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How to copy family videos from YouTube or other websites

From time to time, one of your friends or family uploads a video to a website. Since the video may be only online for 24 hours, here are some methods to help you copy the video to your hard drive. Once on your hard drive, you can watch it whenever.

Here is a sample video to use for testing purposes:

Click on the title to play the video in a new tab.

  • Is it on Youtube?
    1. (Optional) Find a better quality of the video. Now that you found the family video, don't assume the URL is the best. Your friend may have filmed a better version. Look at the other thumbnails YouTube posted. Go about three links deep looking for other videos.
    2. Get the URL. It should look like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JgShAsgfBY. Not https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JgShAsgfBY&index=1&list=FLDUxxwGvvH8gNz59Gt9piag or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JgShAsgfBY&t=1. If there is not a single equals sign (=) in the URL, get rid of the extra key-value pairs.
    3. Use a YouTube online downloader. There is no reason to download and install an application. You are asking for trouble if you download applications written by strangers.
  • Use OBS Studio
    • Video recording and live streaming
    • Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
    • Freeware (Open Source)
    • For Source, Display Capture
    • This method works on all websites. However, you are making a copy, which by default means the quality of the video more than likely is not as good.
    • If you do not have multiple displays, then you may want to create a hotkey for Start Recording and Stop Recording in the Settings.
    • The default video output resolution is the same as your display, you may want to scale it down. Not all devices are capable of playing 1080p.
      1. Settings
      2. Video
      3. Output (Scaled) Resolution
    • Play the video in full screen
    • Start Recording
  • Use Developer Tools within Google Chrome
    1. This method works on some websites but not all. If it works, you will get a better quality video because you are not making a copy.
    2. Surf to the video. Kill any pop-ups that occur thoughout this method.
    3. Open Developer Tools via <Ctrl> <Shift> i
    4. Click Network
    5. Reload the video via pressing F5
    6. Play the video if it doesn't play on it's own.
    7. Look for type = media or name contains mp4
    8. Play the video if it doesn't play on it's own. Sometimes the mp4 may be on the webpage before you hot play.
    9. If you see a bunch of little files loading over and over, using contains the string ?ts=, then this method will not work.
    10. Right mouse click on the mp4.
    11. Choose Open in new tab.
    12. Right mouse click in that new tab
    13. Choose Save Video as ...

Additional notes:

  • Be persistent. I have found every family video that I wanted.
  • You may have to refresh your browser (F5).
  • Videos may only be available for a short time. See it, grab it.