Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Capturing offline copies of YouTube videos

Although there is clearly a lot of junk on YouTube, I continue to be amazed (admittedly at the infrequent times I am able to explore the site) at the high quality of some of the videos hosted there.

For a few months I’ve been downloading FLV (Flash-player) versions of YouTube videos so I have them offline to use and play during educational workshops. There are undoubtedly other ways to “grab” (download) videos from YouTube, but these are the primary ways I know to do accomplish that goal in my order of preference (as explained below):

  • The free Unplug plugin for FireFox lets you download/save embedded FLV or other media files on any webpage, YouTube or otherwise. (I love the fact this solution is free and cross-platform.)
  • The YouTube downloader is a free website you can use to enter the URL of a YouTube video, and then download the FLV file to your hard drive. (Again free and cross-platform since it’s web-based, but it just works with YouTube, not other sites like TeacherTube.)
  • ZamZar is a free website letting you download videos embedded on different sites, like YouTube. I have just used this once or twice. I’ve heard some people complain the ending of their videos are sometimes clipped off when they use ZamZar, but I haven’t experienced that problem.
  • TubeTV is free Macintosh-only software for downloading YouTube and Google Video files, and converting them into formats compatible with iPods and Apple TV.
  • TubeSock is Macintosh and Windows software for downloading YouTube videos. ($15 commercial software)

Do you know of other good solutions? Armed with a USB flash drive, videos from YouTube or other websites can be downloaded with software or websites like those above and brought to school for use by teachers as well as students. (That’s right, students too.) Does that scare you? Did you know the iPhone has a specific application for directly watching YouTube videos, over an available 802.11 wireless network OR over the available EDGE cellular network completely OUTSIDE the school’s content filter?

User created content is NOT going away in the 21st century. It is and will continue to grow at a geometric rate. Do the administrators in your school district understand this? Does your school board? Are they discussing this now, and how they are going to work with teachers as well as parents and students to create accountable cultures at school and outside in the wider community for all behavior, both offline and online? Or, are they (like most school groups I work with) basically just blocking YouTube and other user-created content sites and hoping this “problem” is going to go away? Do your school policies support the goal of helping students learn to “become the web filter?!” If not, they should.

In many cases, we not only need better policies, we need more conversations.

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13 responses to “Capturing offline copies of YouTube videos”

  1. Andy Rush Avatar

    I’ve used the Video Ook FireFox plugin because it has been the most reliable, especially with YouTube. It’s elegant in its simplicity.

  2. Rob Wall Avatar

    The Democracy player – – has built in search of youtube, google video and other video sites. It also includes a built in bit torrent client. The whole thing is built on the VLC media player, so it is capable of playing a wide variety of media formats. It completely rocks!

  3. Rich Avatar

    I’ve used to download YouTube (etc.) videos – what I like about Vixy is that it both downloads the FLV and converts it to another format. You can get AVI, MOV, MP4 and even audio only MP3 format if you want to strip out the audio track.

  4. Peter Rock Avatar is another way though I prefer unplug. For those that use only free software, the latest versions of VLC play the youtube .flv files.

  5. Mick Prest Avatar

    I guess it is a matter of what you want to do with the stuff. I am using Replay Media Catcher and Media Changer with great results. See the blog

  6. Amit Agarwal Avatar

    Wesley, I love the Kiss style of downloading youtube videos – just add the word kiss to YouTube URL and it saves as an FLV file.

  7. Tim Avatar

    Lately I’ve been using a program called YFlicks ( which, in addition to downloading from YouTube, Google and many other sites, is also an organizer and pretty good player. It costs 15 euros which is still under $20.

    I have a link on my Firefox toolbar so that when I’m on the page with the video, I just click and the software takes care of the rest.

  8. […] Fryer, Moving at the Speed of Creativity July 6, 2007 [原文链接] [Tags: Video, Google, YouTube] […]

  9. […] At a few times over the weekend I found myself as a font of geek knowledge – from suggesting the free, open source VLC as a solution to video clips that Windows Movie Player just refused to play, to switching off the proxy settings on laptops that had been set up for school use. One of the conversations I had was about how to access and use YouTube clips* even when the network was blocked. Next time I get asked that question, I can just point people to this excellent summary by Wes Fryer. […]

  10. […] story, other than using screencasting software which records a region of the screen? (I’ve posted other options for downloading YouTube and other flash-based web videos previously, but I’ve never tried one of these techniques with […]

  11. Andy Avatar

    Thanks for sharing. and are both good tricks
    I often use to download Youtube videos. Nice article! Very informative!

  12.  Avatar

    Do you know of a android phone app that will let me play these You tube videos   – – off line
    on my phone ??