So, this is in a way by far the most simplistic way of downloading videos off of youtube, viddler, blip.tv etc on Linux, not requiring any kind of programs (besides the browser itself), add-ons or scripts.
(This has been tested on several versions of Firefox and Konqueror with nspluginviewer and the official 32-bit plugin from Adobe® on a 64bit machine, several distros)
Many have probably figured this nifty trick out by now, as it has indeed existed for ages. But still – if there is anyone out there not aware of this method, here it is:
1) Open a page with a movie you want to download
2) Wait for it to cache fully
3) While the page is still displayed (do NOT close the window or tab containing it – it will delete the movie file), go to the /tmp directory
4) Here you will find one (or more, depending on how many flash movies you are working) files which do not have any extension but have the prefix “Flash” with a hash at the end (just several jumbled letters and numbers), like so: “FlashGjqRPZ”
5) This actually is the precise file you are looking for, copy it to another location, rename it and if you wish, you can also add the correct extension: These files are usually either .flv or .mp4 (on youtube for example, the former are the low quality videos, while the latter are high-quality or HD-movies)
6) Now you can close the tab/window of your browser which contained the web page with the movie – without the fear of getting the cached file deleted
7) Well, and that’s really it! Play the movie in your favorite media player (vlc, mplayer…)
This method has however its limitations:
- It does not work for all sites which serve movies using flash.
- This is not a good way of downloading more than a few files, so if you want to download f.ex. a whole playlist from youtube, you will still need to utilize something like the youtube-dl script
- If the caching was interrupted by an nspluginviewer crash, you will NOT be able to resume – with any method; you will only be able to watch the part of the movie which has been saved locally in the /tmp dir.
I find that this method comes in handy after the (all too frequent) nspluginviewer crashes on the x86-64 platform. It usually happens when you either close or open a page containing some flash contents. The crash does not only take down the instance of nspluginviewer which caused it, but all its other of its threads as well. So if you had some other movies caching in another tab, you would have been unable to watch it due to this nuisance. But fortunately the cached movie files are still found in /tmp and might be watched separately.