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It tends to hang-up after a while. I suspect ffserver as the culprit.
With an MPEG4 source, this might go a bit better. The MPEG4 data stream is much lower bandwidth than motion JPEG. Assuming you're going to present it at 320x240 and the source is 640x480, the conversion should have little if any degradation.
The upcoming MPEG4 support in FLV (not there yet, but I think in beta?) will make this a natural combination. You will still have to do some conversion to get the MPEG4 stream into the FLV container, but there will be little CPU overhead compared to transcoding.
was ffmpeg transcoding "live" to "live" or using some intermediate file?
"live" to "live". Piped from my Ruby (sorry, I said it was C++ earlier) capture program to ffmpeg. ffmpeg has built-in support to send output to ffserver.
Note, however, that ffserver itself does use a temporary file for buffering. You have control over where the file lives through ffserver.conf, though, so you could arrange to store it in a tmpfs (RAM) filesystem.
Of course, this was on Linux - won't work on Windows due to the lack of real piping. The "-i -" parameter tells ffmpeg to take the input stream from STDIN.
./vbc50cap.rb ¦ ffmpeg -an -r 15 -f mjpeg -i - -s cif -r 15 -g 15 -aic -umv -me full -vstats [localhost:809...]
# bind to all IPs aliased or not
# max number of simultaneous clients
# max bandwidth per-client (kb/s)
# Suppress that if you want to launch ffserver as a daemon.
# FLV output - good for streaming
# the source feed
# the output stream format - FLV = FLash Video
# this must match the ffmpeg -r argument
# generally leave this is a large number
# another quality tweak
# quality ranges - 1-31 (1 = best, 31 = worst)
# this sets how many seconds in past to start
# wecams don't have audio
You certainly can have multiple copies of ffmpeg running, and ffserver supports multiple streams.
Of course, if you are scaling and/or transcoding, you will be limited at some point by CPU power.