Keeping Youtube Videos on file

Snapshot from Google Video that disappearedWish I had thought of getting this this done with the video of the female magician that someone sent me on Facebook – it really was hilarious. But for some reason it was pulled back from distribution by Youtube and when I wanted to present it to some friends last week, it was already gone and all I manged to find by searching on Youtube was a censored clip in a terrible quality.


Downloading videos from video services like Youtube does not always have to be in Flash. I have been using the downloadhelper FireFox extension for a while, but noticed that there might be another way involving a smart bookmark supporting mp4 file format directly when saving

The bookmarklet developed by Ionut Alex Chitu is pulling the video_id from the Youtube page and taking advantage of the flag fmt=18 to make the video exportable with nice text for the major browsers. The download link is made available in the embed box on the video page.

javascript:if (document.getElementById('download-youtube-video')==null &&
                   !!(document.location.href.match(/http:\/\/[a-zA-Z\.]*youtube\.com\/watch/))) {
                  var yt_mp4_path='<a href="">'+swfArgs['video_id']+'&t='+swfArgs['t']</a>;
                 var div_embed=document.getElementById('watch-embed-div');
                    var div_download=document.createElement('div');
                    div_download.innerHTML='<br><span id="download-youtube-video"><a       href="'+yt_mp4_path+'">Download as MP4</a> '+
'(control-click and select <i>Download linked file as</i>)':
                   ('(right-click and select <i>Save'+(navigator.appName=='Microsoft Internet Explorer'?'target':'link')+' as)</i>'))+

Works like a dream for me. Also as one of the comments in the article suggested, pasting the URL into – gets the job done as well.

There seems to be a number of options, some of the other services mentioned in the comment section may be (have not tried any of these myself):

4 Replies to “Keeping Youtube Videos on file”

  1. Tech blogger Amit Agarwal has a great tip for using Google to search YouTube only for videos offered in higher resolution:

    Go to, type your search phrase and append the following parameters to your search query: "watch in normal quality watch in high quality"

    Once you’ve found something you’re looking for available in better quality, copy the YouTube URL and swing by KeepVid (or have the bookmarklet handy). Paste in the URL and click the Download button. KeepVid will offer you both the lower-resolution FLV and the higher-resolution MP4 — download the latter to save to your phone for reference when you’re lacing up that turducken in the kitchen for Thanksgiving.

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