downloading a youtube video to a flash drive
February 10, 2022 11:53 AM   Subscribe

please explain it to me like I'm 5?

I'm teaching a workshop at a fairly neglected facility that doesn't have Wifi but DOES have working computers. Was told I can show videos if I bring them as files on a flash drive.

How do I do this? Download a video from YouTube or another website?
posted by CancerSucks to Technology (9 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
For YouTube you need a utility like the Youtube Downloader but that's all I know, I've never used it.
posted by Rash at 11:59 AM on February 10, 2022

My usual weapon of choice for this job is the excellent yt-dlp (itself a fork of the excellent but less frequently updated youtube-dl) but if you're less than happy with command line tools then installing the Video DownloadHelper browser extension and its companion app works well too.

yt-dlp is currently doing a better job of working around YouTube's age gate than the others.

All three are free.
posted by flabdablet at 12:47 PM on February 10, 2022 [10 favorites]

I used 4K Video Downloader when I was teaching and needed to download a lot of videos (same reason, no wifi). You just copypaste the URL of the video you want into the program and it will download. The personal use version is just $15 and the free version only has minor limitations like 30 downloads a day, which is a lot already.
posted by automatic cabinet at 12:49 PM on February 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

I previously posted a somewhat lengthy tutorial for youtube-dl.
As pointed out by flabdablet, youtube-dl has sort of died since then and yt-dlp is now the tool to use.

The same instructions apply, the only changes needed are an update of the download link in step 1, use this instead:
and whenever youtube-dl is mentioned in the examples replace it with yt-dlp, eg

yt-dlp -F URL_OF_VIDEO
posted by Bangaioh at 2:40 PM on February 10, 2022 [3 favorites]

Seconding yt-dlp.

Beyond that though, I'd also load the flash drive with an .exe or two of video-playing software like VLC, in case the computers there don't have it, or what they have can't deal with your video for some reason, and so forth.* And if you think the computers might not be super fast or have much memory, you might also want to make sure to download lower-resolution versions of the videos that don't require as many resources to play smoothly.

* Here's a portable version of VLC (portable means you don't have to actually install it, you can just run it straight from the flash drive). As far as I know that portable apps site is still reputable, though I haven't kept up to date on this.
posted by trig at 2:47 PM on February 10, 2022 [7 favorites]

(Clarifying that the link above is for Windows software. Also, since you mentioned other sites -- yt-dlp and youtube-dl, despite the name, support downloads from a ton of video and audio streaming sites.)
posted by trig at 3:03 PM on February 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I use a browser plug-in called Easy YouTube Video Downloader. You can click on the red button on the website which should direct you to a browser add-on which is appropriate to your browser. Clicking THAT button will install the tool. If you go to YouTube once the tool is installed, you should see a button next to the "Subscribe" button which says "Download As..." and you can select the quality of the file. You'll probably want the MP4 version. Clicking that will give you a file to download to your computer. I agree entirely with trig, you will likely want portable VLC too just in case.

If any of this aren't ELI5 enough for you, feel free to drop me an email and I'll be happy to talk you through how to do it on Zoom or otherwise on Friday.
posted by jessamyn at 8:09 PM on February 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

If you're considering the browser add-on route, Video DownloadHelper does not integrate itself into the YouTube web page; it adds a button to the toolbar instead, which changes from monochrome to colour and animates itself whenever the current web page contains media it's capable of downloading.

It works this way because, like youtube-dl and descendants, it's not YouTube-specific but supports downloading media from a wide variety of video streaming websites.
posted by flabdablet at 8:39 PM on February 10, 2022 [2 favorites]

And also Video DownloadHelper does have this thing where it tries to buffer media that you're watching so that it could just start saving it when asked.... Sometimes when you're watching Live Streams that haven't yet been processed by YouTube it can eat up a bunch of CPU/Memory enough to make watching the stream a bit painful. If you notice that (and are pretty sure it's not the internets fault), try just disabling Video DownloadHelper and see if the problem goes away (usually does) then turn it back on later.

I use VDH and yt-dlp both for sorta different reasons. I think I trust yt-dlp to be way smarter in features and such, but VDH is just click and forget.

Also be aware of VDH looking for everything on the page and picking the right one, sometimes there might even be 4 with the same name that are 2 short previews, 1 is the stream (HLS), another is some other lower quality thing, and then the dozen other things are like recommendations or ads or something. But you get used to it after a bit of practice. :)
posted by zengargoyle at 3:52 AM on February 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

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