how to download online video and record internal audio

updated November 8, 2022, 9:50pm


There may be times when you want to download and use videos you find online. Online videos, such as those found on YouTube, are, however, often in file formats not compatible with video applications that come pre-installed on computers. As a result, if you want to download and use the movie on your computer, if must first be converted into a format compatible with the software you are using and then downloaded. There are several ways to get videos from the web to your computer in a format you’ll be able to us.

You should make sure you have the following installed with the most recent version on your computer:

Mac Users
If you are experiencing problems downloading and converting, I recommend downloading and installing 3ivx MPEG-4, which is a video compression system and decoder. I’m not exactly sure why having on your computer helps, but for some reason it does.

PC Users
Make sure you have the latest version of the FFDShow MPEG-4 Video Decoder. (You can choose from any of the list of links as long as they have the most recent date.)

Browser-based (cross platform)

Video DownloadHelper
Video Download Helper is a plugin that works in Firefox and Chrome. I’ve used it often.


YTD Downloader
YTD Downloader is an excellent, free, stand-alone desktop app downloader for the Mac. It allows you to download and convert videos to a variety of formats. It is ridiculously easy to use: just copy the URL in the address bar and paste it into the form field. Choose your download location and click Download. You can also convert videos already downloaded to other formats. The website doesn’t include YouTube in the list of sites it works with,, but it will download them.

YTD Downloader

FLV Crunch
FLV Crunch is free application will convert previously downloaded .flv and other video formats into multiple file formats.


The folks who make YTD Downloader for the Mac also make this PC-version, Viddly, which also allows you to extract the audio from YouTube videos. Very easy to use: copy the URL, paste it in, select download location, and away you go.

Format Factory
Format Factory is a “multifunctional media converter” that allows for the conversion of previously downloaded videos (including .flv).

MP4camtoAVI converts MP4 and MOV files to AVI so they can be played and read by Windows software. Easy to use, but here’s a tutorial from a former student:

Know of others for Mac or PC?
If you know of any other downloading and conversion applications that I should be aware of, please let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to this list.

Recording Internal Audio

There may be times when you can’t download media, but you still need the audio. In those instances you will want to do what is called Recording Internal Audio. That is, record the audio without having it play through your speakers and then record it through your microphone. When you do that, the recording will sound like it is sitting in a hole. Recording internally just grabs the unfiltered audio nice and crisp.

Both of the examples I provide use the free audio editor, Audacity, so make sure you have the most recent version.

Recording Internally on a PC using Audacity
The ability to record internal audio on a PC comes with the most recent versions of Audacity, so there is nothing more you need to install. Please follow this tutorial.

Recording Internally on a PC using Audacity (or QuickTime)
Recording internally on a Mac using Audacity (or QuickTime) is more complicated because you will need to install software and set up your audio preferences. Both pieces of software are created by the same folks, with those with older Macs using SoundFlower and those with newer Macs using BlackHole. Here are the necessary links:

See product page for install instructions, which may require you to approve the install in your System Settings. Not formatted for Macs with an M1 chip.

See produce page for installation instructions. It requires signup and then you will get an link to download the installation file. This is for newer Macs, including those with the M1 chip. I tried it on my older Mac and heard static with the recording; I don’t hear static with SoundFlower.

Here is a video tutorial for installing and setting up SoundFlower/BlackHole, and then using it with Audacity and QuickTime to record internal audio.

The video covers:

0:00: Intro remarks and sound examples
3:30: Introducing and downloading the software, Soundflower and Blackhole
6:30: Configuring the Audi Midi setup
8:00: Setting up the Multi Output Device
9:40: Setting up and recording internal sound with Audacity
14:29: Setting up and recording internal sound with QuickTime
16:30: Closing remarks

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