Trouble Opening A Video Stream within OpenCV


I’m trying to simply capture a video stream from my ESPCAM32 and process it using a Python script on my desktop PC. I’ve tried multiple scripts / solutions for this problem but none seem to work.

I use the following code to test my situation, but I typically receive the error of

OpenCV(4.7.0) D:\a\opencv-python\opencv-python\opencv\modules\videoio\src\cap_images.cpp:253: error: (-5:Bad argument) CAP_IMAGES: can't find starting number (in the name of file): in function 'cv::icvExtractPattern'

Has anyone been able to capture a video stream on open CV Like this?

import cv2

url = ''
cap = cv2.VideoCapture(url, cv2.CAP_FFMPEG)

if not cap.isOpened():
    print("Error: failed to open video stream")
    while True:
        ret, frame =
        if not ret:
            print("Error: failed to capture frame")
        cv2.imshow('frame', frame)
        if cv2.waitKey(1) == ord('q'):


that error means there was no backend that could handle that string (the URL).

it’s a cryptic error. the least preferred backend is CAP_IMAGES. it’s the last one tested, and its error message is emitted (none of the higher priority ones). since it too can’t handle that URL, that means no backend could.

please print(cv2.getBuildInformation()), post the at least the “Video I/O” section

I’ve been working on the problem for while now, so first off, thank you for the response. Here’s what I found.

General configuration for OpenCV 4.7.0 =====================================
  Version control:               4.7.0

    Timestamp:                   2023-02-22T13:19:52Z
    Host:                        Windows 10.0.17763 AMD64
    CMake:                       3.24.2
    CMake generator:             Visual Studio 14 2015
    CMake build tool:            MSBuild.exe
    MSVC:                        1900
    Configuration:               Debug Release

  CPU/HW features:
    Baseline:                    SSE SSE2 SSE3
      requested:                 SSE3
    Dispatched code generation:  SSE4_1 SSE4_2 FP16 AVX AVX2
      requested:                 SSE4_1 SSE4_2 AVX FP16 AVX2 AVX512_SKX
      SSE4_1 (16 files):         + SSSE3 SSE4_1
      SSE4_2 (1 files):          + SSSE3 SSE4_1 POPCNT SSE4_2
      FP16 (0 files):            + SSSE3 SSE4_1 POPCNT SSE4_2 FP16 AVX
      AVX (4 files):             + SSSE3 SSE4_1 POPCNT SSE4_2 AVX
      AVX2 (32 files):           + SSSE3 SSE4_1 POPCNT SSE4_2 FP16 FMA3 AVX AVX2

    Built as dynamic libs?:      NO
    C++ standard:                11
    C++ Compiler:                C:/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0/VC/bin/x86_amd64/cl.exe  (ver 19.0.24245.0)
    C++ flags (Release):         /DWIN32 /D_WINDOWS /W4 /GR  /D _CRT_SECURE_NO_DEPRECATE /D _CRT_NONSTDC_NO_DEPRECATE /D _SCL_SECURE_NO_WARNINGS /Gy /bigobj /Oi  /fp:precise     /EHa /wd4127 /wd4251 /wd4324 /wd4275 /wd4512 /wd4589 /wd4819 /MP  /MT /O2 /Ob2 /DNDEBUG
    C++ flags (Debug):           /DWIN32 /D_WINDOWS /W4 /GR  /D _CRT_SECURE_NO_DEPRECATE /D _CRT_NONSTDC_NO_DEPRECATE /D _SCL_SECURE_NO_WARNINGS /Gy /bigobj /Oi  /fp:precise     /EHa /wd4127 /wd4251 /wd4324 /wd4275 /wd4512 /wd4589 /wd4819 /MP  /MTd /Zi /Ob0 /Od /RTC1
    C Compiler:                  C:/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0/VC/bin/x86_amd64/cl.exe
    C flags (Release):           /DWIN32 /D_WINDOWS /W3  /D _CRT_SECURE_NO_DEPRECATE /D _CRT_NONSTDC_NO_DEPRECATE /D _SCL_SECURE_NO_WARNINGS /Gy /bigobj /Oi  /fp:precise     /MP   /MT /O2 /Ob2 /DNDEBUG
    C flags (Debug):             /DWIN32 /D_WINDOWS /W3  /D _CRT_SECURE_NO_DEPRECATE /D _CRT_NONSTDC_NO_DEPRECATE /D _SCL_SECURE_NO_WARNINGS /Gy /bigobj /Oi  /fp:precise     /MP /MTd /Zi /Ob0 /Od /RTC1
    Linker flags (Release):      /machine:x64  /NODEFAULTLIB:atlthunk.lib /INCREMENTAL:NO  /NODEFAULTLIB:libcmtd.lib /NODEFAULTLIB:libcpmtd.lib /NODEFAULTLIB:msvcrtd.lib
    Linker flags (Debug):        /machine:x64  /NODEFAULTLIB:atlthunk.lib /debug /INCREMENTAL  /NODEFAULTLIB:libcmt.lib /NODEFAULTLIB:libcpmt.lib /NODEFAULTLIB:msvcrt.lib
    ccache:                      NO
    Precompiled headers:         YES
    Extra dependencies:          wsock32 comctl32 gdi32 ole32 setupapi ws2_32
    3rdparty dependencies:       libprotobuf ade ittnotify libjpeg-turbo libwebp libpng libtiff libopenjp2 IlmImf zlib quirc ippiw ippicv

  OpenCV modules:
    To be built:                 calib3d core dnn features2d flann gapi highgui imgcodecs imgproc ml objdetect photo python3 stitching video videoio
    Disabled:                    world
    Disabled by dependency:      -
    Unavailable:                 java python2 ts
    Applications:                -
    Documentation:               NO
    Non-free algorithms:         NO

  Windows RT support:            NO

  GUI:                           WIN32UI
    Win32 UI:                    YES
    VTK support:                 NO

  Media I/O:
    ZLib:                        build (ver 1.2.13)
    JPEG:                        build-libjpeg-turbo (ver 2.1.3-62)
      SIMD Support Request:      YES
      SIMD Support:              NO
    WEBP:                        build (ver encoder: 0x020f)
    PNG:                         build (ver 1.6.37)
    TIFF:                        build (ver 42 - 4.2.0)
    JPEG 2000:                   build (ver 2.4.0)
    OpenEXR:                     build (ver 2.3.0)
    HDR:                         YES
    SUNRASTER:                   YES
    PXM:                         YES
    PFM:                         YES

  Video I/O:
    DC1394:                      NO
    FFMPEG:                      YES (prebuilt binaries)
      avcodec:                   YES (58.134.100)
      avformat:                  YES (58.76.100)
      avutil:                    YES (56.70.100)
      swscale:                   YES (5.9.100)
      avresample:                YES (4.0.0)
    GStreamer:                   NO
    DirectShow:                  YES
    Media Foundation:            YES
      DXVA:                      YES

  Parallel framework:            Concurrency

  Trace:                         YES (with Intel ITT)

  Other third-party libraries:
    Intel IPP:                   2020.0.0 Gold [2020.0.0]
           at:                   D:/a/opencv-python/opencv-python/_skbuild/win-amd64-3.7/cmake-build/3rdparty/ippicv/ippicv_win/icv
    Intel IPP IW:                sources (2020.0.0)
              at:                D:/a/opencv-python/opencv-python/_skbuild/win-amd64-3.7/cmake-build/3rdparty/ippicv/ippicv_win/iw
    Lapack:                      NO
    Eigen:                       NO
    Custom HAL:                  NO
    Protobuf:                    build (3.19.1)

  OpenCL:                        YES (NVD3D11)
    Include path:                D:/a/opencv-python/opencv-python/opencv/3rdparty/include/opencl/1.2
    Link libraries:              Dynamic load

  Python 3:
    Interpreter:                 C:/hostedtoolcache/windows/Python/3.7.9/x64/python.exe (ver 3.7.9)
    Libraries:                   C:/hostedtoolcache/windows/Python/3.7.9/x64/libs/python37.lib (ver 3.7.9)
    numpy:                       C:/hostedtoolcache/windows/Python/3.7.9/x64/lib/site-packages/numpy/core/include (ver 1.17.0)
    install path:                python/cv2/python-3

  Python (for build):            C:/ProgramData/chocolatey/bin/python2.7.exe

    ant:                         NO
    JNI:                         C:/hostedtoolcache/windows/Java_Temurin-Hotspot_jdk/8.0.362-9/x64/include C:/hostedtoolcache/windows/Java_Temurin-Hotspot_jdk/8.0.362-9/x64/include/win32 C:/hostedtoolcache/windows/Java_Temurin-Hotspot_jdk/8.0.362-9/x64/include
    Java wrappers:               NO
    Java tests:                  NO

  Install to:                    D:/a/opencv-python/opencv-python/_skbuild/win-amd64-3.7/cmake-install

ffmpeg, no gstreamer. that should have sufficed to read from some URL… assuming it’s not a web page but the stream resource itself

please run in a shell:

curl -r 0-1023 | hexdump -C
curl -r 0-1023 | hexdump -C

(or equivalent operation)

1 Like

@Bullseye77 You can find the correct address of the video stream by right clicking it in your browser and choosing copy image address

@crackwitz was right, it should be the IP that your espcam has followed by :81/stream