Capturing YouTube Videos

The emergence of a new star in the Britan’s Got Talent show last weekend has captured the imagination of the entire world. Susan Boyle has won the hearts of fans everywhere and many of us want to share her story with friends and family.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY&fmt=18

There are several ways to capture YouTube videos. While some are geeky and complicated, CosmoPod, an inexpesive software package, makes the task quick and easy.
The emergence of a new star in the Britan’s Got Talent show last weekend has captured the imagination of the entire world. Susan Boyle has won the hearts of fans everywhere and many of us want to share her story with friends and family.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY&fmt=18

There are several ways to capture YouTube videos. While some are geeky and complicated, CosmoPod, an inexpesive software package, makes the task quick and easy.

CosmoPod by Jean-Matthieu costs €6.90, about $10 US. I have used several other converters, including TubeSock and TubeTV, but for ease of use CosmoPod is my current favorite.

CosmoPod installs itself as a toolbar item in Safari. It requires Mac OS X 10.5. It will work with Safari 3.0 and the Safari 4.0 Beta. When you are on a web page without a video format that it understands, the icon is grayed out.



However, when there is video content playing that it “understands,” the icon turns black.



CosmoPod can capture video from sites such as YouTube, Google Video, Vimeo, Daily Motion, RealOne and many more. It can convert FLV, Windows Media (mms) and Real Media stream (rtsp), WMV, and DivX, formats. The files can be used on your your Mac, iPod, iPhone, AppleTV or your computer. The files are converted using H.264 (up to 1.5Mbps) or MPEG 4 codecs.

Let’s take a look at the process of capturing a video and converting it to a video file on your Mac.

First, download and install CosmoPod. It will probably be located in your Downloads folder. Locate the dmg file and double click to open it. Then double-click the CosmoPod Installer.





If you have Safari open, quit it and open it again. The CosmoPod icon will then appear in the Safari toolbar.

Go to a web page that contains a video. If the video has been set to play automatically, the CosmoPod icon will turn black. When it is black, click it. The CosmoPod window will open and it will begin capturing the video. When it has finished the capture, it will begin converting the video using the settings stored in its preferences.

If the video has not been set to auto-play, you will need to click the play button (usually an arrow or triangle pointing to the right). At that point, the CosmoPod icon will turn black. Click on the icon. The CosmoPod window will open and the video will begin downloading. After it has downloaded, it will begin converting the video using the preferences selected in the Preferences window of CosmoPod.

You can access and change the CosmoPod preferences at any time by going to the Window menu in Safari and selecting CosmoPod.



The CosmoPod window will open. (When that window is visible you can drag videos that are already on your hard drive into the window to convert them.)

Click the Preferences button to select and change the program’s settings.



The General tab will open first.



I have not made any changes to this window. Click the Video button in the toolbar.



There are lots of different choices here. The most important buttons are “The Convert files to:” and the “Video codec” buttons.

Video files need to be specific sizes to play on iPods, iPhones, and iPod Touches. While any of these will play on the AppleTV or your computer screen, larger files show at better quality when they are specifically saved for AppleTV.

There are also three choices for Video codecs. While you might want to use a lesser quality such as MPEG-4 if you do not have much space on an iPod or iPhone or if you want to put the file on a device that does not support H.264, you will be much happier with the file if you use a higher-quality codec.

Encoding video and audio files can take a long time and it can put a strain on the processors of older computers. Elgato makes a small USB device that will take over the conversion if it is present. You may want to check out this device if you find yourself encoding lots of video files.

Let’s check out the settings in the iTunes tab.



When a video or audio file is saved to your hard drive, it is not necessarily available to iTunes. The settings in this box determine what will happen when a file has been downloaded and converted.

In general, I want new files to be sent to iTunes. The standard way for iTunes to handle files is for them to be added to the iTunes library. As a part of that process, the file is copied into your iTunes Library. After a file is in iTunes, the original file can be discarded. So, it would be a good idea to place a check in the last box above so that you can save space on your hard drive.

Another nice feature of CosmoPod is that it brings up a window where you can add additional information about the file.



The information that you add in this window will be added to the Get Info window in iTunes. This information can make it much easier to search and group your songs and videos.

I have now downloaded I Dream a Dream performed by Susan Boyle, and it is a part of my iTunes video library. Check back tomorrow to learn how to make a version that is only the audio portion of her performance.

Pat

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