Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Saving a YouTube Video

YouTube contains a lot of great educational videos, but it's hard to rely on them to stay there indefinitely to be used as course content. So what can you do?  If you follow these steps, you can download a YouTube video without violating copyright so you always have it.
  1. Request permission from the person who posted the video.  You need a YouTube account to do this.  Click on the name of the person who uploaded the video (top left of the video) to get to their channel page.  Then there should be an option to "Send Message" below the video on the left. Compliment the video (optional :) and ask if you can use it for non-profit educational purposes. Tell him/her that will be available only to students through the university's server.
  2. If you receive a positive response, you are clearly good to go.  If you receive no response, we consider this an adequate attempt at getting permission and you can download it.  If you receive a negative response, of course, you cannot download it but you can continue linking to it on the YouTube site.
  3. So how do you download it?  There are a few sites such as Free File Converter, Media Converter, or KeepVid. I've found KeepVid to be the best and most consistent but it does not do wmv files which are needed for the current UWEC media server. Free File Converter does wmv but I've found quality to be poor in my limited experience.  Media Converter seems to work inconsistently.
  4. Do not reupload it to YouTube!  UWEC has a streaming media server where you can store it. (Streaming means the students view it online and do not download it to their computer. Streaming video is highly recommended.) We are in the process of setting up a new server, which will be like our own UWEC YouTube site.  It will be great!  However, it may not be ready until spring 2012.  In the mean time, we have a more "homegrown" server that requires some effort to use, which is named Desi (like Lucy & Desi).  
  5. What I recommend is downloading the video as mp4 (assuming you receive a positive or no response from the creator), saving it somewhere (let me know if you need more info on this), and uploading it to the new streaming server when it's ready.  In the mean time, continue linking to YouTube. If you need to use the video asap, talk to me or Craig Ernst about getting access and training on how to use the current server. 
If you don't like showing videos on YouTube because of all the ads and recommendations around them, there are sites such as View Pure where you can enter the URL of the video and it "purifies" it to get rid of all that junk and have a white background. Then you can share the purified URL or show it in class. 

Please note these instructions apply exclusively to YouTube.  Sending an email to the Discovery Channel, HBO, PBS, or other commercial channels and going ahead with downloading a video when you get no response is a bit different.  If you have any questions, let me know and I can try to help.

1 comment:

  1. Very informative blog post. Especially valuable to University of Wisconsin -Eau Claire instructors. I appreciated the added information about the stricter copyright issues with commercial channels.

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