ffmpeg plugin for homebridge: https://github.com/nfarina/homebridge

Usage no npm install needed!

<script type="module">
  import homebridgeCameraMultistream from 'https://cdn.skypack.dev/homebridge-camera-multistream';



Refer to the upstream for original instructions. This plugin is specifically optimized for C920 running on Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, preferably Raspian Stretch Lite.

why fork?

Since multiple people are living in my house, I want the plugin to be able to handle multiple stream requests. Thus, we will have v4l2rtspserver grab the video feed, and stream it locally on RPi. Then, whenever users request for a live feed, it will request from the local live stream instead of taking control of the device.

Or, in a simpler term, turning your USB Webcam into an IP Camera, and have fun with it. (Thus strictly speaking this will work with any other webcams that outputs H264 stream. MJPEG will work too but you will have to purchase the license for your RPi for the MPEG hardware decode.)

configure your RPi

Since we are going to use GPU decoding/encoding extensively, make sure to configure your RPi to have 256MB available to GPU.

compile: v4l2rtspserver

Follow this guide and compile v4l2rtspserver.

compile: ffmpeg

We NEED to compile ffmpeg with hardware acceleration support. Technically, one could use avconv and everyone will be happy. Unfortunately, avconv was not compiled with libfdk_aac support, meaning that our stream will not have audio.

Moving on to compile ffmpeg...

  1. Refers to the first section of this gist for libfdk_aac support
  2. Refers to this link on Reddit for omx and mmal support, or else your RPi will be on fire and disintegrate.
  3. You also need to include --enable-network --enable-protocol=tcp --enable-demuxer=rtsp --enable-decoder=h264 when you are compiling or else you won't be able to use rtsp stream from v4l2rtspserver as an input.

To make you life easier, this is my configure flags:

--enable-mmal --enable-omx-rpi --enable-nonfree --enable-gpl --enable-libfdk-aac --enable-network --enable-protocol=tcp --enable-demuxer=rtsp --enable-decoder=h264

setup: streaming server

Unfortunately, RPi's hardware decoder/encoder cannot handle more than one 1080p stream. Thus, we are forced to use 720p stream.

Load module bcm2385-v4l2 with sudo modprobe bcm2385-v4l2, and make it load on boot with sudo echo "bcm2385-v4l2" >> /etc/modules

Then set the camera native resolution and stream format with /usr/bin/v4l2-ctl --set-fmt-video=width=1280,height=720,pixelformat=1 -d /dev/video0

v4l2server: v4l2rtspserver -c -Q 512 -s -F 0 -H 720 -W 1280 -I -P 8555 -A 32000 -C 2 /dev/video0,hw:1,0

Or, refer to v4l2rtspserver.service for systemd configuration

Explanation for the curious:

  • -c don't repeat config (default repeat config before IDR frame)
  • -Q 512 we want to increase the queue length
  • -s use live555 main loop so we don't have to get a new thread to do all the work
  • -F 0 use native framerate
  • -H 720 -W 1280 this should be pretty self explanatory
  • -I -P 8555 we only listen on localhost, so pervs cannot watch us
  • -A 32000 -C 2 this is the audio setting. C920 samples at 32000 MHz so we adjust accordingly
  • /dev/video0,hw:1,0 video device and the audio device

However, if you only expect one stream at any given time, you can change it to 1080p.

setup: snapshot

In the upstream, ffmpeg will take control of the device to snapshot and return a still image. However, that will take control of the device and it doesn't work like that. Since we are using streaming server, (see caveats below), it takes too long to get a still image. Thus, we will have a dedicated ffmpeg process to handle snapshotting for us.

One advantage of such is that you are easily implement your favorite tools to save periodic images to your favorite storage (Minio, S3, FreeNAS, etc). Thus, thie plugin has no built-in "upload to Google Drive" function, unlike the upstream.

ffmpeg: ffmpeg -f rtsp -vcodec h264_mmal -i rtsp:// -vf fps=fps=1/5 -f image2 -update 1 /dev/shm/latest.jpg

Or, refer to snapshot.service for systemd configuration

Explanation for the curious:

  • -f rtsp -vcodec h264_mmal -i rtsp:// that's our live stream
  • -vf fps=fps=1/5 instruct ffmpeg to take a snapshot every 5 seconds
  • -f image2 output as jpeg
  • -update 1 instruct ffmpeg to overwrite the same image
  • /dev/shm/latest.jpg write to ram disk so your SD card doesn't explode


    "platform": "camera-multistream",
    "cameras": [
            "name": "Garage",
            "videoConfig": {
                "maxStreams": 2,
                "maxWidth": 1280,
                "maxHeight": 720,
                "maxFPS": 30


  1. Using RTSP + h264_mmal will increase the time to initialize the stream. In my case it takes 15 seconds for the video to start playing (as opposed to almost instantly with direct access to /dev/video0). (However still image are fine since it is handled by a separate process.) I'm still trying to figure out the way.
  2. RTSP does complain with max delay reached. need to consume packet. However this only happens upon initialization. There's no problem after the video/audio streams started.
  3. Depending on the movement of the stars, the direction of the wind, and the amount of water your drank, RTP might complained with Non-monotonous DTS in output stream 1:0; previous: 605510, current: 559023; changing to 605510. This may result in incorrect timestamps in the output file. However this doesn't seem to affect the stream. I'm still trying to investigate that.