Downloading video lectures
released 19. 2. 2021, updated 10. 1. 2022
This post is not about how to illegally download lectures to share them online, since it’s something you obviously shouldn’t do (for both moral and legal reasons).
It is instead meant for people who would like to download videos for offline viewing, when the sites they’re viewing them on don’t support this by default. They usually do this so for reasons mentioned above, which is frustrating for people who:
- would rather use a video player of their choice
- have a bad internet connection and so can’t view the video without lagging
- want to view it later when they won’t have an internet connection
When you start viewing a video on a website’s media player and don’t see an obvious way to download it, there is a high chance that it plays the video using a
.m3u file that it first downloads. You can check this by going to the
Network tab of your browser (
F12 for Firefox/Chrome), refreshing the page and looking for a file that ends with
If it does, then downloading it is easy – use
ffmpeg with the following parameters:
ffmpeg -i "<URL of the .m3u8 file>" <output file name>.mp4
YouTube (and a few others)
The steps above don’t work on YouTube, because it uses its own methods for displaying the video in your browser. Luckily, you can use
yt-dlp "<URL of the YouTube video>"
Same problem as with YouTube, different program – use
destreamer -i "<URL of the Microsoft Stream video>"