Beginner Tutorial: How to Stream Video from Raspberry Pi Camera to Local Computer using Python (P3)

Discover how to stream video from a USB-based camera to your local computer via the local network using Python 3 and Flask with the Picamera2 library. This tutorial builds upon Part 1, where we demonstrated the same process using a Raspberry Pi camera module. Here, we leverage PiCamera2, supported by the Raspberry Pi community, to achieve seamless streaming with your USB-based camera.
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1-) Install the Required Libraries

We need to install flask, opencv, and picamera2 using the apt installer on our raspberry pi. Go into a terminal and run the following commands
sudo apt update sudo apt install python3-opencv python3-flask python3-picamera2
If you are still having issues with packages later down the line, try using pip to install these packages.

2-) Code and Walkthrough

Now that you have the packages installed you can go ahead and create a python script on your device, name it however you like. Also be sure to have your USB camera plugged in at this point.
The code is as follows:
from flask import Flask, Response from picamera2 import Picamera2 import cv2 ### You can donate at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/mmshilleh app = Flask(__name__) camera = Picamera2() camera.configure(camera.create_preview_configuration(main={"format": 'XRGB8888', "size": (640, 480)})) camera.start() def generate_frames(): while True: frame = camera.capture_array() ret, buffer = cv2.imencode('.jpg', frame) frame = buffer.tobytes() yield (b'--frame\r\n' b'Content-Type: image/jpeg\r\n\r\n' + frame + b'\r\n') @app.route('/video_feed') def video_feed(): return Response(generate_frames(), mimetype='multipart/x-mixed-replace; boundary=frame') if __name__ == '__main__': app.run(host='0.0.0.0', port=5000)
This code is a Flask web application that streams video frames from a Raspberry Pi camera module (Picamera2) to a web page. Here's a concise explanation of what the code does:
  • It imports the necessary libraries: Flask for creating the web application, Picamera2 for interacting with the camera module, and cv2 (OpenCV) for image processing.
  • It creates a Flask application instance and initializes the Picamera2 object.
  • It configures the camera settings, specifying the format and size of the preview frames.
  • The generate_frames() function continuously captures frames from the camera, encodes them as JPEG images, and yields them as byte strings with appropriate headers for streaming.
  • The /video_feed route is defined, which calls the generate_frames() function and returns a Response object with the appropriate MIME type for streaming the video frames.
  • Finally, the Flask application is run on the host '0.0.0.0' (accessible from any IP address) and port 5000.
When this code is run on a Raspberry Pi with a camera module, it starts a web server that streams the live video feed from the camera. The video feed can be accessed by visiting the /video_feed endpoint in a web browser.
You can access the webstream from your local computer if you go to a browser and type in the following:
http://<Your Raspberry Pi IP>:5000/video_feed
You can get your IP address of your Raspberry Pi by entering a terminal on the Raspberry Pi and typing the command ifconfig. You can then find the IP address in the inet section.
Once this is done you will see a video stream in your chrome browser!

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we've explored how to stream video from a USB-based camera to your local computer using Python 3, Flask, and the Picamera2 library on a Raspberry Pi. By leveraging the power of these tools, you can easily set up a seamless video streaming solution for your projects.
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