Preparing Knoppix/Debian Linux for Non-Linear Video Editing

Wow.. so you have got your camcorder ready and want to take up the challenge of authoring your videos with Linux. I made the same choice and want to show you how to get your system ready to capture those video via your
IEEE1394(Firewire) card. All following instructions are valid for Debian GNU/Linux as installed from Knoppix and detail how I got things to work. I used all sorts of sources in the internet as well as a little help from fellow members of the <a
href=“http://www.vlug.org“ target=“_blank“>Victoria Linux User Group.

If your computer doesn’t have a IEEE1394 card or port on the mainboard or graphics card yet, you should check out the host adapter list in the compatibility
section on the Linux1394 web site to find out what card to get. With the camcorder list you will be much easier off. Most modern MiniDV camcorders should work just fine. My
SharpVL-AX1E works beautifully.

Okay, let’s go on to the software side of things. If you installed Knoppix with the harddisk install script you will
basically already be running Debian Linux with great hardware detection and pretty new packages. That’s exactly what you
want. My aim was to be able to use a simple graphic interface driven application to capture my videos without to much
installation hazzles. A great first step will be to use Kino since it is part of the Debian distribution and does all you will want for a start. Log in as root and simply install it with

apt-get install kino

or use synaptic in the window manager after you installed it with

apt-get install synaptic

in the shell command line.

Next you need to make sure that all the kernel modules for IEEE1394 support are loaded. If you run the command

lsmod

you should get a section like this

dv1394                 17856   0
raw1394                 6840   0 (unused)
ohci1394               15688   0 [dv1394]
ieee1394               29452   0 [dv1394 raw1394 ohci1394]

If this is not the case you need to can try loading the modules manually with

modprobe raw1394
modprobe ohci1394
modprobe ieee1394
modprobe dv1394

If you get a message after any of these commands the module did not load and you will have to get some more help in the Getting Started section on the Linux1394 web site. If you get nothing everything went fine.
You can write a little script with these lines to start up the modules as root user each time or even better just load the modules automatically during the boot process. To do this you just have to add the lines

raw1394
ohci1394
ieee1394
dv1394

to the file /etc/module. After you have loaded the modules you can hook up the camcorder to your ieee1394 port and test if you can control it remotely from the computer using gscanbus (install it with

apt-get install gscanbus

if it isn’t installed already).

If you got this far, you basically know that all is fine. Of course you will not want to use your root account to do all the video editing. To allow all normal users to use the camcorder you have to give them access to the devices

/dev/raw1394
/dev/video1394
/dev/dv1394

by running the commands

chmod a+rw /dev/raw1394
chmod a+rw /dev/video1394
chmod a+rw /dev/dv1394

As a last step you can log in as normal user and fire up Kino. Check out the preferences in File – Preferences. The preferences window will only come up, if all is well. If something is wrong, it will complain that the IEEE1394 system is not available.

For a first video capture test the original settings should be okay. Click on the capture tab on the right of the Kino window and on the AV/C button under the black window frame. You should now be able to control the camcorder with the row
of buttons at the bottom. Press the play button there and the red record button and you are capturing your first video
under Linux.

Congratulations!!

If you didn’t get that far you might want to research a bit more on the web or just post a question below. I will try to help where I can.

Manfred


4 Comments

  • werner

    01/12/2003

    hey cool – finally you did it !!! now I’m really curious about your first linux.edited video :)

  • oliver

    02/01/2004

    Just a minor issue:

    The „proper“ way with debian linux to give a user access to devices is to add a new group and give that group rw access to the device. Then just add those users that need to access the device to that group.

    Thats only neccessary if you have more then one user on your linux box.

    Other than that this manual gets 5 stars (out of 5).

    greetings from Vienna,

    Oliver

  • werner

    01/12/2003

    hey cool – finally you did it !!! now I’m really curious about your first linux.edited video :)

  • oliver

    02/01/2004

    Just a minor issue:

    The „proper“ way with debian linux to give a user access to devices is to add a new group and give that group rw access to the device. Then just add those users that need to access the device to that group.

    Thats only neccessary if you have more then one user on your linux box.

    Other than that this manual gets 5 stars (out of 5).

    greetings from Vienna,

    Oliver

Comments are closed.