How to capture clips from streaming video on a Mac?
August 20, 2013 6:05 PM   Subscribe

Is there a good way to capture short clips from online streaming videos on a Mac?

I would like to capture, save, and replay short clips (from a few seconds to a few minutes) from an online streaming video source. In case it matters, I am in the US and I want to do this for the purpose of commentary and criticism.

I am running Mac OS 10.6, but could possibly upgrade.

A few months ago, I tried googling video capture software and I downloaded one of the higher-ranked results, but the quality of captured video was a lot worse than the original stream. I've also searched Ask Metafilter, but previous questions I've found are either a) specifically about capturing the audio only from a video stream, b) focused on Windows software, and/or c) so old as to be outdated, probably.
posted by Orinda to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
VLC should be able to do it. I've used it to record web radio before without any hitches, it's famously able to handle lots of different kinds of media, and here's a tutorial on how to capture video with it. (The author is using Linux, but the interfaces are pretty similar.) Give it a whirl.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:13 PM on August 20, 2013

Have you tried doing a video capture using QuickTime? The quality is decent and you don't need to buy anything.
posted by Cuke at 7:18 PM on August 20, 2013

The (command line) utility youtube-dl can grab videos from a bunch of sites.
posted by neckro23 at 7:50 PM on August 20, 2013

I use DownThemAll, works pretty well for most Youtube flash videos.
posted by emjaybee at 8:23 PM on August 20, 2013

I use Ant Video Downloader
posted by singingfish at 8:43 PM on August 20, 2013

If all else fails I like to use screen capture software for this, in my case Screenflow. It captures the whole screen but you can then crop it to just the frame of video before exporting the video. It does mean you want to leave your computer alone while recording.
posted by dumbland at 12:50 AM on August 21, 2013

Best answer: If one of the download plugins doesn't work -- and they don't work for many, many sites (at least, the 15 or so plugins I tried recently didn't work on all the half-dozen news sites I tried them on) AND if you can't figure out the video's source file in the source code (look for .mp4 or other video suffixes and see if there's a whole URL or a relative one you can reconstitute), then Snapz Pro is your best bet. It records video and audio, offers many options for quality and compression, and, if you make the video full-screen on capture and then size its dimensions down a bit on conversion to the format you want, even crappy videos can turn out pretty well. You can also record the Mac's mic as you record the video, which could make doing commentaries easy.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:58 AM on August 21, 2013

VLC is definitely the go-to app for this on the Mac.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:44 AM on August 21, 2013

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