Sunday, January 29, 2012

My 3 Favorite & Easiest Ways To Download Videos Off The Web

It seems that every year a promising new video service emerges (most recently, perhaps Vevo) and another hits the dust (most recently, MegaUpload/MegaVideo). As the trend continues, we storage junkies must adapt. We’ve talked a lot on this subject in the past, but I’m confident that you’ll find my ways to be the easiest and most effective. Storing remote video content locally is a challenge no more, and I’ve got three tried and true methods to tip you on to.
If you’ve ever been to a website, watched a hilarious clip, and thought to yourself, “Wow, I wish I could keep that one forever. What if it gets deleted?”, you’re now looking at the correct article.

Downloading Flash Files Using Your Browser

Saikat wrote an awesome article nearly three years ago that still works like a charm. This method is still my favorite as it can be performed in every browser available. Although the method still works like a charm, exactly as it’s described in Saikat’s article, let’s go back over the process for Firefox.
Start by going to a page with a Flash video on it. YouTube is a good example. You can tell if a website is using Flash to power their video front-end by right clicking on the video itself and looking at the context menu. If Flash is mentioned, there you go.
After you’ve found your video, right click on the page (not the video) and select “View Page Info“.

Now, click the “Media” tab across the top. Scroll through the list until you find the content with the “Type” matching “Embed“. Click on it, and then “Save As…“. A download prompt will come up and you’ll be saving the SWF file right to your drive.

Using Offliberty

Offliberty is my best-kept secret when it comes to pulling video content off of the web. I’m not sure if it can get any more easier than this solution.
There are a lot of ad-filled websites that extract videos from YouTube for you. There’s also a lot of sticky, bad adware that you can download to get it done. With Offliberty, you just paste the URL and then wait for it to crunch some numbers, then download.

It’ll take a few seconds and then your results are in. You can actually rip the MP3 or the entire video from YouTube with this service, but for the sake of this article, let’s go with the video.

Offliberty supports a lot of the most popular video and music websites. Just plug a URL in and give it a shot, pretty good chance that it’ll be able to instantly convert and spit out what you’re looking for.
Just a little warning: Offliberty uses a script to randomize their page background. I refreshed anywhere between 10 and 15 times and one of the backgrounds was set to a very faint image of a male and a female, the female being topless. It was nothing explicit or hardcore and I’d classify it as “artsy,” but don’t use this at work. You shouldn’t be, anyway!

NetVideoHunter for Firefox

NetVideoHunter Video Downloader is one of my favorite Firefox add-ons. This page explains the usage of the add-on better than any, but let me give you a quick rundown.
Download and install the plugin. Restart Firefox. Go to any website that streams video. Start the video. Look at your Add-ons Bar for the NVH icon and click on it.

Here, you’ll see a list of every video that you’ve loaded this browser session. From this menu, you can watch the videos or download them. If using a site like YouTube where many formats are supported, every format should be available in the menu (as you can see it is in the screenshot). Can’t be much simpler than clicking “Download” and saving the video locally.
If these three are less than what you want, check out some of our other related posts: