Supercharging Object Detection in Videos: Setup

We started from the Python object detector performance as baseline (~ 19 fps).

Next we ditch Python and all our pre-installed libraries and custom build everything. C++ will become the development environment not just because it’s more “bare bones” than Python and thus more performant but also to access functionality not available in Python.


  • NVIDIA CUDA supporting GPU
  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
  • NVIDIA Driver v410
  • CUDA 10 (or 9 for those feeling less adventurous)
  • TensorRT 5.0.2
  • Anaconda Python latest release
  • CMake 3.8+ (for CUDA kernel compilation)
  • Tensorflow r1.12+ (with Bazel 0.19.2 to build it)
  • OpenCV 3.3+
  • Inception SSD V2 Object Detector frozen Tensorflow graph

I assume that all libraries and build tools (gcc v5, etc) necessary are already installed or will be while installing the above toolkits.


Install v396 for CUDA 9 or v410 for CUDA 10.

Install the required NVIDIA driver

IMPORTANT: After installation create symlinks to codec libraries:

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/nvidia-396/ /usr/lib/
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/nvidia-396/ /usr/lib/

NVIDIA Toolkits

Install CUDA 9 (CUDA 10 for those who like only the newest and shiniest toys) and TensorRT.

NOTE: If installing CUDA 10, you need to copy all the files called dynlink_*.hpp from /usr/local/cuda/include in CUDA 9 toolkit into the same directory of CUDA 10. NVIDIA has removed these from the toolkit as the codec is being separated into its own SDK.

Anaconda Python

Install the latest Python 3 Anaconda distribution

Once installed, create a new Python 3.6 environment.

conda create -n py36 python=3.6 anaconda
source activate py36

This will activate the newly installed Python 3.6


Follow instructions to build tensorflow from source. Skip to “Install Bazel” section. Install Bazel 0.19.2. Do it all from the Anaconda prompt above with the py36 environment active. Checkout r1.12 (or anything later than r1.10).

You may need to download dependencies (Eigen, Protobuf) into the build tree by running tensorflow/tensorflow/tree/master/tensorflow/contrib/makefile/ This is not always a good idea: I had the latest (3.3.7) version of Eigen downloaded this way break during compilation. No big deal, the components download into the tensorflow/tensorflow/tree/master/tensorflow/contrib/makefile/downloads directory and can be deleted from there if you already have a suitable version of Eigen (3.3.6) or protobuf installed. (Eigen has an “xcopy” installation, you will just need to copy Eigen and unsupported directories from the distribution to /usr/bin/include).

When running ./configure

Point at directories of your py36 environment created above.

Make sure you answer “yes” to CUDA support, answer “Yes” or “No” to TensorRT support, it’s not going to matter for this excercise. Select the appropriate architecture for your GPU (7.0 for Volta). Makes things run much faster when executing inference code.

After running ./configure fixing your bazel configuration may be required if the build does not start. Locate .bazelrc in your <tensorflow source git path>/tensorflowAdd the following line at the top of it:

import <tensorflow source git path>/tensorflow/tools/bazel.rc

When building pip package or any tensorflow related target you do not need to specify --config=cuda. So skip to “Build pip package” and follow instructions under CPU-only. It will do the right thing and build with CUDA support.

Validate that everything works. In a new terminal, from a location other than where tensorflow code resides:

source activate py36
import tensorflow as tf
a = tf.constant([1, 2, 3])
b = tf.constant([4, 5, 6])
c = a + b
sess = tf.Session()

If this works, build the C++ library

bazel build //


CMake package installed on Ubuntu 16.04 by default is v3.5. sudo apt remove it if installed. We are going to need v3.8+, so download the latest from CMake site and install it. After installation the easiest thing is to create symlinks to all the new CMake executables in /usr/bin


Follow instructions to install. You may probably skip the “[compiler]” sub-section of the Required Packages section. If you want to install OpenGL GTK hooks that may be useful later, install OpenGL libraries first and then:

sudo apt-get install libgtkglext1 libgtkglext1-dev

Checkout 3.3.1 (or later) in both opencv and opencv_contrib repos.

Build OpenCV using cmake-gui

  • Set OPENCV_EXTRA_MODULES_PATH to <opencv_contrib code root>/modules
  • BUILD_PERF_TESTS and BUILD_TESTS are unchecked
  • WITH_CUDA is checked
  • BUILD_opencv_cudacodec are and WITH_NVCUVID checked
  • CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE set to Debug if you want to step into OpenCV code later. Or leave blank.
  • Hit Configure
  • Hit Generate
make -j7 #runs 7 jobs in parallel
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig

Stage for Build

Finally, copy tensorflow include files and libraries we built above to the location where our future builds will pick them up.

cd <tensorflow code git root>
sudo mkdir /usr/local/tensorflow
sudo mkdir /usr/local/tensorflow/include

sudo cp -r tensorflow/contrib/makefile/downloads/eigen/Eigen /usr/local/tensorflow/include/
sudo cp -r tensorflow/contrib/makefile/downloads/eigen/unsupported /usr/local/tensorflow/include/

sudo cp tensorflow/contrib/makefile/downloads/nsync/public/* /usr/local/tensorflow/include/
sudo cp -r bazel-genfiles/tensorflow /usr/local/tensorflow/include/
sudo cp -r tensorflow/cc /usr/local/tensorflow/include/tensorflow
sudo cp -r tensorflow/core /usr/local/tensorflow/include/tensorflow

sudo mkdir /usr/local/tensorflow/include/third_party
sudo cp -r third_party/eigen3 /usr/local/tensorflow/include/third_party/

sudo mkdir /usr/local/tensorflow/lib
sudo cp bazel-bin/tensorflow/libtensorflow_*.so /usr/local/tensorflow/lib

All done! We will validate the installation in the next post

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