Saturday, 23 March 2019

Asynchronous videoCapture of opencv

    Today I would like to introduce how to create an asynchronous videoCapture by opencv and standard library of c++. Captured video from HD video, especially the HD video from internet could be a time consuming task, it is not a good idea to waste the cpu cycle to wait the frame arrive, in order to speed up our app, or keep the gui alive, we better put the video capture part into another thread.

    With the helps of thread facilities added since c++11, make the videoCapture of opencv support cross platform asynchronous read operation become a simple task, let us have a simple example.


#include <ocv_libs/camera/async_opencv_video_capture.hpp>
#include <opencv2/core.hpp>
#include <opencv2/highgui.hpp>

#include <iostream>
#include <mutex>

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
{    
    if(argc != 2){
        std::cerr<<"must enter url of media\n";
        return -1;
    }

    std::mutex emutex;
    //create the functor to handle the exception when cv::VideoCapture fail
    //to capture the frame and wait 30 msec between each frame
    long long constexpr wait_msec = 30;
    ocv::camera::async_opencv_video_capture<> cl([&](std::exception const &ex)
    {
        //cerr of c++ is not a thread safe class, so we need to lock the mutex
        std::lock_guard<std::mutex> lock(emutex);
        std::cerr<<"camera exception:"<<ex.what()<<std::endl;

        return true;
    }, wait_msec);
    cl.open_url(argv[1]);

    //add listener to process captured frame
    //the listener could process the task in another thread too,
    //to make things easier to explain, I prefer to process it in
    //the same thread of videoCapture
    cv::Mat img;
    cl.add_listener([&](cv::Mat input)
    {
        std::lock_guard<std::mutex> lock(emutex);
        img = input;
    }, &emutex);

    //execute the task(s)
    cl.run();

    //We must display the captured image at main thread but not
    //in the listener, because every manipulation related to gui
    //must perform in the main thread(it also called gui thread)
    for(int finished = false; finished != 'q';){
        finished = std::tolower(cv::waitKey(30));
        std::lock_guard<std::mutex> lock(emutex);
        if(!img.empty()){
            cv::imshow("frame", img);
        }
    }
}


Important details of async_opencv_video_capture

1. Create an infinite for loop to read the frame in another thread



void run()
{
    if(thread_){
        //before we start the thread,
        //we need to stop it
        set_stop(true);
        //call join before task(s)
        //of the thread done
        thread_->join();
        set_stop(false);
    }

    //create a new thread
    create_thread();
}



    void create_thread()
    {
        thread_ = std::make_unique<std::thread>([this]()
        {
            //read the frames in infinite for loop
            for(cv::Mat frame;;){
                std::lock_guard<Mutex> lock(mutex_);
                if(!stop_ && !listeners_.empty()){
                    try{
                        cap_>>frame;
                    }catch(std::exception const &ex){
                        //reopen the camera if exception thrown ,this may happen frequently when you
                        //receive frames from network
                        cap_.open(url_);
                        cam_exception_listener_(ex);
                    }

                    if(!frame.empty()){
                        for(auto &val : listeners_){
                            val.second(frame);
                        }
                    }else{
                        if(replay_){
                            cap_.open(url_);
                        }else{
                            break;
                        }
                    }
                    std::this_thread::sleep_for(wait_for_);
                }else{
                    break;
                }
            }
        });
    }

    The listeners_ is a vector which stores the std::function<cv::Mat> to be called in the infinite loop if the frame readed by the videoCapture was not empty. The users must handle the exceptions thrown by those functors by themselves else the app will crash.

2. Stop the thread in the destructor



void set_stop(bool val)
{
    std::lock_guard<Mutex> lock(mutex_);
    stop_ = val;
}

void stop()
{
    set_stop(true);
}

template<typename Mutex>
async_opencv_video_capture<Mutex>::~async_opencv_video_capture()
{
    stop();
    thread_->join();
}


    We must stop and join the thread in the destructor, else the thread may never end and cause the app freeze.

3. Select mutex type by template

    By default, async_opencv_video_capture use std::mutex, it is more efficient but may cause dead lock if you called the api of async_opencv_video_capture in the listeners. If you want to avoid dead lock this issue, use std::recursive_mutex to replace std::mutex.

Summary

      The source codes of async_opencv_video_capture could find on github.

Contact me

    If you need someone to help you develop computer vision/Qt apps, please contact me on upwork.

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