Pi 400 Video Editing: Fail #1

A project log for Raspberry Pi 400 Daily Driver

Learning to use a Raspberry Pi 400 laptop as an everyday computer and sharing the results.

DustinDustin 5 days ago0 Comments

I'm sitting down to start creating a video I started a while ago and never finished. I'll be doing it on the Pi 400 of course. Pi 400, Vilros Pidock 400, in ear monitors, kdenlive, Audacity, extra patience.

The first step is to review all the footage and decide what I want to use in this video. This is probably the most difficult step for me. I could use so many different clips in so many different combinations with may different audio clips or music tracks. It's the part where I have to decide what story to tell and how to tell it. I have a little YouTube channel where I experiment with videos, and a mascot named Mr. Fish. It's one of those electronic flopping fish cat toys. I have footage of him flopping about and doing different things. I call this video project "A Day in the Life of Mr. Fish." It's fairly simple, but I have to find the most hilarious order to put the clips and find the audio I want to use. Having started this months ago and forgotten about it, I only vaguely remember where I left off. Luckily I started taking notes and sorting files. I have a folder called "Final" that has all the video files I originally decided to use. They're good, but I will review all files again and revise the list. Just watching all the files can be tedious at times as they're 4K and the Pi does struggle ever so slightly to play them. Luckily VLC Media Player seems to be rather quick about it. I couldn't imagine streaming 4K to the PI. I could actually edit 4K video and render in 4K on the Pi as long as I use the kdenlive proxy settings and be patient. I'll try a 4K project later. Perhaps just a 4K version of the same video. I'll be rendering this one in 1080p. I've found that shooting in 4K and rendering in 1080p actually gives a better picture than shooting in 1080p.

Currently copying all the project files from a flash drive to the main boot drive. I could leave them on the flash drive, but I want to make sure I have access to them even if I have to plug something else into the other USB 3.0 port. It's copying very slowly for some reason. About 5MB/s. Not sure why. Hoping the read speeds will be better when I go to edit the videos. Researching what kind of video editing/gaming machine I could build with a Pi while I wait... $75 for top of the line CM4 module, $35 for the carrier board. $110, plus a GPU. Not bad. It has 2 camera connectors on it, which would allow me to actually use the thing to record the videos as well as edit and upload them... I think I'll revisit my idea to make a portable video production studio made using Raspberry Pi hardware... If this project goes well, I'll create a project page and get started on it as I go. Still copying files...Copy complete. Waiting on Jeff Geerling to get a GPU working to really worry about the GPU aspect of the CM4 video station idea.

Reviewing files and such. No audio...No audio devices available... Saving log draft, restarting PC... Many hours have passed working on this and I'm now so annoyed I've decided to reinstall the entire OS and start from scratch. I really hate this about working with Linux. I was keeping plenty of TimeShift backups on an SD card, but the restore doesn't work and just crashes the program. I have no simple way to restore the system. From now on I will just clone the damn boot drive for backups and be done with it. Creating a new boot drive now so I can format the current one. Very frustrating. Luckily I keep all on OS files on separate drives so I don't have to worry about pulling personal data and can just wipe the drive. Now I have to waste all that time to reinstall all my programs and set everything back up again... I guess that's one of the hidden costs of using a beta OS. Adding my overclock settings to the config.txt file on the fresh install to help speed things up initially. I could have used my other laptop to flash the drives, but I want to stick with the theme of only using the Pi 400. Makes things really interesting with only 3 USB ports and a messed up OS.

It's the next day. I'm going in to work early to quit, so I'll have plenty of time during the Thanksgiving Holiday period to work on projects before starting a new job. I've gotten a recover SD card made with Pop!_OS on it and got the Raspberry Pi Imager program installed. That was harder than I thought. The Pop Shop won't work as it thinks the system is offline... It's not. I remember dealing with this before but forgot the solution. I think it requires a system upgrade. I installed Snap and the Pi Imager through Snap. Wrote the OS to my main boot flash drive, got it set up. I haven't installed any software yet. I'll be doing that later. After I set up a Raspberry Pi OS boot drive so I can use the SD Card Cloner tool to make backups of the system. Such a tedious process. I could use dd to create a system image, but I don't feel like learning that right now. I need Pi OS for testing other things as well. This has been a nightmare so far. First major problem. I will have it sorted soon and get back to work in the Pi.

I'm surprised to find that this project is slowly gaining a following. Hopefully my work on this, as amateur as it may be at times, will help other people out. I would have loved something like this when I was first getting into computers. I had a thrift shop $3 Dell running Windows 98 and the slowest broadband you could get. Still, I had a computer at a very young age. It was old and slow, but worked. I can't imagine what kids could learn and do on something like the Pi 400 these days. Good stuff. 

I've finally made some progress on this. I've set up a micro SD card with a fresh install of Pop!_OS and set it up. I then cloned that to my main boot flash drive, expanded the file system, then verified it boots. Now I've got an SD card that I can experiment on safely. I installed Kdenlive, Audacity, Inkscape, and Kmahjongg on the SD card, rebooting after every install to verify audio output wasn't broken. So far so good. I have all the basic tools to edit videos, as well as something to do while I wait for things to go. Currently cloning that SD back to the flash drive using the SD Card Cloner tool under Raspberry Pi OS. It's known as piclone, but I can't get it to install under Pop!_OS. I just use another OS to run it. I also updated the wifi binary blob and firmware. I copied the two files to my storage flash drive and wrote some scripts to install them from that location. I added over locking to config.txt and put a copy in the same storage drive. Now I can easily add overclocking and the wifi firmware updates to a fresh install if needed. I plan to write a script file that will take care of all this for me in the future. This has been a real challenge so far, simply due to a bug that kills audio support on the Pi 400 under Pop!_OS. I've narrowed it down to an update, but unsure which one it is. For the time being, I'll avoid updating the system until I can determine which one is at fault. System76 may get to it before me. If so, great. I'm ok with this otherwise. I'll end this log here and start the next one with some actual video editing. I enjoy trying new and weird things as I learn stuff and usually find weird bugs. I now know how to get this particular set up at least running and stable. I've done some research and decided to upgrade my boot drive to a 256GB Samsung Bar Plus flash drive. I was considering using an NVME SSD over USB, but that gets expensive and bulky, and is out of reach of many people like kids who may not have the means to set it up. The goal of this project is to use REASONABLE means to run a Pi 400 as an every day computer. Even my Pidock 400 could easily be replaced with whatever tv or monitor is available.