How to Capture Streaming Videos to Disk

by Theodora Pennypacker

When users view streaming video on the Internet, they are watching media as it is being transferred in real time. Streaming videos can be captured in a variety of ways. While it may be possible to access the source file for a streaming video through a Web browser, users can also use a specialized program to aid in the process. Meanwhile, recording utilities make it possible to capture streaming videos that may be digitally encrypted.

Web Browser

Launch a Web browser and go to the Web page with the streaming video.

Access the HTML code of the Web page. Find the direct URL to the video; the link will end in a digital video file extension.

Copy the video's direct URL, paste it in another window and press "Enter." Wait until the video is fully loaded. Go to the "File" tab and select "Save As..." A save file dialog box will appear.

Target a saving destination for the video and give it a file name. The source file will be exported in its original format with it corresponding file extension. Click "Save." A download dialog box will display the progress of the file transfer. It will close once the video has been completely copied over to the targeted saving destination.

Specialized Program

Download and install a program that captures streaming videos. RealPlayerSP and Orbit Downloader are two utilities that can identify streaming video and download the source file. (See Resources.)

Run the capturing program. Launch a Web browser and go to the Web page with the streaming video. Once the page loads, the program's capture icon will appear over the streaming video.

Wait until the streaming video is fully loaded and click on the capture icon. Follow the program prompts to export the streaming video's source file to a specific location.

Recording Utility

Download and install a program that records streaming videos. SnagIt and SnapzPro X 2 are two utilities that can record streaming video and save the recording as a file.

Run the recording program. Launch a Web browser and go to the Web page with the streaming video. Wait until the streaming video is fully loaded. Isolate the recording area to the dimensions of the streaming video and activate the recording mode.

Stop recording when the video has finished streaming. Follow the program prompts to retrieve the file of the recorded streaming video.

Tips

  • A Web page's HTML code is accessed differently from browser to browser. If you are using Internet Explorer, go to the "View" tab and choose "Source." If you are using Firefox, go to the "Tools" tab and choose "Page Source." If you are using Safari, go to the "View" tab and choose "View Source."
  • RealPlayerSP and Orbit Downloader are free programs.
  • SnagIt and SnapzPro X 2 are commercial programs, but they can be used for free on a limited trial basis.

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About the Author

Based in New York City, I am an online video producer who has more than five years of experience working in digital media. I specialize in video compression and distribution, video software, online video sharing and portable device use. I received my B.A. in Film Studies in 2005 from Vassar College.

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