Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Episode 009 - Download Web Video

I try to never rely on watching streaming internet videos in class. Too many times I've tried and the internet has been slow or down. So now I download the videos to my computer if I can.

Stuff to Know
  • Not all streaming videos can be downloaded
  • You may need to a special player to play the video you download
Two Ways to do it
  • DownloadHelper - Firefox extension. WARNING: The DownloadHelper folks try to help out their users and have compiled a list of popular sites for downloading video. You should know that many (not all) of the sites on this list are porn sites. I really like DownloadHelper. It works very well and I've had no problems with it.
  • Video Bookmarklet - Should be usable in any browser. Just go to the page and follow the instructions. You will end up with a bookmark that you can click when you're on a page with video.
I've got the video, now what?
  • File Format - There are many different file formats that videos can be saved as. Most of these can be opened with Windows Media Player which will already be on your computer (unless you have a Mac of course). However, the most common format for web video is not playable in Media player so you'll need another program. I recommend VLC. VLC will play the flash video format that most web videos are save in.
  • Burn to a DVD - If you want a pretty bomb proof lesson you'll burn the web video to a DVD. That way it will be usable in virtually any classroom and you can even give it to a Sub. You will of course need software to do this and a DVD burner. There are some free programs out there for creating DVD's. I've used DVD Flick and it seems to work pretty well. Some people might be concerned that web video won't look very good on a DVD. Well, you're right, but it looks at least as good as those aging VHS tapes many of us rely on year to year. (I'll cover this one in a future episode)


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