Did you know MPEG Streamclip could convert YouTube videos?

I didn’t. But I’m happy to know that now.


File this post under “how in the hell did I not know MPEG Streamclip could do this!” This being take the URL of a YouTube video and convert it into a usable file. That is one of those tasks that has come up time and time again and I’ve often struggled with how to make it happen. I’m not sure how long MPEG Streamclip has had this function but I’m going to chalk it up to you learn something new every day.

Have you ever tried to download a YouTube clip? If you Google “how to download YouTube videos” then you’re faced with an overwhelming number of links and options that often don’t work or look to be some type of scam. Enter MPEG Streamclip.

It’s very simple to do. First, find your YouTube clip of choice and copy the URL.

Then go under File: Open URL:


You’ll then get a dialog box where you can paste the YouTube URL:


There’s a number of option here worth exploring but the most important ones are on the left.

Open will open the YouTube clip in the MPEG Streamclip window where you can then do just about anything with the clip that you would with any other clip in an MPEG Streamclip window.

Convert takes you to the MPEG Streamclip task box. There you have to first choose a task:


I’m usually wanting to convert the clip to an MP4 for playback on an iPhone or iPad so I choose Export to MPEG-4. That takes you to the Exporter. There I choose the iTunes button that has presets for most Apple devices:


Download is my favorite option and it will do just that: download the YouTube clip to your hard drive. Fast and easy. If you notice in the above image there’s a radio button for HD. Leave that checked and you’ll get an HD version of the clip if it is available.

I was using the beta version 1.9.3b7 to make this work. I’m sure it’s all entirely legal but could be broken by YouTube at any point so your mileage may vary. Then again maybe MPEG Streamclip has been able to do this all along!

MPEG Streamclip from Squared 5 is a Swiss Army knife of post-production. It is free (available for both Mac and Windows) and should be in every editor’s toolbox. Chances are it already is so if you didn’t know it could grab YouTube clips then I hope you learned something with this post.


Scott Simmons

Scott Simmons was born in rural West Tennessee and didn’t really realize that movies and tv had to be made by actual people until he went to college. After getting degrees in both Television Production and Graphic Design he was in one of the early graduating classes at the Watkins Film School in Nashville, Tennessee. During that time at Watkins he discovered editing. While most of his classmates in film school wanted to be directors, Scott saw real career opportunities in post production and took a job as an assistant editor after completing film school. In 1999, Scott took the leap into freelancing and in 2007 accepted a position as an editor at Filmworkers – Nashville. In 2005 Scott created The Editblog a website dedicated to all things editing and post-production which is now housed here at PVC. Someday he hopes to edit on a beach with a touch screen device, a wireless hard drive and a Red Stripe.

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