Firefox: Download Brightcove videos

December 30, 2008

Note, April 24, 2012: This post is getting a lot of Google traffic lately, but I’d just like to point out that the method described below is from 2008, and might not still work. More information in the comments, below.

Brightcove is a streaming video service similar to YouTube. A Google search reveals that several people wonder how to download videos from it. Regular website based methods, such as Video Downloader and File2HD, will fail. You can download files from it using Firefox plugins such as VideoDownloader, but here’s a method of doing it without having to install any plugins or external applications.

1. First, you’ll want to open the video you want to download. Let’s say we’ll get the latest Dear Prudence, the Slate video column: Slate V – Dear Prudence: Well-Endowed Dilemma. Let the commercial play through, and pause the player when the video you want to grab has started playing and seems finished.

2. Next, type about:cache?device=disk in the Firefox address bar. This will give you a list of all files currently in the Firefox cache.

3. Search the list for the video file, which will be in the FLV (Flash video) format. Search for .flv, and you’ll find a video link looking something like this: http://brightcove.vo.llnwd.net/d5/unsecured/media/78144477/78144477_4875815001_SV08022501-DP134-WellHung2.flv?videoId=1428675764&lineUpId=&pubId=78144477&playerId=988092926&playerTag=&affiliateId=

4. Select and copy he link up to and including the .flv: http://brightcove.vo.llnwd.net/d5/unsecured/media/78144477/78144477_4875815001_SV08022501-DP134-WellHung2.flv — this means you won’t want to select the rubbish after the file name.

5. Go to Media-Convert. Select “Conversion from URL” and paste the file name you just selected. You will now be able to download the file in MP3 or AVI format.

The method described here should work for other video sites as well.

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23 Responses to “Firefox: Download Brightcove videos”

  1. Dave S Says:

    Absolute genius, simple and works perfectly, and as you say, it seems likely it will work with all manner of streaming video sites.

    Thanks so much for this tip – PERMANENTLY bookmarked!!

  2. bolsjevik Says:

    Cheers. Just trying to get the info out there — happy someone appreciates it!

  3. anginara Says:

    not working anymore.. they changed something and the flv file isnt shown…

  4. Vijay Says:

    Excellent! Thanks for this great tip!

  5. DavidWP Says:

    yep awesome method .
    I have had great results also with http://www.tubeleecher.com

  6. Jack Says:

    can anyone really figure out how to download brightcove video?

  7. Kiffer Says:

    Doesn’t work… Any other way?

  8. Simon Says:

    Any one know how to download brightcove videos? the methods mentioned above doesn’t work at all….

  9. Alan Says:

    I used Firefox with Flashgot plugin.
    Start playing the file, then open the Flashgot icon, see if it has detected it under “Flashgot meia”, and if so seelct it and choose “save” and it will pass the download over to Flashget. (Yes, “got” is the plugin, “get” is the app.)

    No guaranteee, but this works now for at least some Brightcove media, eg podcast MP3.

  10. Kreete Says:

    None of my brightcove things have flv

    • bolsjevik Says:

      This method is really old, and worked for me, but it might not still, at least not for everyone. I’ll amend the post to reflect this. /Admin

  11. Tape Says:

    Not working. E.g. Al Jazeera uses Brightcove. But they somehow managed to not reveal the FLV file info. Also FlashGot or VidoeDownloadHelper can’t deal with the Brightcove Al Jazeera Videos.

    Damn, I really need to download some of those vids. Now I have to record the screen which reminds me of taping songs from the radio on my tape deck back in 1978.

    • bolsjevik Says:

      I’m sorry to hear that, “Tape”!

      This method is really old, and worked for me, but it might not still, at least not for everyone. I’ll amend the post to reflect this. /Admin

  12. John Says:

    Absolutely brilliant, was struggling with this at work and couldn’t rely on the usual methods. Perfect.

  13. Simon Says:

    Doesn’t work anymore. Neither a flv nor a mp4 show up.

  14. bert Says:

    OK, here is what you have to do:
    Just install a freeware program called “URL snooper”. It is a so called packet sniffer, a tool that monitors all your internet traffic. At the end of the day, every video you stream has to pass your network card, no matter how hard the stream provider tries to hide the actual links. And this is where URL snooper steps into the game.
    So after starting the program, make sure you choose the right network card. You can easily do that by browsing to any webpage. If URL snooper begins to list links in rapid-fire mode, you’re set up correctly.
    You then clear your search and start fresh. Start the video stream in your browser, a couple of seconds should be enough. You then stop the sniffer tool and take a look at the links you monitored.
    The file you’re looking for is probably an mp4 file.
    Just copy the direct link to the file and paste it into your favourite download manager. That’s it!
    PS: There will be several links to the video file listed in URL snooper. It’s mostly the same file, but to make sure you get the best video quality, check the file size in your download manager and pick the link with the biggest one.
    Have fun!

  15. Abhishek D Says:

    I use linux I tried URL snooper for Linux but I could not use it is there any other program to snoop URLs ?

  16. Robert Says:

    Doesn’t seem to work anymore. It’s now rtmp:// instead of http://

    Does anyone know a new way of getting the video off brightcove?

  17. kir Says:

    tubedigger helps ;)


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