by Lars Georg Paulsen @ Braindead Production

Last Updated; 16 September 2005

Table of Content;


On this page, I’m going to try explain how to get a full video editing system up and running.
I’m going to use Debian, running unstable (Living on the edge, to get the most out of the newest technology),
kino and cinelerra for capture and edit.
Big parts of this tutorial is based on Rob Fisher’s tutorial on how to get video editing up and running.

Updated information

Layout fix. Just change some small parts of the page, to make it fit with current design

Quick update to this tutorial. I’v just reinstalled my computer with debian testing, running kernel-2.6.11
I’v described how to make device under /dev/ if they are missing, but I forgot to tell you how to make the
/dev/raw1394 device, if it’s not present.

Information about this tutorial

Just to make it bit easier to read, I’m going to use colors to mark different things.
Every command is marked as green
Every file is marked yellow [this are files you might want to edit]
Every device or module are marked as blue.
If there is a command that are missing and options, the option will be marked red, this means that you have to change it out, so that it fits with your system.

Basic knowledge

To use this tutorial you should have basic knowledge about Linux,
know how to build new kernels, load modules etc.


You don’t need those big fancy packages with all kinds of stuff, that you probably
can’t use under Linux anyway. The only thing you need is an IEEE port.
(Most modern motherboards have it build in.)


Currently I’m using kernel 2.6.9, You want to use the latest kernel available. To check out what kernel you are running type ‘ uname -a ‘ at the commando line.

Modules you need;
dv1394 (OHCI-DV I/O support)
video1394 (RAW IEEE 1394 I/O support)
raw1394 (OHCI-1394 Video support)
OHCI-1394 (OHCI-1394 support)

These can be loaded with the command ‘ modprobe module
or under Debian you can load the automatically at start up. To take control over what modules that are being loaded at boottime, use the command ‘ modconf

If you build your own kernel, IEEE 1394 (FireWire) Support, can be found under

Device Drivers –> IEEE 1394 (FireWire) support –>

For more information about IEEE 1394, and how to get started, can be found at
Linux 1394’s homepage

For more information about kernel configuration;

If you successfully booted up, and ‘lsmod‘ shows that all the modules are loaded, your IEEE 1394 system is up and running.


Most libraries is almost likely to be installed already.


(Might be more, any comments?

But here comes the fun part about running anything on Debian. If you just do a apt-get on the program you will be using. It will automatically install the necessary libraries as well.

Basic video capture can be done with dvgrab, so do a ‘ apt-get install dvgrab

If there are packages not found in your official Debian repositories, try adding this line to your [. /etc/apt/source.list ]

deb unstable main


You have quite a lot of options here. I’v tried out some different applications, and found out that cinelerra and kino has everything that I need.

But there are other application like mactor (might be a bit more user friendly, but it’s not free) and dvgrab (a console capture application)

My setup is like this;
For capture I use kino (Cinelerra has an buildin record, but never got it to work)
I’v spoken to some people doing video editing on Linux, and they all do the same.

For Editing I use Cinelerra.
After searching around, I found out the are to “versions” of cinelerra out there. The official version, and the CVS version. Witch one is the best, is yet to be answered. I prefer the CVS version, as patches and addons are ported into this version.


APT repositories for kino & cinelerra;

Kino is found in any official apt repositories of Debian.

This packages are build from CVS by Andraz Tori, and hosted at

You can add this line to your sources list: [. /etc/apt/source.list ]

For i386 processors:
deb ./

For Pentium4 processors:
deb ./

For Athlon processors:
deb ./

deb-src ./

You will need some additional packages not found in Debian’s official repositories, provided by Christian Marillat:
deb unstable main

Capture Video with dvgrab

Since we now have the FireWire system up and running, we are going to try to capture some data, just to check if it works or not. Here I’m going to use a small console program that comes with Kino, and is the same as Kino uses. So if this works, kino also works. 🙂

Just enter this simple commando, it will capture 5sec from the tape in put it on the hard drive in quicktime format, and call the file

dvgrab –duration 5s –format qt

If nothings goes wrong, there will be a file called after dvgrab has finished. Try play it with ‘mplayer‘, to check if it works.

Tips and tricks;


If you use a program called ‘ gscanbus ‘ you can check if your system recognize your camera. It’s also good for finding out witch port it’s connected too.

Screen shot of gscanbus;

gscanbus screenshot

You will also find lost of information about your card and camera. 🙂

Problem opening /dev/device

You can try running as root, or you can change privileges on the device you don’t have access to. running the command ‘ chmod 666 /dev/device ‘ will make the device available for reading and writing for everybody. (remember security issues)

Don’t have your device under /dev/?

If you have install and loaded your modules, and you still can’t find your device under /dev/, you can add them manualy.

In the absence of dv1394;
mknod -m 666 /dev/dv1394 c 171 32 for NTSC
mknod -m 666 /dev/dv1394 c 171 34 for PAL

In the absence of video1394;
(this is for the first adapter (port)
mknod -m 666 /dev/video1394 c 171 16

In the absence of raw1394;
mknod -m 666 /dev/raw1394 c 171 0

Still haveing problem? Read more about this on

Capture formats

If you use dvgrab or kino to capture your video, and are planing to use cinelerra to edit your clips, you might want to capture it in quicktime format. I had some problem getting cinelerra to reqonize quicktime format from dvgrab, but it worked find if you use kino and capture it in quicktime format. The old tutorial from Rob Fisher said that you had to convert from .dv (the format kino use by default) to quicktime format, this is not an issue anymore. Kino has build in quicktime support, and that works very well. [This tutorial is based on this] [Latest kernel]
Kernel-HOWTO.html [An Kernel HowTo] [Information about IEEE 1394 / FireWire]


I take no responsibily, of what might or can happened to your system, while using this tutorial, I’m no wizzard in linux or video editing, the information found in this tutorial is purely based on own experience and information found on the www.

There is probably a lot that I’v forgoten, so feel free to fill me in on things that might need to be updated, and suggestion that this tutorial is missing.

If you have any trouble using this tutorial, please feel free to email me.
Lgp [a]