Vijay Thirugnanam
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Stream camera output to a video element in React

Vijay Thirugnanam's photo
Vijay Thirugnanam
·Sep 13, 2021·

1 min read

From a React web application, it is possible to access the camera. The browser support for that is very good. Our objective is to show the camera output in a video element.

Create a video element and attach a ref to it.

<video ref={videoRef} autoPlay />

When the component mounts, in the useEffect hook, get the camera stream like so:

navigator.mediaDevices.getUserMedia({ video: true })
  .then((stream) => {});

Attach the camera stream to the video element.

videoRef.current.srcObject = stream;

With these changes, the camera stream is available in the video element. The complete source code is shown below:

import { useRef, useEffect } from "react";

export default function App() {
  const videoRef = useRef();

  useEffect(() => {
    navigator.mediaDevices.getUserMedia({ video: true }).then((stream) => {
      videoRef.current.srcObject = stream;
  }, []);

  return (
    <div className="App">
      <video ref={videoRef} autoPlay />

The code is also available in a CodeSandbox.

Progressive web apps are apps that access native capabilities. In this case, we access the camera. So, our web app can be made into a progressive web app. To make an app into a progressive web app, we have to provide an application manifest and use a service worker. I have written more about progressive web apps in another blog post.

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