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Firecapture High speed

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#1 kevinbreen

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 09:58 AM

It's weird.

Sometimes it makes absolutely no difference to frame rate whether it's on or off, and sometimes it does.

Last night I found it greatly increased the frame rate when in my Firecapture Jupiter profile, AFTER I had set the ROI to something nice and small and adjusted gain and exposure. It had NO affect on frame rate when I used the cutout feature. Encouraged, I slewed to Saturn, set the Saturn profile, decreased the ROI, adjusted gain and exposure, checked the high speed button but it had NO affect on frame rate. 

Am I doing something wrong?



#2 phileefan

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 11:05 AM

Kevin,

The other night I was capturing Saturn and Mars with the IR685 filter and set FireCapture to high speed and the red channel was capturing a little over 400 frames per second, but the green and blue channels were capturing the same as if I had high speed off. I don't understand it either....

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#3 kevinbreen

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 11:26 AM

Kevin,

The other night I was capturing Saturn and Mars with the IR685 filter and set FireCapture to high speed and the red channel was capturing a little over 400 frames per second, but the green and blue channels were capturing the same as if I had high speed off. I don't understand it either....

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Mick, that’s interesting. It seems to be intermittent in its functionality. Weird... would be interested to hear from somebody who has this thing sorted out, as I’m sure you would be

#4 moonwatching ferret

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 02:48 PM

It's weird.

Sometimes it makes absolutely no difference to frame rate whether it's on or off, and sometimes it does.

Last night I found it greatly increased the frame rate when in my Firecapture Jupiter profile, AFTER I had set the ROI to something nice and small and adjusted gain and exposure. It had NO affect on frame rate when I used the cutout feature. Encouraged, I slewed to Saturn, set the Saturn profile, decreased the ROI, adjusted gain and exposure, checked the high speed button but it had NO affect on frame rate. 

Am I doing something wrong?

i found it only seems to make a difference with the exposure turned way down and gain turned up . i was capturing 39000 frames in less than 300 seconds on saturn on a 600 roi and a huge difference on mars. i dont have the numbers in front of me and im in a bit of a hurry and wasnt even going to reply till later mars seems to barely fit on a 400x 400 roi but even with the colory boxy thingy turned on i was still able to capture a huge amont of fraes somewhere in the neighborhood of 40000 in less then 200 seconds ill post the proper numbers later. now for the real kick . My best Saturn of the year so far or close to it was from zwo amcap with exposure turned way up and gain down around 10000 frames nice and soft i stacked way less ??? but then it could be the real good seeing iv had lately



#5 Tom Glenn

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 03:17 PM

I find it only makes a difference if the maximum theoretical frame rate rises above 200 fps.  I can do 200 fps without invoking high speed, but if I want to go higher (such as for Mars) you need high speed.  Also this will be ROI dependent most likely.  



#6 FlankerOneTwo

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 04:48 PM

My understanding is that the high speed mode only functions if capturing in FireCapture "16-bit" mode, where it then reduces the camera's (actual) 12-bit ADC to 10-bit. If you're capturing in 8-bit (there are several posts as to why > 8-bit capture not useful for planetary, due to bit depth gain from stacking) I don't think it should have any effect. Are folks imaging at greater than 8-bit depth?



#7 TorstenEdelmann

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 12:00 AM

My understanding is that the high speed mode only functions if capturing in FireCapture "16-bit" mode...

Ticking "HighSpeed" in FC should always double your framerate regardless if you're "16-bit" mode or not.



#8 TorstenEdelmann

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 12:05 AM

Encouraged, I slewed to Saturn, set the Saturn profile, decreased the ROI, adjusted gain and exposure, checked the high speed button but it had NO affect on frame rate. 

Am I doing something wrong?

what was your exposure here ?  Max framerate is 1000/exposure so with 10ms you won't get more than 100fps regardless of ROI or highspeed.


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#9 RedLionNJ

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 08:55 AM

Ticking "HighSpeed" in FC should always double your framerate regardless if you're "16-bit" mode or not.

Agreed - but - it can only double it up to the extent the USB bandwidth allows. Once the bandwidth is maxed-out, something has to give....



#10 FlankerOneTwo

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 11:11 AM

Ticking "HighSpeed" in FC should always double your framerate regardless if you're "16-bit" mode or not.

Thanks, good to know! I had misunderstood it to mean that it utilized the sensor's high speed setting so I never bothered with it. I'll have to give that a go next time.



#11 scott_1

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 03:48 PM

Hi all< I have just started into planetary imaging and am using an older USB 2.0 ZWO ASI120MC.

I have a 10" Meade LX200GPS and am using a 2x barlow.

I have been running into issues with FC video freezing on me and jumping from <1 fps to ~ 15fps.
I have been taking advice from from some real helpful folks the past few days, and I am sure I really don't understand FC well.

I did find that I could set the exp to 12ms, and then jack the gain up to ~ 60. I don't like to go any higher for noise.
And last night I was getting ~ 50+ fps.  That was good, but without really jacking up the gain, I could never get a >40% histogram.

But the issue was if I went above 13ms  for exp, my frame rate would dip to 5 or 6.
But every once in while, say if I watched it for 5 min I would see it get up to ~ 20fps, but the video would look froze.
And then in say 1 min or so It would go back down to ~1.  In between the 2 states, I would see the video appear to be active again for a sec or so.

I am new to video, so I am not sure what to expect here. 
I have been imaging DSO's for a while. But with a different setup.
This is entirely a new animal.
 



#12 FlankerOneTwo

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 04:10 PM

I suspect that USB 2.0 is a significant part of your troubles. I wouldn't worry too much about noise from gain, if you figure on grabbing let's say 100fps for 4 min (240 sec), even if you only stack 10% of the 24K frames, that's 2400 frames which should handle it fairly well. You can stack even more if you use WinJuPos to derotate.

Much more important to keep the exposures short (I'm under 5 ms with my LX200 10" and 2.5x into an ASI224MC) to counteract atmospheric seeing.

Also check your USB Traffic setting, that will affect your framerate as well (both too high as well as too low). Is FC reporting dropped frames?

Ideally your camera would run into a dedicated USB 3 port directly on your imaging computer, not through a hub or a shared port.

And the High Speed setting does in fact seem to work with 8-bit mode, I was getting >200 fps on a 1200x800 ROI for solar today with a QHYIII 174 smile.png


Edited by FlankerOneTwo, 12 July 2018 - 04:10 PM.


#13 scott_1

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 05:06 PM

Thanks Patrick

I don't know if I can get to 100fps. I can try dropping my exp down, but I think the video will be so dim I could not use it.
As far as dropped frames, when it acts up, the difference between the actual and captured is usually just a few.
Is that what tells you the dropped frame count?

reading this post, I have played with the High Speed and USB traffic, but really don't see much impact.
That was when I was in the weird issue mode  exp> 15ms. I did not check it after I found that if I set the exp down to 12ms.
I think I actually turned off everything in the end last night.

I will check when I can (it's raining now), and see if when a low exp value and a high gain, that enabling High speed and playing with USB traffic results in the doubling of the FPS.



#14 kevinbreen

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 05:17 PM

I would point the finger firmly at the USB 2.0. I have no problems since I got a solid state laptop with 3.0. Probably something you didn’t want to hear .....

#15 scott_1

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 05:33 PM

Kevin

No Prob, I am just tying to troubleshoot down to the hardware, software, or me.  Finding the culprit.

If the scope, the PC don't seem to be the issue, I am thinking of upgrading to a ASI224MC.



#16 RedLionNJ

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 11:12 AM

Kevin

No Prob, I am just tying to troubleshoot down to the hardware, software, or me.  Finding the culprit.

If the scope, the PC don't seem to be the issue, I am thinking of upgrading to a ASI224MC.

Another *potential* source of issue is the running of the USB2 cam on a USB3 port. I know, per specs, this _SHOULD_NOT_BE_AN_ISSUE, but enough people have reported symptoms which have this one common theme.



#17 scott_1

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 03:27 PM

Ok

One more thing to try
 

thx



#18 scott_1

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 01:47 PM

Well

last night I got out did some testing. I found that with the same settings I had used before, just was not consistent at all with Firecapture.
I even had the exp down to ~5ms and the gain up, gamma 50%.  
High speed and or usb traffic, just did not make much difference.
I used the USB2.0 port just to check, but it actually was worse.

I saw people were using a program called sharpcap. 
So I gave it a shot.  It worked much better last night.  I could even get the exp up to 25ms, and the video was not acting up on full screen and max resolution.
I could not get above 12ms, with an ROI of > 500 x 600 without the video acting up.  Acting up is where the video just seems to freeze for a bit and then recover, but doing it over and over. Just is not a clean video.

 

SharpCap did not do this.

I really like the look and feel of FC, but it just does not work for me.n  I even uninstalled it an the ZWO drivers and reinstalled. But no diff.
 

I would go back and forth between the two (not open at the same time)  and Sharpcap would consistently work better.

I now to to learn sharpcap.  It is not familar at all.  What is RAW8, can you tell the frame rate and such.  But the exp and gain, were setup the same between FC and SC, so I think they should have performed the same.

I hope it has something to do with USB 2.0 and FC,  and when I get the money a new 3.0 ASI224, hopefully will work better.

 

I am rather bummed about FC.



#19 scott_1

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 05:21 PM

OK, good news--

I found that if I set the UsbTraffic in FC to the lowest value (40) it can go, things start to work much better.
But if I bump it up to even 45 it will start to act up again.
 

I don't know what the traffic does exactly, but it does make a difference. I'll bet if I could get it even lower, it would work better. 



#20 phileefan

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 05:42 PM

Scott,

 

Maybe you can reach out to Torsten about your issues. 



#21 TorstenEdelmann

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 02:23 AM

Scott,

USBTraffic defines the USB bandwidth usage in %. Which value works here is fully up to your hadware and ASI driver. Some USB controllers work better some not. I wonder why the same USBTraffic setting works in SharpCap but not in FC. My guessing is that SharpCap maybe drops missing frames for preview. FC immediately shows a "capture failed" error in the preview if it couldn't grab a frame from camera. Maybe you should ask Sam from ZWO for assistance what you could try in order to get higher USBTraffic values working in your setup.

Torsten   


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#22 RVA_Chris

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 09:55 AM

I was having similar issues with firecapture freezing up the other night with a new laptop.

What worked for me was setting the memory heap size to 50% of my ram and enabling the memory buffer. These options can be found under the general settings.
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#23 scott_1

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 12:22 PM

Torsten and Chris,

Thank you.

I will look into those suggestions.
Torsten,

I did find out last night that SharpCap would indeed drop frames.
It just did not freeze up, until I got way up in the exp. settings. say >50, which I would expect.

Interestingly, SC, would just start dropping 100% frames, and I found a selection under options called " reset control order"

That would reset and everything would start to work again.

 

So, I believe there is a hardware issue going on here. Or driver.  I will check with Sam at ZWO.

Chris, 

I have found those settings, and I have the Heap size set to 3GB (out of 8GB), and the RAM buffer set to 512.
I could try to go to 4GB.

I do have one question for all on the capture side. Reading several posts, using Jupiter as an ex. seems like the avg exp is ~ 5-15ms.  And Gain makes up the rest to get >=50% histogram.
When I am at 5-10ms , I have to have the gain up >70%, to be able to see a somewhat recognizable video.
What is the avg intensity to capture at?  I know histogram level, but visually, is it somewhat dim on the screen.  Or should it be at a fairly bright view.
To be honest I really don't want to have to capture >20000 fames to compensate tor gain noise. I would like to get by with 2-3000 frames.

 

remember I have a 10" SCT with 2X.

Thanks all for your help.



#24 FlankerOneTwo

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 01:53 PM

I don't worry about the visual appearance, that depends on many factors including monitor settings and characteristics. As long as you have a decent histogram at least 50% you should be good to go.

You are not capturing a lot of frames to compensate for gain noise - you are capturing a lot of frames at short exposures in order to freeze atmospheric seeing and select the small percentage where everything was perfectly still through 300 miles of atmosphere. You should aim to stack at least the 2000 or so best frames from the sequence. This is called "lucky imaging" and is the preferred tehcnique for planetary. This only works if your exposures are relatively short, the exact times depends on atmospheric cell transit times, but is on average between 3-7 ms. So you need to be shorter than that.

 

I set the exposure time that I need then adjust the gain to achieve an adequate histogram. As small and ROI as possible to maximize frame rate, then 4 min max for Jupiter. I'm also using a 10" SCT with 2.5X telecentric.



#25 FlankerOneTwo

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 02:34 PM

Oh, I will crank up the gain and contrast in FC to facilitate focusing, but then back to a 50% histo for the capture.




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