Good grief, it's been over two years since I added to this thread.
Back in October 2007 I wrote that "I don't think that I will ever achieve the levels of clarity available from a webcam". Well, I still don't have a webcam but I do have a 5D Mark II and now that I also once more have a functioning notebook computer I set to work this evening. My normal interest is stellar photography but with a nearly full moon spoiling that party but with "seeing" pretty good it seemed like a good time to shoot the moon. Normally a full moon is pretty boring so I wasn't expecting much, mentally putting this evening's effort down as a trial run.
The setup is identical as before, except for the 5D2 of course, and I used the notebook to display a Live View image from the camera so I could adjust focus accurately. Once done and with the camera already set up to record movies I disconnected the notebook and took about two and a half minutes of video.
I'll cheerfully admit that I have no idea what settings the camera was using (apart from 1080p/24). Once back in the warm I converted the "MOV" file from the camera into an "AVI" file so that it could be read by RegiStax
. It's the first time I've used that program so I accepted it's default settings and let it loose. In the end I did three passes with the final pass using the whole of the final image from pass two as a reference. RegiStax is an amazing program as not only did it do a great job of selecting the good images (final stack was from 3383 images) and then aligning and stacking them but it also removed a few dust spots automatically as well.
I exported the RegiStax final image as a 16 bit TIFF file. I then had to open it in PhotoShop and save it once again before I could persuade Adobe Bridge that it could be sent to CameraRaw where I processed for white balance, did some initial sharpening and then applied extreme values of Clarity, Vibrance and Saturation (65 each). I then opened the image in PhotoShop where I rotated it to roughly north up and applied some more sharpening and a "curve" to enhance the contrast a bit more. One extra step I also had to perform, unfortunately, was a little desaturation of the "yellows" along one edge of the moon to get rid of some colour fringing. The final step was a very small reduction in size to be a bit more forum friendly. Anyway, that's enough talk - here's the result:
It looks like RegiStax has also coped with, or removed frames with, any "jello" effect as well, Unfortunately the one thing it couldn't cope with is that however I tried to frame it the camera's sensor was just a tiny bit too small, hence the clipped edge. Not a problem when the Moon isn't full, of course.
The processing was very aggressive, as noted, in order to emphasise the Moon's natural colouration. I also probably overdid the sharpening but that's a matter of taste and I wanted to pull as much detail as possible out of what is normally the Moon's least photogenic phase. Hope you like it.