[FFmpeg-user] Enconding and streaming raw pixel stream via WiFi

Ralf Ramsauer ralf.ramsauer at oth-regensburg.de
Wed May 17 20:29:52 EEST 2017


I'd like to use ffmpeg/ffserver to encode and stream a raw pixel stream.

My intention is to capture a v4l2 cam device, do some magic with opencv
and stream with ffserver and RTSP via WiFi, as the device is a flying
microcopter platform with an unstable WiFi connection.

This is the reason why I'd like to use RTSP via UDP. I decided to pass
the raw pixel stream via an unnamed pipe to ffmpeg. Tricky, but this
keeps all encoding/streaming stuff out of my C++ code. ffmpeg decodes
the stream and sends it to a ffserver instance running on the same
platform. ffserver binds to the WiFi interface, other computers on the
same network are allowed to watch the RTSP stream.

I'm open for better solutions. :)

However, the pixel stream has no fix framerate, it produces as many
frames as possible. IOW, a new frame is sent to stdout as soon as it is
available. Effectively, this results in a framerate of about ~28fps.

This is how I invoke ffmpeg:

./my_opencv_app | ffmpeg -f rawvideo -r 30 -pixel_format gray
-video_size 640x480 -tune zerolatency -i - http://localhost:8081/foo.ffm

Please find the corresponding ffserver.conf below.

Everything *somehow* works, but not as intended. The video delay is
constantly increasing, and it produces high network load (~1.4MB/s) for
rather simple pictures (grayscaled).

- My opencv app currently produces as many frames as possible. Should it
  produce frames at a (more or less) constant frame rate?

- Apparently, this approach makes ffmpeg use the mpeg4 codec per
  default. This results in high network load, though my frames are only
  So I tried to switch to h26[45]. This broke everything. I get a bunch
  of errors and no video stream when I try to watch it with mplayer.

  I tried to replace my opencv app by a direct stream of the webcam with
  ffmpeg. Same issues.

- What are 'recommended' codec settings for my use case? Which codec
  would probably be the best for me? (Sorry, I'm not an A/V guy ;) )

- I have to specify the framerate as a ffmpeg parameter "-r 30", and in
  the ffserver.conf. Why do I have to specify it twice? Why do I have to
  specify a framerate at all?

- I'd like to keep latency as low as possible. Are there some special
  tweaks for achieving low latency with ffmpeg?

- Is h26[45] suitable for streaming with an unstable connection? Is it
  robust against random failures?

If it helps, I can push my stuff to some repository.

Anything helps!



HttpPort 8081
RtspPort 5554
MaxClients 5
MaxBandwidth 100000
CustomLog -


<Feed foo.ffm>
        File /tmp/foo.ffm
        FileMaxSize 1M
        ACL allow

<Stream foo.sdp>
        Feed foo.ffm
        Format rtp

        VideoSize 640x480
        VideoFrameRate 30

        ACL allow

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