pi zero video display foot controller for band gigs

Posted on October 10, 2018

I do visual projections for a local band, and whilst some of the gig involves mixing and skipping around video parts in time to the music, a lot of it is just hitting play at a certain time, and doing a crossfade from the band logo screen.. i don't want to make myself redundant, but it felt like a fun project to have a self-contained box that does all of this without having to have a laptop and cables all over the shop. just a stomp box onstage that plugs straight into the projector that can be easily set up beforehand by dropping files onto a network share.

basically a posh powerpoint controller that a singer can stamp on, instead of holding a controller hooked up to a laptop.

after chatting to a few guitar pedal geeks, i looked at making my own, but the Digitech FS3X Foot Controller was only £21 and looks like it meets my needs perfectly - a nice angled metal box with three buttons on.


so i've gone and ordered:

Raspberry Pi Zero WH (pre-soldered header)

Digitech FS3X Foot Controller


1080P Mini HDMI Male to HDMI V 1.4 Female Adapter Panel Mount Extension Cable

30/50cm Micro USB Male to Female Mount Panel Extension Adapter

1080P HDMI Male To VGA D-SUB 15 Pins Female Video AV Adapter Cable For PC HDTV

2.4GHz IPEX IPX Antenna - Extension cable, 3DBI Gain Antenna

foot pedal aluminium coloured button covers x3

total £44.69


micro sd card (8gb should be enough. possibly less?)
micro usb PSU (i have an old 2A USB phone charger lying around already)
wire to (re)connect pedal buttons to pi breakout board
soldering iron/solder
dremel (would a laser cutter be better/neater?)
possibly a drill and some metal bits

configuration, thoughts and other bits i've not actually done yet.....

foot controller config:
button 1 - home (display static logo)
button 2 - down
button 3 - up

  • pi - command line install of raspbian
  • wifi network - connect to preconfigured networks via DHCP (or set up as wifi hotspot? or auto-connect to preconfigured phone tethering wifi for at-gig updates?)
  • due to it being a metal box, i thought an external antenna might be a good idea - so taking this page into accoutn
    Adding an External Antenna to the Raspberry Pi Zero W
    i ordered an external unit and wire/screw thread. THIS MAY NOT BE NEEDED.
  • SMB share pointing at "videos" drop folder - or even sync to a dropbox folder?
  • after power up, unit displays "home" screen, then cycles through 1.mp4 2.mp4 3.mp4 4.mp4 (etc) via button control - when it gets to the last one, it cycles back to 1.mp4
  • use omxplayer for vid playback? -
  • wiring/how to trigger/setup?
  • mounting the pi inside the case - hot glue gun?

so, the pi and foot controller should arrive in the next day or two. i should be able to work out if the box is suitable to mount everything in (and if it isnt, send it back and go for the generic metal box/custom route)

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