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Python OpenCV: Meanshift

  • Last Updated : 07 Aug, 2021
Geek Week

OpenCV is the huge open-source library for computer vision, machine learning, and image processing and now it plays a major role in real-time operation which is very important in today’s systems. By using it, one can process images and videos to identify objects, faces, or even the handwriting of a human. 


The idea behind meanshift is that in meanshift algorithm every instance of the video is checked in the form of pixel distribution in that frame. We define an initial window, generally a square or a circle for which the positions are specified by ourself which identifies the area of maximum pixel distribution and tries to keep track of that area in the video so that when the video is running our tracking window also moves towards the region of maximum pixel distribution. The direction of movement depends upon the difference between the center of our tracking window and the centroid of all the k-pixels inside that window.
Meanshift is a very useful method to keep track of a particular object inside a video. Meanshift can separate the static background of a video and the moving foreground object.


1. The tracking windows is tracking the football.  

2. The tracking window is tracking the juggling ball. 

3. The tracking window is tracking the football player. 


# Python program to demonstrate
# meanshift
import numpy as np
import cv2
# read video
cap = cv2.VideoCapture('sample.mp4')
# retrieve the very first
# frame from the video
_, frame =
# set the region for the
# tracking window p, q, r, s
# put values according to yourself
p, q, r, s = 150, 150, 460, 100
track_window = (r, p, s, q)
# create the region of interest
r_o_i = frame[p:p + q, r:r + s]
# converting BGR to HSV format
hsv = cv2.cvtColor(frame, cv2.COLOR_BGR2HSV)
# apply mask on the HSV frame
mask = cv2.inRange(hsv,
                   np.array((0., 61., 33.)),
                   np.array((180., 255., 255.)))
# get histogram for hsv channel
roi = cv2.calcHist([hsv], [0], mask,
                   [180], [0, 180])
# normalize the retrieved values
cv2.normalize(roi, roi, 0, 255,
# termination criteria, either 15
# iteration or by at least 2 pt
termination = (cv2.TERM_CRITERIA_EPS |
               , 15, 2 )
    _, frame =
    frame = cv2.resize(frame,
                       (1280, 720),
                       fx = 0,
                       fy = 0,
                       interpolation = cv2.INTER_CUBIC)
    # convert BGR to HSV format
    hsv = cv2.cvtColor(frame,
    bp = cv2.calcBackProject([hsv],
                             [0, 180],
    # applying meanshift to get the new region
    _, track_window = cv2.meanShift(bp,
    # Draw track window on the frame
    x, y, w, h = track_window
    vid = cv2.rectangle(frame, (x, y),
                        (x + w, y + h),
                        255, 2)
    # show results
    cv2.imshow('tracker', vid)
    k = cv2.waitKey(1) & 0xff
    if k == ord('q'):
# release cap object
# destroy all opened windows

Output: Some frames from the output video

Disadvantages of using meanshift

There are 2 main disadvantages of using the Meanshift for object tracking.  

  • The size of the tracking window remains the same irrespective of the distance of the object from the camera.
  • The Window will track the object only when it is in the region of that object. So we must hardcode our position of the window carefully. 

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