FOSS Time lapse of the Milky Way

OK, so a bit of self promotion as I’m quite chuffed with the final outcome.

Where I live in Australia we have fairly dark skies only 20 minutes drive from my front door. So last night I used every bit of motivation I had to overcome the call of the couch and TV and head out at 10pm to find a dark spot for some time lapse of the milky way.

The end result is here:

If you watch towards the bottom of the frame about 10 seconds in you’ll see a largish streak, that’s the ISS… :slight_smile:

The technical details are at the end of the video, it’s only 20 seconds or so, but for the record:

Canon 5DMk3
25 Seconds F2.8 @ 16mm.
5 Seconds between shots, allows time for the camera to write the file reset etc not sure I like it though, the gaps for passing planes and meteors/shooting stars is a bit jarring, likely I’ll shorten that up next time out.

172 Images

Raw to jpeg processing done in RawTherapee

ffmpeg to create the video, frame rate in 12 frame rate out 24, slows down the play back

ffmpeg -r 12 -pattern_type glob -i '*.jpg' -r 24 -vcodec libx264 -vf scale=1080:-1 milky-way-1080.mp4

kdenlive for video and audio mixing and effects, first time I’ve used it. easy to work out.

Music was found from a google search for free royalty free music: “A touch of zen”.

Looks like I’m heading out again on Wednesday night, a local Aurora chaser is keen to go and I’m tagging in with him. Hoping for clear and dark skies… I’m keen to get that captured. :slight_smile:


Nice video. Btw, you can embed YouTube videos here.

Looks really nice but a bit choppy. :slight_smile:

If you want to make it a bit smoother you could try out the image sequence morphing from gmic:

$ gmic -w -morph_files input-frames.png,3,0.5,5,0,-1,1,output-frames.png

would add 3 additional images between the ones you have by interpolating between them.

Also when publishing for the web, in my opinion 30 frames per second makes a lot more sense.
Most screens run at 60 hz so 24 fps will result in some sort of pull down. But there are definitely people that argue that it’s part of the cinematic look so there is that. :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the tip Jonas… I’ll go install it and see how it works out.

To be honest I’m really just stumbling around in the dark :wink: with this… happy to take advice and suggestions. :slight_smile:

OK, this version is much smoother.


Wow, that worked even better than I expected. :slight_smile:

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Yeah, it really smoothed it out, I can only imagine the processing required to do that, took ages on an i7 3.2ghz system. And it’s left me thinking I need to replace the heat sink on the CPU… :unamused:

Oh cool, that’s the code I’ve been looking for!

I have kept a sort of running sheet on the steps taken in a sometimes used blog, lots of stuff in draft for zfs reminders and the like.

I’ll get motivated and polish off the blog post and publish it so there’s a few references that should be searchable.

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I did this 1 with some code of my own, but that sequence morphing looks like it’ll be a big step up.


Some days ago I found this video, where the earth is rotating instead of the stars:

I tried to do the same with Natron and your video but the result was not that good. I’ll show the video here, because it is really bad.Perhaps someone gets better results. But for everyone who is interested here is the Natron file:
Reworking of the time (433.6 KB)

Very cool! It turned out great!!

@plaven, that’s beautiful! @harry_durgin, your video seems nicely smooth; what exposure length were the shots captured with?

In case you want more discussion on gmic’s fade_files and morph_files and a couple of examples:

Thanks @DavidOliver, I found that thread while I was looking further into the the morph_files.

Amazing bit of software that G’MIC! :slight_smile: