Buffers are the basic unit of data transfer in GStreamer.
The Buffer type provides all the state necessary to define a region of memory as part of a stream. Sub-buffers are
also supported, allowing a smaller region of a buffer to become its own buffer, with mechanisms in place to ensure that neither memory space
goes away prematurely.
Buffers are usually created with Buffer. After a buffer has been
created one will typically allocate memory for it and set the size of the buffer data. The following example creates a buffer that can hold a
given video frame with a given width, height and bits per plane.
Creating a buffer for a video frame:
gint size, width, height, bpp;
size = width * height * bpp;
buffer = gst_buffer_new ();
GST_BUFFER_SIZE (buffer) = size;
GST_BUFFER_MALLOCDATA (buffer) = g_malloc (size);
GST_BUFFER_DATA (buffer) = GST_BUFFER_MALLOCDATA (buffer);
Alternatively, use Buffer.and_alloc to create a buffer
with preallocated data of a given size.
The data pointed to by the buffer can be retrieved with the
GST_BUFFER_DATA macro. The size of the data can be found with
GST_BUFFER_SIZE. For buffers of size 0, the data pointer is undefined (usually NULL) and should never be used.
If an element knows what pad you will push the buffer out on, it should use
alloc_buffer instead to create a buffer. This allows downstream elements to provide special buffers to write in, like hardware buffers.
A buffer has a pointer to a Caps describing the media type of the data in the buffer.
Attach caps to the buffer with set_caps; this is typically done before
pushing out a buffer using push so that the downstream element knows the type of
A buffer will usually have a timestamp, and a duration, but neither of these are guaranteed (they may be set to
CLOCK_TIME_NONE). Whenever a meaningful value can be given for these,
they should be set. The timestamp and duration are measured in nanoseconds (they are
A buffer can also have one or both of a start and an end offset. These are media-type specific. For video buffers, the start offset will
generally be the frame number. For audio buffers, it will be the number of samples produced so far. For compressed data, it could be the byte
offset in a source or destination file. Likewise, the end offset will be the offset of the end of the buffer. These can only be meaningfully
interpreted if you know the media type of the buffer (the Caps set on it). Either or
both can be set to BUFFER_OFFSET_NONE.
@ref is used to increase the refcount of a buffer. This must be done when you
want to keep a handle to the buffer after pushing it to the next element.
To efficiently create a smaller buffer out of an existing one, you can use
If a plug-in wants to modify the buffer data in-place, it should first obtain a buffer that is safe to modify by using
make_writable. This function is optimized so that a copy will only be
made when it is necessary.
A plugin that only wishes to modify the metadata of a buffer, such as the offset, timestamp or caps, should use
make_metadata_writable, which will create a subbuffer of the
original buffer to ensure the caller has sole ownership, and not copy the buffer data.
Several flags of the buffer can be set and unset with the flag_set and
flag_unset macros. Use
flag_is_set to test if a certain
BufferFlag is set.
Buffers can be efficiently merged into a larger buffer with merge and
span if the
is_span_fast function returns TRUE.
An element should either unref the buffer or push it out on a src pad using push
Buffers are usually freed by unreffing them with unref. When the refcount
drops to 0, any data pointed to by
GST_BUFFER_MALLOCDATA will also be freed.
Last reviewed on August 11th, 2006 (0.10.10)