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Old 02-20-2008, 11:46 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 31
Default Video Download Tutorial

Although I am not an expert at many things relating to audio/video downloads, I thought I might offer some basic information...

The words "download" and "upload" have become part of the international lexicon, however are often misunderstood. In a nutshell, "upload" means transferring information from your computer to another computer (usually somewhere in cyberspace); "download" means copying information from a computer (again usually in cyberspace) to your own computer.

What is a download?

Every time you access the internet, digital information is transferred from some web server on the internet grid to your computer. It is temporarily stored by your web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, etc.) for quick access, should you wish to return to a page. This is done seamlessly and many people are unaware it is being done. The information goes into a "cache", where it is saved for awhile, then periodically purged by the browser software, depending on the size of the cache (usually in Mb and configurable in your browser options.)

The situation is a little different when talking about deliberately downloading a video, photo or anything else from the internet to your computer. In this case, you choose what information to save and where to save it. This will stay on your computer until you decide to delete it.

Being able to play a video/audio file does not mean that it has been saved to your computer. Many programs available today (e.g., iTunes, Yahoo! Music Jukebox) act as a kind of browser, allowing you to view video or listen to music, but it is acutally "streaming" the information from the internet. This is a temporary download and you must have access to the internet to view/listen to it again. For people with broadband, this is not an issue, but for dial-up users it means that you must log onto the internet every time.

What is an upload?

When you post a picture or video that you have in your collection to the Gordon Lightfoot Forum (aka The Gord Board), you are uploading. Information is transferred from your computer to the Corfid server, where it resides until deleted. Posting a link is not uploading...a link is an indicator to direct the web browser to another location.

To download a video file

Once you find a video you want to have in your collection, the challenge is how to download it. Video files come in various formats, which have been discussed at length on this forum. The most common are:

* Windows Video (videoname.wma)
* Adobe Flash Video (videoname.avi or videoname.flv)

Depending on which browser you use, you have some choices:

For Windows Internet Explorer

Download Option 1
You can get a plug-in for Internet Explorer to let you download video/audio files (Internet Explorer does not provide downloading these kinds of files as part of the basic program.) Unfortunately, there are not very many plug-ins available...and most are not free. Microsoft does offer a trial version of their plug-in (at But, it costs money and there are a few negative comments about using it, so it may not be the best choice or easiest to use.

Download Option 2
Use another program. DVDVideoSoft offers a free YouTube downloader program ( which seems easy to use. The page also includes instructions, so read them and see if it might be something you would like to use.

[N.B. WindowsXP displays the files on the computer as icons/thumbnails by default. Only by changing the view - Tools>Folder Options>View, uncheck "Hide File Extensions for known file types" - will you be able to see the extensions.]

For Firefox/Netscape

Foxfire is a free, cross-platform, internet browser which offers a large number of helpful (also free) plug-ins/extensions, including Video Download Helper (, which is very easy to use from within Firefox. It works with a large number of audio and video formats and is configurable to your needs. Video Download Helper puts an icon in the top menu bar which indicates when there is something "downloadable" on a page; click on the arrow to the right of the icon, select the file name, choose the "save" location and you're done!

Other Browsers

The Opera web browser also has a plug-in available to allow downloading of videos (, however, the latest version does not work with YouTube. It now requires using an outside source for video downloads such as the KeepVid website (

If you use a Mac, and the Safari web browser is your browser of choice, there is a tutorial for downloading YouTube videos (


If none of these suggestions work for you and you are computer-savvy, it still may be possible to download a video by accessing the browser cache, finding the video file (usually a large one), copying it somewhere on your hard drive, then rename it. You would have to know the file extension for it to play correctly in your video player, but...if you are using this method, you probably already know that!

Any additions/corrections are gratefully acknowledged!

catrinka is offline   Reply With Quote