How to Download Flash Videos from the Web with curl

Feb 14, 2007 - 4 Comments

click-to-flash If you’ve ever wondered how to extract flash videos (or any others) from a website, here’s a good way to do it using Safari and the command line download tool ‘curl’. Here’s the description from Chris Martin:

“So say you come across a video online that is so great you would really like to save a copy locally to watch over and over again (assuming you are allowed to). For sites such as youTube and the other majors this might not be a problem… there are numerous tools available to grab content. However, some sites don’t work with the commonly available tools, or maybe you would just rather use tools that are already included in OSX, well here’s how.”

Essentially what you do is view the page source, then locate the .swf or .flv file in the source code of the webpages HTML. Then, once you have the source URL from the HTML, you can plug that into the curl command to download the file for example (this is not a live flash file its just sample syntax) this would download a flv file this way:

curl -O http://samplewebsite/sample.flv

The file would download like any other.

If you want more a bit more details about this, you can check out the easy to follow how-to on his site:

Howto: Extract Flash Videos from the Web with curl

Pretty cool trick, huh?

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Posted by: William Pearson in Command Line, How to, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Snowman says:

    This actually works for any embedded media, audio and video, not just Flash videos.

    Great tip

  2. someone says:

    WOW! This works REAL well! THANKS A BUNCH!

  3. steveking12 says:

    I love this idea, it’s convenient

  4. Fran Mcelravy says:

    I love this concept of fabricated realism!!Thanks for introducing this artist, I’ll keep an eye out for his works from now on!! 😀

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