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SharpCap - free Astro Webcam Capture Software

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fps should be as high as you can get it: more frames= more chances of getting nice crisp frames with good seeing. Time is pretty flexible, but you can easily work with up to a minute or more for the moon (try 30s to start with).

Once you have this movie, yes, it's then into Registax to combine the best frames. There are some good tutorials around on the web. good luck!

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You will need to experiment with the settings and see what works for you. Put the frame rate as high as you can for bright objects like the Moon and Jupiter. As for the other settings, you don't want the image too bright as that would wash out any detail. In my own experience the preview should look just a little too dark.

Then you do indeed need to stack the individual images of the video into a single picture. You can use Registax (free) for that. Load the video into Registax, select one or more alignment points that have a high contrast, like small bright craters on a darker surface and so on. Registax uses these to align the individual images. Then just click through with default settings and see what you get. You can play around with the other intimidating buttons and sliders once you have gained some more experience with the whole thing.. ;-)

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I'd say low frame rate for Jupiter. 5 - 10 gps seems to work best for me. Capture about 1000 - 2000 and you should end up with 500 - 750 stacked in Registax.

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Thanks ever so much chaps, the whole issue is a lot clearer now, grateful for the advice

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Hi, have been using SharpCap for a few days now. Compliments to the chef, its great. A tool that works and is still easy to operate even when I can no longer feel my hands and feet for the cold.

I have a feature suggestion. I like the ability to set the frame or time period for a capture. Would it also be possible to set the number of such captures and the period between them. I wanted to 'attempt' to create a Jupiter moon transit video and so need to capture about 32 sequences of about 1minute duration and 5minute intervals over a period of around 3hours. If such a feature existed I could set it up and get out of the cold :)

Thank you for a great tool,

Dave

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Hi Dave,

I'll have a think about how to do that - It sounds like a good idea, but it needs to be designed so as not to disrupt the normal use flow of the application.

Right now I have a new version waiting to go out after a bit more tweaking and testing (anyone use an Ascom focuser and Sharpcap who would like to test the new version, PM me their email address).

Robin

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Oh yes, I too would be rather interested in that feature.

Maybe something similar to the exposure plans in APT? Ivo has already used your focus score routine from SharpCap, maybe it's time to return the favour? :)

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There's already a frame and time capture limit in sharpcap (check you have the latest version).

An interval timer could be useful too, however you would need some good tracking, keeping Jupiter on the sensor for one capture is a challenge for me!

Sent from my HTC Desire using Tapatalk

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Hi Robin, thank you for considering the feature suggestion. I have the latest version and have been using the exposure period feature. A 'number of captures' and 'interval' operation would make the tool fit all jobs including time lapse imaging.

In answer to bus_ter : what i do for tracking over very long intervals is use Jupiter as my autoguiding target instead of a star. Once locked Jupiter stays put :) doesn't have to be **** on as the video frames are going to be aligned anyhow.

Cheers then,

Dave

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New version available!

SharpCap 1.1.25 available from the usual place (http://sites.google.com/site/rwgastro/sharpcap).

Key new features in this version :

  • ASCOM focuser support
  • Improved SPC900 support (faster startup, correct exposure control values and orientation)
  • New preview filters including frame stacking and RGB align (helpful for focusing)
  • Bug fixes

SPC900 users should note that the values used for exposure are changed to align with the way other webcams work.

Old SPC900 values : 0 = longest exposure (1/25s); 10 = shortest exposure (1/10000s), longest exposures to left of slider

New SPC900 values : -4 = longest exposure; -14 = shortest exposure, longest exposures to right of slider.

There's also a night mode option, but it's not quite right yet.

Robin

PS. Thanks to the beta testers for finding several issues. :)

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Hello,

I am wondering if you are providing Windows7 support. SharpCap worked perfect in Vista, now I installed Windows7 and the camera control settings will not appear in the control panel, but pulls up the control panel from the Quickcam software when I open SharpCap. I do not know if it is a driver issue or not. It is for the QuickCam Pro 4000. SharpCap works fine other than the camera control settings appearing in the control panel.

Thanks!

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Hi there,

SharpCap already supports Windows 7 - it's the only operating system I use these days, so all the development is done on Win7 for a start :eek:

It sounds like Logitech have done something dodgy with the Win7 drivers for your camera. Sharpcap only asks for the camera control panel to be shown if you choose the Video Capture Pin or Video Capture Filter menu items. I think that what is happening is that the driver developers have fudged things so that when SharpCap asks for control of the camera settings, the driver says 'no, sorry', but shows the config dialog at the same time of its own accord.

I'd suggest that you have a look for different versions of the drivers to see if it makes any difference. I'm afraid there's not much I can do to fix this in SharpCap (particularly since I don't have one of these cameras to test with).

Robin

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Not sure if im having issues with sharpcap, when i load it, it shows a preview thing in bottom left hand box and runs for about a minute or so?

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Not sure if im having issues with sharpcap, when i load it, it shows a preview thing in bottom left hand box and runs for about a minute or so?

I have to admit I don't really understand what you are trying to explain - what happens after 1 minute? Do you get a preview image? Does it capture an AVI if you press the 'start capture' button? Maybe a screenshot would help!

cheers,

Robin

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will do a screen shot tomorrow, all i seem to get is a black image screen, it will do an avi capture, having so many problems trying to get this all running, not sure its worth all the time input

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Sounds like your gain/exposure/brightness (or more than one) is turned down too far so you are getting a dark picture. Pop the lens back on the webcam, aim it at something well lit and play with the controls until you have a decent image. If you are working with the cam in a scope, you can easily get a black image if your focus is badly off or your pointing at the wrong place, so best to take those out of the equation for the moment.

Robin

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I was playing with SharpCap yesterday. Works good for some cheap webcams. I've also noticed it see/lists Basler GenICam driver/API for Basler non-webcam cameras. When I've tried to switch to it the app crashes (but the image preview from the camera is "working"). I guess such thing wasn't intended to be supported, but maybe it's easy to fix? :eek:

SharpCap, Version=1.1.25.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null

System.NullReferenceException: Odwołanie do obiektu nie zostało ustawione na wystąpienie obiektu.
w SharpCap.FrameRatePropertyControl.GetMaxRate(ModeInfo currentMode) w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\CamControlProxy\PropertyControls\FrameRatePropertyControl.cs:wiersz 138
w SharpCap.FrameRatePropertyControl.PopulateValueList() w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\CamControlProxy\PropertyControls\FrameRatePropertyControl.cs:wiersz 71
w SharpCap.StreamConfigPropertyControl.Initialize() w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\CamControlProxy\PropertyControls\StreamConfigPropertyControl.cs:wiersz 76
w SharpCap.PropertyControls.CaptureControl.AddPinControl(IDiscreteValuePropertyControl rpc) w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\CamControlProxy\PropertyControls\CaptureControl.cs:wiersz 244
w SharpCap.PropertyControls.CaptureControl.BuildPinControls(ISampleCaptureGraphBuilder builder, IAMStreamConfig videoConfig, IBaseFilter baseFilter, IWin32Window windowHandle) w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\CamControlProxy\PropertyControls\CaptureControl.cs:wiersz 236
w SharpCap.PropertyControls.CaptureControl.AddPinControls(ISampleCaptureGraphBuilder graphBuilder, IBaseFilter iBaseFilter, IAMStreamConfig videoConfig, IWin32Window windowHandle) w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\CamControlProxy\PropertyControls\CaptureControl.cs:wiersz 122
w SharpCap.PropertyControls.CaptureControl..ctor(String cameraName, ISampleCaptureGraphBuilder graphBuilder, IPreviewControl previewControl, IBaseFilter iBaseFilter, IAMStreamConfig videoConfig, IWin32Window windowHandle) w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\CamControlProxy\PropertyControls\CaptureControl.cs:wiersz 108
w SharpCap.Capture.SetupCaptureControls() w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\SharpCap\Capture.cs:wiersz 1439
w SharpCap.Capture.StartPreview() w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\SharpCap\Capture.cs:wiersz 1398
w SharpCap.Capture.BuildGraphAndStartPreview() w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\SharpCap\Capture.cs:wiersz 1788
w SharpCap.SharpCapForm.InitializeFirstPreview() w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\SharpCap\UI\SharpCapForm.cs:wiersz 283
w SharpCap.SharpCapForm.timer1_Tick(Object sender, EventArgs e) w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\SharpCap\UI\SharpCapForm.cs:wiersz 1115
w System.Windows.Forms.Timer.OnTick(EventArgs e)
w System.Windows.Forms.Timer.TimerNativeWindow.WndProc(Message& m)
w System.Windows.Forms.NativeWindow.Callback(IntPtr hWnd, Int32 msg, IntPtr wparam, IntPtr lparam)

===============================================================
Application Log (from start)

01:37:23.2031250 GetDeviceMenuItems :: Started
01:37:23.2031250 GetDeviceMenuItems :: Getting list of available decives
01:37:23.2187500 GetDeviceMenuItems :: Device enumerator created OK
01:37:23.2187500 GetDeviceMenuItems :: Video class enumerator created OK
01:37:23.2187500 GetDeviceMenuItems :: Investigating device : @device:pnp:\\?\usb#vid_04f2&pid_b018&mi_00#6&d4a694b&1&0000#{65e8773d-8f56-11d0-a3b9-00a0c9223196}\global
01:37:23.2187500 GetDeviceMenuItems :: Adding device : USB Video Device to menu
01:37:23.2187500 GetDeviceMenuItems :: Investigating device : @device:sw:{860BB310-5D01-11D0-BD3B-00A0C911CE86}\{3193F794-0CE7-485D-A61D-7289A4ADBFCE}
01:37:23.2187500 GetDeviceMenuItems :: Adding device : Basler GenICam Source to menu
01:37:23.2187500 GetDeviceMenuItems :: Completed video enumeration - found 2 devices.
01:37:23.2187500 GetDeviceMenuItems :: Ended
01:37:23.2500000 Initialize :: Started
01:37:23.2500000 ChooseDevices :: Started
01:37:23.2500000 ChooseDevices :: pmVideo is non-null - MkParseDisplayName worked
01:37:23.2500000 ChooseDevices :: Setting match to true - found target video device in list
01:37:23.2656250 ChooseDevices :: Started
01:37:23.2656250 ChooseDevices :: Preview stopped, graph torn down
01:37:23.2656250 FreeCapFilters :: Started
01:37:23.2656250 FreeCapFilters :: Ended
01:37:23.2656250 InitCapFilters :: Started
01:37:23.2656250 MakeBuilder :: Started
01:37:23.2968750 MakeBuilder :: CaptureGraphBuilder created OK
01:37:23.2968750 MakeBuilder :: Ended
01:37:23.2968750 InitCapFilters :: InitCapFilters - we have a valid pmVideo
01:37:23.2968750 InitCapFilters :: pmVideeo is a Basler GenICam Source
01:37:24.7500000 InitCapFilters :: Created a video capture filter OK
01:37:24.7500000 MakeGraph :: Started
01:37:24.7500000 MakeGraph :: FilterGraph created OK
01:37:24.7500000 MakeGraph :: Ended
01:37:24.7500000 InitCapFilters :: Looking for video compression interface
01:37:24.7500000 InitCapFilters :: gcap.pVC (VideoCompression) is null
01:37:24.7500000 InitCapFilters :: trying to get default capture format
01:37:24.7500000 ResizeWindow :: Resizing Window to 656x494
01:37:24.7500000 InitCapFilters :: Success!
01:37:24.7500000 InitCapFilters :: Enumerating video pins
01:37:24.7500000 InitCapFilters :: doing audo capture initialization
01:37:24.7500000 InitCapFilters :: InitCapFilters - complete, success
01:37:24.7500000 InitCapFilters :: Ended
01:37:24.7500000 ChooseDevices :: Capture filters freed and re-initialized
01:37:24.7656250 MakeMenuOptions :: Started
01:37:24.7656250 MakeMenuOptions :: Ended (gcap.pACap is null)
01:37:24.7656250 ChooseDevices :: Got display name from devices friendly name
01:37:24.7656250 ChooseDevices :: Ended
01:37:24.7656250 ChooseDevices :: Ended
01:37:24.7656250 Initialize :: Devices chosen :
01:37:24.7656250 Initialize :: Video device is @device:sw:{860BB310-5D01-11D0-BD3B-00A0C911CE86}\{3193F794-0CE7-485D-A61D-7289A4ADBFCE}
01:37:24.7656250 Initialize :: Audio device is null
01:37:24.7656250 Initialize :: Device notification registered
01:37:24.7656250 Initialize :: Ended
01:37:24.7656250 ApplyDefaultProfile :: Started
01:37:24.7656250 ApplyDefaultProfile :: Ended (No default defined for this camera)
01:37:24.7656250 BuildGraphAndStartPreview :: Started
01:37:24.7656250 BuildPreviewGraph :: Started
01:37:24.7812500 PreviewRenderCaptureDevice :: render AVI preview
01:37:24.7968750 PreviewRenderCaptureDevice :: Interleaved preview failed, trying video only
01:37:25.3437500 SetupPreviewOutputWindow :: Trying to setup size/location of video window
01:37:25.3593750 HookMediaEvents :: setting up notificatin for preview/capture events
01:37:25.3593750 BuildPreviewGraph :: Ended
01:37:25.3593750 StartPreview :: Started
01:37:25.3593750 StartPreview :: Starting preview
01:37:25.3593750 .ctor :: Started
01:37:25.3750000 AddPinControls :: Pin controls being added
01:37:25.3750000 PopulateValueList :: Started
01:37:25.4218750 System.NullReferenceException: Odwołanie do obiektu nie zostało ustawione na wystąpienie obiektu.
w SharpCap.FrameRatePropertyControl.GetMaxRate(ModeInfo currentMode) w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\CamControlProxy\PropertyControls\FrameRatePropertyControl.cs:wiersz 138
w SharpCap.FrameRatePropertyControl.PopulateValueList() w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\CamControlProxy\PropertyControls\FrameRatePropertyControl.cs:wiersz 71
w SharpCap.StreamConfigPropertyControl.Initialize() w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\CamControlProxy\PropertyControls\StreamConfigPropertyControl.cs:wiersz 76
w SharpCap.PropertyControls.CaptureControl.AddPinControl(IDiscreteValuePropertyControl rpc) w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\CamControlProxy\PropertyControls\CaptureControl.cs:wiersz 244
w SharpCap.PropertyControls.CaptureControl.BuildPinControls(ISampleCaptureGraphBuilder builder, IAMStreamConfig videoConfig, IBaseFilter baseFilter, IWin32Window windowHandle) w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\CamControlProxy\PropertyControls\CaptureControl.cs:wiersz 236
w SharpCap.PropertyControls.CaptureControl.AddPinControls(ISampleCaptureGraphBuilder graphBuilder, IBaseFilter iBaseFilter, IAMStreamConfig videoConfig, IWin32Window windowHandle) w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\CamControlProxy\PropertyControls\CaptureControl.cs:wiersz 122
w SharpCap.PropertyControls.CaptureControl..ctor(String cameraName, ISampleCaptureGraphBuilder graphBuilder, IPreviewControl previewControl, IBaseFilter iBaseFilter, IAMStreamConfig videoConfig, IWin32Window windowHandle) w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\CamControlProxy\PropertyControls\CaptureControl.cs:wiersz 108
w SharpCap.Capture.SetupCaptureControls() w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\SharpCap\Capture.cs:wiersz 1439
w SharpCap.Capture.StartPreview() w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\SharpCap\Capture.cs:wiersz 1398
w SharpCap.Capture.BuildGraphAndStartPreview() w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\SharpCap\Capture.cs:wiersz 1788
w SharpCap.SharpCapForm.InitializeFirstPreview() w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\SharpCap\UI\SharpCapForm.cs:wiersz 283
w SharpCap.SharpCapForm.timer1_Tick(Object sender, EventArgs e) w D:\Documents\Source Code\trunk\SharpCap\SharpCap\UI\SharpCapForm.cs:wiersz 1115
w System.Windows.Forms.Timer.OnTick(EventArgs e)
w System.Windows.Forms.Timer.TimerNativeWindow.WndProc(Message& m)
w System.Windows.Forms.NativeWindow.Callback(IntPtr hWnd, Int32 msg, IntPtr wparam, IntPtr lparam)
Edited by riklaunim

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Looks like the camera driver doesn't report a list of available resolutions and colour spaces when queried for this info. I think I can fix the crash but you will probably be stuck in the default resolution/colour space for the camera. I'll try to get a fixed version posted in the next few days.

cheers,

Robin

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It's 640 x 480 and can use ROI as it wants, but I don't know how much of that functionality is in the GenICam driver. WDM based access (like in PHD) seems to be working like with native driver/API.

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untitled.jpg

last night i deleted sharpcap and ran ccleaner for registry then tonight i downloaded sharpcap again and got same problem, hopefully i have pasted a screen shot to show problem, maybe i have a problem with the philips driver?

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I just can't get Sharpcap to work without it crashing my laptop after a while, which is a real shame as the functions look really good.

Basically, my PC freezes and I then get a nasty blue screen with a screenful of text about 'system failure', before the whole PC reboots. I have tried uninstalling and re-installing with the latest version, but to no avail.

Any ideas how to fix this? I am running Windows 7.

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@nightfisher,

I can stop it from crashing when this happens, but I suspect you'd not have control of the webcam adjustments because of this error. For some reason the SPC900 driver is rejecting the commands SharpCap is sending it. I'll make the change for the next version, as it's never good for an app to crash, but it might not get you far...

@lukebl

The only time I've managed to crash my own machine with SharpCap is by unplugging an SPC900 while SharpCap is capturing or previewing. Then it seems to crash if you plug the camera in again. Strictly speaking these crashes are down to a bug in the SPC900 drivers, but of course Philips are never going to release a new version, so that doesn't help much. Unfortunately SharpCap has to talk direct to the SPC900 driver to allow it to control the camera properties properly (because the rest of the SPC900 capture software is sadly even worse written than the camera driver is). If I put in an option that allowed you to turn that feature off, the crashes would almost certainly go away, but you'd need to use something like wcctrl or the tray application that comes with the philips camera driver to adjust the webcam settings. Would SharpCap still be useful to you in that case?

cheers,

Robin

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Thanks Robin. Sorry, I'm not a computer tecchie, so I don't understand much about the technology!

The thing is, it doesn't crash because I'm unplugging the webcam. It just crashes seemingly at random. No doubt there is some sort of conflict with other stuff on my pc, but I wouldn't know where to start in diagnosing the problem. All I know is that it works OK on other capture programs, like Craterlet and WxAstroCapture.

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suggestion from a novice ! have you tried running your camera/ driver in compatability mode ? Tony

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