control will open a dialog box that lets you
manage the currently opened windows.
The dialog allows you to manage large lists of open windows by assigning them
into groups. Let us say you have eight windows open, but want to close four of
them scattered through the list.
1. Choose the Windows>Windows••• control.
2. Select the windows you want to close. Hold Ctrl or Shift key to select more
than one at a time. Here, 4 windows are selected.
3. Click Close Window(s) button, those four selected windows will be closed,
leaving the other files or captures available for editing.
You can use this command to switch to a required window on a list by hitting
Activate.
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About
This control will popup a window that
informs you of the
version number,
and built date of
this version of
MallincamSky.
Left-Click on OK to
Close.
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MallincamSky Toolbar
Open
The Open Image command is used to open an existing image file. This command
can also be used to preview an image in small size, or to view its statistics and
information without actually opening the image itself. You can use this
command to quickly locate a particular image. MallincamSky supports and can
open a variety of image formats. These are identified in the Files of type list box.
MallincamSky can open more than one image simultaneously by:
➢ Ctrl + Left Mouse Click on each required file then Left-Click on Open
➢ Shift + Left Mouse Click method to highlight the files to be opened, then
Left-Click on Open
When an image is opened, MallincamSky places it into a new image window. It
then becomes the active image.
MallincamSky maintains, at the File>Recent Files submenu, a list of the last
opened files.
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Save
The Save Icon allows you to save an image onto your computer. The command
immediately stores the current window image to its file (the filename is listed on
the window's title bar) while leaving the image still active in its window.
If the image is untitled or titled with a digit, MallincamSky will issue the File>Save
As dialog automatically. The default “Save as type” will be “Window Bitmap
(*.bmp,*.dib,*.rle)”.
The Save Icon can be used to save the most recent changes to disk. It is often
performed as a precautionary measure during lengthy or involved processes to
reduce the amount of reprocessing that might be required in the event of a
system failure or operational error.
When an image is closed and not to save its changes is chosen, MallincamSky
discards all changes made since the last Save operation.
The Save Icon always saves the contents of the entire window, even if there is an
AOI (Area of Interest) defined on it;
Hint
The Save Icon can be used to save a Snap Shot to the default File folder of an
active Video Stream (it will ask you for a File Name).
Browse
The Browse Icon from the MallincamSky Tool Bar is used to browse images under
the specified directory in the Folders Sidebar.
This command is identical to hitting the Folder’s Tab at the bottom of the screen.
To return back to the Camera Bar, just Click on the Camera Tab located at the
bottom of the screen.
The Browse Window resembles the Windows Explorer. Left-Clicking on the + will
expand a folder so that you can examine its contents.
You can Right-Click on a Folder (or file) and the actual Windows controls will pop
as in Windows Explorer.
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As you get deeper into the Browse Window, you can Back-Out or Move Deeper
into the File Folders via the Green Left or Right Arrow in the Browse Window.
The Blue Right Arrow will take you to your computer’s Root Directory.
Left-Double Clicking on a Folder will open up a Window Tab in the Video Window
(this Window will be labeled Browse). This Tab will display all of the graphic files
inside that Folder. If you Left-Double Click on a Graphics File inside the Video
Window, it will open up that Graphics File in a new Tab in the Video Window.
Hint
You can close the Tab in the Video Window by Right-Clicking on the Tab’s Title
(Browse), then choosing Close.
Target
This icon allows you to give a name to the current Target that you are imaging.
You can add or change names in the Options->Preferences…->Target Tab. The
Target name can automatically be used as a suffix for a file folder name when
saving images or video captures.
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Auto Capture
This icon activates the Auto Capture routine in MallincamSky.
You must have previously chosen the File location, File Type, /Number of
required images, and the Time Interval between each captured image from the
Options->Preferences…-> Auto Capture Tab (see Options for more information).
Hint
The Auto Capture Icon will remain highlighted until the capture process is
completed. You can Abort the capture process at any time by again Clicking
on the Auto Capture icon.
MallincamSky will indicate the status of the Auto Capture process on the lower
left of the MallincamSky window.
Batch Record
This icon activates the Batch Record routine in MallincamSky.
You must have previously chosen the File location, File Type, /Number of
required Videos, and the Time Interval between each captured video from the
Options->Preferences…-> Batch Record Tab (see Options for more information).
Hint
The Batch Record Icon will remain highlighted until the capture process is
completed. You can Abort the capture process at any time by again Clicking
on the Batch Record icon.
MallincamSky will indicate the status of the Batch Record process on the lower
left of the MallincamSky window.
Pause Video Capture
This icon Pauses the Batch Record routine in MallincamSky. If will highlight when
you are able to pause a video capture.
Pause Video Capture
This icon will allow you to open up and view either the default Record or the
default Image folder. This way you can examine the results of the recording.
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Zoom
The Zoom Icon allows you to Zoom-In or Zoom-Out while viewing
a Video/image window. The Drop-Down list will off you the zoom
options. Just highlight the zoom option with your mouse and
release the mouse button.
Hint
You can change the Zoom by rolling your Mouse Wheel, if your
mouse has one.
Image Select
You can select a Region of Interest on your Image Tab (live or static) by using the
Left-Click Hold and Drag technique. Once selected then you can Copy (Ctrl+C)
the selected region and then Paste it into another software program.
Once a Region of Interest Rectangle is on the screen, you can drag it around, or
grab one of its handles and resize it.
Left-Clicking on the Image Select Icon again will remove the Region of Interest
Rectangle from the screen.
Track
If the video/image's actual size is larger than the video/image Window, then this
control will allow you to position the actual video/image within in the
video/image Window. This control is activated automatically when necessary.
Its function is similar to the scroll bars. It is an alternative to using the arrows on the
scroll bars for positioning the video/image within the window. Position the mouse
(make sure to choose a location outside a Region of Interest rectangle. You may
need to close the ROI rectangle if necessary) on the actual video/image.
Left-Click and Hold (the Open Hand will change to a Closed Hand). Now drag
the image around inside the video/image Window
If the video/image size is smaller than the video/image Window size, then the
track operation will be disabled.
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Histogram
This icon will display a real-time Histogram (for information purposes) beneath the
Video window being displayed. Clicking on the icon again will remove the
Histogram.
The icon has a pull-down tab where you can choose to display the real-time
Histogram in either a Linear or a Logarithmic scale. Clicking beside the scale
name will immediately make the change in the Histogram.
Reticle
MallincamSky provides three Reticles (or cross-hairs) to
aid in aligning your telescope to a star (or another
stellar object).
Left-Click on a Reticle Icon to activate it and LeftClick again to De-Activate.
You can Left-Click and Drag the location of the Reticle around the screen to
center it on an object of interest.
The
Reticle-Icon will automatically re-center the Reticle on your image.
You can change the color of the
Reticle via the Option>Preferences
control in the Top Menu Line.
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ST4 Test
If your SkyRaider camera (such as the SkyRaiderDS2.3) has a ST4 port, then it can
be used to AutoGuide your telescope mount.
This control is used to check if the camera can correctly communicate with the
Telescope Mount.
Connect the ST4 cable provided with the SkyRaider Camera to the ST4 Port on
your Telescope Mount. Turn on the Telescope Mount to ensure that it is ready to
be tested.
Left-Click on this control and the ST4 Popup Window will appear.
The ST4 Window will contain 4 Green Arrow keys that when pressed will send a
specific direction command thru the ST4 cable. Press each Green Arrow and
note if the Telescope Mount moves in a specific direction.
Due to the various orientations of the SkyRaider Camera once inserted inside the
telescope, the Green Directions Arrows will not necessarily match the direction of
Mount movement. Don’t worry; all guiding software will automatically orient itself
with the movements.
You can abort the movement by Left-Clicking on the Red Stop button in the ST4
Popup Window.
The number box located in the middle of the 4 Green direction Buttons can be
increase or decrease to affect the distance the Telescope Mount moves when a
Green Direction Button is pressed. You can directly enter a number into the
number box, or Left-Click on the up and down arrows to scroll up or down the
value in the number box.
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Attempt to orientate the SkyRaider Camera in the eye piece holder of the
telescope in such a manner as to match the Green Directions Buttons movement
of the stars in the video display.
Advance/Reverse
These icons allow you to advance or reverse the current frame when viewing a
Video in the ser format.
Hint
Recall: to load a video for examination and viewing first close down the live
camera window (this stops the camera). Then choose File->Open Video and
select the ser format video to view. The icons will now become active. You can
now restart the Mallincam camera if required.
Stitch
When the Video Window is active, choosing the Stitch Icon will invoke the video
Stitch dialog window as below:
The purpose on this control is to stich (glue) together images to create a
panoramic view (image) so plan ahead with this control; are you going to
create a horizontal panoramic image, or a vertical panoramic image.
➢ Have the camera viewing a specific location (or object), Now Left-Click
on the Snap button. This will place a snapshot in the viewing box.
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➢ Move the telescope so that you have some overlap in the image, and
Left-Click on the Snap button again.
➢ Repeat as needed.
➢ When you are completed taking the snaps, Left-Click on Next to bring up
the next Stich Window.
➢ Examine the options in this window and make the appropriate decisions
on how you would like MallincamSky to Stich the snapped images
together (this is where the pre-planning comes in handy). You will still be
experimenting with your decisions.
Panorama Straighten:
The image stitching direction can be Horizontal,
Vertical, or None.
Projection Type:
For image pieces that have been taken from
the same location, stitched images can be
arranged using one of following projection
mappings: Plane, Cylindrical, Spherical,
Fisheye, Stereographic, Mercator or Transverse
Mercator.
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Seam Finder:
MallincamSky provides four Sean Finding
algorithms: None, Voronoi Diagram, Graph Cut
Color, or Graph Cut Color Grad.
Exposure Compensation: This is used to minimize the exposure differences
between the stitched images. Compensation
algorithms available are: None, Gain, and
Blocks Gain.
Bundle Adjust:
This is the process of simultaneously refining the
3D coordinates that describe the geometry in
accounting for the relative motion of the
images. Two algorithms are available: Ray
Adjust and Reprojection Error.
➢ Once completed, Left-Click on Next to bring up the final Stich Window.
➢ Again, make some logical guesses with the numbers, and Left-Click on
the Finish button when decisions have been made.
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MallincamSky will work thru the Snaps (and apply the choices you have made)
and will place the final result in an image window for your viewing pleasure.
You can try other Stitching decision by having the Stitched imaged active in your
Video Window and Left Clicking on the Stitch Icon again. You will notice that
your original snapped image is available for you to play with and combine in
other ways.
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Preferences
This icon opens up the preferences window. This icon is identical to the Main Tab
line Options->Preferences… . See above in the Options Tab.
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Controlling the SkyRaider
Once you have a connection to the SkyRaider
Camera, your next task will be to adjust the
controls that make it possible to improve the
image the SkyRaider is capturing. These controls
are located on the Left SideBar Menu on
MallincamSky.
The Controls all have drop-down arrows; LeftClicking on the Down-Arrow in the control
heading will expand that control. Some controls
will also display a coloured rectangular box on
the Video Window to remind you that that
control is in effect. You will be able to collapse
the control window by Left-Clicking on the UpArrow on the control heading.
Camera List
The Camera List control lists the current SkyRaider cameras connected to the
computer. Left-Clicking on the camera name will start the camera video
window. You will see a tabbed frame (with SkyRaider Camera Name) appear in
the window after selecting the Camera from the list. If you are only using the
SkyRaiderDS2.3 Plus, then this is what you should see. Just Left-Click on
SkyRaiderDS2.3PLUS to activate the camera. You will see a Window open in the
Video Window, and you should hear the fan on the SkyraiderDS2.3 Plus start up.
You can only access one SkyRaider Camera at a time.
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Capture and Resolution
The Capture and Resolution Tab allows you to adjust the resolution (the current
SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus has a fixed resolution), modify the Gain, and choose the
type of Exposure Mode that you require for the camera.
Resolution
Located at the top of this control is the Resolution
Command. This command allows you to adjust both
the display and capture resolution of the SkyRaider
Camera (each model of the SkyRaider Camera will
have its own resolution settings that will appear in
the list). Once the resolution is set, this control will also
allow you to either take a snap shot of the image, or
save a video recording of what is currently being
displayed.
Left-Click on the Drop-Down list on the Resolution: to
see all the allowable resolutions available for your
SkyRaider. The SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus currently has
only one resolution 1920 x 1200. If other resolutions
are made available, you will have the ability to
change them.
The Snap Shot resolution is usually adjusted to match
the Live Resolution. But if your SkyRaider allows
independent settings, its Drop-Down List will be
enabled and you can select a resolution of the
saved image.
Snap
Left-Clicking on Snap will tell MallincamSky to display in a New Tabbed Window
containing a snap shot of the image that is currently being exposed by
SkyRaider Camera. The image will appear in the Video Display Window, with a
name which follows the naming convention nnnn* (for example 0001*).
Every time you Left-Click on Snap, another tabbed window with the name
number increased will appear in the Window. The image is only displayed in the
Video Window; it is not saved on your computer.
You can save the image (and thus rename it), by using the Save icon, or
File>Save As… command from the Top Menu Line.
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Record
This command is only available when the Mallincam SkyRaider is in Video Mode.
See the Top Line Capture Tab for details on how to record video when in Trigger
Mode.
Prior to pressing this icon, you must use the Options->Preferences… Tab to
choose the location, name, format, and duration of the video.
Left-clicking on the Record Icon will tell MallincamSky to start recording a video
of what is currently being captured by the SkyRaider (you will now be able to
see the image being recorded as the Record Button will activate the camera).
When the Mallincam SkyRaider is recording, the Icon will change to a Red STOP
Symbol. By Clicking on the Stop Icon, MallincamSky will terminate the Video
recording process.
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Gain
This control allows you to adjust the gain. Gain will brighten up the image (but it
can also brighten up the artifacts). The higher the Gain value; the shorter the
exposure that you will require. All you need to do is find the highest Gain value
that provides you with the image you are satisfied with.
The Gain Control Bar has an indicator to provide you with the current Gain
setting on the camera. Gain ranges from a low of 1 to a high of 50.
You can modify the Gain in two different ways:
➢ By Left-Click-Hold and Drag the marker bar to the required value.
➢ If you Left-Click on the Slider Bar (which selects it), you can use the Left
and Right Arrow Keys of your keyboard to move the slider (this gives you
more control).
Hint
For Deep Sky Objects, start the Gain at about 50. For Planetary Objects, start the
Gain at about 5.
Exposures
The Mallincam SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus camera provides two different types of
exposures. Video Mode, where exposures up to 5 seconds are taken, and Trigger
Mode were exposures from 25us to 16 minutes and 40 seconds can be taken.
Video Mode
This control allows the SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus to have an exposure up to 5 seconds
(5000ms), this mode is ideal for focusing the telescope and imaging planetary
objects. You can have MallincamSky automatically choose the exposure by
checking Auto Exposure check box, or you can set an exposure time yourself.
Video Mode is activated by Left-Clicking the Video Mode Radial Button.
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Exposure Target
MallincamSky uses the image contained in the Green Rectangle to aid in
determining the best method to match the Exposure target. To use Exposure
Target, Auto Exposure must be checked. You can change the Exposure Target
by Left-Click-Hold and Drag the marker bar to the required value. If you LeftClick on the Slider Bar (which selects it), you can use the left and right arrow keys
of your keyboard to move the slider (this gives you more control).
When Video Mode is selected, you will see a Green Rectangle (labelled
Exposure) will appear over your Video Window. This Green Rectangle is a marked
region that is a reference region for judging if the image brightness has reached
the Exposure Target Value (When Auto Exposure is selected). Dragging or
Resizing the Green Exposure Rectangle to a dark area will increase the video
brightness and Dragging it or Resizing it to a bright area will decrease the video
brightness.
Hint
The Green Exposure Rectangle will be removed when you minimize the Exposure
& Gain control, but since most of us will leave that control open so that we can
make changes to the values as we image; I recommend that you enlarge the
Green Exposure Rectangle to the full size of the Video Window (Left-Click Hold
and Drag) or drag and reduce the green rectangle to a corner of the image
window.
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Exposure Time
The current Exposure time is displayed above the Exposure Time slider.
MallincamSky will display the exposure time in ms, from 0 ms to 5000 ms.
To use Exposure Time, Auto Exposure must be unchecked. You can modify the
Exposure Time in three different ways:
➢ By Left-Click-Hold and Drag the marker bar to the required value.
➢ If you Left-Click on the Slider Bar (which selects it), you can use the Left
and Right Arrow Keys of your keyboard to move the slider (this gives you
more control).
➢ If you Left-Click on the Current Exposure Time Value, a window will open
up where you can enter in the exact exposure time you require. This
window will also provide you the exposure limits the SkyRaider Camera
can handle.
Don’t forget to Left-Click on OK to have MallincamSky accept the entered
exposure time.
For any exposure over 5 seconds, you can determine how long your camera’s
exposure time has left by looking at the lower right hand corner of the
MallincamSky’s Window. It will indicate to you the current time remaining of the
exposure time that you had previously set.
The SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus will use the following format to inform you of the current
exposure condition: Time Left/Exposure Time
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The example on the left is telling us that we have 2
seconds remaining on our 5 second exposure.
If you have enabled the Dark Field Corrections for this session (Dark Fields are
stored directly in the SkyRaider Camera and will be deleted when the camera is
turned off), the SkyRaider will automatically apply the best Dark Field Correction
to your image when Dark Field Correction is enabled.
Trigger Mode
Trigger Mode is used mainly for exposures over 5 seconds (Deep Sky Objects). It is
selected by checking the Trigger Mode Radial Button. This mode does not require
the Green Rectangle for exposure control. But rather allows you to take a Single
image, or continuously Loop images from the SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus.
➢ You have two methods of setting your exposure to a large value:
o You can Click in the Time Unit Box of choice and enter in an
amount (i.e. 30 seconds) using your Keyboard.
o You can Click on the up or down arrow in the Time Unit Box of
choice to move the exposure time to your required value (30
seconds).
➢ Click on the Single Button to a take a single exposure to see if the image
of the object is close to the brightness you need.
➢ If you are satisfied with the single image, then Click on the Loop Button to
have the SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus continuously take images at the entered
exposure value (it will change its name to Stop, so you can again Click on
the button to stop the Looping).
To capture a sequence of images using the Mallincam SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus,
there is are a series of command controls available for you.
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Options
Clicking on this Button opens up the Sequence Options Window.
This Window allows you to either display the sequence of automatic captures in
a window on MallincamSky (not recommended… too many windows), or Save
the sequence images to a file. You have complete control, since you can
choose specific directory, a File Prefix, a numbering system, and even a file
format to match your preferences (this is great for choosing a folder location for
AstroToaster).
Number in Sequence
Use this control to enter in the number of images you would like MallincamSky to
save to your selected folder (from the Options Command above).
You will see the status of the Frame sequence by a counter located on the
bottom of the Video window.
Sequence
Clicking on the Sequence Button will start the sequence capturing process.
Once Sequencing, the Sequence Button’s name will change to Stop. Clicking on
the Stop Button will abort the sequence process.
The camera cannot be Looping at the time you Click on the Sequence Button.
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Bit Depth
Pixel Bit Depth relates the number of bits
assigned to produce a color (or shade of
Gray). The larger the number of bits, the
larger the number of assigned colors (or
shades of Gray) that the camera can
produce.
In an 8-bit image; for each color channel (Red, Green, Blue), there are 8 bits
assigned. That is, there are 256 (28) shades of Red, Green, and Blue available.
In a 12-bit image; for each color channel (Red, Green, Blue), there are 12 bits
assigned. That is, there are 4096 (212) shades of Red, Green, and Blue available.
The larger the Bit Depth, the larger the data, and the harder the CPU must work
to produce image adjustments.
Color Balance
The Color Balance control allows you to
manually adjust the individual Red, Green,
and Blue components of your image to
better match your requirements.
To adjust each specific colour use the LeftClick-Hold and Drag mouse technique.
Once this control is expanded,
MallincamSky will draw A Red Region of
Interest Rectangle on your Video Window.
You can adjust the size and location of this
rectangle by using Left-Click-Hold and Drag
mouse techniques.
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White Balance
Drag or Resize the Red Rectangle to a pure white area and Left-Click on the
White Balance Button to establish the video White Balance for future video
streaming process.
To adjust the Red, Green, or Blue components of Color Balance use the LeftClick-Hold and Drag technique to mode the sliders., or Left-Click on a slider (to
activate it), then use your Left and Right Keys on your Keyboard to move the
sliders.
If you (or the SkyRaider Camera) ever get confused with what settings you have
entered into the Color Balance control, you can reset these values back to their
defaults by Left-Clicking on the Default Button.
Color Adjustment
The Color Adjustment control will allow you to adjust: The Hue, The Saturation, The
Brightness, The Contrast, and the Gamma of the object that the SkyRaider DS2.3
Plus is exposing.
Any changes to these commands will only be
display after the next camera refresh. (which for
Deep Sky Objects can take a while, depending
upon the exposure).
It is recommended as you become comfortable
with these settings, you will determine what
values are the best starting point so record them
so you can quickly get these values to a setting
that works for you.
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Hue
This command controls the Hue of the Video image. Hue is one of the main
properties of color. By adjusting Hue, you are changing the balance of Red,
Green, and Blue in the image.
You can either use the Left-Click-Hold and Drag technique to move the slider to
the left or right, or just Left-Click on the Hue’s slider (this selects it), then use your
Left and Right arrow keys on your Keyboard to adjust the value (small Hue
adjustments are easier with this technique). The value of the Hue setting will be
displayed above the slider.
Saturation
This command controls the Saturation of the Video image. Saturation increases
the separation of colors on a video image. It has the ability to enhance or inhibit
the colors on the video image.
You can either use the Left-Click-Hold and Drag technique to move the slider to
the left or right, or just Left-Click on the Saturation’s slider (this selects it), then use
your Left and Right arrow keys on your Keyboard to adjust the value (small
Saturation adjustments are easier with this technique). The value of the Saturation
setting will be displayed above the slider.
Brightness
This command controls the Brightness of the Video image. Brightness makes the
video image brighter or dimmer. This is a linear adjustment.
You can either use the Left-Click-Hold and Drag technique to move the slider to
the left or right, or just Left-Click on the Brightness’s slider (this selects it), then use
your Left and Right arrow keys on your Keyboard to adjust the value (small
Brightness adjustments are easier with this technique). The value of the Brightness
setting will be displayed above the slider.
Contrast
This command controls the Contrast of the Video image. Contrast is defined as
the separation between the brightest and darkest areas on the video image.
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When you adjust the Contrast, you increase the separation between bright and
dark.
You can either use the Left-Click-Hold and Drag technique to move the slider to
the left or right, or just Left-Click on the Contrast’s slider (this selects it), then use
your Left and Right arrow keys on your Keyboard to adjust the value (small
Contrast adjustments are easier with this technique). The value of the Contrast
setting will be displayed above the slider.
Gamma
This command controls the Gamma of the Video image. Gamma adjusts the
mid-tones in a non-linear manner. That is, rather than make the image look
brighter; it can increase the brightness of the shadows and mid-tones, without
affecting the highlights in the image (This control is like adjusting the mid-tone
slider on a histogram.
You can either use the Left-Click-Hold and Drag technique to move the slider to
the left or right, or just Left-Click on the Gamma’s slider (this selects it), then use
your Left and Right arrow keys on your Keyboard to adjust the value (small
Gamma adjustments are easier with this technique). The value of the Gamma
setting will be displayed above the slider.
If you (or the SkyRaider Camera) ever get confused with
what settings you have entered into the Color Adjustment
control, you can reset these values back to their defaults by
Left-Clicking on the Default Button.
Frame Rate
The speed of the through-put on the USB 3.0
port on your computer can depend on
many parameters that are specific to the
processes running on your computer. This
through-put can be affected by the current
Windows environment, CPU, graphics cards.
Using the Left-Click-Hold and Drag
technique, move the slider to the highest
frame rate that your computer can support.
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Start with the Frame Rate slider at the highest value, and only adjust lower if
video image fails to appear. Most will find setting frame Rate towards the Low
end of the scale better.
Color/Gray
This control contains commands allow the SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus to display its
displayed images I color (these colors can be adjusted using the commands
seen above) or display the image in shades of grey. Some uses prefer the subtle
contrast variations that a grey image provides, especially when imaging the
Moon.
If you require the color video to be
displayed in Color, then Left-Click on the
Color choice.
If you require the color video to be
displayed in shades of Gray, the Left-Click
on the Gray choice.
Flip
This control allows you to Flip the video
image, Horizontally, Vertically, or Both. This
is a useful command, as it allows you to
match the image orientation to that of the
orientation of the actual object (which
changes with the number of reflecting
mirrors in your telescope).
Left-Click to place a check mark in the Horizontal, Vertical boxes to have the
image immediately reflect your choices.
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Sampling
This control contains commands that are only enabled on those SkyRaider
Cameras that support binning, currently the DS2.3 Plus does not support Binning.
If you require to Bin or Skip your video
sampling rate from the SkyRaider Camera,
then this control allows you to select
and/or change the current setting.
Bin refers to the method of combining (averaging) pixels of block of neighboring
same color pixels to resize the video to a lower resolution (can increase video
frames/second).
Skip (also known as decimation) means that a certain number of pixels is not
read out but skipped (horizontally, vertically or in both axes). This reduces
resolution of the resulting video but introduces subsampling artifacts.
Left-Click on the required button to select the Sampling technique you need.
ROI
ROI or Region Of Interest relates to the rectangular portion of the video image
that you may be interested in. You will lose you Dark Field using this control.
When you are recording video images of planetary objects, the size of the video
can grow very quickly. The ROI allows you to instruct MallincamSky to only show
and save a specific area of the screen (a smaller region that just contains the
image of the planet as indicated by a blue rectangle). This has 2 benefits:
smaller files sizes, and as an added bonus, will allow for a faster frame rate.
The ROI command only works while the SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus is in Video Mode
but, see below for a work around.
When selected, a Blue Rectangle will
appear over your Video Window. You can
adjust it using the Left-Click-Hold and
Drag technique, or Left-Click-Hold and
Drag to place it over a specific portion of
your Video Window.
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Once you have resized and placed the Blue ROI Rectangle on your Video
Window, Left-Click on the Apply Button to selection this as the New Video
Window. Then the Next Refresh will fill in the ROI window.
You can then resize the New Video Window by either the Drop-Down Size
command in the MallincamSky Tool Bar or by scrolling the wheel on your mouse
(if your mouse has a scroll wheel).
This command allows you to Zoom in on a specific area of your original Video
image.
If you (or the SkyRaider Camera) ever get confused with
what settings you have entered into the ROI control, you
can reset the ROI to its full screen by Left-Clicking on the
Default Button. You may need to set Fit to Window in the
Drop-Down Size command in the MallincamSky Tool Bar.
If you are trying to improve the frame rate (frames per second) when viewing
planetary objects. By selecting a Region of Interest around the planet will allow
MallincamSky to only capture that ROI portion of the whole image. As a result,
the frame rate will dramatically increase.
Hint
Work around for using ROI when in Trigger Mode.
➢ While imaging in Trigger Mode, frame your object of interest in the Trigger
Mode screen using the ROI’s Blue Rectangle.
➢ Click on the STOP Button to stop the Looping (yes, you will lose the image
from Trigger Mode, especially if it was a Deep Sky Object).
➢ Click on the Apply Button in the Region of Interest’s open tab to select the
area frame by the Blue Rectangle.
➢ Start Looping in Trigger Mode by clicking on the Loop Button; your object
will be in a ROI.
To Return to Default ROI, Click the STOP button to stop the looping, and hit the
ROI Default Button, then back to the Trigger Mode, and start Looping again.
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Histogram
A Histogram illustrates how pixels in an image
are distributed by graphing the number of
pixels at each color intensity level. The
Histogram shows detail in the shadows (shown
in the left part of the histogram), mid-tones
(shown in the middle), and highlights (shown in
the right part).
This is
your Data
A Histogram can help you determine whether
an image has enough detail to make a good
correction.
The Top Window in the expanded Histogram
Control shows the Histogram of current active
video.
Two vertical line markers (white) show the upper and lower limits of the intensity
levels. These markers can be dragged with mouse (Left-Click-Hold and Drag), or
you can enter in specific values to place the vertical Line markers.
You use the Histogram to aid you in determining the best exposure value for your
particular object. But try not to get too aggressive, as you can easily clip
(remove) important data form your image.
If you are looking at a color image, the Histogram will reflect
the RGB (Red, Green and Blue channels histogram at the same
time) values with shading of the same color. You can also use
the Pull-Down to select the Histogram for just the Red, or just the
Green, or just the Blue channel.
You can also enter directly the desired values in the Left or
Right boxes below the Histogram chart for both Left and Right
Histogram boundaries.
Left Click on the Defaults Button to return the Left and Right
Histogram boundaries to their original settings.
Left-Click on the Auto Button to automatically locate the Left
and Right boundaries thus letting MallincamSky determine the
best video quality.
Hint
Google Search “CA DS23Plus Test 2016 03 11 2“ to watch Chris Appleton play
with the Histogram during a live broadcast.
Set the exposure so that the Peak of the Histogram is some place between 50
and 100.
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To illustrate what you can do with the Histogram, I have (thanks to Jim Meadow’s
amazing images) included some before and after pictures.
➢ Increasing the Left Bar Darkens the image
➢ Decreasing the Right Bar Brightens the image
The Before image is a 3 second exposure with Left at 0 and Right at 250
The After image, same 3 second exposure, with the Left at 3 and the Right at 50
Notice that in both Histograms, the data was mostly to the left. This tells we have
some exposure room the play with. Don’t forget Gain and Brightness also has a
role as well.
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Digital Binning
This process allows you to increase the sensitivity of the Mallincam Camera by
providing you the option of combining sensor cells together to increase the
photon capture area. For example, a 2 x 2 binning will link 4 cells (in a 2 by 2
array) together so you have about 4 times the capture area than one cell. But,
remember nothing is free, it gives up the number of horizontal and vertical pixel
resolution by that same factor. You can have the Mallincam either Avera the
pixels or Add the pixels. The supported Binning available is 1x1, 2x2, 3x3 and 4x4 .
As an added bonus, Digital Binning helps increase sensitivity and reduces noise
to some extent by improving Signal to Noise Ratio.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
As a user, you will make a decision as to what level of Digital Binning you will use.
You can use a shorter exposure time to achieve an image, but the image will
cover more space on the chip.
When you select the Digital Binning Tab, it opens up to provide the following
settings.
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Method
You have two choices here, either Additive or Average. For Deep sky objects you
will choose Additive. For Planets and the moon, try Average to see if it improves
your image.
Number
You now have the choice of the type of binning you would:
None:
: set to number to 1
2 x 2 binning: set the number to 2
3 x 3 binning: set the number to 3
4 x 4 binning: set the number to 4
For each binning level you choose, the video screen window size will adjust (as
you are combining more pixels as one), effectively lowering the number of pixels
in the image resolution. You can use the Zoom controls to increase the image
size to your needs.
You will notice that the brightness of the image will dramatically increase with
the larger binning number, so you will need to adjust the exposure setting
accordingly.
Usage suggestion in digital binning.
Use the large value 4 x 4 or 3 x 3 to shorten the exposure time, so that you can
quickly locate (and if necessary focus) the deep sky image you are interested in.
Then choose a smaller 2 x 2 or 1 x 1 binning to produce a more detailed (higher
resolution) image.
The DS2.3 or DS16 cameras have large chips, so using binning setting will still
provide enough resolution (and Size) to image most deep sky objects.
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Dark Frame subtraction in Digital Binning
You must make dark frames with the same Digital Binning settings, else, weird
looking images will occur. We suggest saving a set of Darks for each of the
binning modes.
Use a naming convection or a file location so that it is easy to not only choose
the correct Darks for a binning setting, but with-in that binning setting a Dark that
match your exposure and other settings.
Hint
If you find that the video window size doesn’t want to return back to its 1 x 1 full
screen, just select the Video Mode, then return back to Tigger Mode.
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Dark Field Correction
What makes the Mallincam SkyRaider series of cameras unique is the built-in
ability to take Dark Fields.
The best explanation of what a Dark Field is came from Simon Hanmer. See
Appendix for his explanation.
To have the SkyRaider camera to automatically apply Dark Fields, you need to
follow the following procedures before imaging.
Select SkyRaider
Camera
Select Exposure
Time
Take Dark Fields
Step 1
Select the SkyRaiderDS2.3PLUS from the Camera List in the
Camera Tab.
Step 2
Select an Exposure Time for Dark Field Correction
Check Enable Box
With the Camera Tab selected on the Left SideBar, Left-Click
on the Capture & Resolution (a Green Rectangle with the
word Exposure will appear in your Video Window, closing the
Exposure Window will remove the Green Rectangle). The
Exposure & Gain Window will expand select the exposure
time for the Dark Field.
You must determine what you believe will be the maximum
exposure for this session. As, you will create Dark Field’s with
this time (or close to it). Also, to want to try to match the
other settings in the DS2.3 Plus in the Dark Field as you would
have when imaging the Object.
If you are taking a maximum exposure under 5s, then select
Video Mode, but since most Deep Sky Objects will require an
exposure of over 5s, choose Trigger Mode.
Either enter in the time into the appropriate boxes, or use the up and down
arrows beside the chosen Exposure time unit to set your maximum time.
To start the SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus taking continuous exposures, Left-Click on the
Loop button.
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If the Green Exposure Rectangle annoys you, you can Left-Click Hold and Drag
corners of the rectangle to resize it to either cover the whole image window, or
even to be a zero-size box at one of the corners of your image window. This way
you can always have the Capture and Resolution Tab open without the
annoying green rectangle in the middle of your image.
Step 3
Take Dark Field Correction
Ensure that the cover is either on the SkyRaider Camera or the
Telescope itself is covered, then Left-Click on the Dark Field
Correction Line.
The Dark Field Correction Line will open up allowing you to
select the Quantity of Dark Fields and the option to start the
Dark Field Capture process.
Select up to 99 for the Quantity, then Left-Click on the
Capture Button. The Software will display its progress above
the selected Quantity. Remember, it is beneficial to set the
Dark Field exposure time greater than the longest time you will
be imaging at.
As the Dark Fields are being exposed, you can watch the exposure counter in
the Dark Field Correction Tab go up, and on the bottom right side of the
MallincamSky window, you will see a counter letting you know how long is left in
that particular exposure.
Hint
Once you have finished taking your Dark Fields, don’t forget to remove the lens
cap on your camera (or Telescope), so that you can actually image (I won’t
mention any names…).
Once you have collected your Dark Fields, you can then save them with the
Export Button (choose a location and File name that allows you to locate the
correct Dark Fields if you would like to reuse them. Name the folders so that it is
easy to retrieve Dark Fields that match for current imaging plan (60s times 5). You
can load previously saved Dark Fields via the Import Button. Just browse to the
folder where you saved them when you used the Export Button.
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Step 4
To activate the Dark Field’s just Left-Click in the
Enable check box in the Dark Field Correction’s
box to have Dark Fields applied in real time to
your images.
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√
To image without using Dark Field’s, just uncheck
the Enable checkbox.
Black Level
Black Level is defined as the level of brighness of the darkest (blackest) part of
the image. In technical terms, the black level is the pixel level (in electrons, or
volts) which corresponds to a pixel value of zero. The Black level adjustment on
the MallincamSky allows you to adjust that value through the use of a slider.
The slider provides you a range of suttle darkness adjustments from a starting
point of 0 to an end point of 31. In using this control, you can tweak your image
to slightly “brighten” (towards level 31) or “dim” (towards level 0) the starting
point for the image’s backest location.
Using this slider allows you to define what you believe (based on your current
image) should be the optimum black. This control is most useful when you are
experiencing a glow due to a bright object near the object you are imaging,
and you want to tweak the darkness.
Since MallincamSky gives you the ability choose the Black Level for the camera,
you can use this feature to assist in reducing the amp glow present in your
image, You can also use the Black Level to create a well-balanced dark
background against the stars in your image.
Just have fun and experiment, as every telescope and seeing conditions provide
for a different envonment for the SkyRaider.
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Black Level
Black Level is defined as the level of brighness of the darkest (blackest) part of
the image. In technical terms, the black level is the pixel level (in electrons, or
volts) which corresponds to a pixel value of zero. The Black level adjustment on
the MallincamSky allows you to adjust that value through the use of a slider.
The slider provides you a range of suttle darkness adjustments from a starting
point of 0 to an end point of 31. In using this control, you can tweak your image
to slightly “brighten” (towards level 31) or “dim” (towards level 0) the starting
point for the image’s backest location.
Using this slider allows you to define what you believe (based on your current
image) should be the optimum black. This control is most useful when you are
experiencing a glow due to a bright object near the object you are imaging,
and you want to tweak the darkness.
Since MallincamSky gives you the ability choose the Black Level for the camera,
you can use this feature to assist in reducing the amp glow present in your
image, You can also use the Black Level to create a well-balanced dark
background against the stars in your image.
Just have fun and experiment, as every telescope and seeing conditions provide
for a different envonment for the SkyRaider.
Live Stack
MallincamSky comes with the ability to stack images to improve the signal to
noice ratio. This feature will allow you to stack short exposures to produce an
image that otherwise would of required a larger exposure time. This comman
allows users whose equipment will not all for long exposures (such as Alt-Az
Mount), but can also be very beneficial to all mounts.
The follwing images captured live illustrate the advantages of Stacking :
M5, a single 5 second exposure using SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus on
10” VRC.
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M5, two 5 second exposures stacked using SkyRaider DS2.3
Plus on 10” VRC.
M5, three 5 second exposures stacked using the SkyRaider
DS2.3 Plus on a 10” VRC.
M5, four 5 second exposures stacked using the SkyRaider
DS2.3 Plus on a 10” VRC.
M5, five 5 second exposures stacked using the SkyRaider DS2.3
Plus on a 10” VRC.
Left-Clicking on this command will open up the Live Stack Window
Here you can activate the stacking by check-boxing the Enable, you can have
MallincamSky Align the frames by checking the Align Frames Box. You can
select the number of frames you would like stacked in the Number Box. You can
tell MallincamSky if you would like the images Stacked (made brighter), or
Meaned (made sharper), plus inidcate is you are stacking Planets or Deep Sky
Objects. This command will provide a live status of its stacking process in this
Window.
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Step 1
First select the object Type (Planet or DeepSky)
Step 2
Now select if you would like the images Stacked (added)or Averaged (Mean) by
making a selection in the Mode Box.
Step 3
Next enter in the Number of Frames you would like stacked. You can stack from 1
to 99 Frames
Step 4
Now determine if you would like the Stacking process to Align the Frames. This will
produce a better Image but will take a bit longer. The process examines the
image and determines alignment stars for the process. If there isn’t enough
alignment starts the command will indicate that there is a problem, and you may
need to increase the gain or exposure to produce more stars for the alignment
routine.
If you would like the stacking to align the frames, then checking the Align Frames
Box.
Step 5
Start the Stacking by checking the Enable Box.
The stacking process will keep you informed with its status by indicating you what
the current input stacking number is, what the current output (how many frames
are stacked), and via the status, if there are any issues.
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If you told MallincamSky to stack 5 images, then when the 6th image is taken, it
will keep displaying just the last 5 images stacked (the first image will be
removed, this is a rolling stack).
Hint
Hint
You can disable the Stacking process by just unchecking the Enable Box.
Don’t be afraid to also turn on Dark Field Subtraction to help eliminate the
background noice.
If the Status tells you it has an alignment failure (Not enough Stars), then just
increase the gain. This should make more stars available to the alignment
algorithm.
Cooling
The Mallincam SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus comes with a Fan that can aid in cooling the
camera when conditions are getting warm. The SkyRaider’s default setting is for
the Fan to be ON, but you can manually turn it OFF by using the Slider on the
Cooling Tab.
The TEC command is not implemented in this version of the camera.
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Parameters
The Parameters control allows you to:
Load a previous set of camera control
parameters, or Save the current camera
control parameters for another session. The
parameters includes most of the settings in
the SideBar including the Rectangle
Regions of Interest.
The Drop-Down control provides a list of
previous (if any) saved parameter settings. Just
sellect the parameter session that you require
from the list.
Left-Click on the Load command and it will load the control
parameters from the above file in the Drop-Down List.
Left-Click on the Save command and MallioncamSky will open a
window that will allow you to give a name to the current sessions,
and then will save the current camera parameters under that
name (see Management command below).
Hint
Give a Name that is easy to determine what the parameters in the file contain.
That is, choosing a name like Eagle Nebula Dark Skies, would indicate that the
parameters in the File are designed for the Eagle Nebula when you have great
dark skies.
Left-Click on the Overwrite command and it will overwrite any
setting changes you made to the current parameter file.
Left-Click on the Management command and a Management
Dialoge Window will open up.
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This Dialog Window will allow you to:
•
•
•
Rename the Parameter File name
Remove the Parameter File from the computer
Re-order how the Parameter names appear in the
list.
The Management Dialog will also allow you to export all
of the Parmeter Files to a *.pgt file, so that you can send
this *.pgt file (which contains all of your parameter files)
to a collegue.
The Management Dialog will also allow you to import a
collegues set of parameter files ( single *.pgt file whci
contains all of their parameter files) into your
MallincamSky folders.
When you import a set of parameter files into your system, it will overwrite all of
your parameter files. So use caution. See Hint below.
Hint
After you have created a list of parameter files that you are using. Save them in
a Parameters File Folder (pick a location and name for This Folder such as
Parameter Files) on your computer under a name that indicates that these files
are yours (such as Michael’s SkyRaider-DS2.3 Plus Parameters Files for New
Hamburg).
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This way you can save a another set of parameter files for another SkyRaider
Camera In the same folder (Parameters File Folder) this way you can load
parameter files for a specific camera. Also you can also include other collegues
parameters files in the same Folder (Chris’s skyRaider-DS2.3 Plus Parameter Files
for Toronto). This allows you a method to reload your parameter files after trying
colleagues (and not have them overwtitten).
Parameter File Folder
➢ Michael’s SkyRaider-Dsc Parameters File for New Hamburg
➢ Michael’s SkyRaider-DS2.3 Plus Parameters File for New Hamburg
➢ Michael’s SkyRaider-Dsc Parameters File for Mount Forest
➢ Michael’s SkyRaider-DS2.3 Plus Parameters File for Mount Forest
➢ Chris’s SkyRaider-Dsc Parameters File for Toronto
➢ Chris’s SkyRaider-DS2.3 Plus Parameters File for Toronto
Michael’s SkyRaider-DS2.3 Plus
Parameters File for New Hamburg
➢
➢
➢
Eagle Nebula Dark Skies
Eagle nebula Light Skies
Focus and Go to Parameter
Mic
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7.
Step 1
Step 2
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Installing Optional Software
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 MallincamSky
Software for a Windows PC.
If you have a Mac, or Linux computer, just choose the appropriate download
form the download page. The following instruction will represent a Windows
Computer.
There may be a download for a Later version as updates come along.
Your Browser should download a zipped file called mallincamsky2016mmdd (the
last eight number may be different as they will change if software is updated)
Step 3
Place your mouse on the zipped file, Right-Click to pop-up an Action Window,
and choose Extract All …
Just Click on the Extract button, when the next Window pops-up. Windows
should now open up the actual folder that contains the software to install.
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Step 4
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Double-Click on the folder to open it up, revealing the 3 programs (or 1 program
if downloading just MallincamSky) it contains.
The ASCOMMallincamSetup contains the ASCOM Drivers for the camera
The MALLINCAMDshowSetup contains the Direct Show Drivers for the camera
The MALLINCAMSKYSetup contains the camera control software.
Installing DirectShow Driver
Step 1
Double-Click on the MALLINCAMDshowSetup File
Windows may display a warning asking for permission to run the program, if it
does, select YES
The following MallincamSky Setup Screen will appear:
Step 2
Click on Next to start the installation process.
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Step 3
Click on Install to start the installation process.
Step 5
Click on Finish to close the process.
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The DirectShow driver will give you the ability to display the SkyRaider video using
other video display software. The software that uses the DirectShow video
protocol, will always have a button that pops up the DirectShow Control Window
where you can control the exposure, and other settings on the SkyRaider
camera.
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Installing Mallincam ASCOM Driver
You must have already installed the latest ASCOM Platform on your computer
(www.ascom-standards.org).
Step 1
Double Click on the ASCOMMallincamSetup file to Start the installation process.
Depending upon the version of Windows, the following screen might appear.
Step 2
Click on the Run Button. The following Window should now Pop-Up.
Step 3
Click on Next to Continue. The License Agreement Window should now appear.
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Click in the ‘I accept the agreement’ Radial Button, then Click on Next. The
Ready to Install Window will appear.
Step 5
Click on Install to install the ASCOM Driver. Depending upon the version of
Windows, you may see the Following Pop-up. Install it.
Step 6
That’s it. The installation process will provide you with the final Pop-up window to
inform you that the installation was successful. Click on the Finish Button to
acknowledge.
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AutoGuiding with SkyRaider
Guiding with MaximDL and Mallincam ASCOM
The following is a pictorial procedure on how to select the Mallincam ASCOM
driver (assumes you have already installed this driver on your computer) in
MaximDL.
Step 1
Start MaximDL
Step 2
Left-Click the Toggle Camera Control Icon (Camera Control Window will open
up).
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Step 3
Left-Click the Setup Camera button on Camera 2 from the Setup Tab.
Step 4
Choose ASCOM (from Camera Model in Setup ASCOM popup Window)
Step 5
Now Left-Click on the Advanced… Button in the Setup ASCOM popup Window.
This will pop up the ASCOM Camera Chooser Window.
Step 6
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Choose ASCOM Mallincam Driver from the pull-down selector.
Step 7
Left-Click on the OK Button to accept the Mallincam Driver in the ASCOM
Camera Chooser Window. You will be returned to the Setup ASCOM window,
then Left-Click on its OK button to accept this, and you will be returned to the
Camera Control Window.
Step 8
Left-Click on the Guide Tab to switch to the Guide Options screen.
Step 9
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Left-Click on the Settings Button in the Guide Tab, and the Guider Settings
Window will pop up.
Step 10
Select Guider Relays in the Autoguider Output Control pull down selector.
Step 11
Left-Click on the OK Button to accept the settings and return to the Camera
Control Window.
All you need to do now is select Connect from the Setup Tab to activate the
camera and start using MaxImDL as you normally would Remember that MaxImDL control the exposure via the Seconds selector in the Guide Tab.
In the Guide Tab Options display, you can use Camera Settings to adjust a few of
the SkyRaider’s settings such as Bit Depth and Gain.
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Guiding in PHD2 with Mallincam ASCOM Driver
Step 1
Start the PHD2 software.
Step 2
Click on the Connection Icon to open up Connect Equipment Window.
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Step 3
Choose ASCOM Mallincam Driver from Camera Drop Down List.
Step 4
Left-Click on the Camera Setup Button to open Setup Window.
Step 5
Setup Recommendations for SkyRaider is to use 640 * 480 Resolution with the 8 Bit
Depth and Low Frame Rate. Left-Click on OK to go back to Connect Equipment
Window.
Don’t be afraid to
adjust these settings
to match your
requirements.
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Step 6
Left-Click on the Connect button on Camera List to connect camera.
Step 7
Select On-Camera from the Mount Dropdown list
Step 8
Left-Click on the Connect on Mount List and select On-camera to tell PHD2 that
the mount that the SkyRaider controls the ST4 port itself.
Step 9
Left-Click on the Close to close the Connect Equipment Window.
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Step 10
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Left-Click on the Looping Icon to start the SkyRaider imaging and then start using
PHD2 as you normally would. PHD can control the exposure time of the SkyRaider
Camera with the exposure drop down button.
If you are using a Mallincam SkyRaider DS2.3 Plus camera to do your autoguiding with PHD, and you are using another MallinCam camera, say the DS
model, for imaging in MallincamSky, then: Connect the Guide camera with PHD
first, followed by connecting the DS model to MallincamSky.
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Running PHD2 with WDM Driver + ToupST4 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.
Step 5
The Camera choice window will pop-up. Select MALLINCAM and Click on OK.
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Step 6
Select Resolution (recommend 640x480) and Click on OK
Step 7
Choose ToupST4 (ASCOM) from the Mount Dropdown List
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You can check to see if the SkyRaider can control your Mount by Left Clicking
on the Mount Setup Icon
moves.
and use the Arrow Buttons to see if your mount
Step 8
Left-Click on the Mount Connect Button activate the connection.
Step 9
Click on Red X to close the Connect Equipment Window.
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Step 10
Step 11
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Left-Click on the Looping Icon to start the SkyRaider imaging.
Since WDM is only a Video image from the SkyRaider, you will need to set the
PHD2 Exposure Duration to a value other than AUTO (say 1 second). This will NOT
control the actual exposure rate of the SkyRaider, but rather show what the
SkyRaider has on its video image every 1 second. Left-Clicking on the Cam
Dialog Box (see image above) in PHD2 will open a window where you can adjust
the parameters of the SkyRaider Camera (such as the actual Exposure, as the
Exposure control in PHD2 does not control WDM driver’s actual exposure, but
rather just the refresh rate). It you can, set both the Actual Exposure and the PHD
exposure duration to the same value (experiment).
If you see a rectangular Box in your Window, go to the ROI Tab in the Cam Dialog
Box, and move and shrink the box to one side of your window so it doesn’t affect
the image.
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9.
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Appendix
Imaging in SharpCap
With the addition of the SkyRaider Direct Show Driver, you can control the
SkyRaider 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.
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Once you have selected, the Mallincam Directshow Driver, SharpCap will display
what the SkyRaider is imaging.
The controls on the right of the screen (Exposure, Gain, Gamma, …) allow you to
change the settings of the SkyRaider.
It takes a bit of practice to become familiar with the settings as these are more
generic controls, the majority of the controls have their own scales (the exposure
does not indicate seconds, but has an equivalent range from 0 seconds to 5
seconds). You will need to record those numbers to assist you.
SharpCap recognizes that the DS2.3 Plus does have an extended mode for
exposures that are over 5 seconds.
To turn on the extended mode (over 5 seconds), then enable the LX Mode in the
Options Tab on the Top of the screen. This lets the exposure slider now provide
exposures over 5 seconds (even though you don’t actually see the time on the
slider). Disable LX mode to return to the 5 second max exposure
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 SkyRaider Video Filter (DirectShow
control window). Click on the Show Button in the Video Capture Control
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The Pop-Up Window gives you some familiarity with settings as it provides you
with more comfortable units (exposure time in ms).
You can choose the Exposure Tab in the Filter window to slide the Tab to match
the exposure time in ms (divide by 1000 to get seconds).
You can also Click on the Time setting on the right of the Slider to Pop-Up a
window that allows you to directly enter in the time in ms.
You can also control the Gain in the window.
The other Tabs in the Window will also you to adjust other settings in the SkyRaider
Camera.
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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Choosing the Mallincam ASCOM Driver from Cameras Tab.
Well, there are issues with the current Mallincam ASCOM driver and SharpCap,
as you can receive multiple copies of the image (as seen by the triple street
lamp image below, this is strange as there is no issue with the ASCOM Video
driver in PHD or AstroToaster).
But the Controls are easier to use, and provide better scales.
We would expect that better drivers and better compatibilities will occur as both
the SkyRaider and SharpCap get updated.
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AstroToaster and MallinamSky
AstroToaster is a freeware application for obtaining semi-live views of
astronomical images using the SkyRaider camera. These instructions are just a
quick guide to get you going, read the AstroToaster User Guide.
AstroToaster uses the Deep Sky Stacker (DSS) Processing Engine. It
accomplishes what DSSLive does, but it uses the full capabilities of
DeepSkyStacker. AstroToaster also has a Viewer with easy to use color and light
enhancement tools to aid in fine tuning the image.
AstroToaster can be downloaded from: http://www.astrotoaster.com/
AstroToaster Work Flow
Images are sent by MallincamSky to a folder that AstroToaster is monitoring 
AstroToaster will the align and stack those images producing an enhanced
image You can then tweak the final stack image to your standards.
All of this is done in real time.
Start AstroToaster
When you run AstroToaster for the first time the Settings Screen will appear, you
will need to select your Monitoring Folder (this is where MallincamSky will save the
images), Output Folder (can be the same as the Monitoring Folder), Verify that
the Deepsky program folder is correct. You should also enter the Picture
type/extension of the images produced by your camera (png, tiff).
The AstroToaster Main Screens will open up (A File Monitoring Window and most
likely a View Window).
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The File List Monitoring Window manages the image files, sent by MallincamSky,
used by AstroToaster. If the Monitor Button is activated, then any new files
appearing in the monitoring folder will automatically appear in the FileList.
AstroToaster uses color to aid in identifying the files.
➢ Yellow - are the images to be stacked.
➢ Green - is the stacked image.
There is a check box next to the files. All checked files will be combined into the
current stacked final image.
If you Click on a File in the FileList it will appear in the Viewer Window.
Preparing AstroToaster
Click on the View Tab located on the Top of AstroToaster to activate the View
Window.
When no staking has
taken place, Picture not
Ready appears in the
Viewer Window
The Folder where you told AstroToaster to Monitor will be empty (we have not
told MallincamSky to Save images, yet).
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Click on Monitor on AstroToaster Tab line, so it will see and analyze the file
images as they are added to the Monitoring Folder.
Tell MallincamSky to Save images in to the Monitoring Folder of AstroToaster.
For example, if you are using Trigger Mode, after setting the
exposure so that you are seeing the correct amount of
detail in the Video Window. Use the Options Button in
Trigger Mode to choose the same folder that AstroToaster is
monitoring. It is recommended that you choose the File
naming convention that includes nnnn.
Stop the Looping of the SkyRaiderDS2.3 Plus, Choose the number of images you
are interested in capturing. Click on the Sequence Button to start sending those
images to AstroToaster.
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As MallincamSky sends the images to the Monitoring Folder, you will see them
appear with Yellow squares besides their name
Click on the Stack Tab on AstroToaster and Viewer Tab (if not activated) to
activate the automatic Stack and watch the results appear in the Viewer in real
time as each image is stacked.
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You will notice in the AstroToaster FileList, a file named stacked###.tif with a
Green Square besides its name. This is the Stacked image that you are seeing in
the AstroToaster Viewer Window.
Adjust the Image in AstroToaster
Click on Color Adj Tab to popup a window that will allow you to adjust the
display parameters of your stacked image, as well as save the final image.
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AstroLive and the SkyRaiderDS2.3 Plus
AstroLive is a software package to control your entire electronically-assisted or
video astronomy setup. With AstroLive you can control your telescope mount
and the ASCOM-based SkyRaiderDS2.3 Plus.
AstroLive is the work of Kyle Goodwin and can be obtained at:
http://astroprecisioninstruments.com/products/astro-live
As of this writing, the Version of AstroLive is v1.4. This version did not have the
SkyRaider series of camera in mind. But, the MALLINCAM ASCOM Driver does
partly work with AstroLive. This allows you to do imaging, and you are able to
adjust and save your images.
There is an update coming soon, that will allow you to control USB cameras such
as the Mallincam SkyRaider series.
Start AstroLive
You will be presented with the following Window
Click on the Choose Still Button from the ASCOM Still Camera line
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A popup window will appear.
From the Pull Down list select ASCOM Mallincam Driver.
Click on the Properties Box to pop-up the SkyRaider Setup Control Window
Make any adjustments you need, then Click on the OK Button, to Accept. You
will be returned to the ASCOM Camera Chooser Window, Click on OK to return
to the AstroLive Window.
To activate the SkyRaider camera, Click on the Connect Button on the line now
labelled Mallincam.
You will now be presented with a live connection to the SkyRaider camera.
Have fun and experiment to see what you can do with AstroLive.
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How Do I …
How do I get rid of the Green Exposure Rectangle?
First remember the Green Exposure Rectangle is used for the auto-exposure
process, but it can be annoying when you are imaging.
➢ The way to remove it from the Video Window is to minimize the Exposure
& Gain control.
Hint
If you require the Exposure & Gain Control to be expanded (so you can adjust
the exposure), but still do not want the Green Rectangle in the middle of your
screen, try this.
➢ Chose Fit to Window from the Zoom Drop down Box (on the Icon Tool Bar).
Now just drag the Green Rectangle (Left-Click and Hold technique) to the
lower left of the window.
➢ Next grab one of the corners of the Green Rectangle and drag it to the
matching corner of your Video Window. Next, grab the opposite corner of
the Green Rectangle and drag it to the same location as the first corner.
This will make a zero-size rectangle.
How do I Select a part of the Image and Zoom in?
➢ In Video Mode, expand the ROI control (a Blue Rectangle should appear
around you image). Using the Left-Click Hold and Drag technique,
maneuver and size the Blue Rectangle so that it encloses the area you are
interested in. Left-Click on Apply and watch the part of the image in Blue
Rectangle, be the whole image in the Video Window.
➢ Now, Left-Click in the Blue Rectangle, and use the scroll wheel on your
mouse to enlarge or reduce the image (you can also use the Fit to
Window control on the Icon Tool Bar).
➢ Left-Click on Defaults to get back to Full screen.
➢ See ROI section in Manual for creating an ROI in Trigger Mode.
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How do I automatically save 1 image every 30 seconds?
➢ Choose the Time-Lapse (Auto Capture) from the Capture Menu on the Top
Menu Line. Now determine your naming convention and location.
➢ Enter 30 in the Time slot
➢ Enter the total number of images you would like (or leave unchecked,
and you will manually stop the process when you are ready).
➢ Left-Click on OK
At the bottom of the MallincamSky Window; a running count will be displayed.
➢ Left-Click on Stop Time-lapse (Auto Capture) to stop the process.
How do I adjust the brightness in my monochrome SkyRaider?
You will have noticed that the Brightness command in the Color Adjustment
control is deactivated. You can use the Gamma command (moving it to the left
will brighten the whole image, but the better control is the Histogram command
in the SideBar.
By move the Left Marker Line or the Right Marker Line (or a combination of both)
to the left will brighten up you image in a more controlled manner.
How do I Broadcast my image onto Night Skies Network (NSN)?
As a direct way is not yet available, you will need to use a third-party software to
assist you.
Obtain one of the following: ManyCam, WebCam Max, SplitCam (different
opinions on which is the best, it becomes a personal preference). Each of these
software programs will allow you to capture what is happening on your
computer screen. The software packages also act as a webcam to NSN.
Therefore, whatever screen image these software packages are capturing, will
display on NSN as a webcam image.
See Setting up to Broadcast on Night Skies Network in the Appendix for more
detailed instructions.
Can I Use MallincamSky with One SkyRaider and Auto-Guide with another?
Yes, as long as you use DirectShow, WDM or ASCOM with the second SkyRaider.
Remember if you are using DirectShow or WDM, the guiding software CANNOT
control the exposure setting on the camera; look for a Settings or Property Tab
button that pops up the SkyRaider exposure control window.
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How Do I Pause the Video?
You can Pause or Resume the live video by either choose Setup>Pause from the
Top Menu Line, or even easier, just press on the pause key on your keyboard.
How do I Undo an Operation?
On the SideBar, there is an Undo/Redo Tab; Just Left-Click on the Tab and the
Tab will open with a list of all the operations you have performed on your Image
(not Video, you cannot undo video operations such as contrast).
Just Left-Click on the location before the operation you would like to undo and
MallincamSky will revert the image back to that step.
How do I make my ROI the whole Image Again?
Just Left-Click on the Defaults Button in the SideBar’s ROI control. Note, by
changing the ROI, the Dark Fields will be removed from the SkyRaider.
How do I Turn Off Dark Field correction?
Just Left-Click in the Enable box to remove the check mark in the Dark Field
correction control on the SideBar. Place a check mark back in the Enable box to
reactivate Dark Field correction.
How Do I take Another Dark Field?
You have to either disconnect the SkyRaider, or even easier just Left-Click on the
Video Window Title and Choose Close to disconnect. Now Left-Click on the
SkyRaider camera in the Camera control on the SideBar to reactivate it. Now
you just retake your Dark Fields.
Note: If you change the ROI, then the Dark Fields will be removed from the
SkyRaider.
My ROI Window is Black?
You must wait until the next exposure until the ROI Window gets filled.
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First Aid for the SkyRaider Series
When I click on the SkyRaider camera from the Camera list, a message pops up
saying Failed to Start: SkyRaider
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 3.0 cable for
the DS2.3 Plus, then there are two options:
➢ Connect a powered USB 3.0 hub to the computer and connect the USB
cable between the hub and the SkyRaider camera.
➢ Connect an active (not passive) USB 3.0 extension cable between the
camera and the included USB 3.0 cable. Something along the lines of the
Tripp-Lite USB 3.0 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 SkyRaider 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/MALLINCAM/MALLINCAMSKY folder, there is a program called uninst.
Double-Click on uninst to uninstall MallincamSky and its drivers).
Once uninstalled, reboot your computer, then reinstall MallincamSky again. 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 Video Mode. Move exposure to minimal
value say 10ms. Now slowly cover telescope to see if image darkens up to black
as you completely cover up the telescope. If this occurs, then SkyRaider 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 Frame vs Dark Field
Dark Frame 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.
Dark Field Correction
Dark Field correction is another matter entirely. It does not refer to a single image
and the recommended/default 10 frames captured to perform the Dark Field
correction are not used to generate a master frame – nor are they simply
subtracted from the light frames.
Instead, the 10 frames are first used to perform a running stacking, analogous to
the stacking procedure applied in both the SSI software and the new
Universe/SSI software.
Running Stacking: the first frame in the series of 10 is recorded in the camera as
is. Then the first and second frames in the series of 10 are combined to form a
new frame that is also recorded. Then the third frame is combined with the
preceding 2 frames to form yet another combined frame that is also recorded …
and so on until you end up with 10 frames in a series that represent 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
7, 8, 9 and 10 combined frames, respectively.
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Note that stacked and combined frame #10 represents information derived from
all 10 frames.
But hold on … we are not talking CCD imaging here – this is video. When a CCD
chip is activated it cranks at full blast and requires effective cooling to prevent it
from rapidly heating up beyond a user-determined temperature. But video chips
work differently: they heat up slowly and progressively. This means that the first
frame of the series of 10 was taken at a lower chip temperature than the final
one. Therefore, each of the 10 frames records different levels of thermal noise. In
other words, when stored in the camera, these 10 combined frames represent a
library of information that the camera and software can now choose from and
use to CORRECT (note: not « subtract from ») the light image that we want to
display on our computer screen.
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 automatically taking up to 10 images.
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 10 dark images.
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 camera and software in the
latter case are not looking for a single FRAME to subtract based on exposure
time. They are looking at the 10 combined frames to see which one has the noise
level that most closely matches the noise level in the light frame itself. In other
words, they are looking for a noise FIELD. 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 frame, the images used for
Dark Field correction are interlaced combinations of odd and even scan lines.
Apparently this too factors into the fact that this correction removes 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
filter may still only require the user to prepare ten 30 second dark images for the
dark field correction. The precise numbers will vary with your equipment and
conditions.
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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. 10 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
SKYRAIDER is what Video capture software are you going to use. Some simple suggestions:
Currently MallincamSky 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
MallincamSky software and broadcast those results, as well as save screen shots and videos of
your images, then we need another program to capture MallincamSky’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 MallincamSky Software to broadcast the images on NSN.
Step 1
Plug in the SKYRAIDER 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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Step 2
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Start MallincamSky
Get the image of your object on the Image Window of MallincamSky, 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 MallincamSky to the second
monitor.
During your initial NSN experience, you will find it easier to even get the object of
interest onto the MallincamSky 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
MallincamSky Window and you can see both with little overlap. If you have a dual
monitor system, you can slide both the MallincamSky 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 MallincamSky 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 MallincamSky 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
MallincamSky’s Software
image.
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Step 5
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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 (MallincamSky) Image location.
Do not move the MallincamSky Window around your desktop when broadcasting,
since Manycam /Splitcam/WebcamMax is just grabbing the real-estate location
that currently your MallincamSky Software image is situated at. If you move the
MallincamSky Software Window, then Manycam /Splitcam/ Webcam Max will still
grab the desktop location, but may not grab the whole MallincamSky Video
Image. Don’t be afraid to practice moving the MallincamSky 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 several 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
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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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Step 10
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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 must 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 SkyRaider 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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October 28, 2017
Focal Reducers
MFR-8
MFR 8 Mk II Kit. This focal reducer is made for the SkyRaider 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 SkyRaider 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 SkyRaiderDS using all supplied spacers.
The SkyRaiderDS2.3 Plus has a larger sensor than the other lines of SkyRaider
cameras. Keep an eye on the Mallincam Site, as a 2-inch Focal Reducer is
coming soon.
SkyRaider DS2.3 PLUS User Manual
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SkyRaider DS2.3 PLUS User Manual
October 28, 2017
User Notes
SkyRaider DS2.3 PLUS User Manual
Page 180
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