Raspberry Pi video art installation

My daughter makes video art and needed a simple solution for showing one of her pieces continually in a loop.

I used an old Raspberry Pi model B for this. I just realised that the only place I had documented this was on my now-deleted Twitter account, and I can’t recall where I learned about this method, so I just had a quick look at the machine in question to try and work out what I did to make it. I’m recording it here in case it’s useful to anyone else or, more likely, me.

The Pi has Raspbian Buster on it, no GUI/desktop, just the command line stuff. It needs omxplayer, which I think was installed by default.

I put the source video MP4 file in the default pi user’s home directory. (I may have transferred the file from a USB stick using fdisk to identify and

sudo mount /dev/sda1 /media/usb-drive/

to mount the drive, but you could also probably transfer the file using SFTP, FTP over SSH).

I also doubtless used raspi-config to force the audio to either HDMI or the 3.5mm audio jack, and maybe alsamixer to set the volume level.

The magic happened by editing rc.local:

sudo nano /etc/rc.local

Then I added some lines so it looked a bit like this:

# By default this script does nothing.
# Print the IP address
_IP=$(hostname -I) || true
if [ "$_IP" ]; then
  printf "My IP address is %s\n" "$_IP"
omxplayer -o local --loop /home/pi/video-art.mp4 &
exit 0

Now when the Pi reboots, after quite a lot of boot-up text scrolling, the video plays and loops automatically. Connect to your monitor or projector and install in your art gallery!

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