Ubuntu YouTube to IPOD Part 1 – Downloading and converting YouTube Video’s to iPOD MP4 Format

I have spent more than three days gathering and finding the best and most efficient way to download YouTube video’s and convert them from FLV to MP4 format so that they can be transferred to an iPOD.  I have finally found what I think is the easiest method, though it takes some work to setup initially, once you get the programs installed, it is a very simple process to download and convert videos going forward.

The software we are going to talk about and download includes:

These instructions were written and performed on Ubuntu Hardy Heron, if you are using Gutsy Gibbon or an older version, you may need to follow some of the links I have posted in the end for additional assistance.

For these instructions I downloaded a Tantric Video for Down and Out posted on YouTube.

Screenshot from YouTube:
YouTube Tantric

  • Step 1 – Download and install CLIVE

CLIVE is a command line utility that will download video’s from YouTube and Google Video Web Sites.  It is very easy to use and simplistic in instruction.  It supposedly has the ability to convert videos using ffmpeg, but I was not able to get this feature working at all so I use the program only to download my online video’s.

To install CLIVE, it should exist in the ubuntu archives and easily retrievable with apt.

  1. Open a Terminal Window
  2. Type “sudo apt-get install clive”
  3. Say yes for all dependant packages if there are any

Once you have clive installed, you can immediately start downloading online video’s, but lets wait to install the rest of the programs.

  • Step 2 – Remove all traces of existing ffmpeg if you have any

The ffmpeg included in the Ubuntu Depot does not have the H.264 or AAC encodings and therefore cannot encode video.  We need to download the source code for ffmpeg and compile our own with the proper options.  This means we have to remove ffmpeg if we already have it installed.

  1. Open a Terminal Window
  2. sudo apt-get autoremove ffmpeg
  3. Say yes to any prompts
  • Step 3 – Download and Compile ffmpeg
  1. Open a Terminal Window (make sure you are in a folder for downloads and such)
  2. sudo apt-get install liblame-dev libfaad-dev libfaac-dev libxvidcore4-dev liba52-0.7.4 liba52-0.7.4-dev libdts-dev libx264-dev libx264-57 checkinstall
  3. apt-get source ffmpeg
  4. cd ffmpeg-*/
  5. ./configure –enable-liba52 –disable-debug –enable-libfaad –enable-libfaac –enable-gpl –enable-x264 –enable-xvid –enable-pthreads –enable-libvorbis –enable-pp –enable-libtheora –enable-libogg –enable-libgsm –enable-swscaler –disable-debug –enable-shared –prefix=/usr
  6. make
  7. sudo make install

These above instructions should work and were compiled from https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ffmpeg, I added some extra libraries, and compressed the instructions.  If you are using any version other than Hardy Heron 8.04, then you should refer to the Ubuntu ffmpeg Wiki for instructions on this step.

  • Step 4 – Download and install WinFF
  1. Download the winff Debian installer package right here by clicking on Google Code WinFF Debian Package
  2. Save it to your downloads directory
  3. Open up the file or double click on it should open the Package Manager
  4. Click Install

Okay, now that you have complete the setup and installation of the 3 main programs needed, the rest is very easy.  You have downloaded, installed and configured CLIVE, FFMPEG and WINFF.  So now you can be ready to download YouTube or Google Video movies and Convert them from FLV to iPOD MP4.

  • Downloading Movies with CLIVE

All you need to do is find your YouTube movies and copy the URL, as mentioned above the Tantric Down and Out video was used for this example:

  1. Open a Terminal Window
  2. create a folder for your FLV files
  3. mkdir flv
  4. cd flv
  5. clive <URL>

(the video will now download and drop in the folder you were in when you ran the command)

Screen Print of CLIVE downloading the Video:
Clive screenshot

  • Converting FLV Movies to MP4 with WinFF
  1. Open a Terminal Window
  2. Type “winff”
  3. This should open the WinFF program
  4. Click on the “+ Add” button to add all of your files
  5. Select “IPOD” in Convert TO drop down
  6. Select “H.264 for IPOD” in the right drop down. (Alternatively you could just select MP4 and 16:9 WideScreen)
  7. Select your output folder
  8. Click the “Convert” button

Sit back and wait, it takes about 5-10 minutes per video depending on how fast your system is.

Screen print of WinFF
WinFF Screenshot

Now that you are done, I am working on building instructions on how to sync that MP4 video to your iPOD.  I have yet to find software that does this correctly, Mozilla Songbird doesn’t work.  So stay tuned for Part 2, when I figure this out.

-Dragon Blogger

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