Tag Archives: audio

links/recs for audio & video grabbing

A discussion with Sophinisba on twitter reminded me that I meant to post about these little tech things in case they proved useful for others, so here we go! A post of tips / links.

  • To grab embedded video I use the plug-in called VideoDownloadHelper for Firefox. It doesn’t work for everything, bc of the escalating tech war between video embed provider and the so-called pirates, but it works on certain sites, not just YouTube, and allows me to collect my favorite actor interviews and the like better than I would without it, so.

  • To grab Youtube vids, if I’m not using my FF plugin, I use the standalone java program called JDownloader (I know it’s not the first time I mention it here, Toby turned me onto it a couple of years ago). What I love about it is that it gives me a choice of formats to download, and one of those is MP3. It means I can quickly, painlessly download the sound from a vid I like (again, good for interviews if I want them on my iPod; good for amazing mashups you don’t know how to find elsewhere, etc. I don’t use it for music much, personally.)

  • If I want to grab the sound from a thing, especially a short thing, to use it in my own editing / podfic / podcast work, I don’t usually do the “download mp3” route – sometimes I can’t, anyway, if it’s not on Youtube or whatever – then I use Soundflower, which is a free Mac service/thing that allows you to tell your computer “record the sound straight from the source” to keep the quality optimum. I use it in combination with [Sound Studio] because that’s what I use for recording and editing, but you can use it with any other software – all Soundflower does is telling the computer what to use for “sound in” and “sound out”.

I really recommend this tool. It’s a small free thing, easy to handle, and can be life-saving.

Soundflower has also been useful to me when making a podcast from a Skype convo. There are several ways to do that, but the one time I did it successfully was with Templemarker last year for our pod_aware conversation. (Part 1Part 2Part 3)

To make sure the sound quality would be okay, we each of us recorded our side of the conversation only. Then she sent me her files and I integrated them with mine. The way Soundflower helped me here is that when I recorded my side, I told Soundflower to grab the sound straight from my mic, so I wouldn’t have to remove templemarker’s voice from my track later on.

It didn’t work perfectly because I somehow had a very faint trace of her voice in my recording, but that proved a godsend, because it actually served to help me align both recordings exactly later on before merging, so, yay. I don’t know how she recorded her side, but there was no trace of my voice in hers. The whole process took some time but was a whole lot smoother than I had expected, and I think the resulting recording is very nice indeed, for a Skype conversation recorded by amateurs without lots of great hardware or specifically dedicated bandwidth.

Just for the record, another way to do a podcast from a Skype convo on a Mac is to use Piezo – which I have indeed used for recording conversations but haven’t used to produce podcasts yet. 

I’m sure there are plenty other ways (tell me if you know them!) but that’s what I can talk about today. :D