I wanted to download some quilting videos from YouTube so that I always had them available whenever I needed to remind myself how to do a particular technique. Searching on YouTube in the hope of finding something I viewed 3 months ago was getting painful — I was tired of trying to remember a video’s name or presenter, even if I knew in general what the content was about. It was time to find some software that would allow me to download a YouTube video and save it to my computer.
The problem was, when I did a Google search, there were many applications out there that profess to do just that. But what was a good one? Off to Twitter, where I asked my followers for a recommendation. Within minutes @mikestarrwriter got back to me recommending ‘Download Flash and Video’ add-on for Firefox (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/download-flash-and-video/). I checked out the reviews, then decided to install it.
It works well, BUT there’s NO documentation. Nothing to tell you how it works and what to do when it doesn’t work (as happens occasionally). So here’s the ‘missing manual’ for the Download Flash and Video add-on for Firefox.
- After you’ve installed the add-on and restarted Firefox, you’ll see a small blue down arrow icon in the bottom right of Firefox’s status bar.
- Go to YouTube and find a video you want to download.
- Start playing the video.
- Watch the icons in the bottom right corner of the status bar:
- Blue arrow icon: Normal state on any web page; nothing downloaded. If you continue to get this after some 30 seconds into the video, nothing is happening, so refresh the browser window.
- Blue arrow icon with movie ‘clapperboard’ icon (typically appears 1 to 10 seconds after starting the video): File is ready to download. It’s only at this point that you can download the actual video.
- Gray icon: As far as I can tell, this is only seen when you refresh the browser window and the video is loading up again. It should change to the blue arrow with clapperboard icon a few seconds after refreshing.
- Optional: As soon as you see the blue arrow icon with the clapperboard, pause the video if you don’t want to watch it now (it will still download/buffer in the background).
- Click the blue arrow/clapperboard icon in the status bar to see the options (it doesn’t matter which one you click).
- Select the video format (typically a *.flv file) from the drop-down list.
Yes, there’s a typo in the list!(Typo fixed in the version suitable for Firefox 6.x.)
- The video will now download to the folder where your Firefox downloads are saved (as set in the Firefox Tools > Options > General tab).
- If you don’t have any application that will play an *.flv file, you’ll need to convert it to something else (such as an *.avi file).
[Link last checked September 2011]