HOW TO – Save a portion of an online video

If you’re working on a project that would benefit from having clips from videos, such as scenes from TV shows, and you’re only able to find the full episode online, you have several options for getting the clip you need. If you want to learn how to do this on your own, try the options below.  If you’d rather not bother, you could just send me the URL of the video as well as the exact time (in minutes and seconds) where you want the scene to start and stop.  I’ll capture and convert it for you.


One option is to use a screen recording software, which will take a recording of a portion of your screen and save it as a video file. Queue up the online video to just a few seconds before the section you want to record, then activate the screen recording software. Then press play on the video. Let the video play until a few seconds after the section you want to capture and then stop the screen recorder. It will output the result in a video file such as .mov or .wmv. Depending on what file format the video is in and on what software you have available on your computer, you may be able to further edit the clip, if necessary.

For more info on screen recording, see the handouts under Screenshots and Screencasts.


Another option is to download the video file, convert it to a different file format if necessary, and edit it using iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, or Final Cut. Or you could try searching for free online video editing sites. (They exist, but I haven’t tried any yet.)

You might need a web browser plugin in order to download videos from sites like YouTube. Search for DownloadHelper in the Firefox plugins directory.

You may also need a free utility to convert the video from the format it downloads as into something your video editing program can work with. Search this site for info on media converters.