You are looking for the video inside a flash player? Many websites offer their video's to you through their online flash player. Sometimes, for personal use, you want to be able to download the video. This small tutorial will show you where to find the video. Note: this tutorial is for people who know HTML and understand the structure.

Most websites use a standard flash-based video player which actually loads a video with the extension FLV. This stands for Flash Video, and is a format that can be locally played with a video player like VLC Media Player

In some cases it is impossible to find the location of the file. This is the case for sites like YouTube and Vimeo. On other sites, who use some flash player, it is pretty easy. All you have to do is looking into the source code of the page.

Just open the source of the page in any browser. Internet Explorer will open the page in Notepad, Firefox as well and Google Chrome will open it in a different tab. There are easier and more complex ways to look at the source. For instance, Firebug is an add-on for both Firefox and Chrome (Lite version) that is a comprehensive tool to debug any html page.

When you have opened the source, try to find a line that has .flv in it. This will give you a direct link to the flash video. It might happen that this link has % signs in it. This is normal for javascript variables, but your browser will not accept such URLs. You can decode this url with this website.

What if I do not find a valid link to a .flv file?

Search the source for variables marked as flashvars
Usually, the videolink is in here somewhere, but it can also mean it tries to load a video from an XML-file. Look for an XML-file, open this one in your browser and it will show you some sort of encoded url inside.

Can't we make this any easier?

There are a lot of tools around on the internet that claim to help you download a video. Some are free, others are paid. I suggest you keep your money in your pocket, because you will probably not use it very often. There are also other ways.

Learn to work with the command line in Linux, or download a Linux bash emulator like Cygwin. If you combine commands like wget, sed, awk and cut, you can create scripts to extract the URL from a page.

Flash Player