Many people are asking about how to download videos from YouTube. If they find a working solution, they are looking for application able to convert downloaded FLV files to MPEG or any other common video format. The solution is really simple and you don't need to spare any amount of your money to buy shareware application. So there is a simple tutorial about how to download and convert videos from YouTube to MPEG video file for free.
All you need to know is how to find your video on YouTube and how to download a few files to your computer. This tutorials is not intended to really computer beginners, but I think that you can work with it without a big problems.
1. How to download video from YouTube
So at the first you need to download your favorite video from YouTube. I could recommend a simple extension for Firefox web browser called Fast Video Download. This useful extension could download videos from YouTube and many other video web services (ag.ru, angryalien.com, animeepisodes.net, badjojo.com, break.com, bublare.dk, current.com, dailymotion.com, hi5.com, metacafe.com, vids.myspace.com, mult.ru, putfile.com, Streetfire.net, vidiac.com, video.google.com).
After the installation you will see its icon in the Firefox's status bar. Open YouTube, find your favorite video and right-click this icon. Select Download Video function, wait a few second for the saving dialog will be shown, select destination folder and wait until the video is downloaded. Then you will get a FLV file.
2. How to play a FLV file
Downloaded FLV file contains video and you can view it using the right player. If you are looking for any free FLV player, take a look at freeware Any FLV Player for Windows 9x/2000/XP/Vista.
3. How to convert FLV to MPEG
FLV format is good, but not ideal. There are many hardware players (like my Cowon A2), that simply couldn't play a FLV file. So you will need to convert your downloaded video to something more usable. There are many converters, free and commercial. Most of them have one common feature - they are build as and graphical interface for FFmpeg utility. So, why not do download this piece of software directly?
FFmpeg is an utility for record, convert and stream audio and video. It includes libavcodec, the leading audio/video codec library. There are Linux and Windows versions of this software. Download the appropriate version for your operating system from Videohelp.com.
Downloaded ffmpeg.exe file needs to be run from command line (the same is for Linux version). You need to run it using this syntax:
ffmpeg -i downloaded.flv -ab 56 -ar 22050 -b 500 -s 320×240 converted.mpg
The first file name is your downloaded FLV file from YouTube. Number after -ab parameter is a bitrate. Check out the dimension of converted video. Numbers in my example are ideal for files downloaded from YouTube. The last parameter is name of the new converted file.
Remember, that you don't need to have a ffmpeg.exe file to have in the same folder as source and destination video file. You can provide the full path for them, but beware of spaces in this paths. If there are any, then use quotation marks like there:
ffmpeg -i "C:\User\Honza\Desktop\Downloaded YouTube Files\nicevideo.flv" -ab 56 -ar 22050 -b 500 -s 320×240 converted.mpg
Working with command line isn't much pretty, but I think is is very simple way how to convert FLV videos without installing any software. Just unpack ffmpeg and use it.