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Raspberry Pi GPIO-controlled video looper

Project description


A video looper for the Raspberry Pi, controlled by GPIO pins. Designed to run an unattended video display, where users can select the active video by switch.

MIT licensed.


  • Play videos using OMXplayer, a hardware- assisted video player for smooth playback.
  • Switch between 2 or more videos using hardware switches wired to the Raspberry Pi's GPIO pins.
  • Optionally, indicate the active video by LED. This can be used with arcade-style switches which have built-in LEDs, or separate ones.
  • Callback-based, rather than polling-based. This means that button presses should always be acted upon.
  • Thread locking, to avoid issues when buttons are pressed rapidly and the video hasn't finished loading yet.


I've published a two part tutorial on my blog:

  • In part 1, I cover the hardware parts list and build instructions, including a 3D-printed case
  • In part 2, I describe this rpi-vidlooper software tool and how to get it set up and configured

On the hardware side, you'll need a Raspberry PI with several switches, one for each video. Each switch should be connected to a GPIO pin, and to ground. Optionally, you can set up an indicator LED for each video, connected to a GPIO pin.

Install dependencies:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python3-pip omxplayer fbi

Install rpi-vidlooper:

pip3 install rpi-vidlooper

This creates the vidlooper command. For usage help, see:

vidlooper --help


RuntimeError: No access to /dev/mem. Try running as root!

By default, you'll need to run sudo vidlooper, to gain access to the GPIO pins and the graphics card (GPU) for omxplayer. Generally, this is not recommended.

To avoid this, the user you want to run the vidlooper as will need to be in the gpio group. For example, for the pi user, you'd need to do this:

sudo usermod -a -G gpio pi

See further information on this issue.

No rights to /dev/vchiq

See the OMXplayer troubleshooting to fix this issue. It's also possible to avoid by running sudo vidlooper, but as above, this is not recommended.

Further reading

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