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Stories About Computer Scripting - The Good, Bad and Ugly?

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#1 foxwoodastronomy

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 11:55 AM

If any of you have followed the posts I have made you know that I am still a manually shutter release guy.  I like the concentrating on the timing, changing the shutter speeds and releasing the shutter.  And I teach total novices eclipse photography (they are not going to script). That's me, for right now, although I may consider scripting at some point.  Prior to the eclipse there were a lot of threads about setting up the different software programs with different cameras and problem, solving.  So, what happened?  Who's went perfectly smoothly?  Who crashed and burned and why?  Gordon


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#2 winbag4

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Posted 30 April 2024 - 12:06 PM

I used Eclipse Orchestrator and everything went perfectly. I was able to take photos and watch the entire event with my unaided eyes and through binoculars. I would 100% recommend scripting to everyone wanting to photograph. I think most people having issues with stuff breaking don't take the time to play with the software themselves and really test and understand it. A lot of people were on here trying to get last-minute advice. Pretty much all technical issues can be worked out by just giving yourself enough time to practice.

 

A couple of my processed photos:

 

https://drive.google...iew?usp=sharing

https://drive.google...iew?usp=sharing

 

And me enjoying the event:

 

eclipse.JPG

 

Totally worth it, you get the best of both worlds this way.


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#3 bunyon

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Posted 30 April 2024 - 12:53 PM

I used sharpcap and a script generator developed in front of our eyes here.

 

I made some last minute changes and caused a failure. However, it worked really well in all my tests before that (stupid) change I made. A lot of people had it work great. Even so, I got 25 GB of data and some pictures I was very happy with.

 

There is no way I'd shoot anything other than an automated sequence. Watching the eclipse is far more important to me than getting a photo that looks like many other photos.


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#4 foxwoodastronomy

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Posted 30 April 2024 - 04:28 PM

I used sharpcap and a script generator developed in front of our eyes here.

 

I made some last minute changes and caused a failure. However, it worked really well in all my tests before that (stupid) change I made. A lot of people had it work great. Even so, I got 25 GB of data and some pictures I was very happy with.

 

There is no way I'd shoot anything other than an automated sequence. Watching the eclipse is far more important to me than getting a photo that looks like many other photos.

Bunyon, so your change only messed up one part of the script?



#5 DrkNite

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Posted 30 April 2024 - 09:03 PM

I used Eclipse Orchestrator for the 2017 eclipse, and the issues I had have been noted in the forum entries for that eclipse.  Basically, I only got 6 shots of the C3 diamond ring (with only a few of those that were actually good), and nothing else.  I didn't know this until after totality and I was attempting to review the images. 

 

For this eclipse, the only program I could find that would recognize my camera (which is different than the one I used in 2017) is qDslrDashboard.  I got the sequence that I had planned, for the most part, by using the Sky Stack function to control the sequence shots.  The only "issue" I had was that I had to initiate the sequences manually, and my timing was a bit off so it wasn't quite perfect.  But, overall I'm pleased with how it functioned, and I certainly got more and better shots than I did for 2017.  Overall, a very good success, and I was able to view the eclipse without having to worry about the camera.



#6 bunyon

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Posted 30 April 2024 - 10:26 PM

Bunyon, so your change only messed up one part of the script?


Something I changed (I changed two things and didn’t re-test like a doofus) caused the program to freeze about 40 seconds into totality.

#7 FlankerOneTwo

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Posted 01 May 2024 - 11:47 AM

I used EclipseOrchestrator for my Redcat/DSLR rig and it worked great.

 

For my other rigs (FLT132 / ASI6200 and SVX80 / ASI2600) I wrote a SharpCap Python script, which I ran in two independent instances of SharpCap on one laptop. This script contained the UTC timepoints for the events of interest (first contact, second contact, etc) and an array containing a list of exposure sequences for each phase. It used asynchronous timers to produce warning voice prompts at each phase. The script basically just cycles through the list of exposures until it's time to switch to the next phase (there was a 30 second window before second contact where it switched to a Bailys Beads sequence, as well as 30 sec after third contact). Worked well, except that I had forgotten in the morning rush to synchronize this laptop's time with the one running EclipseOrchestrator, which had the GPS puck on it. And the clock was about 30 seconds off. Argh. Fortunately, because the script is running in a loop looking at the clock (rather than just a preset list of exposures), I was able to correct the clock and then it worked fine after that.

 

The main limitation was that the max sustained still frame rate was only about 2-3 fps (compared to about 20-odd fps running in video mode), so not really as fast as I wanted for Bailys Beads. For the next go around, I think I would change the Bailys Beads exposures to a video sequence. It turns out that if you run an asynchronous video capture, you can even change the exposure while the sequence is running (for instance, a longer exposure for proms at the end of Bailys Beads), although you don't know exactly at which frame it changes. But should be pretty evident afterwards. So overall, relatively successful, had hands off acquisition from 3 scopes / cameras, which freed me up to gawk and attempt some manual long exposures with a Rokinon 14mm lens and a second DSLR, trying (in vain) to catch Pons-Brooks.


Edited by FlankerOneTwo, 01 May 2024 - 11:48 AM.


#8 chvvkumar

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Posted 02 May 2024 - 02:29 PM

Good: Surprisingly, EO worked great! I was thinking EO would give me trouble but Set'n'see would not but it was the other way around (User error on my part with the later).

 

I was running two imaging trains:

 

6DMKII + 100-400II piggybacking on 60D + 80mm doublet

 

I missed that I had to set my PC clock to UTC for Set'n'see and noticed it's timing was way off as the partial phase started.

 

So rather than troubleshoot it, I quickly switched over to EO and created a new sequence. Since I have played so much with both, I knew my exposure values so it took 5 minutes to get everything setup. 

 

Good point I made the decision to run two independent mini PCs. As while I was setting up EO on one, the other EO on the other PC was doing it's thing without interruption.

 

I have not edited my partial phase images yet but these are some of my images:

 

https://www.kumarcha...l-Solar-Eclipse


Edited by chvvkumar, 02 May 2024 - 02:30 PM.


#9 Daniel Dance

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Posted 02 May 2024 - 03:56 PM

If any of you have followed the posts I have made you know that I am still a manually shutter release guy.  I like the concentrating on the timing, changing the shutter speeds and releasing the shutter.  And I teach total novices eclipse photography (they are not going to script). That's me, for right now, although I may consider scripting at some point.  Prior to the eclipse there were a lot of threads about setting up the different software programs with different cameras and problem, solving.  So, what happened?  Who's went perfectly smoothly?  Who crashed and burned and why?  Gordon

I had three computers with Eclipse Orchestrator and they all went PERFECTLY!

 

The key is not the software.

It's practicing, practicing, practicing . . . .


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#10 SkipW

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Posted 05 May 2024 - 12:28 PM

The key is not the software.

It's practicing, practicing, practicing . . . .

This!

 

Show-stopping problems with software that is unsuited to the task should become evident - or obvious - in (attempted) dry runs.



#11 Juzwuz

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Posted 06 May 2024 - 12:23 PM

I used the SharpCap Eclipse Sequence Creator:

https://linuxkidd.gi...ipse-Sequencer/

 

The discussion can be found here:

https://www.cloudyni...lipse-sequence/

 

I use SharpCap Pro for all of my imaging (DSO, planetary, EAA) so it was natural for me to use it for the eclipse. Since the sequence generator was very new, I spent about a month practicing and tweaking the parameters (number of exposures, exposure length, etc.). 

 

The question of still frames vs video was interesting. I eventually chose video since I could get more frames. This came at the expense of having to spend time afterwards sorting through some incorrectly exposed frames. I think I had less than 10 frames that used the previous exposure length out of ~2450 frames from my Bailey's and Total Eclipse sections.

 

I did have to stop my sequence a couple of times before C2 in order to increase the number of Partial eclipse videos from 10 to 40. I was dealing with lots of fast moving clouds and wanted a better shot at capturing between clouds. Each time I restarted the sequence it correctly went to the correct time in the script. 

 

Overall, the scripting went well and I would definitely do it again. It allowed fairly hands-off operation of the imaging and let me enjoy the total eclipse experience with my family. 



#12 ecuador

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Posted 07 May 2024 - 12:41 PM

I used Eclipse Orchestrator for the second time (2017 was the first). It worked as well as it could - many missing shots due to clouds, not due to software glitch, but still very cool results.





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