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gfunkernator

Planetary captures sometimes don't finish

Question

I am using Backyard EOS 3.1.18.  When capturing 2500 frames into an AVI it will sample the fps, begin the capture, then when 2500 frames are captured, in that same area where it showed the fps and frames captured, it shows the word "memory" with a number counting down from about 900.  When all works properly, when the counter reaches 0 I see the queue in the camera panel blinking "1".  Then eventually I hear the tone indicating that the capture is complete.  I check to see if the AVI was created and it was.  When it does not work, the memory counter never reaches zero, will stop anywhere from 200-500, then nothing happens.  No tone, no queue indicator, no AVI file.  This started happening in version 3.1.18 for me.  I am using a Canon EOS Ra in "M" mode.  Also no errors were shown in the log.

 

Note that this has happened only when I try to capture more than 2000 frames.  I am using a Surface Pro 6 with Windows 10 8GB RAM.  The RAM usage never goes above 4 or 5GB while capturing AVI's through BYE.

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This is 100% related to memory/disk IO.

  1. When recording a planetary session, BYE tries to capture as many frames as possible into memory first... then slowly saves them to disk while given top priority to the capture of frames itself.
  2. The number you see when is says memory are the number of frames yet to be saved to disk.
  3. When that is done, if you selected AVI, you'll get the job counter "1" blinking... indicating there there is one background job being worked on...that would be creating the AVI.

Your issue occurs in #2, correct?

This is a disk IO intensive process.... and you may be hitting the limit of your system and it's ability to manage memory swap files, I suspect this is where the contention is.  If this is case there is not much that can be done, Windows is fighting for disk IO in all direction.

Are you using the background worker and/or processor affinity?  See advance settings in BYE.

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You may have available RAM, but Windows only allows 32-bit applications to use a total of 2 GB. BYE must be a 32-bit app, because it uses the Canon SDK which is a 32-bit API.

So can you do multiple smaller captures, back-to-back, keep them as JPGs? You may be able to use dcraw, or some other program, to combine into an AVI them outside of BYE.

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I don't think it is the page file.  I was watching my RAM usage while capturing, it never exceeded 5GB, total system RAM is 8GB with like 7.8GB available to Windows.  Then again this not a workstation I am using, just a Windows tablet so yeah I may be pushing it too much.  I remember one session where the sampled framerate was 50fps!  Never again though, its been sampling at 30fps.  I don't know how that happened but need to find out.  Time is critical in the morning when the sun is chasing the planets, so getting as many frames as possible in the shortest time is key.

 

I can do JPG captures no problem.  I noticed that they got saved to the BackyardTEMP folder not the standard PLANETARY folder in BackyardEOS, but I moved them before closing BYE fearing they'd get deleted.  Can I get the same quality level from using jpg vs avi?  I would think not unless there's a way to do it without much loss.  

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9 hours ago, gfunkernator said:

I can do JPG captures no problem.  I noticed that they got saved to the BackyardTEMP folder not the standard PLANETARY folder in BackyardEOS, but I moved them before closing BYE fearing they'd get deleted.  Can I get the same quality level from using jpg vs avi?  I would think not unless there's a way to do it without much loss.  

The JPG gets copied only after the AVI is complete.

AVI and JPG are 100% the same quality.  Think about it for a second... the JPG is what is downloaded on the computer form live view....then the AVI is created from those images... there is no way creating an AVI (a 30 year old technology) would increase the quality of the images being given at it :).  They are identical.

Hope this helps.

 

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The JPG images are the individual LiveView frames that BYE gets from the camera. The JPG files are combined, after the fact, to make AVI. This means that the quality is the same.

Initially the downloaded JPG planetary images are saved in the BackyardTEMP folder. Once all the requested frames have been collected in the BackyardTEMP folder, a background thread is used to move them to the Planetary folder, rename them, and potentially combine them into the AVI. You need to let this process happen without intervention. By you worrying that BYE is not doing what it is supposed to and moving the files manually, you are interfering with that process. BYE will warn you if you try to quit the program while you have unprocessed data. You can tell that it is finished when the Queue entry (in the Camera Information Center, to the right of the battery indicator) disappears.

I suggest that you play around with BYE and your tablet, connected to the camera, at the kitchen table, so you are familiar with how to use it and are comfortable with how it behaves.

I have an i7 desktop PC with Windows 10 Pro and a T5i camera. I get about 14 fps in Planetary mode. I created two 3000 frame AVI files, back-to-back (by setting the Loop count to 2), using BYE 3.2.0 RC4. I had no problems. The frames for the first video were being processed while the data for the second video was being collected. BYE's memory usage did not come close to the 2GB limit, staying below 160MB and its CPU usage was always under 10%.  It took about 3.5 minutes to capture the 3000 frames and less than 2 minutes to create the AVI, so the number of queued tasks never got above 1.

If you are trying to capture Jupiter, you need to keep your video short. I have heard that less than 70 seconds is good. If you go longer than that you will start to see blurring in the stacked image due to the rotation of the planet. Of course there is software that can de-rotate the images to let you go longer.

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Ok thanks@adminfor clearing that up for me.  I thought that they were less quality because looking at the jpg frames, they were blurrier than some of the frames in the avi file.  A JPG is a compressed image afterall, but I didnt know that BYE takes x jpg frames and compiles them into an uncompressed avi.  

 

@astroman133 Are you using a de-rotater that you mentioned?  All of my planetary images are blurry, even after making sure focus is on point.  I use Jupiter's moons to coarse focus, then fine tune once the shutter speed is up and I can see Jupiter's details.  I read that 60sec and below is good for Jupiter, 45sec preferable.  I have to find the site that had a chart showing the optimal video length for each planet based on period of rotation.  My videos are 1min 14sec long.  The first video will capture at 30fps, then while that is compiling, the second video will capture at 15fps.  Are lower framerates better?  

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WinJUPOS is what is typically used to de-rotate and combine images of Jupiter and Saturn.

The AVI file contains the JPG images which are downloaded from the camera. The AVI is not uncompressed because the JPGs are not uncompressed.

I am not sure why you get such variation in the frame rate. AFAIK, lower frame rates are not better, or worse either. The rate may be lower because the PC is busy processing the first image. In any case you cannot control the frame rate. BYE gets the LiveView frames as quickly as it can.

 

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That one time I got 50fps I had the same applications running as when I get 30fps.  I'm even using a USB 3.0 cable from the camera to a powered USB 3.0 Hub which then goes to an active USB 3.0 cable to my Surface which only has one USB 3.0 port.

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If you got 50fps I can guarantee that this number was inflated due to possible dropped frames.  Most Canon average about 25 FPS +/- 5 so your 30 fps is most likely the best throughput you'll achieve.

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