Repository Summary

Checkout URI
VCS Type git
VCS Version master
Last Updated 2019-09-09


Name Version
h264_video_encoder 2.0.0



Note: this repository is under active development. The package provided here is a release candidate; the API may change without notice and no support is provided for it at the moment.


This package provides a ROS Node that will encode a stream of images into an H264 video stream.

Keywords: ROS, ROS2, AWS, Kinesis


The source code is released under LGPL 2.1. However, this package uses h264_encoder_core which incorporates several different encoding components which may further restrict the license. By default, x264 is used for software encoding, thereby applying GPL to all of h264_video_encoder.

Author: AWS RoboMaker
Affiliation: Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Maintainer: AWS RoboMaker,

Supported ROS Distributions

  • Dashing

Build status

  • Travis CI:
    • "master" branch Build Status
  • ROS build farm:
    • ROS2 Dashing @ u18.04 Bionic Build Status



Not available in apt yet On Ubuntu you can install the latest version of this package using the following command

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install -y ros-$ROS_DISTRO-h264-video-encoder

Building from Source

To build from source you'll need to create a new workspace, clone and checkout the latest release branch of this repository, install all the dependencies, and compile. If you need the latest development features you can clone from the master branch instead of the latest release branch. While we guarantee the release branches are stable, the master should be considered to have an unstable build due to ongoing development.

  • Create a ROS workspace and a source directory

    mkdir -p ~/ros-workspace/src
  • Clone the package into the source directory

    cd ~/ros-workspace/src
    git clone
  • Fetch unreleased dependencies from github

    cd ~/ros-workspace 
    cp src/kinesisvideo-encoder-ros2/.rosinstall.master .rosinstall
    rosws update
  • Install dependencies

    cd ~/ros-workspace && sudo apt-get update && rosdep update
    rosdep install --from-paths src --ignore-src -r -y
  • Build the packages

    cd ~/ros-workspace && colcon build
  • Configure ROS library Path

    source ~/ros-workspace/install/setup.bash
  • Build and run the unit tests

    colcon build 
    colcon test && colcon test-results --all

Building on Cloud9 - Cross Compilation

  • In RoboMaker's Cloud9, start with an empty workspace and in the Cloud9 console:

    # build docker image cd /opt/robomaker/cross-compilation-dockerfile/ sudo bin/build_image.bash # this step will take a while

    # create workspace mkdir -p ~/environment/robot_ws/src cd ~/environment/robot_ws/src git clone git clone

    # run docker image cd .. sudo docker run -v $(pwd):/ws -it ros-cross-compile:armhf

  • Now you're inside the cross-compilation docker container

    # build the workspace cd ws apt update rosdep install --from-paths src --ignore-src -r -y # this step will take a while colcon build --build-base armhf_build --install-base armhf_install colcon bundle --build-base armhf_build --install-base armhf_install --bundle-base armhf_bundle --apt-sources-list /opt/cross/apt-sources.yaml # this step will take a while exit

  • Now you're oustide the cross-compilation docker container

    # for more on copying s3 buckets see: aws s3 cp armhf_bundle/output.tar.gz s3:///h264_video_encoder.armhf.tar

Launch Files

A launch file called is included in this package. The launch file uses the following arguments:

Arg Name Description
node_name (optional) The name the H264 encoder node should be launched with. If not provided, the node name will default to h264_video_encoder
config (optional) A path to a ros2 parameters yaml file. By default uses config/sample_configuration.yaml


Running the node

To launch the H264 encoder node, you can run the following command:

ros2 launch h264_video_encoder 

Configuration File and Parameters

An example configuration file called sample_configuration.yaml is provided for running the H264 encoder node on a Raspberry Pi based system. When the parameters are absent, default values are used, thus all parameters are optional. See table below for details.

Parameter Name Description Type
queue_size (optional) The maximum number of incoming and outgoing messages to be queued towards the subscribed and publishing topics. integer
output_width (optional) The desired width (in pixels) of each frame in the encoded video output. integer
output_height (optional) The desired height (in pixels) of each frame in the encoded video output. integer
fps_numerator (optional) The desired frames per second (the numerator portion when expressing FPS as a rational number) for the encoded video output. integer
fps_denominator (optional) The desired frames per second (the denominator portion when expressing FPS as a rational number) for the encoded video output. integer
bitrate (optional) The desired bitrate (in bits per second) of the encoded video output. integer

Node Details

Published Topics

Topic Name Message Type Description
Configurable (default="video/encoded") kinesis_video_msgs/KinesisVideoFrame The node will publish to a topic of a given name. Each message being published contains a chunk of the video stream, usually per video frame.

Subscribed Topics

Topic Name Message Type Description
Configurable (default="/raspicam_node/image") sensor_msgs/Image The node will subscribe to a topic of a given name. The data is expected to be a stream of images from a source (such as a Raspberry Pi camera).

Bugs & Feature Requests

Please contact the team directly if you would like to request a feature.

Please report bugs in Issue Tracker.