How To Perform Video Streaming Using Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry Pi is a low cost, pocket-sized computer that requires some fundamental equipment for making fascinating projects that can be utilized in our day by day life to make our life simpler. An SD card embedded into the card slot on the board acts as the Hard drive for the Raspberry Pi. Latest Raspberry Pi models have usually three to four Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports, one ethernet port, and one High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI). It can do all that you would anticipate that a work station should do, like playing a superior quality video, making spreadsheets, FM radio stations and gaming, etc. Live streaming camcorders can be utilized for security or individual purposes. The webcams, camcorders, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras for live video streaming are easily available in the market but they are costly. In this project, we will make a live streaming camera using Raspberry Pi that is an economical device can be accessed over Wifi too. We would be able to view the live video streaming on our cell phones, tablets, and desktop PCs.

Live Video Streaming

How To Setup Pi Camera For Live Streaming?

The best approach to start any project is to make a list of components because no one will want to stick in the middle of a project just because of a missing component.

Step 1: Components Required

Step 2: Selecting the Raspberry Pi Model

The selection of Raspberry Pi is a very technical task and it should be done carefully so that you don’t suffer in the future. The Raspberry Pi Zero is not preferred because it is the oldest model available in the market with a limited amount of specifications and setting up a network on it is a very tiring job. The latest models like 3A+, 3B+ can be purchased. The Raspberry Pi 3 is the quickest and most dominant gadget the Raspberry Pi Foundation has released to date. So, in this project, we will use the Raspberry Pi 3B+.

Raspberry Pi 3B+

Step 3: Setting Up Raspberry Pi

There are two options for setting up Raspberry Pi. First, one is to connect your Pi with LCD and connect all the necessary peripherals and start working. The second one is to set up Pi with the laptop and access it remotely. It depends on the availability of LCD, if you have it at home then you can set up your Pi by using an LCD. Connect the LCD to the HDMI port of the Raspberry by using HDMI to VGA adapter. If you want to access your Pi remotely follow my article named “How To Access Graphical User Interface (GUI) Of Raspberry Pi Using SSH And VNC Viewer?”. In this article, a detailed setup of Pi with a laptop is described and after logging in you would be able to gain the remote access to Pi.

Step 4: Make Sure That Raspberry Pi Is Up To Date

After setting up Raspberry Pi we would ensure that our Pi is working fine and all the latest packages are installed on it. Open the Command Window and type the following two commands to update Pi.

sudo apt-get update

Then,

sudo apt-get upgrade

If any updates are installed, press Y and then press Enter to continue downloading updates.

Updating Packages

Step 5: Enabling The Raspberry Pi Camera Module

We need to enable the Raspberry Pi camera module before using it. Close the command window after updating the packages and click on the Raspberry icon on the top left corner of the Desktop Screen. Scroll down to the Raspberry Pi Preferences, click on the Interfaces option and enable the Camera from there.

It can also be enabled by typing the following command in the Terminal window:

sudo raspi-config

After typing this command we will see that the Raspberry Pi Software Configuration Tool is opened and scroll down to Interfacing Options and press Enter.

Raspberry Pi Configuration Tool

A new screen will appear and we would see the Camera mentioned at the top. Press Enter:

Camera Interface Enabled

After enabling the camera the Pi needs to be rebooted for the changes to take effect. We will reboot our Pi before proceeding further and it can be done by typing the following command.

sudo reboot
Rebooting Pi

Step 6: Noting Down IP Address Of Pi

We need to access the video streaming webserver later hence we need to know the IP address that is assigned to the Raspberry Pi. As we have already found out the IP address while setting up our Pi we will note it down and proceed further. There is an alternative way of finding out IP address too and that is to type the following command in the Terminal window after setting up Wifi on our Pi.

ifconfig

In my case, the IP Address assigned to my Pi is “192.168.1.14“.

Finding Our IP Address

Step 7: Connecting The Camera Module

Now, we are ready to plug our camera module into the Pi but before doing so be aware that the camera can be harmed by electricity produced via static charges. Before taking out the camera from its grey packet ensure that you have discharged yourself by touching some earthing material. While installing the camera shut down the Pi and connect the camera to the CSI port of the Pi and ensure the camera is associated in the correct direction with the strip blue letters facing upwards as shown in the figure below.

Connecting The Camera Module

Step 8: Looking For Suitable Format For Web Streaming

It is a bit tough task because there are no video formats that are universally supported by all of the web browsers. HTTP was designed to serve web pages initially and since its launch, many additions have been made for catering file downloads, live streaming, etc. Hence, keeping in view this issue we would stream our video in a simple format named as MJPEG. The code that is mentioned in the next step uses the built-in http.server module to make video streaming much easier. A suitable format with code can be found out at the official Picamera website.

Step 9: Writing The Script For Video Streaming

We need to write the script for video streaming and it can be found out on the official PiCamera website. Firstly, create a new file named as  rpi_video_streaming.py by typing the following the command in the Terminal window:

sudo nano rpi_video_streaming.py

After creating the file copy the code mentioned below or download the Code from Here. If you are downloading the code from the link then scroll down the webpage and check 4.10. Web Streaming part.

import io
import picamera
import logging
import socketserver
from threading import Condition
from http import server

PAGE="""\
<html>
<head>
<title>picamera MJPEG streaming demo</title>
</head>
<body>
<h1>PiCamera MJPEG Streaming Demo</h1>
<img src="stream.mjpg" width="640" height="480" />
</body>
</html>
"""

class StreamingOutput(object):
    def __init__(self):
        self.frame = None
        self.buffer = io.BytesIO()
        self.condition = Condition()

    def write(self, buf):
        if buf.startswith(b'\xff\xd8'):
            # New frame, copy the existing buffer's content and notify all
            # clients it's available
            self.buffer.truncate()
            with self.condition:
                self.frame = self.buffer.getvalue()
                self.condition.notify_all()
            self.buffer.seek(0)
        return self.buffer.write(buf)

class StreamingHandler(server.BaseHTTPRequestHandler):
    def do_GET(self):
        if self.path == '/':
            self.send_response(301)
            self.send_header('Location', '/index.html')
            self.end_headers()
        elif self.path == '/index.html':
            content = PAGE.encode('utf-8')
            self.send_response(200)
            self.send_header('Content-Type', 'text/html')
            self.send_header('Content-Length', len(content))
            self.end_headers()
            self.wfile.write(content)
        elif self.path == '/stream.mjpg':
            self.send_response(200)
            self.send_header('Age', 0)
            self.send_header('Cache-Control', 'no-cache, private')
            self.send_header('Pragma', 'no-cache')
            self.send_header('Content-Type', 'multipart/x-mixed-replace; boundary=FRAME')
            self.end_headers()
            try:
                while True:
                    with output.condition:
                        output.condition.wait()
                        frame = output.frame
                    self.wfile.write(b'--FRAME\r\n')
                    self.send_header('Content-Type', 'image/jpeg')
                    self.send_header('Content-Length', len(frame))
                    self.end_headers()
                    self.wfile.write(frame)
                    self.wfile.write(b'\r\n')
            except Exception as e:
                logging.warning(
                    'Removed streaming client %s: %s',
                    self.client_address, str(e))
        else:
            self.send_error(404)
            self.end_headers()

class StreamingServer(socketserver.ThreadingMixIn, server.HTTPServer):
    allow_reuse_address = True
    daemon_threads = True

with picamera.PiCamera(resolution='640x480', framerate=24) as camera:
    output = StreamingOutput()
    camera.start_recording(output, format='mjpeg')
    try:
        address = ('', 8000)
        server = StreamingServer(address, StreamingHandler)
        server.serve_forever()
    finally:
        camera.stop_recording()

After pasting the code in the new file created press Ctrl+X, type Y and press Enter.

Step 10: Running The Video Streaming

After saving the script we will run it using Python3 by typing the following command:

python3 rpi_video_streaming.py

After writing this command our script will start running and now we can access our web server at http://<IP Address Assigned To Pi>:8000. We will open the browser and paste the link into it and use the IP address that is assigned to our Pi by the router. We can get to the video streaming through our cellphone, tablet, etc that has a browser installed in it and is associated with a similar network as our Pi. I wrote, “192.168.1.14:8000” for running the video streaming.

Step 11: Giving Final Touches

As we have tested our Pi camera and came to know that it is working fine we are ready to install it at a suitable place. It may be installed near the gate of the house so that we could monitor every person that is entering or leaving the house. All we need is to power ON our camera by using the adapter and it would be better to put it inside a casing and just leave the camera side open for video streaming.

Applications

  1. It can be installed in homes for security purposes.
  2. It can be used in offices for monitoring the employee movement.
  3. It can be installed in shopping malls, railway stations, etc and can be accessed by the administration staff to have check and balance in a specific area.

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