GStreamer is a general-purpose multimedia framework. GStreamer provides the best means of interacting with The Imaging Source cameras.

GStreamer plugins fall into three categories: good, bad and ugly. Note: This is merely a movie reference and is not reflective of the code quality itself.

plugin types

Plug-in set name



This package contains the GStreamer plugins from the “good” set: a collection of high-quality plugins under the LGPL license.


GStreamer “bad” plugins are a collection of plugins not up-to-par compared to the rest. Their quality might closely approach “good”-quality plugins, but they lack something: a good code review, some documentation, a set of tests, a real-live maintainer, or actual wide use.


This package contains plugins from the “ugly” set: a collection of good-quality plugins that might pose distribution problems.

The advantage of using GStreamer lies in the pre-existing language bindings and the number of plugins available. These provide users a great amount of flexibility. With GStreamer, it is easy to save a video to a file or to rescale it. Whereas without GStreamer a large amount of time and effort has to be invested in video acquisition and processing now a simple pipeline suffices, thus freeing developer resources for more important tasks.

For more information, please refer to the GStreamer documentation.

All information concerning a plugin can be queried by executing ‘gst-inspect-1.0 elementname’

We offer the following GStreamer elements:

The following elements might also prove useful:


There are a few things that can make working with GStreamer easier. The following is an incomplete list of these things.


Always pass command line arguments to GStreamer. This allows the use of arguments like --gst-debug-level=5 which ease debugging. For an alternative, see GStreamer Environment Variables.

gst_init(&argc, &argv);

Pipeline Creation

Creating pipelines can be bothersome. A shortcut is to create the pipeline in the same way as gst-launch. Simply write a string description and let GStreamer handle the rest.

GstElement* pipeline = gst_parse_launch("tcambin ! videoconvert ! ximagesink");
pipeline = Gst.parse_launch("tcambin ! videoconvert ! ximagesink")


How to Read Caps

In general, GStreamer capabilities have five fields that are used to describe the video format.

These are:


The generic name given to the format at hand.

Possible types: string, list
The specific format the generic format has.
Possible types: int, int-range
Image width in pixel.
Possible types: int, int-range
Image height in pixel.
Possible types: GstFraction, GstValuelist, GstFractionRange
Other elements might also use the field fps. This is not used by tiscamera elements.
The framerate is in frames per second.

A range will be displayed in [] with the minimum and maximum values:


A list will be displayed in {} with each possible value:


Ranges only need to be dealt with when using GigE cameras.

Possible formats

GStreamer formats are defined by their names and format field. Together they describe a unique format.


Unstructured and uncompressed raw video data.

Common format field entries include: MONO8, GRAY16_LE, BGRx, YUYV, BGR


All bayer formats will have this name. The pixel order and compression are described in the format field.

Officially supported by GStreamer are bggr, rggb, grbg and gbrg uncompressed 8 bit Bayer patterns. 10 to 16 bit Bayer formats are only supported by The Imaging Source modules.


This format has no additional format field.


For further info, see Logging.


For environment variables that change gstreamer behavior, see Environment.