Device MFT design guide

The video capture stack in Windows supports a user-mode extension in the form of MFT0. This is a per-stream extension component that IHVs supply, and the capture pipeline inserts as the first transform, post-capture. The MFT0 is fed post-processed frames from the device. Further post processing operations on the frames can be done inside MFT0.

This topic outlines the design of a device-wide extension running in user mode that can be used to perform post-processing common to all streams.


Term Description
KS Kernel Streaming driver
AvStream Audio Video Streaming driver model
Filter Object that represents a device instance
Device MFT User-mode capture driver extension supplied by IHVs
Devproxy MF <-> AvStream marshaler
DTM Device Transform Manager that manages devproxy and Device MFT. Represents the device in MF pipeline.

Design goals

  • Device filter-wide user-mode extension that has same lifetime as the Device Filter
  • Supports any number of inputs coming from the device
  • Supports any number of outputs (current requirement is three streams: preview, record and photo)
  • Routes all device controls to Device MFT (which optionally handles or passes it to the device)
  • Parallel post processing of captured stream
  • Allow 3A processing independent of frame rate
  • Allow metadata from one stream to be shared among other streams
  • Access to GPU resources
  • Access to MF MMCSS Work Queues
  • Access to MF Allocator
  • Simple interface (similar to MFT)
  • Flexible internal architecture for IHV/OEM extensibility

Design constraints

  • No change in the Capture API surface
  • Complete backward compatibility. For example, no regressions while working with legacy apps and scenarios.

Capture stack architecture

This topic describes support for a filter-wide user-mode extension to the capture driver. This component has access to MF APIs, thread pools, GPU and ISP resources. The filter wide extension provides the flexibility of having any number of streams between itself and device Ks filter. This flexibility enables seemless out of band communication between the user-mode extension and driver which can be used for dedicated metadata and 3A processing streams.

capture stack architecture

device mft architecture

Device Transform Manager (DTM)

The capture stack introduces a new system-provided component, the Device Transform Manager (DTM). This resides inside DeviceSource and manages Devproxy MFT and Device MFT. DTM does the MediaType negotiation, sample propagation, and all MFT event handling. It also exposes the IMFTransform interface to DeviceSource and other necessary private interfaces that DeviceSource needs to manage device streams. This component abstracts Devproxy and Device MFT from the pipeline. The pipeline just sees the DTM as the device and the streams out of DTM as the device streams.


Devproxy is an async MFT that marshals the commands and video frames between the AvStream camera driver and Media Foundation. This is provided by Windows and supports n number of outputs from the camera driver. Also, this owns the allocators for all the pins exposed by the device.

Device MFT

Device MFT is a user-mode extension to the capture driver. It is an m x n async MFT. It is installed on the system with the capture driver and is provided by the capture driver vendor.

The number of input streams of Device MFT must be same as the number of Ks pins exposed by the device. The mediatypes supported by Device MFT’s input streams must be same as the mediatypes exposed by the KS pins.

The number of output streams exposed by Device MFT are the streams seen by DeviceSource and capture stack, capture API and applications and can be one, two, or three stream. The input and output stream counts of Device MFT do not need to be the same. Also, input and output streams do not need to have the same mediatypes, and typically will have different mediatypes. The number of mediatypes need not match either.

The first Ks Pin represented in user mode by Devproxy’s output stream gets associated with the first input stream of Device MFT, the second Ks Pin represented in user mode by Devproxy’s output stream with the second input stream of Device MFT, and so on.

Device MFT is given a pointer to Devproxy, DX device, and MF WorkQueue ID. Frames coming out of the device are fed directly into the corresponding Device MFT’s input as MF Samples. With all these, Device MFT can post process the captured samples and serve samples to the preview, record, and photo pins.

All the commands and controls going to the device are rerouted to Device MFT. Device MFT handles the controls or passes them on to the driver through Devproxy. This streamlines command handling by the capture driver stack.

Functional Overview

On initialization of the capture pipeline, if there is a Device MFT for the device, DeviceSource instantiates DTM. It passes an instance of Devproxy that represents the device to the DTM’s initialization routine. DTM co-creates Device MFT and performs basic validations, for example, verifes the number of output pins of Devproxy is same as the number of input pins of Device MFT, support for mandatory interfaces, and so on.

DeviceSource querys DTM to obtain the supported output mediatypes. DTM gets these from Device MFT’s output pins. DeviceSource exposes the Presentation Descriptor and Stream Descriptor based on this information to the capture pipeline.

SourceReader uses the exposed mediatypes of the DeviceSource and sets the default mediatypes on each stream. In turn, DeviceSource sets the default mediatypes on the output streams of the DTM. DTM sets the mediatype on the output stream of the Device MFT using the SetOutputStreamState method.

When SetOutputStreamState is called, Device MFT posts a message to DTM to change its input stream’s mediatype based on the selected output mediatype and waits. In response to this message, DTM querys the preferred input mediatype for the input stream of the Device MFT using GetPreferredInputStreamState. This sets the mediatype on the corresponding output stream of Devproxy. If that succeeds, then DTM sets that same mediatype on to the Device MFT’s input stream using SetInputStreamState. After receiving this call, Device MFT completes SetOutputStreamState.

CaptureEngine selects individual streams by enabling specific streams on DeviceSource. This will be propagated to Device MFT by DTM through a SetOutputStreamState call. Device MFT places the specific output streams in the requested state. As mentioned above, Device MFT also notifies DTM about the necessary input streams that need to be enabled. This results in DTM propagating the stream selection to Devproxy. At the end of this process, all necessary streams, in Devproxy and Device MFT, are ready to stream.

SourceReader starts the DeviceSource when CaptureEngine calls ReadSample. In turn, DeviceSource starts the DTM by sending MFT_MESSAGE_NOTIFY_BEGIN_STREAMING and MFT_MESSAGE_NOTIFY_START_OF_STREAM messages indicating the start of the pipeline. DTM starts Devproxy and Device MFT by propagating MFT_MESSAGE_NOTIFY_BEGIN_STREAMING and MFT_MESSAAGE_NOTIFY_START_OF_STREAM messages.

Note Allocate the necessary resources on start streaming instead of Device MFT initialize.

DTM calls SetOutputStreamState on Device MFT’s outputs with the streaming state parameter. Device MFT starts streaming in those output streams. DTM starts the streaming on the Devproxy output streams that has valid mediatype set. Devproxy allocates the samples and fetches them from the device. These samples are fed into the Device MFT in the relevant input pin. Device MFT processes these samples and gives the output to DeviceSource. From DeviceSource, the samples flow through SourceReader to CaptureEngine.

CaptureEngine stops individual streams by disabling individual streams through an internal interface on DeviceSource. This will be translated into specific output stream disabling on Device MFT through SetOutputStreamState. In turn, Device MFT may request disabling specific input streams through METransformInputStreamStateChanged event. DTM propagates this to corresponding Devproxy streams.

As long as the Device MFT itself in streaming state, it can request any input stream to transition to any of the valid DeviceStreamState. For example, it could send it to DeviceStreamState_Stop or DeviceStreamState_Run or DeviceStreamState_Pause, and so on, without affecting other streams.

However, the output stream transition is controlled by the capture pipeline. For example, the preview, record, and photo streams are enabled or disabled by the capture pipeline. Even when the outputs are disabled, an input stream could still be streaming as long as the Device MFT itself is in streaming state.

device mft pipeline preview sequence

device mft take photo sequence

Lifetime of Device MFT

Device MFT is loaded after KS Filter gets created. It will be unloaded before KS Filter gets closed.

From a pipeline perspective, when the DeviceSource is created, the Device MFT is created, and when the DeviceSource is shutdown, the Device MFT is shutdown synchronously.

To support shutdown, the Device MFT must support the IMFShutdown interface. After Device MFT->Shutdown is called, any other interface call into the Device MFT must return an MF_E_SHUTDOWN error.

Memory Type

Frames can be captured into system memory buffers, or DX memory buffers, per the preference of camera driver. Whatever buffer comes out of the camera driver is directly fed into the Device MFT for further processing.

Devproxy will allocate the buffers based on the driver’s preference. We require Device MFT to make use of MF allocator APIs to allocate the samples needed for its output pins for non-inplace transforms.

Mediatype change while streaming

Clients of SourceReader are able to see the mediatypes exposed by the Device MFT’s output streams as natively supported mediatypes. When the native mediatype is changed, SourceReader sends mediatype notification calls into the Device MFT through DeviceSource. It is the responsibility of the Device MFT to flush all pending samples from that stream’s queue and switch to the new mediatype on that stream in a timely manner. If there is a necessity for changing the input mediatype, then it should change the current input mediatype to that one. DTM gets the current mediatype from the input stream of the Device MFT and sets it on the Devproxy’s output streams and the Device MFT’s input after each native mediatype change.

Input Mediatype change in Device MFT

Since this is an m x n MFT, there can be repercussions on input streaming pin’s mediatypes and state change when output streaming pin’s mediatypes or state changes. Specifically when the following changes occur:

  • Output Mediatype changes

    • When an application changes native mediatype, it cascades through the capture stack into Device MFT as an output pin mediatype change.

    • When output mediatype changes, it may trigger an input mediatype change. For example, assume all output pins are streaming at 720p. This results in streaming from the camera at 720p. Next, assume the record stream changes its native mediatype to 1080p. In that case, one of the Device MFT input streams that was fetching data to the record stream would have to change its mediatype.

  • Output pin is disabled

    • When an application disables one of Device MFT's outputs when the same input is shared by more than one outputs, for optimization, the input may have to change the mediatype. For example, if a 1080p output stream stops, and all the other streams, sharing one input, are streaming at 720p, then the input stream should change its mediatype to 720p to save power and improve performance.

DTM handles METransformInputStreamStateChanged notifications from Device MFT to change the mediatype and state on Device MFT input and Devproxy output under these conditions.

Flush Device MFT

Two types of flushing are needed while managing Device MFT:

  • Global flush

    • Device MFT-wide flush. This typically happens when the DTM is about to send a stop streaming message to Device MFT.

    • Device MFT is expected to drop all samples from its input and output queues and return synchronously.

    • Device MFT should not ask for new input or send notification on new available output.

  • Local flush

    • Output pin-specific flush. This typically happens when a stream is stopped.

All the events that were posted prior to flush are dropped by Device MFT Manager. After flush, the Device MFT resets its internal METransformHaveOutput tracking count.

Drain of Device MFT

Device MFT will not receive s separate drain message since there is no need for drain in a live capture source.

Photo trigger

In this model, instead of sending the photo trigger and photo sequence start and stop triggers directly to the driver, they will be re-routed to Device MFT. Device MFT will handle the trigger or forward it to the camera driver as necessary.

Warm start

DeviceSource tries to warm start a specific output stream by transitioning the stream to pause state. In turn, DTM calls the IMFDeviceTransform::SetOutputStreamState method on Device MFT to transition a specific output stream to pause state. This results in the corresponding input stream to be put into pause. This is achieved by Device MFT by requesting METransformInputStreamStateChanged to DTM and handling the IMFDeviceTransform::SetInputStreamState method.

Variable photo sequence

With this architecture, photo sequence is implemented with the camera device driver and Device MFT, greatly reducing complexity of the camera device driver. The start and stop photo sequence triggers are sent to Device MFT and handle the photo sequence more easily.

Photo confirmation

Device MFT supports photo confirmation through the IMFCapturePhotoConfirmation interface. The pipeline retrieves this interface through IMFGetService::GetService method.


Devproxy queries the driver for metadata buffer size and allocates the memory for metadata. Metadata coming from driver is still set by Devproxy on the sample. Device MFT consumes the sample's metadata. Metadata can either be passed on with the sample through its output stream or just used for its post processing.

With Device MFT supporting any number of inputs, a dedicated input pin could be used just for metadata or out-of-band metadata. The mediatype for this pin is custom and the driver decides the size and number of buffers.

This metadata stream is exposed beyond DTM. The stream can be put into streaming state when Device MFT starts streaming. For example, when output streams are selected for streaming, Device MFT can request DTM to start one or more video stream, and the metadata stream as well, using the METransformInputStreamStateChanged event.

Note: There is no requirement for the number of input pins to match the number of output pins in this model. There can be a separate pin just dedicated for metadata or 3A.

Device Transform Manager (DTM) event handling

Device Transform Manager events are defined in the following reference topics:

IMFDeviceTransform interface

The IMFDeviceTransform interface is defined to interact with Device MFT. This interface facilitates the management of m inputs and n output Device MFT. Along with other interfaces, Device MFT must implement this interface.

General event propagation

When an event occurs in Devproxy (or inside device) we need to propagate that to the Device MFT and to the DeviceSource.

Device MFT requirements

Interface requirements

Device MFTs must support the following interfaces:

  • IMFDeviceTransform

  • IKsControl

    • This allows all ksproperties, events and methods to go through the Device MFT. This gives Device MFT the ability to handle these functions calls inside Device MFT or just forward them to the driver. In the case where it handles the KsEvent methods, then the Device MFT has to do the following:

      • If Device MFT handles any KSEVENT_TYPE_ONESHOT event, then it duplicates the handle when it receives KSEVENT_TYPE_ENABLE.

      • When it is done setting or raising the event, it calls CloseHandle on the duplicated handle.

      • If Device MFT handles non-KSEVENT_TYPE_ONESHOT events, then it should duplicate the handle when it receives KSEVENT_TYPE_ENABLE and call CloseHandle on the duplicated handle when the ks event is disabled by calling KsEvent function with the first parameter (ks event id) and second parameter (event length) set to zero. The event data and length will be valid. The event data uniquely identifies a specific ks event.

      • If Device MFT handles non-KSEVENT_TYPE_ONESHOT events, then it should duplicate the handle when it receives KSEVENT_TYPE_ENABLE and should call CloseHandle on the duplicated handles when the ks events are disabled by calling KsEvent function with all parameters set to zero.

  • IMFRealtimeClientEx

  • IMFMediaEventGenerator

  • IMFShutdown

Notification Requirements

Device MFTs must use the following messages to inform DTM about the availability of samples, any input stream state change, and so on.

Thread Requirements

Device MFT must not create its own threads. Instead it must use MF Work Queues, whose ID is passed through the IMFRealtimeClientEx interface. This is to make sure that all the threads running in the Device MFT gets the correct priority at which the capture pipeline is running. Otherwise it may cause thread priority inversions.

InputStream Requirements

Stream Count

  • The number of input streams in Device MFT must be the same as the number of streams supported by the driver.


  • The number of mediatypes and the actual media types supported by the Device MFT’s input must match the number and types of mediatypes supported by the driver.

  • The number could be different only if the mediatypes supported by the input of Device MFT is a subset of the mediatypes supported by the driver.

  • The mediatypes supported by the driver and input of Device MFT could be standard or custom mediatypes.

To register Device MFT

The camera device INF must have the following device interface entry that specifies the CLSID of the CoClass of the Device MFT.

AddInterface = %KSCATEGORY_VIDEO_CAMERA%, %Capture.FilterDescBack%, Capture.FilterBack

AddReg = Capture.FilterBack.AddReg, PinNames.AddReg


The above INF entries result in the following registry keys being entered:

Note This is an example only (not the actual regkey)

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\DeviceClasses\{E5323777-F976-4f5b-9B55-B94699C46E44}\##?#USB#VID_045E&PID_075D&MI_00#8&23C3DB65&0&0000#{E5323777-F976-4f5b-9B55-B94699C46E44}\#GLOBAL\Device Parameters]
"FriendlyName"="USB Video Device"
"CameraDeviceMftClsid"="{3456A71B-ECD7-11D0-B908-00A0C9223196}"<<< Device MFT CoClass ID >>>