View Source Membrane.MP4.Muxer.CMAF (Membrane MP4 plugin v0.35.0)

Puts a payloaded stream into Common Media Application Format, an MP4-based container commonly used in adaptive streaming over HTTP.

Input/Output tracks matrix

The basic muxer's functionality is to take a single media stream and put it into CMAF formatted track.

Sometimes one may need to mux several tracks together or make sure that output tracks are synchronized with each other. Such behavior is also supported by the muxer's implementation.

Each output pad can specify which input pads needs to be muxed together by specifying :tracks option.

One may also want to have separate output pads that are internally synchronized with each other (then the :tracks should contain only a single id). By synchronization we mean that the muxer will try its best to produce equal length segments for output pads. The synchronization relies on the video track (the video track can only be cut at keyframe boundries, audio track can be cut at any point).

This approach enforces that there is no more than a single video track. A video track is always used as a synchronization point therefore having more than one would make the synchronization decisions ambiguous. The amount of audio tracks on the other hand is not limited.

As a rule of thumb, if there is no need to synchronize tracks just use separate muxer instances.

The example matrix of possible input/ouput tracks is as follows:

  • audio input -> audio output
  • video input -> video output
  • audio input + video input -> muxed audio/video output
  • audio-1 input + ... + audio-n input + video input -> audio-1 output + ... + audio-n output + video output

Media objects

Accordingly to the spec, the Membrane.MP4.Muxer.CMAF is able to assemble the following media entities:

  • header - media initialization object. Contains information necessary to play the media segments. The media header content is sent inside of a stream format on the target output pad.

  • segment - a sequence of one or more consecutive fragments belonging to a particular track that are playable on their own when combined with a media header. Segments due to their nature (video decoding) must start with a key frame (doesn't apply to audio-only tracks) which is a main driver when collecting video samples and deciding when a segment should be created

  • chunk - a fragment consisting of a subset of media samples, not necessairly playable on its own. Chunk no longer has the requirement to start with a key frame (except for the first chunk that starts a new segment) and its main goal is to reduce the latency of creating the media segments (chunks can be delivered to a client faster so it can start playing them before a full segment gets assembled)

Segment/Chunk metadata

Each outgoing buffer containing a segment/chunk contains the following fields in the buffer's metadata:

  • duration - the duration of the underlying segment/chunk

  • independent? - tells if a segment/chunk can be independently played (starts with a keyframe), it is always true for segments

  • last_chunk? - tells if the underlying chunk is the last one of the segment currently being assembled, for segments this flag is always true and has no real meaning

Segment creation

A segment gets created based on the duration of currently collected media samples and :segment_min_duration options passed when initializing Membrane.MP4.Muxer.CMAF.

It is expected that the segment will not be shorter than the specified minimum duration value and the aim is to end the segment as soon as the next key frames arrives (for audio-only tracks the segment can be ended after each sample) that will become a part of a new segment.

If a user prefers to have segments of unified durations then he needs to take into consideration the incoming keyframes interval. For instance, if a keyframe interval is 2 seconds and the goal is to have 6 seconds segments then the minimum segment duration should be lower than 6 seconds (the key frame at the 6-second mark will force the segment finalization).


If a key frame comes at irregular intervals, the segment could be much longer than expected as after the minimum duration muxer will always look for a key frame to finish the segment.

Forcing segment creation

It may happen that one may need to create a segment before it reaches the minimum duration (for purposes such as fast AD insertion).

To instruct the muxer to finalize the current segment as soon as possible one can send Membrane.MP4.Muxer.CMAF.RequestMediaFinalization event on any :output pad. The event will enforce the muxer to end the current segment as soon as possible (usually on the nearest key frame). After the segment gets generated, the muxer will go back to its normal behaviour of creating segments.

Chunk creation

As previously mentioned, chunks are not required to start with a key frame except for a first chunk of a new segment. Those are once again created based on the duration of the collected samples but this time the process needs to be smarter as we can't allow the chunk to significantly exceed their target duration.

Exceeding the chunk's target duration can cause unrecoverable player stalls e.g. when playing LL-HLS on Safari, same goes if the chunk's duration is lower than 85% of the target duration when the chunk is the not last of its parent segment (Safari again). This is why proper duration MUST get collected. The limitation does not apply to the last chunk of a given regular segment.

The behaviour of creating chunk is as follows:

  • if the duration of the regular segment currently being assembled is lower than the minimum then try to collect chunk with its given target duration value no matter what

  • if the duration of the regular segment currently being assembled is greater than the minimum then try to finish the chunk as fast as possible (without exceeding the chunk's target) when encountering a key frame. When such chunk gets created it also means that its parent segment is also done.

Note that once the Membrane.MP4.Muxer.CMAF is in a phase of finalizing a regular segment, more than one chunk could get created until a key frame is encountered.

Important for video

:chunk_target_duration should be chosen with special care and appropriately for its use case. It is unnecessary to create chunks when the target use case is not live streaming.

The chunk duration usability may depend on its use case e.g. for live streaming there is very little value for having duration higher than 1s/2s, also having really short duration may add a communication overhead for a client (a necessity for downloading many small chunks).


If a stream contains non-key frames (like H264 P or B frames), they should be marked with a h264: %{key_frame?: false} metadata entry.

Element options

Passed via struct Membrane.MP4.Muxer.CMAF.t/0

  • segment_min_duration


    Default value: 2000000000
    Minimum duration of a regular media segment.

    When the minimum duration is reached the muxer will try to finalize the segment as soon as a new key frame arrives which will start a new segment.

  • chunk_target_duration

    Membrane.Time.t() | nil

    Default value: nil



Accepted formats:

%AAC{config: {:esds, _esds}}
%Opus{self_delimiting?: false}
%H264{stream_structure: structure, alignment: :au} when H264.is_avc(structure)
%H265{stream_structure: structure, alignment: :au} when H265.is_hvc(structure)
Flow control::manual
Demand unit::buffers


Accepted formats:

Flow control::manual
Demand unit:nil

Pad options:

  • tracks

    [Membrane.Pad.dynamic_id()] | :all

    Default value: :all
    A list of the input pad ids that should be muxed together into a single output track.

    If not specified the pad will include all unreferenced input pads.



Options for pad :output


Struct containing options for Membrane.MP4.Muxer.CMAF


Returns description of options available for this module


@type output_pad_opts() :: [{:tracks, [Membrane.Pad.dynamic_id()] | :all}]

Options for pad :output

@type t() :: %Membrane.MP4.Muxer.CMAF{
  chunk_target_duration: Membrane.Time.t() | nil,
  segment_min_duration: Membrane.Time.t()

Struct containing options for Membrane.MP4.Muxer.CMAF


@spec options() :: keyword()

Returns description of options available for this module