Configure the Video Output Format

Note  The functionality described in this topic is deprecated. To configure a capture device's output format, an application should use the AM_MEDIA_TYPE structure returned by IAMStreamConfig::GetFormat in the pmt parameter.

A capture device can support a range of output formats. For example, a device might support 16-bit RGB, 32-bit RGB, and YUYV. Within each of these formats, the device can support a range of frame sizes.

In a WDM device, the IAMStreamConfig interface is used to report which formats the device supports, and to set the format. (For legacy VFW devices, use the Video Format VFW dialog box, as described in Display VFW Capture Dialog Boxes.) The IAMStreamConfig interface is exposed on the capture filter's capture pin, preview pin, or both. Use the ICaptureGraphBuilder2::FindInterface method to get the interface pointer:

IAMStreamConfig *pConfig = NULL;
hr = pBuild->FindInterface(
    &PIN_CATEGORY_PREVIEW, // Preview pin.
    0,    // Any media type.
    pCap, // Pointer to the capture filter.
    IID_IAMStreamConfig, (void**)&pConfig);

The device has a list of media types that it supports. For each media type, the device also provides a set of capabilities. These include the range of frame sizes that are available for that format, how well the device can stretch or shrink the image, and the range of frame rates.

To get the number of media types, call the IAMStreamConfig::GetNumberOfCapabilities method. The method returns two values:

  • The number of media types.
  • The size of the structure that holds the capabilities information.

The size value is necessary because the IAMStreamConfig interface is used for both audio and video (and could be extended to other media types). For video, the capabilities are described using the VIDEO_STREAM_CONFIG_CAPS structure, while audio uses the AUDIO_STREAM_CONFIG_CAPS structure.

To enumerate the media types, call the IAMStreamConfig::GetStreamCaps method with a zero-based index. The GetStreamCaps method returns a media type and the corresponding capability structure:

int iCount = 0, iSize = 0;
hr = pConfig->GetNumberOfCapabilities(&iCount, &iSize);

// Check the size to make sure we pass in the correct structure.
if (iSize == sizeof(VIDEO_STREAM_CONFIG_CAPS))
    // Use the video capabilities structure.

    for (int iFormat = 0; iFormat < iCount; iFormat++)
        AM_MEDIA_TYPE *pmtConfig;
        hr = pConfig->GetStreamCaps(iFormat, &pmtConfig, (BYTE*)&scc);
        if (SUCCEEDED(hr))
            /* Examine the format, and possibly use it. */

            // Delete the media type when you are done.

Note how the structures are allocated for the GetStreamCaps method. The method allocates the media type structure, whereas the caller allocates the capabilities structure. Coerce the capabilities structure to a byte array pointer. After you are done with the media type, delete the AM_MEDIA_TYPE structure, along with the media type's format block.

You can configure the device to use a format returned in the GetStreamCaps method. Simply call IAMStreamConfig::SetFormat with the media type:

hr = pConfig->SetFormat(pmtConfig);

If the pin is not connected, it will attempt to use this format when it does connect. If the pin is already connected, it attempts to reconnect using the new format. In either case, it is possible that the downstream filter will reject the format.

You can also modify the media type before passing it to the SetFormat method. This is where the VIDEO_STREAM_CONFIG_CAPS structure comes in. It describes all of the valid ways to change the media type. To use this information, you must understand the details of that particular media type.

For example, suppose that GetStreamCaps returns a 24-bit RGB format, with a frame size of 320 x 240 pixels. You can get this information by examining the major type, subtype, and format block of the media type:

if ((pmtConfig.majortype == MEDIATYPE_Video) &&
    (pmtConfig.subtype == MEDIASUBTYPE_RGB24) &&
    (pmtConfig.formattype == FORMAT_VideoInfo) &&
    (pmtConfig.cbFormat >= sizeof (VIDEOINFOHEADER)) &&
    (pmtConfig.pbFormat != NULL))
    // pVih contains the detailed format information.
    LONG lWidth = pVih->bmiHeader.biWidth;
    LONG lHeight = pVih->bmiHeader.biHeight;

The VIDEO_STREAM_CONFIG_CAPS structure gives the minimum and maximum width and height that can be used for this media type. It also gives you the "step" size, which defines the increments by which you can adjust the width or height. For example, the device might return the following:

  • MinOutputSize: 160 x 120
  • MaxOutputSize: 320 x 240
  • OutputGranularityX: 8 pixels (horizontal step size)
  • OutputGranularityY: 8 pixels (vertical step size)

Given these numbers, you could set the width to anything in the range (160, 168, 176, ... 304, 312, 320) and the height to anything in the range (120, 128, 136, ... 104, 112, 120). The following diagram illustrates this process.

Video Format Sizes

To set a new frame size, directly modify the AM_MEDIA_TYPE structure returned in GetStreamCaps:

pVih->bmiHeader.biWidth = 160;
pVih->bmiHeader.biHeight = 120;
pVih->bmiHeader.biSizeImage = DIBSIZE(pVih->bmiHeader);

Then pass the media type to the SetFormat method, as described previously.

The MinFrameInterval and MaxFrameInterval members of VIDEO_STREAM_CONFIG_CAPS are the minimum and maximum length of each video frame, which you can translate into frame rates as follows:

frames per second = 10,000,000 / frame duration

To request a particular frame rate, modify the value of AvgTimePerFrame in the VIDEOINFOHEADER or VIDEOINFOHEADER2 structure in the media type. The device may not support every possible value between the minimum and maximum, so the driver will use the closest value that it can. To see what value the driver actually used, call IAMStreamConfig::GetFormat after you call SetFormat.

Some drivers may report MAXLONGLONG (0x7FFFFFFFFFFFFFFF) for the value of MaxFrameInterval, which in effect means there is no maximum duration. However, you might want to enforce a minimum frame rate in your application, such as 1 fps.

Related topics

About Media Types
Configuring a Video Capture Device