[Libav-user] Using ffmpeg with SDL2 - Bad src image pointers / New decoding flow - questions

Jan jan at dwrox.net
Tue Feb 7 20:38:35 EET 2017

On 05.02.2017 21:15, Blake Senftner wrote:
> I’m in a somewhat similar situation as you, working on a video player,
> using a more C approach versus C++ classes for all the data and logic. I
> write a hybrid, with classes, but minimally. I prefer C.  And I’m using
> wxWidgets with OpenGL, so there is very little hiding/encapsulation of
> my data handling.
>   * In your “Init AV backend” I have additional calls to:
>       o avdevice_register_all();   seems to be necessary for USB streams
>       o avfilter_register_all();    you will want an avfilter graph to
>         filter the stream of failed frames and similar error recovery
>       o avformat_network_init();   if you’re playing IP streams, you’ll
>         want this
>   * When you call sws_getContext(), for your 3rd parameter pass in
>     the videoCodecContext->pix_fmt. It’s value means “unset” and
>     essentially tells sws to insure to return pixels in your desired
>     format.
>   * When using avcodec_send_packet() one needs to
>     useavcodec_receive_frame(), as that is the API design. Consider
>     those two routines the in and out of a single algorithm.
>   * Also, due to buffering, you will wantavcodec_receive_frame() called
>     in a while loop, to drain the buffered frames afterav_read_Frame()
>     has indicated the stream EOF’ed or terminated.
>   * It also looks like you’re not using AVFilter yet, which I have found
>     is critical to stable playback - and it replaces your use of
>     sws_context… (with it’s own use of sws, but with a lot more logic
>     around it)
>   * Regardless of your using AVFilter or directly using sws, your pixel
>     data is not guaranteed to always be a single continuous pixel buffer
>     with all codecs. Your logic needs to look at each frame’s
>     linesize[0] (in the case of RGB pixels) and compare that to your
>     calculated correct number of expected bytes. If they match, then you
>     have a continuous buffer for each pixel line. If they do not match,
>     your logic needs to loop over the pixel buffer copying the pixels
>     from each row start, because each row can have additional bytes that
>     are not image pixels at the end of the pixel row.
> I don’t know when you started working on your player, but it looks from
> reading your comments, you are just a few beats behind my figuring all
> this out. I can’t share my code directly with you, but keep posting. The
> advice from others looks correct, but as you point out, you’re working
> in C, and C++ encapsulation is just hiding details you want to see.
> Sincerely,
> -Blake Senftner
> Computer Scientist

Hello Blake,
hello all.

thank you for sharing your insights, for sure very helpful. Just 
AVFilter and the latter is again not very intuitive, when to use the 
buffer, when to use the sink and how to archive any color conversion or 

I got my player working, in particular the error came from an unitilized 
src frame (videoframe) and the issue that the packet.data and 
packet.linesize were not filled.

Currently I am not using the new API avcodec_send_packet() and 
av_receive_frame() - because I didnt get my output working, even so the 
decoding did work almost indepently using a while loop for 
av_receive_frame(), which seems to do most of the parsing itself, even 
so I used av_image_fill_arrays() to get the information of the frame 
into the videoFrame for swscale()  - I simply couldt not get the video 
shown yet.

Anyhow, its working for me now. But to be honest, I use deprecated 

I also noticed ffplay is also still using it avframe_decode_open2 and it 
seems no one the new API yet. Sadly.

If anyone else has suggestions and hints on how to setup the packet or 
AVFrame data and linesize, or how to correctly setup the new decoding 
API, please let me know.

As I really would like not to hang around of deprecated features, which 
seems to be the easiest solution so.

Kind regards


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