Sometimes you might want to download a video from YouTube to save on your hard drive. You might be into collecting videos or you might want to play around with a video in iMovie. Anyway, you need a way to get the actual video content out of the Youtube page and onto your Mac as a video file.
There are Firefox addons available that can help you extract videos from Youtube, but with Safari the process is manual. But it’s not complicated, it’s just not very obvious. Here’s what you do.
Download Youtube Videos without plugins
- In Safari, navigate to any Youtube video. You don’t need to wait for the video to load.
- Select Window → Activity from the menu or press ⌘⌥A.
- In the Activity window, find the title of the window you are viewing the video in. It’s title will probably start with Youtube.
- Click the gray arrow on the left of the entry in the Activity window to show all the elements of the page that Safari has downloaded.
- To find the video file, you’ll need to look at the column Status, where the size of the elements is shown. Look for a file that is several megabytes in size. The URL show in the Address column will probably contain the text googlevideo.com. Depending on the speed of your Internet connection, the entry might also indicate that the file is still being downloaded.
- Double-click the entry and Safari will start downloading the file. The file will be named get_video. Open the Downloads window via Window → Downloads in the menu or press ⌘⌥L.
- When the download has finished, navigate to the downloaded file in Finder and rename it to get_video.flv You can name it any way you like, just make sure it has the .flv suffix.
- Now you can open the file with any app capable of playing an FLV file (such as VLC).
If you want to edit the video in iMovie, you’ll need to convert the FLV to something iMovie can handle first, such as MPEG. Get the free Perian, which will allow QuickTime to read many normally unsupported formats (such as FLV), and then use QuickTime Pro to export the FLV to whatever format works best for you.