It turns out that yes, you can edit HD video on the $99 Raspberry Pi 400
Every day I see questions in Raspberry Pi groups on Facebook asking if it can do this or that and can it really replace a desktop? One of the more common tasks I often see requested of it is video editing. Can the Raspberry Pi 400 let you edit videos? Well, it turns out that yes, it can. At least, in 1080p. And there are some caveats, but yes.
This video from Jason Evangelho at Linux For Everyone actually came out a little while ago, but it just popped up in my suggested videos and I thought it was interesting. Mostly because despite the often optimistic Raspberry Pi marketing, for most people, it’s really not a desktop replacement. Could it be a cheap option for video editing, though?
It’s not a simple question to answer. DaVinci Resolve, for example, is available for Linux, but you’re not going to be able to use it on a Raspberry Pi. Even if the Linux Resolve binary supported the Pi’s CPU, it still wouldn’t have the RAM and GPU required to run it effectively. But there are other options out there, like the completely free and open source video editing application, Kdenlive.
That’s the application that Jason uses in the above video because there is an ARM version available that runs on the Raspberry Pi – one of the few video editing applications that does run on a Pi. You can see that it’s not the quickest application to work in when it’s running on a Pi and there is some stuttering. But once you switch over to working with lower proxy files for editing, it speeds up quite dramatically.
As Jason mentions, the biggest hurdle is going to be the rendering time. You might even need to leave it going overnight if it’s a long one or it contains a lot of tracks and high resolution 4K source footage.
Is it going to be able to replace a solid Mac, Windows or Linux desktop or laptop? No, not even close. But can it do the job if you’re on a super tight budget and want something more useful than your phone? Well, yeah, absolutely, although you’re going to have to embrace proxies and deal with some well below average render times.
But, it’s definitely doable in a pinch.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.