Processing ISS photos


Once I started working with photos of the ISS I quickly discovered that I needed a way to align the ISS in several images in order to "stack" photos and to also make smooth videos showing the changing perspective as it flies over. Here is a quick tutorial of what I'm doing.

I use IC Capture  to record the ISS passes. It came with my DFK camera. It allows me to change exposure settings as I am recording a video, which is very useful.

I center the ISS in frames using Registax. First I load the video into VirtualDub and delete all frames that do not have the ISS fully in the frame. I save the file as an AVI and load it  into RegiStax 5. I choose "Align using centre of gravity" and choose the largest alignment area (256).Then I choose "Align". Then I slide the slider all of the way to the right which selects all frames. Then I press "Limit" and skip to the "Stack" tab. Under "Create AVI"  I choose "I420" as the codec and choose "Save registered" using "Alignment area". This saves a video at 300 fps. I then load that video back into VirtualDub and change the frame rate back to it's original value.

RegiStax can also stack frames to sharpen the picture. The key is to get a lot of frames in a short period of time, so that all frames see the ISS from the same angle.

Here is a raw video - when I converted it, it reduced the screen size from the original 1280 x 960 to 320 x 240.

Uncentered video

Here is the video after I processed it

Centered video


I'm sure as I do this more I will refine my procedure, but this is how I do it right now. I am open to suggestions and comments.

Here is a video I made demonstrating how I process ISS videos