Free those YouTube videos

Visit, read a bit (includes instructions for Windows users). Download the python script and also install ffmpeg2theora (See #2 at my Drupal Video Guide).


  1. Visit your favorite YouTube video
  2. Copy the URL to the clipboard
  3. In command line:
    magicfab@suzy:~$ python
    Retrieving video webpage... done.
    Extracting video URL parameters... done.
    Video data found at
    Retrieving video data... 1897k of 1897k done.
    Video data saved to PcuF7S3r6gM.flv
  4. Convert it (careful, those are TWO dashes before the optimize option):
    magicfab@suzy:~$ ffmpeg2theora PcuF7S3r6gM.flv ––optimize
    Input #0, flv, from 'PcuF7S3r6gM.flv':
      Duration: 00:00:47.3, bitrate: N/A
      Stream #0.0: Audio: mp3, 22050 Hz, mono
      Stream #0.1: Video: flv, yuv420p, 320x262, 25.00 fps(r)
      Resize: 320x262
          0:00:47.33 audio: 36kbps video: 305kbps
  5. An .ogg corresponding file will be created in your current directory.
  6. Profit ?

update: youtube-dl has been packaged since Edgy. Install it using the standard Synaptic package manager or through apt-get in command line, by searching for the youtube-dl package.

usage: youtube-dl [options] video_url

16 réflexions sur « Free those YouTube videos »

  1. Or just use one of the many existing browser extensions, like Ook Video Ook for Firefox, instead of messing around copy-pasting URLs to scripts.

  2. 7. Respect the license.

    (real hard to do on YouTube, where’s the license information?)

    For Free content and Free software to flourish, we should really enforce this « respect the license » thing, so more creators will be educated and choose the conditions they decide to share their work under…

  3. @Daniel: updated, thanks! I much prefer standard packages.

    @mamatoshi: for some reason WordPress think two dashes are the same than one  » m » dash. Still fighting with that, I put a warning. Tx!

    @Tristan, keep them coming

    @Sylvain: you must be talking about Terms of Use for YouTube, which are a different beast. Unless you feel licencing concerns and rules are different when using free formats.

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