Online video is the latest rage on the Internet, and it is almost mind boggling how much of a household name YouTube has become. Some people, such as lonelygirl15, have become YouTube SuperStars. In fact, lonleygirl15 even appeared on the Jay Leno show!
That is just one side of what the video sharing sites are used for. Besides for personal use, many sites (especially DailyMotion) are becoming a hub for copyrighted video content. Ashley recently covered a site called PeekVid which brings television shows and movies into a central location so that they can easily be viewed. Alluc is another site similar in nature to PeekVid, and between those two sites you can surely find something good to watch.
So what can you do if you don’t want to watch the videos while being connected to the Internet? Simple! You can download them and play them at your leisure. I’m going to give you a bunch of tips on how to get the videos onto your computer.
–Download a Video–
Downloading the videos that you want is probably just about the easiest part of the video process. There are so many tools out there to get the job done and they are so easy to find. Depending on what you’re looking to do these three tools will get the job done fast:
- VideoDownloader – This is a Firefox extension that works with all kinds of sites and content. Not only can you download videos from YouTube, Google, MetaCafe, iFilm, and DailyMotion but it will also let you save MP3’s and QuickTime videos that are embedded in sites. The list of sites that it supports is quite extensive so I’m not going to list them all here, but rest assured that this extension should get the job done.
- KeepVid – This is my personal favorite because it doesn’t require you to install any extension or application to download the videos. You can simply enter a URL into the site or you can use the bookmarklet that they have available for even faster conversions.
- GrabYouTubes – I wanted to include this service because it will surely come in handy when downloading videos from the PeekVid service that I mentioned above. All you have to do is provide the URL to the PeekVid movie or TV show that you want and it will quickly provide download links for all of the parts listed on that page. This is a lot easier than retrieving the download links one at a time. For more information on how to use the GrabYouTubes read Ashley’s post on PeekVid.
–Convert a Video–
If you didn’t notice most of the videos that you will download will be in the file format FLV. This isn’t something that most computers will recognize immediately and let you start playing, so you might want to convert it into a more recognizable format. Here are two ways that you can do the conversion:
- Online FLV Converter – This service is free and the great thing is that you don’t have to install a single application on your computer to have it converte videos. It can take a FLV file and transform it into an AVI, MOV, MP4, or 3GP so that you can watch the video on just about any device. This service is primarily geared towards YouTube since it does allow you to directly enter in a YouTube URL, but you can also enter in the URL to a FLV file (found using one of the utilities mentioned above). After giving it that information the service will download the video from the site and re-encode it into the format that you want. I tried it out and on smaller files (1MB or so) it works great, but I also tried a 10MB file that ended up error out. So if you’re trying to convert a large movie try the next solution.
- Super Video Converter – This video conversion utility is by far the most popular and happens to be one of the most CyberMarked articles on our site. This free application will let you convert a FLV file into a large array of other file formats, including AVI, MOV, iPod, Pocket PC, WMV, and PSP. It also allows you to customize various options so that the resulting video is exactly what you want.
–Play/Watch a Video–
You don’t have to convert a video just to watch it, though. If you have the right tool you can actually watch the FLV file right on your PC bypassing the whole conversion process. I looked around for at least an hour trying to find a nice player that was not only simple but offered what I thought was some very necessary features. I wanted to be able to play from a file that I downloaded and most importantly I wanted a fullscreen mode. Actually, the most important thing was that the application be freeware that wasn’t bloated with things that I didn’t want to use, but the fullscreen mode was still a critical deciding factor.
The result that I came up with was nFLVPlayer (download mirror). The application takes just seconds to install and it is simple enough for anyone to understand. The configuration options are minimal so power users may not get much joy from it, but you can still adjust the brightness, contrast, and a few other things. This program definitely gets my stamp of approval!
Now you’re going to be all set the next time that you want to take your videos with you on the go, which is great for those of us who don’t have access to the Internet 24/7. There are so many tools out there that can replace any of the ones that I listed above, but I covered the ones that I had experience with. With that being said we want to hear what you’re using to download, convert, and watch videos.