Get YouTube Videos


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Prep Up

Sure there are lots of apps out there that you can use to grab YouTube videos, but let us suppose you cannot find one that works for you at the moment; and you really need a video on YouTube for school presentation purposes or whatnot. Worry no more as you can always rely on no other than the "FFMPEG". FFMPEG is an open source all in one audio / video converter. FFMPEG is all you need (if you know how to use this bad ass tool). Before we proceed with this walk through, get your own copy of FFMPEG first from their official website:
Then place the FFMPEG components in a folder of your choice.

How It Goes

The way I understand it is YouTube separates the audio and the video (in their servers) and merge them on the fly when you watch them online. Thus, you need to get the video and the audio files first and let FFMPEG do the merging of these two components for you once you already have them.

The whole process revolves within these bullet points:
  • Know what audio / video quality you want to grab from YouTube.
  • Find the encrypted URL of the audio / video by viewing the source code.
  • Save the audio and then the video using the Save As option of your internet browser.
  • Merge the audio and the video files that you got using the FFMPEG app.
To make things simpler, we need to familiarize ourselves with "itag".

It All Begins With ITAGs

When you perform a "view source" function on a YouTube video page (through your internet browser) you will see a couple or more of these itags. Most videos in YouTube would have different formats like 240p, 360p or whatnot. This is where itags come into place.
Each video format would have their corresponding itag value. Say you want to grab a 240p video; based on the itag table below, you would most likely look for an itag that looks like this "itag%3D133". The "133" being the value of the itag that represents your link to get the 240p version of your target video.
Here's a table on some of the itags that I can grab over the world wide web:

Itag ValuePossible File FormatVideo Resolution / Audio
5FLV320 x 240
173GP176 x 144
18MP4480 x 360
22MP41280 x 720
34FLV480 x 360
35FLV640 x 480
363GP320 x 240
37MP41920 x 1080
38MP42048 x 1080
43WebM480 x 360
44WebM640 x 480
45WebM1280 x 720
46WebM1920 x 1080
82MP4480 x 360 3D
83MP4640 x 480 3D
84MP41280 x 720 3D
85MP41920 x 1080 3D
100WebM480 x 360 3D
101WebM640 x 480 3D
102WebM1280 x 720 3D
133MP4320 x 240 Video Output
134MP4480 x 360 Video Output
135MP4640 x 480 Video Output
136MP41280 x 720 Video Output
137MP41920 x 1080 Video Output
139MP4Low bitrate Audio Ouput
140MP4Med bitrate Audio Ouput
141MP4Hi bitrate Audio Ouput
160MP4256 x 144 Video Output

Forget About Those Easy To Use Apps For Now

Novice search engine users may find it difficult to find an application that works. It is always nice to know a backup procedure for things like these.
To test this method we will use this worthless good for nothing test video from "". Follow these steps so you can be guided accordingly:

  1. Paste the on the address bar of your internet browser and press ENTER (or RETURN or whatever equivalent key(s) you have on your keyboard).

  2. Right click on any blank surface near the video and choose the "view source" option. At the time of writing it should be "View Page Source" in Mozilla Firefox and "View page source" in Google Chrome.

  3. You may see something like the screenshot below. If the scroll bar on the bottom gives you an option to scroll from left to right, you may want to use the wrap long lines option. Helps minimize confusion when you are looking for some string of texts. Most internet browser's source viewer should have this option.

  4. From here we may now search for the string itag%3D by using the Find Function ofthe source viewer. Should be CTRL+F most of the time.
    My check on our TNTTS test video got me these results:
    • itag%3D134
    • itag%3D133
    • itag%3D
    • itag%3D140
    • itag%3D18
    • itag%3D5
    • itag%3D36
    • itag%3D17

  5. Suppose we decide to get the "480 x 360 Video Output" of our test video; based on the itag table above, the itag value we may be interested in is "134".
    Thus, you go back to where you found the "itag%3D134".

  6. From here, look for the first instance of the string "http" before the "itag%3D134". Then look for the first instance of "," (comma) or "\" (back slash) after the "itag%3D134".

  7. Copy the whole URL that you can get starting from the first "http" before the "itag%3D134" up to the last character before the first "," (comma) or "\" (backslash) appears. What I got is:


    The link shown above will be the direct link to the video that we are trying to get; TNTTS test video in this case. Notice the "itag%3D134" that is underlined and bolded from within the link.

  8. So we got our video link now but it is actually encrypted. Our next step would be to decrypt it. Nothing fancy, just look for online url decoders using your favorite search engine. Something similar to these sites:

      Just go to these url decode sites and paste the encrypted video link that we got. Decode it until you reach the part when the decoder would not give you new decoded strings for your url.
      The final string I got from the decoder is:


  9. It is now time to paste the decrypted url on the address bar of your internet browser. Once loaded, you should be able to grab the video by using the "Save" or "Save As" function of your internet browser.

    You should be able to save the video file as MP4.

  10. Now that we have the video part, the next step is to get the audio portion that YouTube separated. Based on our itag table the value for a high bitrate audio would be "141". Thus, we will try to look for the "itag%3D141" string on the source code. My search did not return any "itag%3D141"; this is simply because this worthless TNTTS test video does not have any high bitrate audio.

    Now, if we look for a medium bitrate audio output, which is "itag%3D140". Then copy the whole url or string from the first "http" that shows before the "itag%3D140" up to the last character before the first "," (comman) or "\" (back slash) appears. We'll get this:


    Like what we did with our previous ecrypted video link, we will decode or decrypt this audio link we have so we can get this decoded url string shown below:


  11. Following the same procedures from steps 6, 7, 8, and 9; we should be able to save our medium bitrate audio file as M4A format.

  12. At this point we should now have the video and the audio files of our TNTTS test video on YouTube.

  13. Go to where you kept the FFMPEG folder. It may most likely show you these folders:
    • bin
    • doc
    • licenses
    • presets

  14. Copy the video and audio files into FFMPEG's bin folder.

  15. This was tested on the "ffmpeg-20150220-git-6c91afe-win64-static" version. You should see a batch file included in your copy of FFMPEG. The file is named "ff-prompt.bat". Run this file, then it should give you a command prompt.

  16. To combine the video and audio files we type in this command on the command prompt (the one that showed when we run the ff-prompt.bat included in our FFMPEG copy):
    ffmpeg -i filename_of_our_video_file.mp4 -i filename_of_our_audio_file.m4a -vcodec copy -acodec copy final_filename_of_the_file_that_you_want.mp4

    You can learn more parameters / switches on how you can fully utilize FFMPEG from their ffmpeg Documentation website.

  17. Here a quick video tutorial we prepared for our avid readers:

Reference(s) / Test Environment(s):

  1. Itag table taken from sunxvogy (
  2. The Non-Technical Technical Support Admin.
  3. Tested on Windows 7, and "ffmpeg-20150220-git-6c91afe-win64-static".
  4. Should work until YouTube change the way they encrypt their video links.

Get YouTube Videos Get YouTube Videos Reviewed by Admin Moronman on 3:43 PM Rating: 5


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