YouTube is hot. Actually, “video for the people, from the people” is hotter. How do you get all those cool videos collected, stored, and ready for iTunes and AppleTV?
It’s easy. Add some Flavor to your TubeSock. Since that doesn’t make any sense unless you already know how, let me back up a bit.
Apple is on to something with the iTunes and AppleTV combo. Not only does iTunes store music, it’s also a great place for TV shows and movies, audio and video podcasts, and music videos.
One visit to YouTube or any of the dozens of look-a-like web sites which feature user uploaded video clips, and you’re hooked. Not only can we publish ourselves in a weblog, we can add video immortality via clips stored on the web.
Avoiding the issue of whether or not Flash video clips is a good thing or a bad thing (as you’d suspect, it depends), how can Mac users save those video clips, store them, sort them, and make them available for iTunes and AppleTV?
It’s a process that’s both a pain, yet simple, an extra cost or effort that may yield crummy results, but sets the stage for future generations of media collectibles.
Most of the web page videos you’ll encounter, such as those on YouTube and elsewhere, are converted from their original video formats to Flash, probably the most ubiquitous of online video.
Flash video clips are of nominal quality, but sufficiently small in size that they can be downloaded quickly over a broadband connection, slower over dial up.
The problem with Flash video is getting the file to your Mac, then converting it so it’ll play in iTunes or your iPod, and eventually in AppleTV. YouTube doesn’t make it easy to save the file. Safari doesn’t make it easy to save the file.
Fortunately, the Mac has a few tools that make it easy and easier to get Flash video clips from YouTube and friends to iTunes. Of the nearly a dozen ways to capture those video clips, here are the two best.
FLVR is easy to use but doesn’t come with many options. It resides as a plugin to Safari. When you visit a web page with an embedded Flash video clip, simply click on the FLVR plugin icon in the Safair tool bar.
That gets you a drop down dialog box with a download arrow and option to save. Click it and the Flash video clip is downloaded, converted to Apple’s QuickTime format and stored in iTunes. It’s that simple and it works well.
Even better, though a bit more complex, is TubeSock, which resides as a standalone Mac utility. For YouTube videos, copy the video URL, paste it into TubeSock and select from a number of options.
These include the ability to save the video clip for iTunes, iPod, or Flash. Add it to iTunes or just save it. The video clip can also be converted to H.264.
There’s an extra few steps with TubeSock vs. FLVR, but there’s also more control over the saved file format and location. Regardless, both utilities work very well and capture Flash video clips with ease.
If you’re starting a collection of video clips from the web, iTunes is a good place to store the clips, and view the clips; but iTunes won’t play Flash video, hence the need to capture and convert.
How about video quality? You get what you pay for. Most home videos are of nominal video quality. There’s some loss when converting to YouTube’s Flash video. And there’s loss again when converting the video clips to run in iTunes.
FLVR and TubeSock make the capture and conversion process easier, but for a price. Tuboy Juego is a free utility that also converts YouTube Flash video clips.
What of the future? How long will it be before we’re downloading YouTube (and friends) Flash videos directly through AppleTV’s menu to store on our Macs and PCs?
For now, I’m using TubeSock to collect Flash video clips from various web sites and making the conversion to store the files in iTunes. It’s a multi-step process that Apple could reduce by allowing Flash video and audio to be played in iTunes and AppleTV.
What about you? Do you collect Flash video clips from YouTube or other video clip web sites? How do you save the files? Share your experience in the Comments section below.