How to download and save online or YouTube videos and play them offline

Tater Pig video as seen on YouTube.com/daynwMost of the online video content you’re going to see online these days has been encoded by Adobe Flash.  These are called FLV’s in the biz because of their .flv file extension.  A common request I’ve heard is for a method to download the FLV for later playback, offline or otherwise, say for a presentation or to edit into  another video.  Or dare I say mashup.

Safari users, congrats.  This method is for you:

  1. Navigate to the page where the video is embedded.
  2. Open your Activity window. (Window > Activity)
  3. Find the path to the .flv file in the Activity window and select it.  If you don’t find anything named .flv, select the path with the largest file size.  That’s probably the video.
  4. Choose Edit > Copy
  5. Now, open your Downloads window (Window > Downloads), and choose Edit > Paste to begin downloading the video file.

The video will be saved to your downloads folder, wherever you have that set. (Safari > Preferences… > General)  Sometimes, as with YouTube, it won’t be named (something).flv, so you might have to add the .flv part to the end.

iSquint, from the makers of Visual Hub for video conversionGood work.  Now we you downloaded the Flash video file.  How do you play it or use it in another app?  We have to convert it to a different format, probably Quicktime for most of you.  To do this, I use Visual Hub‘s little brother, iSquint.  iSquint is free, and will spit out a Quicktime movie, or even an H.264 encoded video, for all you video geeks.  The converted video can be played by Quicktime Player, included in your presentation, even edited in your favorite video editing suite.

Okay, so it’s not one-click easy, but it’s also not that tough to save your favorite videos from nearly any video sharing site.  See also keepvid.com if you want an online solution, or the Mac only app, Videobox.

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