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Capturing Internet videos

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Ken Colburn is president of Data Doctors Computer Services and host of the Data Doctors Radio Program, noon Saturdays on KTAR 92.3 FM or at www.datadoctors.com/radio. Readers may send questions to evtrib@datadoctors.com.

Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2011 1:00 pm | Updated: 4:21 pm, Fri Aug 19, 2011.

Q: Do you have a favorite video capture software to capture otherwise non-downloadable video running on the Internet?

A: Capturing streaming video from popular sites like YouTube and major news websites has become somewhat of a cat-and-mouse game as many sites incorporate “anti-leeching” technology.

The technology that can capture streaming video is constantly usurped by the website owners that don’t want people to be able to make copies, so this is somewhat of a moving target.

Unless you’re moderately comfortable with technology, you may not want to venture into these tools as they can be confusing if you don’t know how to determine the actual URL of the video itself on some pages.

For basic captures, you can try an online resource that doesn’t require you to install anything such as KeepVid, http://keepvid.com ... If this site can capture the video, it will offer you various resolutions and file formats based on what the original video had to offer.

If all you are interested in capturing are YouTube or Vimeo videos, than the KeepVid website should be all you need.

If you want content from sites like Hulu or from major new organizations, you’ll need a little more horsepower.

There are many free programs out there that can capture just about any type of streaming video, but you need to be careful during the installation or you will end up with a bunch of extra junk along with the “free” program.

One in particular that has a good reputation as an all-around download manager. Orbit Downloader — http://goo.gl/7MRTz — is loaded with “partner” software and toolbars that are unnecessary (none of it is spyware).

If you decide to try it, play very close attention to each screen during the installation so you can avoid installing the unnecessary programs or having your homepage changed.

If you want to avoid the confusion and extra baggage, the folks at Kastorsoft have an assortment of tools for capturing and converting streaming content at http://goo.gl/ZX2oK ... For general video capture, I like the All Video Downloader program, but if you run into sites that block this type of downloading, you may need to try their Free Video Catcher app that attempts to capture the video as you play it.

Another option is to install an add-on to Firefox called Video DownloadHelper — http://goo.gl/plLgW — and if you aren’t familiar with how these types of tools work, be sure to read through the FAQs at http://goo.gl/u3851

If you need to capture a wide variety of streaming video formats from a wide variety of sources, purchasing a commercial package may prove to be your best option.

For Windows users, Snagit 9 — http://goo.gl/ASvmj — may be worth a look as it can also be used to capture just about anything that’s on your screen (really handy for anyone that needs to create tutorial videos).

The list of features and options is incredible for anyone wanting the ultimate screen-capture tool. It’s available as 30-day trial and costs $50 if you decide to buy it.

Mac users might want to look at SnapzProX — http://goo.gl/39Xzu — which offers a similar set of tools for the Mac world (free trial, $69 to buy). As with Snagit 9, you can select which portion of the screen you want to capture and save as a video and create useful tutorial videos for just about any program or web project.

• Ken Colburn is president of Data Doctors Computer Services and host of the “Computer Corner” radio show, noon Saturdays on KTAR 92.3 FM or at www.datadoctors.com/radio

Readers may send questions to evtrib@datadoctors.com

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Ken Colburn
  • Ken Colburn
  • E-mail: evtrib@datadoctors.com
  • Ken Colburn is president of Data Doctors Computer Services and host of the Data Doctors Radio Program, noon Saturdays on KTAR 92.3 FM or at www.datadoctors.com/radio
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