I’ve been experimenting with the All Sky camera setup to try and extend the total exposure time for an exposure. One limiting factor is the camera firmware which limits exposure to 1 second.
The way that iSpy gets the images from the camera is using a combination of RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol). The command line for that is the funny string of characters you entered when first setting up the camera (rtsp://admin:@192.168.1.253:554/mpeg4)
This is then passed into iSpy via FFMPEG software, which is basically a communications interface. Here’s where I’ve made a discovery. I can change the command line to allow frame integration of 2,4 or 16 frames i.e. 2s, 4s, 16s exposure.
I still have a little more playing about to do before I release the command line but it looks promising. The FFMPEG documentation is a nightmare but it’s incredibly powerful
Here’s a nice little timelapse from a few days ago, edited using a free bit of software for windows called Shotcut (https://www.shotcut.org/). It’s a bit like Windows Media player and VLC player but it allows you to export a speeded up video, which is very handy
This one is effectively running at 60fps and was a timelapse recorded on my All Sky Camera with iSpy recording at 1 frame per minute over about 6 hours, although, I’ve cropped this much shorter as it was getting light
It’s quite nice as you can see the Plough moving down the screen, and the after about 20 seconds you’ll see Cassiopeia coming in at the top right near the tree . You can also faintly see the Milky Way moving down the screen after that.
For future reference for myself and also as a reference for others, the settings on my All Sky Camera can be accessed via links below. This is the camera I build at Ed Mann’s workshop. I have also included again another copy of Ed’s original instructions from which these settings were ascertained for my Dell Precision M4800 laptop and Dell Precision M6800 laptops – using the same All Sky Camera the settings are the same on both laptops. I am using VLC media player to play back recordings.
Look at the iSpy help pages – they are very comprehensive and helpful
If you are using a mouse with the centre roller (most of them are like this now), when the mouse is on the main camera screen, you can use the centre roller to zoom in and out. It zooms the picture AT THE POINT where the cursor is. Try it – you’ll see what I mean. This is very handy for focusing
To get into the camera settings URL in your browser there are two ways:-
Right click on the main camera screen and select the first option Open Web Interface
Open your browser and type in the URL 192.168.1.18 (assuming you haven’t changed the default IP address)
At the bottom of the main iSpy screen, cliick on Performance Tips to get some very useful info about how to reduce the CPU loading and probably speed things up. This includes a major step like changing the video file type from MP4 to AVI on the Recording tab under Profile
When I am adjusting the camera settings, I reduce the size ot the camera settings screen to about half of the screen and then you can see iSpy behind it to see the effect of your changes
Andy has created a new category for all All Sky Camera information under Equipment for astronomy – All Sky camera
As you have probably from the workshops, we are only scratching the surface of the ablilities of both the the iSpy software and the camera modules. I still have have a load of information and helpful tips to pass on, so over the next few days I’ll be adding more blogs in that category.