Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bring YouTube Through The Firewall!

Stuck Behind The Firewall?

So often when giving a workshop or even teaching students, I find myself behind a firewall that does not include sights such as YouTube. I understand the reasoning behind this, and there's no argument there, but it does make it difficult to share the multitude of valuable resources that are posted on sites like YouTube. So one of the solutions I use is to convert the videos to a format that allows me to simply bring the videos with me. I've always used Zamzar for this and it's been pretty friendly until recently, when I've been getting errors, such as "file type not supported." With Zamzar, the files can also take hours to convert, and I can be impatient when I'm trying to put together a presentation (especially at the last minute).

Well, recently I stumbled on Movavi. There's a few things I really like about Movavi.
1. You can embed Movavi into your iGoogle page or add buttons to your browser.
2. You can combine videos into a single video.
3. It works fast.
4. It works with all of these sites:
youtube.com, blip.tv, break.com, dailymotion.com, video.google.com, ifilm.com, metacafe.com, myspace.com, myvideo.de, sevenload.com and more!

A brief tutorial

You can use Movavi to convert files directly from your harddrive, or you can get them from sites like YouTube or TeacherTube. Go to a site like YouTube, and search for a video. I found one by my favorite producers called CommonCraft. This one is Blogging in Plain English.

Once you find the video you like, grab the URL and copy it.

Here is where you will go to the Movavi site and paste that URL into the first field:

Next, select an output format. Here you can choose Quicktime, Windows Media, Cellphone, iPod, etc. Have fun with this!

Next, enter your email address and don't worry about file size maxing out your mailbox. You won't get the file in your mailbox. You will get a link to the file so you can download it. Tip: if you are planning to access the file from within your school district firewall, I recommend that you use your school district email address. When your email comes through with your link, you will then be able to get to it from school. Sounds obvious, but lots of people don't think of this.

Last step, click CONVERT! If you are requesting more than one video to be converted, you can combine them. For example, you may already know this, but YouTube has a 10 minute limit on files, so many of their longer videos are broken up into segments. If you are interested in 3 contiguous segments, you probably want them to be combined. In that case, simply check the box to merge all videos into one large movie.

Last, you will get this email telling you how to download your file:

Is this something you would use? If you know of another free service that does something similar, please share!


Unknown said...

Thanks for the tip Lee. I will check it out. I am always looking for options when facing this issue.

Here is another sneaky little trick if logistics let you swing it. Just plan ahead: Open all the videos you want to use in the blocked environment at home or in your hotel room before the presentation. Open each in a different tab on your browser and then minimize them. Once you get to your presentation site, most of the time (disclaimer) the videos will play fine. You can't go any deeper into You Tube but because they loaded at home, they'll play.

Cheryl Woolwine said...

Thanks Lee that is definetly one I will take a look at (Movavi). Right now I download at home the night before or I have been known to use Andy's little trick of opening them behind the fire wall and leaving them open.
I didn't like Zamzar because of the time it took too impatient.
The tutorial is great I will be sharing this with many of my teachers. (with credit to you of course). And it looks easy enough I may make a Camatasia movie clip - that I will be glad to share.

Doug said...

Thanks for the tip on this resource. It does reinforce the need to plan in advance so that you have the movie ready to go. It's always a good practice, because in addition to firewalls, there's always the dreaded bandwidth issue when doing something live. I'll be checking this place out further this morning.

MarilynM said...

I was getting those same errors with ZamZar and thought it was me. Thanks for the tip on Movavi, will try it out soon.

TeachMeMoreTech said...

I have been using converttube.com lately but without membership one is limited to how many videos can be converted within a 15 minute time span. I think I need to check out your recommendation!

Diana Kenney said...

As usual this is a very timely tip. I've used Zamzar until now..I'm concerned about the number and kinds of ads they have on their site.


Diana Kenney

Lee Kolbert said...

That's a great tip. I have heard that before and I know people who comfortably use that technique, but I've always been too skiddish to try it for a presentation for fear if the browser crashes, computer restarts, etc. Then I won't have my video. Thanks for commenting and rescuing my lonely post. :)

I hope you will share your Camtasia tutorial when you create it. Thanks!

I've also seen how loading a video for the first time, straight from the web can be a real BuzzKill right in the middle of a workshop. This tip is especially useful when using a resource such as Google Earth. I try to remember to pre-load my destination before Igo live and not to close my browser. I'm sort of famous for closing all my windows, rather than minimizing.
(That is very popular when you are presenting with other people, by the way.)

Windyridge said...

This is excellent, thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thank-you so much. Movavi is so easy to use. I didn't quite 'get' convertertube. Have to give a presentaion in a couple of weeks and now I won't panic about access to the video I'd like to show :)

Lee Kolbert said...

@WindyRidge and @Gracekat
Let me know how you are finding using it. I'm finding it to be not-so-perfect, but still better than anything else so far. Thanks for visiting my blog. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee, the files were converted into .avi files and I viewed them in irfanview. The screen is a bit small and when I selected to make it larger a bit of the visual quality was lost but the audio was fine. Is that what you meant?

I have another question: is irfanview the only programme that will open an .avi file.

Lee Kolbert said...

I have never heard of irfanview. .avi files are a Windows Media Player file format. They should open in Windows Media Player with no problem.