Co-worker on local news. How do I download the video?
January 10, 2019 2:58 PM   Subscribe

My co-worker is interviewed in this segment from Chicago's CBS News. He called the station for a copy for himself but was told no. Is there a way to download this video?

He's also in this interview, and he wants to use the videos in class. I know how to download from YouTube, so that's not a problem.

His goal is to put both interviews on a regular DVD, playable in a DVD drive on a computer. I have Handbrake and Toast, but I don't know how to get at the first video. Is there something I could use in the source code for the page that can get me to it?
posted by tzikeh to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I've got it. I'll reach out later tonight and also write up something here in case anyone checks this later as a howto. (Also, what a lousy reaction from the station!)
posted by WCityMike at 3:08 PM on January 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

I use a Chrome plugin called Flash Video Downloader for stuff like this - it doesn't always work, but seems to on this video.
posted by sunset in snow country at 3:14 PM on January 10, 2019

tzikeh, I e-mailed you a download link for the MPG file which I put on my Google Drive, and I'll write up a howto for future Googlers later tonight.
posted by WCityMike at 3:17 PM on January 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

I was able to grab a copy of it with youtube-dl, which was playable with VLC.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:17 PM on January 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Wow - WCityMike - thank you!

Kadin2048 - how did you get a copy of the first video with a youtube app?! it's embedded in CBS's website.
posted by tzikeh at 3:20 PM on January 10, 2019

Also my email address is in my profile, just FYI to all if you want to explain but not in public.
posted by tzikeh at 3:26 PM on January 10, 2019

Despite the name, youtube-dl works on a load of sites.
posted by Bangaioh at 3:28 PM on January 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

I am now curious if WCityMike's method was the same as mine; I was able to use youtube-dl and then processed the resulting file, which played in VLC but nowhere else, through ffmpeg (specifically with the -bsf:a aac_adtstoasc option, to fix something messed-up with the audio).

Yay teamwork.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:34 PM on January 10, 2019

also the non-embedded youtube is here.
posted by koroshiya at 3:48 PM on January 10, 2019

played in VLC but nowhere else

On Debian the latest youtube-dl works alright by default, ffmpeg does output a warning message about a malformed AAC bitstream when putting the mp4 file together but it plays fine in VLC and mpv.

If I pick a http format instead of hls (youtube-dl defaults to the "best" quality, which for this video is hls) there's no error message.
youtube-dl -f http-akamai-3 will fetch the highest quality http download.
posted by Bangaioh at 3:59 PM on January 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Write-Up: So, I went to the site. Opened Firefox -- Tools > Web Console > Network. Click on the 'Media' filter in the second row so you don't get overwhelmed with everything the page has. (Chrome has something extremely similar in functionality.)

In this case, I saw "m3u8" files. m3u (and m3u8) is a universal format for playlists -- and they're just text files. So I right-clicked, copied the URL, and pasted it into Firefox to download it.

On that particular page, I downloaded "master.m3u8" first, which pointed me towards "prog.m3u8", another playlist file. Again, both were text files and openable in a text editor like Notepad.

prog.m3u8 had the video files. Prog.m3u8 listed 14 URLs -- all of them ended in the extension "ts".

Now "ts" stands for "Transport Stream". However, TS is just MPEG-2 -- mpeg video files. (A lot of the video on the Internet is MPEG-4, i.e., MP4 files.) So I downloaded all of the TS files and renamed their extension to MPG.

Yeah, but each one plays for less than a minute. How do you combine them? Well, when it's an MPEG-2 file, it's incredibly easy -- your Windows Command Shell (cmd) can combine the files without any special programs. You can just do this:
copy /b 1.mpg+2.mpg+3.mpg+etc,etc,etc finalfile.mpg
A second later, you have your combined file, you play in your video player to give it a double-check, and it looks like it joined up good and smooth!
posted by WCityMike at 4:52 PM on January 10, 2019 [19 favorites]

I find that once you get the .m3u8 file URI via the first few steps WCityMike describes you can frequently just pass it to youtube-dl and it'll do its magic from there, even if it was unable to extract the URI from the web page by itself.

You can also pass that URI directly to a video player like VLC or a Chromecast's Default Media Receiver, possibly accompanied by specifying an “application/x-mpegURL” MIME type as needed, if you just want to watch some video without having to screw around with whatever media company's HTML-and-javascript-and-ad-tracker-spyware site it's being published on. (And come to think of it, VLC could then probably do its “Convert/Save” thing too, to save it to a file? I've never tried that.)
posted by XMLicious at 6:59 PM on January 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

When using WCityMike's Windows-copy command above to concatenate the files together, be very careful to get the spacing right, exactly as he typed -- and he used a monospaced font, so it's absolutely clear where spaces are and are not. All of the input+files+get+plussed+together, then a space, then the output file. If you mess up, you can overwrite one of your input files.
posted by intermod at 9:40 PM on January 10, 2019

Is Windows Command Shell the same as Terminal on a Mac? That's where I do my command line tweaks and fixes....
posted by tzikeh at 10:42 AM on January 11, 2019

tzikeh: Is Windows Command Shell the same as Terminal on a Mac? That's where I do my command line tweaks and fixes....

Nope -- Windows Command Shell is basically DOS, whereas Terminal on a Mac is basically Unix/Linux. Different altogether.

However, I'm about 99.9% sure that this is what you'd use in that circumstance:
cat file1.mpg file2.mpg file3.mpg >> newfile.mpg
Make sure that's two, and not one, of the ">" signs.

And I'd make a backup copy of the downloaded source files, first.
posted by WCityMike at 11:07 AM on January 11, 2019

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