Hunting YouTube Content

A successful hunt for data includes dragging your prey home and preparing it for consumption. If you have a hungry client to feed, then you will have to chop-up your prey into digestible chunks, cook it properly, and then serve it up all pretty-like on a fancy platter, because clients are picky eaters.

Here is what you need to make a delightful repast of what you find on YouTube.

After the disappearance of Google Reader, Feedly became the new standard in RSS readers. However, Feedly is much more than an RSS reader. It allows you to collect and categorize YouTube accounts.

For example, you can monitor the YouTube accounts of politicians, activists, or anybody else who posts a lot of YouTube videos. You get the latest uploads to their YouTube accounts almost instantly. This continuous stream of updated content can be viewed and played in Feedly and does away with individual manual searches of known YouTube accounts.

Of course, Feedly has other uses, but the YouTube use is the greatest time saver. The time saved can be applied to summarizing the video content and analyzing it in terms of how it relates to your client’s objectives.

Inoreader is another feed reader that can organise YouTube account feeds into folders along with a limited number of feeds from Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and VKontakte. It also allows the user to gather bundles of subscriptions into one RSS feed and export them to another platform to go along with the YouTube content.

Just paste the URL of a YouTube video into Amnesty International’s YouTube Dataviewer to extract metadata from the videos. The tool reveals the exact upload time of a video and provides a thumbnail on which you can do a reverse image search. It also shows any other copies of the video on YouTube. Use this to track down the original video and the first instance of the video on YouTube.

A lot of fake videos appear on YouTube. Anything worth reporting needs to be examined to see if it is a possible fake. The Chrome browser extension Frame by Frame lets you change the playback speed or manually play through the frames. While this is the first step in uncovering a fake, it is however, an easy way to extract images from the video for inclusion into a report.

Of course, you will use the Download Helper browser extension, which is available for both Firefox and Chrome, to help download the videos. Just remember to set the maximum number of ‘concurrent downloads’ and ‘maximum varients’ to 20 and check ‘ignore protected varients’ to speed the process.

To make a long list of videos to download, you can use the browser extension, Copy All Links, or Link Klipper or Copy Links in Chrome, to make a list of the links to every video you find. In addition to using this list in your report, you can turn it into an HTML page and then let Download Helper work away on it for hours by downloading all the videos for you.

Collecting all this video is the easy part. Sitting through all of it to extract useful data and then analysing it to see how it helps or hinders your client’s interests is the painful and expensive part, but it is the only way cook-up what the client wants to eat.

YouTube — Survival and Sanity Kit III

The Download YouTube Videos add-on for Firefox puts a download button underneath the YouTube video which allows downloading videos as MP4 and FLV formats while selecting the quality level at which to save the file.

Most extensions and add-ons that say they allow downloading YouTube videos don’t really work, this one does. If you are using e Chrome, Opera, Safari or Internet Explorer, you need to install the Greasemonkey script.

YouTube — Survival and Sanity Kit I

Watching YouTube videos is tiresome due to the ads around each video.  The YouTube Options for Google Chrome browser extension hides the ads, annotations, disables autoplay, and hides the comments. It also allows you to change resolution, display size, optional flash pre-buffering, looping/replay, and video audio volume. It has a very useful feature to create a RSS link to the owner of the YouTube video or Twitter author.

If you have to work with a lot of YouTube material, then this thing is a necessary part of your Survival and Sanity kit. It takes some time to find and enable all the setting you need but it is worth the effort.

The Origin of a Posted Video

Finding Where a Video Was Originally Posted

The Problem: Occasionally you will find a video, posted on a blog or some website that is useful for your investigation…

The Solution: It should be said upfront that this solution likely has an expiry date since YouTube, Vimeo, etc. change their coding every so often. That being said, this has been working for the last two years at least…

This is a handy guide to tracking down the origins of a posted video.