Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tutorial: Vevo to iTunes on Mac OS X, Video and Audio (Youtube and others too)

Vevo offers HD videos of your favorite music. Here is how to download them on Mac OS X. This procedure probably works for other sites too like youtube, and tons and tons more.

Getting the Video
  1. In Firefox, get the Video DownloadHelper add-on.
  2. Go to Vevo (or youtube or most any other tube site), and start watching your video in the resolution you want.
  3. Click the arrow next to the rotating DownloadHelper icon at the top of the browserBe careful of downloading the advertisement that plays. It should be pretty obvious (i.e. if an ad plays, don't click on the top file in the list, wait for the video to load and check the list again. Same goes for changing resolutions.)
  4. Choose the file you want. For high quality stuff on Vevo, you'll most often get the Apple-ish MP4 version (AAC+h264). For older or lower quality stuff, you'll have to get the flash format (FLV file). I'll assume MP4 video from here on out.
  5. If it was 720p (or lower) MP4, this should immediately drop into iTunes and be syncable on AppleTV2/iPhone4/iPad. Enjoy your video!
  6. If it was 1080p MP4 or FLV, use Handbrake to convert to iTunes friendly format.

Converting the Audio for iTunes
If you want just the audio ripped from such a file, you just have to remux the audio to the appropriate Apple container. I tried using Quicktime to make a MP4 movie with audio only in it; while that plays correctly in iTunes, its recognized as a video file, which annoys me. So use ffmpeg to remux just the audio to the right container.

  1. Get remux. This is a ffmpeg gui, but ships with a current build of ffmpeg, which is easier than installing it from source, fink, or macports, and is more up-to-date than ffmpegX which hasn't been updated in 3 years.
  2. Make a symlink to the ffmpeg that lives inside the remux application so you can call it from the command line. I called the link remux_ffmpeg to avoid potential naming conflicts with other tools on my system:
    sudo ln -s /Applications/ /usr/local/bin/remux_ffmpeg
  3. Use ffmpeg to get the audio out and remux to the right container. I had to RTFM to figure out exactly how to call it:
    remux_ffmpeg -i in_video.mp4 -vn -acodec copy out_music.m4a
    Just so you know, -vn says no video output, -acodec copy specifies the audio codec should be a passthrough/no re-encode.
  4. Now drop into iTunes, and there you go!

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