How to take scenes from TV programmes that are available online or have been recorded (e.g. on a SkyPlus box) for use in a showreel

From the research that I’ve done, it would appear that you cannot upload footage from Sky Plus or any recorded media if you want to put it onto your laptop or put it onto your showreel. I mean, you probably can, but I reckon you have to work in a dodgy computer shop or have done some serious Oxbridge uni computer course or something, and then it would probably be a cinch. But for us, no, so get in touch with the production company, and get a copy from them direct, they should be more than happy to provide you with your footage. But if you find this a probably job by job, consider (or just do) amending any contract to state that you will get a copy of your footage within a reasonable time period. It’s only fair.

So lifting from YouTube though –well that’s as easy a pie…

There are probably a few websites out there – there seem to be if you type in ‘downloading videos from YouTube’, but this is the first one and the one I use:

So copy and paste the YouTube URL (the https://www. Thing at the top) into the Media URL to Download box, then click on Continue. A list of options will come up for the quality of the video and the size in MB’s. Click whichever version you want (I always go the highest quality – why not, it’s for your showreel), and then click on Download, and then start. The website will begin the process, and then a box will pop up which is the normal ‘Do you want to download this file’ type-box, accept it, and it hey presto, the video will start downloading to your computer. Nifty huh? The save it, and it is as a normal computer video file that can go onto your reel.

For Vimeo, you can of course just click on the download button that appears below the video player, and download the file that way. What you might encounter though is if the people have locked the video and can only be accessed through a password. You can’t download these videos. Well, you thought you can’t anyway…

So you still need the password to access and view the video, so put in the password in and go to the video player page.

Make sure you are doing this on Chrome, because it doesn’t work on Internet Explorer or Firefox – trust me, a lot of trying here. Chrome is really easy to get (through Google) and if you want to or you hate Google then just uninstall it straight after.

Sometimes they will embed the .mp4 (video file) stream directly, sometimes they will embed the Vimeo window as a browser object. To find out which method is being used, open the page where the video is on, right click, and go to View Source …

Do a search for .mp4 and/or vimeo. If you find a .mp4 link like this:

Then skip the next step, however if you don't find anything ending in .mp4 but instead can only find something like this:

Then click on that link (you have to click the link directly from view source, pasting it into a new browser window will not work) and you should see your video in full screen.

From that page, right click and choose View Source and search for .mp4, you should find multiple links to .mp4 streams. The links will have within the code the 'profile' for example SD or h264, you should also be able to see the width/height of the video. Select the .mp4 link with the quality settings you require.

For the final step, create a .html file with a hyperlink in it and paste your .mp4 link in there. For example:


Now open that .html file in your web browser and right click 'Save link as ..' and you will be able to save the Vimeo video as an mp4 to your computer.

And a big thanks to where I found this information and have used with success. Remember, this is only for footage for your showreel or to keep at home – if it’s blocked they won’t want it distributed and may take action against you if you share it. Keep it for yourself and for private/showreel means and it’s fine.