From the list of questions that I get on a regular basis, the top one has to be “How do I download YouTube videos to use in my projects?” For the last few years, my top response has been to use Firefox and a plugin/add-on called Video Download Helper. Like Hamburger Helper, only for video downloads. Both are equally delicious. Sorry about that.
Now I don’t use Firefox generally (I know a few people who do), so I have it installed on my Mac JUST for downloading YouTube (and other web) videos. A while back I did a screencast about another web browser called Torch that had video downloading built in.
As I lamented in the video, it was for PCs only. Well recently I discovered that they have made a version for the Mac. Those of you who are familiar with and prefer Google Chrome might really like Torch. It’s based on the open source Chromium browser project.
Once you install Torch, there is nothing else to do. Video downloading is a part of the browser. When you visit YouTube (or most other video repositories) and click on a video to watch, you will see a Video button in the toolbar “light up” indicating that it is available for saving to your hard drive. Clicking that button begins the download process. No muss, no fuss. Once the file is downloaded (I recommend you watch the highest quality version and it will download that file) you can use it in your projects. Standard disclaimer for using YouTube and other copyrighted material applies.
Not a One-Trick Pony
So you might think that you’re installing a program that does just one thing – download videos from YouTube. You would be wrong. Now the other tools that Torch has available may be a bit geeky, but for some it will be quite welcome. It has a built-in Torrent client. At this point you’re either shrugging your shoulders, or I have just pushed you over the edge to try out Torch. From what I know of torrent clients, it works quite well. For those of you who don’t know a torrent from teapot, Wikipedia has an article on BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer file sharing protocol. Just a warning though. Bit Torrenting CAN be “other side of the tracks” stuff, if you know what I mean. Torrenting (sharing) files is completely legal, but sharing CERTAIN files might not. I’ll just leave it at that.
The other trick up TorchBrowser’s sleeve is the ability to drag and drop links to share and search. For example, let’s say you were browsing in Torch and you had a YouTube link you wanted to share on Twitter. You would simply drag the link in the address bar to the left side an drop it on the Twitter icon. You would then supply your Twitter credentials and your tweet is away. Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, and Linked In are other options. There’s a video with more information on drag & drop sharing and searching with Torch at their website.
So now that TorchBrowser supports both Mac and PC, I can recommend it whole-heartedly for downloading media. You might like it so much, you’ll make it your default browser. Just don’t get burnt (ooh, sorry, again).