Chapter 18. Pipeline manipulation

This chapter will discuss how you can manipulate your pipeline in several ways from your application on. Parts of this chapter are downright hackish, so be assured that you'll need some programming knowledge before you start reading this.

Topics that will be discussed here include how you can insert data into a pipeline from your application, how to read data from a pipeline, how to manipulate the pipeline's speed, length, starting point and how to listen to a pipeline's data processing.

18.1. Data probing

Probing is best envisioned as a pad listener. Technically, a probe is nothing more than a signal callback that can be attached to a pad. Those signals are by default not fired at all (since that may have a negative impact on performance), but can be enabled by attaching a probe using gst_pad_add_data_probe () or one of the similar functions. Those functions attach the signal handler and enable the actual signal emission. Similarly, one can use the gst_pad_remove_data_probe () or related functions to remove the signal handlers again. It is also possible to only listen to events or only to buffers (and ignore the other).

Probes run in pipeline threading context, so callbacks should try to not block and generally not do any weird stuff, since this could have a negative impact on pipeline performance or, in case of bugs, cause deadlocks or crashes. However, most common buffer operations that elements can do in _chain () functions, can be done in probe callbacks as well. The example below gives a short impression on how to use them.

#include <gst/gst.h>

static gboolean
cb_have_data (GstPad    *pad,
	      GstBuffer *buffer,
	      gpointer   u_data)
  gint x, y;
  guint16 *data = (guint16 *) GST_BUFFER_DATA (buffer), t;

  /* invert data */
  for (y = 0; y < 288; y++) {
    for (x = 0; x < 384 / 2; x++) {
      t = data[384 - 1 - x];
      data[384 - 1 - x] = data[x];
      data[x] = t;
    data += 384;

  return TRUE;

main (gint   argc,
      gchar *argv[])
  GMainLoop *loop;
  GstElement *pipeline, *src, *sink, *filter, *csp;
  GstCaps *filtercaps;
  GstPad *pad;

  /* init GStreamer */
  gst_init (&argc, &argv);
  loop = g_main_loop_new (NULL, FALSE);

  /* build */
  pipeline = gst_pipeline_new ("my-pipeline");
  src = gst_element_factory_make ("videotestsrc", "src");
  if (src == NULL)
    g_error ("Could not create 'videotestsrc' element");

  filter = gst_element_factory_make ("capsfilter", "filter");
  g_assert (filter != NULL); /* should always exist */

  csp = gst_element_factory_make ("ffmpegcolorspace", "csp");
  if (csp == NULL)
    g_error ("Could not create 'ffmpegcolorspace' element");

  sink = gst_element_factory_make ("xvimagesink", "sink");
  if (sink == NULL) {
    sink = gst_element_factory_make ("ximagesink", "sink");
    if (sink == NULL)
      g_error ("Could not create neither 'xvimagesink' nor 'ximagesink' element");

  gst_bin_add_many (GST_BIN (pipeline), src, filter, csp, sink, NULL);
  gst_element_link_many (src, filter, csp, sink, NULL);
  filtercaps = gst_caps_new_simple ("video/x-raw-rgb",
			   "width", G_TYPE_INT, 384,
			   "height", G_TYPE_INT, 288,
			   "framerate", GST_TYPE_FRACTION, 25, 1,
			   "bpp", G_TYPE_INT, 16,
			   "depth", G_TYPE_INT, 16,
			   "endianness", G_TYPE_INT, G_BYTE_ORDER,
  g_object_set (G_OBJECT (filter), "caps", filtercaps, NULL);
  gst_caps_unref (filtercaps);

  pad = gst_element_get_pad (src, "src");
  gst_pad_add_buffer_probe (pad, G_CALLBACK (cb_have_data), NULL);
  gst_object_unref (pad);

  /* run */
  gst_element_set_state (pipeline, GST_STATE_PLAYING);

  /* wait until it's up and running or failed */
  if (gst_element_get_state (pipeline, NULL, NULL, -1) == GST_STATE_CHANGE_FAILURE) {
    g_error ("Failed to go into PLAYING state");

  g_print ("Running ...\n");
  g_main_loop_run (loop);

  /* exit */
  gst_element_set_state (pipeline, GST_STATE_NULL);
  gst_object_unref (pipeline);

  return 0;

Compare that output with the output of "gst-launch-0.10 videotestsrc ! xvimagesink", just so you know what you're looking for.