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I'm trying to record audio and video from a Kinect using avconv but I seem to have trouble specifying the right options.

avconv -f video4linux2 -video_size 640x480 -c:v h264 -c:a ac3 -i /dev/video1 test.mp4

results in:

avconv: /build/buildd/libav-extra-0.8.3ubuntu0.12.04.1/libav/libavutil/mathematics.c:79: av_rescale_rnd: Assertion `c > 0' failed.
Aborted (core dumped)

Cheese is perfectly happy recording the audio and video from the Kinect, so it's not a setup issue. For added fun, I also need to display the video at the same time.

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Correct avconv usage is:

avconv [global options] [input options] -i input [output options] output

You're putting all your options before your input, and so avconv is treating them all as input options. This would be better:

avconv -f video4linux2 -i /dev/video1 -s 640x480 -c:v libx264 -c:a ac3 test.mp4

The default settings may not be ideal for you; for libx264 you might want to set a -crf value (between 0 and 51, 23 is default, 18-28 is a sane range to use, lower=better quality, but bigger file) and a -preset (I normally use veryfast). For more information look here. Normally I'd recommend using VBR encoding for audio, but I don't really know about encoding AC3, so you may need to use a fixed bitrate (-b:a 192k will probably be OK for stereo sound).

Also, resizing the video may not be necessary, only use -s 640x480 if you need to shrink a larger input to that size.

As for viewing it as you're recording it, I can think of two solutions. The first is to simply open the file you are creating with your preferred video player software. This will mean a slight delay in viewing.

The second solution is to send a second output from avconv to stdout, and then use I/O redirection to input the information to a video player. This will be faster, but it will take about twice the processing power, since as it stands avconv can only do this by encoding a second time (this may change in the future).

avconv -f video4linux2 -i /dev/video1 -s 640x480 -c:v libx264 -c:a ac3 test.mp4 \
-s 640x480 -c:v libx264 -c:a ac3 -f mp4 - | vlc -

I'm using VLC as an example, but all the linux video players I know can do this. Since avconv normally determines what container format to use from the file extension, but - (stdout) doesn't have one, so you have to declare the container format with -f mp4.

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I couldn't get the above method working, but I was able to get streamer working.

streamer -q -c /dev/video0 -f rgb24 -r 3 -t 00:30:00 -o ~/outfile.avi

I am also playing around with the Kinect. I haven't got audio working yet.

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