Greetings, Hypertransitory readers!
If you’ve ever wanted to grab a bunch of YouTube videos all at once but didn’t want to take the time and effort to do so, or simply didn’t know how, then this one’s for you!
Ok, I actually made up a video for this one, but you folks who prefer to read can keep on reading below. You’ll have to forgive my voice on this one, I’m trying to get over the last vestiges of a cold and trying to catch my breath. Hopefully it’s not too annoying!
First things first: This isn’t about downloading an odd video here or there, this article is for when you need to download a freakin’ METRIC CRAP-TON of videos all at once.
So clear off some space on those hard drives…
THE WHY’S AND WHATNOTS…
Ok, why would you want to do this? Why not just watch the video on YouTube as nature intended?
The reasons are varied:
- Maybe you prefer the interface of the VLC, Quicktime or Windows Media players?
- It’s possible you have a crappy connection and the videos keep on freezing or buffering on you.
- You could just prefer to watch videos on your TV, instead of your monitor.
- You hate waiting for those damned ads at the beginning of each vid.
- Heck, maybe you’re just a hoarder and you want to save everything.
In any case, you’re going to want to download the videos for watching at your convenience.
In my specific case, as I’ve mentioned before on this site, I’m addicted to video game walkthroughs on YouTube.
I love watching these things, but sometimes depending on the game it could end up being a series of 60-80 videos. Holy crap. That’s a lot of downloading. If only there were some way to download all these videos without having to visit each page..?
It is a mystery. Or is it..?
A HISTORY OF ONE-OFF DOWNLOAD ACTION
Previously, when I would go to download all the videos, I would go to the YouTube user’s “Videos” link (or Playlist link if they had one), then open up as many videos as I could in separate tabs in Firefox.
I’d have to get each video playing, then use the DownloadHelper extension to download each video one at a time. It was a bit of a painstaking procedure. You could easily max out the ram on your machine by starting all the videos playing (you had to get them playing so DownloadHelper could become “aware” of them).
So that’s bad enough, but sometimes you would not quite be paying attention (which happens when you’ve got 50-60 videos to download) and you’d end up downloading the video advertisement at the beginning of the video instead of the video itself. Or maybe end up downloading the same one twice. Very annoying.
It could also get confusing regarding which type of file to download (FLV or MP4) as well as which quality version. DownloadHelper would usually provide you with a list of files that were available, and also a list of download and conversion options.
**NOTE: I’m not sure what the story is on the conversion options for this plugin. I read that you might have to pay for the conversion feature on Windows, but as I’m on a Mac (and it’s a feature I don’t use anyway) I never investigated.
If you need help converting those flv files, you should check out an article from my friend Adrienne Smith over on her site: http://adriennesmith.net/see-how-easily-you-can-convert-a-youtube-video/.
Anyway, the DownloadHelper options are useful, but they can become a bit tiresome when you have to select them over and over. Even more than this, I have an annoying case of Carpal Tunnel syndrome, and repeating these same motions over and over really takes it’s toll.
So for these reasons, I would only recommend DownloadHelper if you have the occasional one-off video you like to grab as opposed to bulk video download. DownloadHelper also works with many more sites besides YouTube. You can check out the reviews here:
METRIC CRAP-TON DOWNLOAD ACTION
So with that out of the way, it’s time to grab a whole gang of videos at once. The ingredients are simple:
- Get Firefox (http://www.mozilla.org/)
- Add BYTubeD (Bulk YouTube video Downloader) extension
- Add DownThemAll downloader extension.
So first you’ll need to have Firefox installed. I did a quick search and couldn’t find the same extensions for Safari, Chrome or IE, but maybe there is something similar out there.
Don’t worry if you’re not a regular Firefox user, I only use it for web development and for this very purpose, downloading vids.
Once in Firefox, browse to the Bulk YouTube video Downloader above to install it, and then do the same with the DownThemAll link, too.
When you have those extensions installed (you’ll need to restart to activate them), then you’ll be ready to git them vids!
I’ll explain what I do to download all my video game walkthroughs.
1. Browse over to a YoutTube channel Videos page or Playlist while in Firefox. The Playlist is the ideal place to use the extension, as the Playlist is of course, a list of links to the various videos.
2. Choose BYTubeD from the “Tools” menu at the top.
3. You’ll get a pop-up window that contains a list of all the available links that you can download. You’ll need to choose all the ones you want so they’re highlighted. Be careful, since BYTubeD will grab ANY link it can download a video from. Make sure you only select the ones you want.
If you type into the “Selection Filter” field at the bottom, BYTubeD will select any item that matches your text. Meaning if there are 30 items, and 10 of them are named “Dark Souls”, if I type the word “Dark” into the Selection Filter, then those 10 items will be selected for me.
In this same window, you’ll see that you also have Video Format and Quality options. I always set these at MP4 and 1080P HD, respectively. I always want the highest quality video that’s available since I’ll be watching them on my HDTV. If a 1080P version doesn’t exist, it will just grab the highest quality it finds there.
Off to the right there’s a pulldown menu labeled “What to do?” The options for this are:
A. Enqueue for download: This is asking you if you want to start downloading immediately using Firefox’s download manager. I avoid this method since it doesn’t really manage the downloads very well. If you have 60 videos it will try to download all of them all at once, slowing down the whole procedure.
Worse, the default download manager in Firefox isn’t so good at resuming the download if it gets interrupted, so this option is best avoided in my opinion.
B. Generate Links: This option spits out a sparse web page with just a list of links on the page. At this point you would come along and use the DownThemAll extension to actually download the videos from those links.
This is the superior option to me, so it’s what I always do.
I don’t worry about anything else in this window. The “Destination” field doesn’t apply if you choose option B, since the DownThemAll plugin will determine where the files go. Only worry about this field if you choose option A.
4. DownThemAll extension. Once you have clicked the “Start” button, BYTubeD will generate a barebones page of links for you. Now it’s time to finally get to downloading.
You’ll choose Tools>More dTa Tools…>DownthemAll!… from the top menu in Firefox (there’s a dTa One-click option you can use as well if your download options never change. Mine do pretty much every time so I rarely use it).
This will open up the DownThemAll window for you to manage the downloads. In here you’ll need to actually select the videos you want to download, either by clicking the circle to the far left of the name, or by selecting multiple entries, right-clicking and choosing “Check Selected Items” from the pop-up menu that results.
After this you can then choose the destination in the field labeled “Save Files in:”
On the right you’ll see a field labeled “Renaming Mask”. If you play around with this you can adjust the names of the files that will be saved. This doesn’t matter to most people but it’s there if you need it. It beats renaming the files one at a time, though.
Once you hit the “Start!” button in here, the actual download window will pop up with all the files you selected to be downloaded appearing here. I have mine set to only download 4 at a time to prioritize a bit and keep things moving. It works out well for me.
If you’d rather change that number you can always do that by going to the preferences in Tools>More dTa Tools…>Preferences (or the Preferences link at the bottom right of the window) and choosing the “Network” tab.
So all you have to do now is sit back and wait, all the files will be downloaded!
THE WRAP UP
Once downloaded, you can then watch them however you please. I prefer to physically move the videos over to my PS3 so I can sit back and watch on my big screen. It looks really good and many times it’s just like watching a movie.
The only little minor issue I have is that often times I’d like to leave a “Like” or a “Favorite” on the YouTube vids that I watch to support the guys making these walkthroughs. It does represent a significant amount of time to record these things, then sync up the audio and prepare the videos, especially if they’re on a frequent schedule.
Leaving a Like or Favorite is a way to show your thanks and also provide incentive for them to make more. The way I do things now means that I’ve stopped doing this, since I no longer visit each page, so I do feel a little bad for that.
I left a message for the developer to ask if he could incorporate the ability to sign in and leave a Like or Favorite via YouTube, but I do recognize that it just might not be possible -and there’s also some potential for abuse and gaming the system. I have no idea how far YouTube lets developers in or if this is even possible. Hopefully it is, since I’d to show these guys some support.
But aside from that, all’s well that ends well! You should be well on your way to downloading your very own first METRIC CRAP-TON of videos from YouTube!
If you still have any questions just let me know if the comments. Peace!
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