Instructions for setting up a Real-Time Streaming Server

Author:Siddhant Shrivastava

Change Record

21st June, 2015 - Document created

26th June, 2015 - Added single camera streaming Instructions

10th July, 2015 - Added `Explanations`_ section

15th July, 2015 - Added FFmpeg command explanation for single camera

19th July, 2015 - Added Debugging section

20th August, 2015 - Added details and links.

FFmpeg Setup

Download from source Generally, FFmpeg comes with v4l2-utils support built-in. This is important for controlling video devices on Linux-based Operating Systems.

Steps to get the setup working

  1. Configure a ffmpeg server on the remote machine.
  2. For this, copy the ffserver.conf file from eras/servers/telerobotics/streams/single_camera into the /etc/ directory of the remote machine.
  3. Start the server via the ffmpeg command specified in
  4. The server reads from /dev/video0 and serves it on the listening port.
  5. The client machine has the Blender scene and script running.

Testing and Explanation

Single Camera

`` ffmpeg -v verbose -r 30 -s 640x480 -f video4linux2 -i /dev/video0 http://localhost:8190/webcam.ffm ``
  • This command ensures a single camera stream explained by the various options of FFmpeg. The -r option specifies a framerate of 30fps (frames per second from the input device) and -s option specifies an input resolution of 640x480 from the camera.
  • The input device is /dev/video0 which is a video4linux2 supported device.
  • The output device is the Feed which is identified by the ffserver.conf configuration.


In case of dropped frames or memory-related issues, it is quite possible that the problem is hardware related. In this case, the v4l2-ctl tool is quite useful. Some important commands while troubleshooting such issues are -

  • v4l2-ctl --list-devices
  • v4l2-ctl --verbose <any_command>
  • v4l2-ctl --list-ctrls <device name>

Knowing the capability of the camera in hand goes a long way in identifying the usage profile of the camera as a video device. Cameras have a fixed set of frame rates supported by the hardware. These must be kept in mind before streaming at an intended frame rate.

ffmpeg has its own levels of verbosity which can be changed while streaming. ffprobe can be used for further performance analysis. ffplay is a good tool to check the output quality of a stream.