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SER or AVI?

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9 replies to this topic

#1 Billytk

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 02:10 PM

I have heard some debate on this. I am using an ASI224mc camera for planetary. Would SER or AVI be better to use?



#2 roelb

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 02:41 PM

Same Q. for a ASI290MM.

Thanks and happy seeing.


Edited by roelb, 09 April 2017 - 02:41 PM.


#3 happylimpet

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 04:07 AM

There are benefits to SER which I forget but which are often stated by experienced users. While I would say I am also one of these, I prefer AVI as Ive never had a problem with them and I like to use virtualdub to edit/filter my data.



#4 cgarry

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 04:43 AM

I would say SER every time.  The only use I can see for AVI is if you want to use a lossless codec to reduce the file size.

 

My disdain for AVI mainly comes from trying to handle them as a software developer.  Most AVI files actually break the spec and expect the reader software to handle these broken files.

 

Other points:

* No need to worry about 2GB/4GB size limit as with the original AVI format.  This trips a lot of people up.

* No need to understand which codec you should be using.  So many beginners produce AVIs with unsuitable codecs and have to mess around fixing the files.

* SER is a far simpler format and Autostakkert can handle these files even if the recording software crashes part way through a recording.

* Raw colour SER files contain the bayer pattern required to debayer them.

* SER Files have a timestamp for each frame.

* SER Files can handle greater than 8-bit data.

* SER Files can be played back using SER Player, including thumbnail file previews in Windows File Explorer.

 

Okay, that last one is a plug for my software but I still think it is valid!

 

Cheers,

Chris


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#5 happylimpet

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 05:30 AM

I would say SER every time.  The only use I can see for AVI is if you want to use a lossless codec to reduce the file size.

 

My disdain for AVI mainly comes from trying to handle them as a software developer.  Most AVI files actually break the spec and expect the reader software to handle these broken files.

 

Other points:

* No need to worry about 2GB/4GB size limit as with the original AVI format.  This trips a lot of people up.

* No need to understand which codec you should be using.  So many beginners produce AVIs with unsuitable codecs and have to mess around fixing the files.

* SER is a far simpler format and Autostakkert can handle these files even if the recording software crashes part way through a recording.

* Raw colour SER files contain the bayer pattern required to debayer them.

* SER Files have a timestamp for each frame.

* SER Files can handle greater than 8-bit data.

* SER Files can be played back using SER Player, including thumbnail file previews in Windows File Explorer.

 

Okay, that last one is a plug for my software but I still think it is valid!

 

Cheers,

Chris

Is there any software for editing SERs - ie when the planet drifts out of frame? This would nail it for me!


Edited by happylimpet, 10 April 2017 - 05:30 AM.


#6 cgarry

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 06:36 AM

PIPP will reject frames where the object has gone partially or completely out of frame, with or without re-centring the object.  But there is nothing quite like virtualdub's manual style of editing that I know of.

 

I am planning to add similar editing functionality to SER Player or it has been suggested to me that a SER plugin for virtualdub would be a good idea.  I have not looked into what is required to make a virtualdub plugin yet, it is all a matter of finding the time!


Edited by cgarry, 10 April 2017 - 06:36 AM.

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#7 Billytk

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 05:24 PM

So is this everyones opinion? Is SER the way to go?



#8 Kokatha man

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 08:25 PM

...first up I'll plug Chris's PIPP software for the ability to reject half-frames etc, waytogo.gif  it seems to nail this problem whereas AS!2 can sometimes not...I've used AS!3 a few times & although it does seem to be fast I cannot say whether the success rate for that particular issue is improved from my limited trials (with the function enabled in either versions, I should add)...although it was rarely an issue tbh! wink.gif

 

SER has some advantages in a "technical" sense although I'm far from convinced that anything more than 8-bit offers any advantage in planetary imaging: ie, in simple terms, using the term "dynamic range" in a less-technical** & much broader definition as "colour range" I'm saying that 8-bit provides all that is necessary with most amateur equipment for a complete colour-rendering of planetary images***. (hope that makes sense! wink.gif )

 

We've stuck with avi's although I'd have to admit that SER-players as per Chris's PIPP or the "Play" ability in AS2! etc weren't around when we probably became entrenched in our practices... wink.gif

 

As said avi's can be problematical at times with missing headers etc although as mentioned the old Vdub (not the car! lol.gif) has always been a good stand-by fix in those situations...although I haven't had to resort to using Vdub except for the occasional appending together of certain avi's...

 

Only my opinion & I really don't think one will provide any benefits over the other tbh, but your mileages might vary as they say.

 

** For my sins here's the old "Cambridge in Colour" link...this site provides many a good read of all of the various elements of digital photography etc, regardless of your position on any single issue: http://www.cambridge...namic-range.htm  

 

*** I won't be completely heretical because I long ago promised Sam I would not advocate using the "Hi-Speed" function in ASI cameras...but some brave readers of this spiel might like to do some trials..! shocked.gif  lol.gif


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#9 cgarry

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 04:46 AM

I agree with Darryl 100% that you only need 8-bit data for planetary imaging.  So long as there is sufficient noise in the data and enough frames are stacked then the stacking process will produce a 16-bit image.  I believe that there is always enough noise present so no need to worry about that one!

 

From an excellent article by Martin Lewis: http://skyinspector....-video-cameras:

 

 

The creation of smooth 16-bit images from separate 8-bit images can seem a bit like magic. If you stacked many identical 8-bit images, the stacked image would still only have 256 levels in it, however, the presence of a low but finite level of noise (mainly shot noise) in the relatively coarse 8-bit image allows the stacking process to create a smooth 16-bit image giving much better greyscale resolution to the image than that in the separate 8-bit images that went to make it up. It is this much finer grey level spacing in the stacked 16-bit image that allows the wavelet processing to be done without it breaking up. This processing which brings out the details in the image can also draw out the read noise if it is there.

However it may be the case that there is an advantage to using greater than 8 bits for solar or lunar imaging where interesting detail may be present in the dark areas.  I do not do this kind of imaging very often so do not really know.

 

Cheers,

Chris


Edited by cgarry, 11 April 2017 - 08:02 AM.

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#10 RedLionNJ

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 06:56 AM

I would go one step further - there are a multitude of formats contained inside AVI - and that's exactly what it is - a container. Not all applications can play or edit every AVI.

 

I made the permanent switch to SER a few years ago when my single captures started to exceed 4GB. This was a major transition point for many people, as FireCapture users in particular found they needed to set an extra flag to handle these larger AVIs correctly. But then some applications would have issues with the resulting AVIs - and on, and on.

 

SER takes all of that away. Works for all file sizes, well-defined format. And, as a developer, SER is REALLY easy to work with.

 

AutoStakkert plays it seamlessly, PIPP handles it (as Chris said, above) just fine. And it's not a format you're likely to confuse with something else.

 

SER, by a long shot.


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