The ALLOCATION query is used to negotiate GstMeta, GstBufferPool and GstAllocator between elements. Negotiation of the allocation strategy is always initiated and decided by a srcpad after it has negotiated a format and before it decides to push buffers. A sinkpad can suggest an allocation strategy but it is ultimately the source pad that will decide based on the suggestions of the downstream sink pad.

The source pad will do a GST_QUERY_ALLOCATION with the negotiated caps as a parameter. This is needed so that the downstream element knows what media type is being handled. A downstream sink pad can answer the allocation query with the following results:

When the GST_QUERY_ALLOCATION returns, the source pad will select from the available bufferpools, allocators and metadata how it will allocate buffers.

ALLOCATION query example

Below is an example of the ALLOCATION query.

#include <gst/video/video.h>
#include <gst/video/gstvideometa.h>
#include <gst/video/gstvideopool.h>

  GstCaps *caps;
  GstQuery *query;
  GstStructure *structure;
  GstBufferPool *pool;
  GstStructure *config;
  guint size, min, max;


  /* find a pool for the negotiated caps now */
  query = gst_query_new_allocation (caps, TRUE);

  if (!gst_pad_peer_query (scope->srcpad, query)) {
    /* query failed, not a problem, we use the query defaults */

  if (gst_query_get_n_allocation_pools (query) > 0) {
    /* we got configuration from our peer, parse them */
    gst_query_parse_nth_allocation_pool (query, 0, &pool, &size, &min, &max);
  } else {
    pool = NULL;
    size = 0;
    min = max = 0;

  if (pool == NULL) {
    /* we did not get a pool, make one ourselves then */
    pool = gst_video_buffer_pool_new ();

  config = gst_buffer_pool_get_config (pool);
  gst_buffer_pool_config_add_option (config, GST_BUFFER_POOL_OPTION_VIDEO_META);
  gst_buffer_pool_config_set_params (config, caps, size, min, max);
  gst_buffer_pool_set_config (pool, config);

  /* and activate */
  gst_buffer_pool_set_active (pool, TRUE);



This particular implementation will make a custom GstVideoBufferPool object that is specialized in allocating video buffers. You can also enable the pool to put GstVideoMeta metadata on the buffers from the pool doing gst_buffer_pool_config_add_option (config, GST_BUFFER_POOL_OPTION_VIDEO_META).

The ALLOCATION query in base classes

In many baseclasses you will see the following virtual methods for influencing the allocation strategy:

  • propose_allocation () should suggest allocation parameters for the upstream element.

  • decide_allocation () should decide the allocation parameters from the suggestions received from downstream.

Implementors of these methods should modify the given GstQuery object by updating the pool options and allocation options.