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Video Production: 1st Video Completed

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 11/30/2021 at 21:150 Comments

Update: video link at bottom.

I finally have some extra time and energy to get back to my video production project on the Pi. I’m currently wading sea of unlabeled video clips I shot for this project about a year ago. I decided to ignore my original notes as my creative tastes have changed.

I have some new criteria for what is going to make it into this final video:

Yes: Makes me laugh as soon as I see it.
No: Terrible video quality, not funny, generally useless, or worse version of another clip.
Maybe: Funny but not super funny. Might be a good option if there is no other version of the scene. Just has potential.

I am making all these judgements based on my initial reactions to watching the clips. I use to trust my gut all the time when I was younger, but got away from it years ago. I used to be known as a very funny and entertaining person, and that made me very happy to make others happy. I did so by just being myself. Gotta be myself on this project and see what hot garbage comes out the other end.

I started by using Krename to bulk rename the known 1080p and 4K files, respectively. I add either [1080p] or [4K] to the end of the file name to save time. The Pi 400 won’t even play 4K files for some reason, so I don’t even try. I batch converted a bunch of 4K files last time I worked on this. The Pi did an admirable job and gave me very good video quality. I CAN edit 4K video directly and render the final project in 1080p, but without having seen the clips and decided which ones are going to be used, I need to review them all. It’s far easier to convert first.

Currently just watching all videos and making notes on them. Here’s an example of my current notes:

Yes:
Mr_Fish_picnic_table_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_pine_needle_flop_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_rock_sun_bathing_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_plays_ukulele_004[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_uses_toilet_001[1080p].mp4

No:
FPV_looking_around_at_beach[1080p].m4v
Mr_Fish_plays_on_slide_002[1080p].mp4

Maybe:
Mr_Fish_rock_flop_002[1080p].mp4
- Might be better option
Mr_fish_cooking_dinner_001[1080p].mp4
- questionable lighting and focus

It’s a simple text document that helps me make a quick decision, mark it down, then move on. I copy the file name by just right clicking, hitting “rename” then control+a, then escape. Then I just paste the file name into my notes. I COULD do this without notes, but it’s far more mentally taxing and I’d rather not make mistakes that require hours of rendering to fix. It’s all about the process, which I am still working out. After I decide what clips will go into the final video, I have to decide on the order to put them in. These clips were taken at different times of lighting, so it’s fairly easy to sort by time of day and then sort even further within each category. Most of the work on this project is done at the beginning, just laying out the storyline. It’s worth the effort to see a good video come out the other side. It will be even more satisfying doing it on the Pi and showing how easy it can be for anyone with $100 to get into video production.
A random note on production notes: A good set would allow someone to lay out the entire video, and someone else to actually create the video, freeing up the person who wrote them. The notes are the outline for the entire project. Very helpful. I write my notes as if they need to be understood by someone else, even if that person is just future Me.

I finally got a selection of clips I am happy with. I added notes where needed, and put them in the order I want to start with. I won’t know the final order until I line them al up and watch. That’s the fun part, where the creative work begins to become visible to others. Right now they’re just file names in a list. The next step is to open Kdenlive and import the clips to be made into proxy clips.

Before that, I’ll add in my notes up to this point, as people may be interested in them:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes:
    Video:
Mr_Fish_pond_coast_flop_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_rock_flop_002[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_rock_sun_bathing_001[1080p].mp4
- Longer than other clips; peaceful
Mr_Fish_pine_needle_flop_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_tunes_ukulele_002[1080p].mp4
- Ukulele_mid_001.WAV
Mr_Fish_plays_ukulele_004[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_uses_toilet_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_swingset_004[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_fire_pit_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_fish_climbs_rockwall_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_fish_playground_steps_002[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_plays_on_slide_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_picnic_table_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_fish_cooking_dinner_001[1080p].mp4
- Overlay sizzling, lower sizzle volume
Chicken_breast_skillet_001[1080p].mp4
- Use as final clip

    Audio:
Ukulele_Bad_001.WAV
- Use second part
- try with original audio, use funnier of the two.
Ukulele_mid_001.WAV
- Use with tuning clip

No:
FPV_looking_around_at_beach[1080p].m4v
Mr_Fish_plays_on_slide_002[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_rock_flop_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_shrub_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_swingset_001[1080p].mp4
- Too much motion, not enough Mr. Fish.
Mr_Fish_swingset_002[1080p].mp4
- Too much motion, not enough Mr. Fish
Mr_Fish_swingset_003[1080p].mp4
- Not funny enough; doesn’t fall out.
Mr_Fish_tunes_ukulele_001[1080p].mp4
- Not funny enough; not hitting it
Mr_fish_cooking_dinner_002[1080p].mp4
- Bad lighting
Mr_fish_cooking_dinner_003[1080p].mp4
- Bad lighting
Mr_fish_playground_steps_001[1080p].mp4
- Not funny enough: Doesn’t fall down steps
Mr_fish_playground_steps_003[1080p].mp4
- Not funny enough: Doesn’t fall down steps

Maybe:
Mr_Fish_rock_flop_002[1080p].mp4
    - Might be a better option

Order:

Morning:
Mr_Fish_uses_toilet_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_rock_flop_002[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_rock_sun_bathing_001[1080p].mp4

Day:
Mr_fish_playground_steps_002[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_swingset_004[1080p].mp4
Mr_fish_climbs_rockwall_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_plays_on_slide_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_fire_pit_001[1080p].mp4

Evening:
Mr_Fish_pine_needle_flop_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_tunes_ukulele_002[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_plays_ukulele_004[1080p].mp4
Mr_Fish_picnic_table_001[1080p].mp4
Mr_fish_cooking_dinner_001[1080p].mp4
- Use transition between slow and fast flopping
Chicken_breast_skillet_001[1080p].mp4
- Cut clip shorter than rest.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shortly after starting the editing process, I realized that the ordered lists at the bottom were not up to date and had to correct them. The final notes are above. I don’t believe I completely finished them, as I remember just working from memory at some point and leaving the notes alone. I want to get out of that habit as the projects get larger and more complex. Working from memory doesn’t often scale well in my experience.

I have a total of 15 clips I’ve chosen to work with on this project. I have more in 4K, but they’re from Mr. Fish’ perspective, and I don’t much care for them. They would break up the consistency of the video. They’re also 4K and I don’t feel like waiting for them all to render right now. I’m excited to make some progress on this video after about a year of forgetting all about it.
Upon adding the files to Kdenlive, I was prompted multiple times that the program was not responding. I chose the “Wait” option every time and the clips eventually imported. I now have 15 clips with proxy versions ready to go. Going to just start by adding them to the timeline in the proper order. I also just realized that this log would make a great video tutorial. Too bad I don’t have screen capture set up yet… Soon.

After a rather enjoyable editing process, I have the final video rendering. I hope I won’t have to make any changes, but you just never know. It’s rendering now, at about 6 frames per second, which is extremely slow, but it is working and the system is responsive enough to write this log in LibreOffice Writer with all 4 CPU cores maxed out. It looks like it will only take about 2 minutes to render about a minute of video file as a lossless x264 MP4 file.

I have the final file and it looks good...from what little bits of it I can watch. This Pi will not play the file in VLC smoothly, so I can’t see if the transitions came out ok or not. It will freeze on a video frame so long that most of the video will have gone by before it catches up. I have no idea how to fix this, nor do I have the patience right now. It’s very frustrating that the Latest Pi can’t even play 1080p video, yet is advertised as supporting 4K60. I know I’m using an unsupported OS, but it is incredibly frustrating having to wait years for the software support of a feature that was advertised at launch. I plan to switch over to Raspberry Pi OS to Use Steam Link and take a break, so I will try to play it back there. If that fails to play, I will either use my Android phone or my Linux gaming laptop to check the file before I upload it anywhere.

It’s 758MB for about a minute long clip, so I may compress it before upload to YouTube. If I can, I will do a test and convert it to h265(HEVC) and upload that. Curious as to how long it would take to convert and the final file size. Well, I started encoding it to h265 1080p and it was averaging 0.25 frames per second and was estimated to take over 30 minutes to complete for a 1 minute video. Terrible, but possible. It’s one of those things were you’d just let it go overnight. If you have very limited upload time or speeds, but plenty of idle computing time, encoding in a more efficient format such as h265 makes perfect sense. If you have fast upload speeds and/or plenty of time to spend uploading, it doesn’t make sense. When I travel, I may either being paying for all mobile data I use, or have limited access to data and would benefit from producing the smallest file sizes possible.

This was an enjoyable project that proved my theory that basic video production tasks can be completed in a reasonable manner on a Pi 400. I have already proven I can edit 4K videos and render a final video without an intermediary file using proxy clips in Kdenlive. I will continue to do my video editing on the Pi 400 as I go. I enjoyed it enough to stick with it. All my notes were taken here, all video and audio editing, review of all the files, everything. I am working on another project to create a Pi based video camera using the HQ Camera Module. When that is ready, I will tie it all together to make a video production set up based entirely on the Pi ecosystem. I am very much looking forward to that day. Until then, I will keep knocking out the simpler tasks. The next step is to upload the video to YouTube and my hackaday.io page so people can see the final results. I hope you’ve enjoyed this adventure so far. I always appreciate feedback, so don’t be afraid to comment. Especially if you may know of a better way to do things.

Update: I got the video uploaded to my main Youtube channel, Dustin's Hot Garbage. It's a place for me to practice video production and document my adventures. The Pi 400 has earned its place as the official editing computer of my channel.

Video Here. (Opens in new tab)

Update(again): I was able to watch the video, at 1080p on the Pi 400. It looks very good, considering how little effort I actually put into it. Playback from YouTube was far better than with VLC Media Player with the local file. I hope you enjoy the video.

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