Thursday, April 22, 2010

Downloading Videos From Web Sites

There are a number of software solutions that allow you to download videos from YouTube. My personal favorite is the freeware Tooble (there is a Pro version but the free version does all I need). Put the URL of the YouTube page containing the video that you want to download into the search window and Tooble will automatically download the content to your desktop.

That's the easy one.

There are other web sites for which software solutions don't exist. And to complicate things even more, the webmaster may try to prevent downloading by hiding the contents web location.

A simple solution is to use Safari. Go to the web site and view the video. When the video is running in the Safari browser, go to:

Window -> Activity (the shortcut is command-option-A for those that prefer that route).

All of the Safari windows you have open will be listed so go to the one in which you have interest. There will be a lot of elements loading on that page but most of them will be pretty small (kilobytes in size). Video is not small so look for the largest file on the page (multiple megabytes in size). In fact, if the video is still playing in Safari, you will notice that it is the file that is still growing in size. Double clicking on that file in the Activity window will save it to the desktop (or wherever else you have Safari configured to save downloads).

These actions should leave you with a flash (.flv) formatted file on your desktop which you can play in Quicktime if you have Perian installed (you should have Perian installed in any case as it's awesomeness knows no limits - and it's free) or convert to a more standard format using that same software.