Is there any way to capture the videos you view on YouTube?
This question was answered on February 8, 2008. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
The extraordinary popularity of YouTube for both aspiring videographers and viewers has made online video one of the most consumed types of content on the Internet.
Most of us have gotten an e-mail with a link to a YouTube video that was funny or interesting and thought “I’d like to download that video”.
The folks at YouTube really don’t want you to download the videos, because they make their money from visitor’s “page views”, so they designed their videos to only play from your browser.
Their method of saving your favorite videos is to sign up for a free account and save it to your Favorites which is only available when you log in.
That’s not the same as downloading it, but it will allow you to keep track of your favorites.
The reason you can’t just right-click on the video and save it to your hard drive is because YouTube videos are in the Flash Video (.flv) format
There are two steps to achieving your objective: downloading the video and choosing a method to view the video.
There are a number of download “helper” websites that can grab video and download it to your computer One of the more popular sites that can download video from YouTube and many other video sites is KeepVid.com.
Simply copy and past the exact URL of the video that you want to download, tell the downloader which site it’s hosted at and you’ll be asked where you want to save the file.
You can name the file anything you want, but in order to see the video once you download it, you will need a Flash Video viewer A free player is available at www.martijndevisser.com/blog/flv-player but pay attention during the installation or the Yahoo toolbar will be installed in your browser and Yahoo will become your default search engine (just remove the checkmarks during the installation)
If you aren’t in any particular hurry, you can use another download helper at Zamzar.com that can also perform the conversion at the same time The reason you can’t be in a hurry is that once you paste in the URL and choose the file format you want it converted to, you will have to wait to get an e-mail notifying you that the conversion is done.
You must then click on the link in the e-mail in order to download the completed file and you must download the file within 24 hours of receiving the notification e-mail or your video will be deleted
There are plenty of not so subtle offers to speed up the process, which of course will cost you a monthly fee.
If you plan on doing this a lot, you may want to consider purchasing a program that is specifically designed for the task such as Replay Media Catcher from www.applian.com
Both a trial version of the program and a demonstration video are available at the site, so you can try it before you buy it.
About the author
Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on February 8, 2008