Download Twitter blob videos with youtube-dl

Suppose you would like to download a Twitter embedded video for future usage. Some of the videos are just mp4 files, and they can be easily downloaded by looking at the page source and directly open the link.

But sometimes you see something like this:

<video preload="none" playsinline="" style="width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute; background-color: black; transform: rotate(0deg) scale(1.005);" poster="https://pbs.twimg.com/ext_tw_video_thumb/1083861042181144576/pu/img/Z7CzxlIrm3-5td39.jpg" src="blob:https://twitter.com/0e462ebf-795f-e648-a766-4462a3e1ee5d"></video>

What is that? A blob video? Don’t get mad, the lazyweb always comes in rescue.

Open the tweet in another page, open the browser console (typically F12 or ⌘ + ⇧ + i) and click on the Network tab. You will see all the resource fetched for the page, and among them there should be a m3u8 file. What is that? Simply a multimedia playlist!

Twitter blob video: how to find m3u8 url

Right click on the m3u8 file and select Copy URL. Now go to console and feed that url to youtube-dl.
It will fetch the playlist, download all the video segments and merge them with ffmpeg. It takes few seconds, and the result is the whole video, usually saved as mp4.

$ youtube-dl https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/pl/HIUSpLP6H0q4JGdt.m3u8\?tag\=8
[generic] HIUSpLP6H0q4JGdt: Requesting header
[generic] HIUSpLP6H0q4JGdt: Downloading m3u8 information
[download] Destination: HIUSpLP6H0q4JGdt-HIUSpLP6H0q4JGdt.mp4
ffmpeg version 4.1 Copyright (c) 2000-2018 the FFmpeg developers
  built with Apple LLVM version 10.0.0 (clang-1000.11.45.5)
  configuration: --prefix=/usr/local/Cellar/ffmpeg/4.1_1 --enable-shared --enable-pthreads --enable-version3 --enable-hardcoded-tables --enable-avresample --cc=clang --host-cflags= --host-ldflags= --enable-ffplay --enable-gpl --enable-libmp3lame --enable-libopus --enable-libsnappy --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis --enable-libvpx --enable-libx264 --enable-libx265 --enable-libxvid --enable-lzma --enable-opencl --enable-videotoolbox
  libavutil      56. 22.100 / 56. 22.100
  libavcodec     58. 35.100 / 58. 35.100
  libavformat    58. 20.100 / 58. 20.100
  libavdevice    58.  5.100 / 58.  5.100
  libavfilter     7. 40.101 /  7. 40.101
  libavresample   4.  0.  0 /  4.  0.  0
  libswscale      5.  3.100 /  5.  3.100
  libswresample   3.  3.100 /  3.  3.100
  libpostproc    55.  3.100 / 55.  3.100
[hls,applehttp @ 0x7f97ed802000] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/0/3000/414x720/oO-J3tZvt3e1FI4X.ts' for reading
[hls,applehttp @ 0x7f97ed802000] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/3000/6000/414x720/FIGnFA6AUn6eVAK9.ts' for reading
Input #0, hls,applehttp, from 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/pl/414x720/QOIrugj54yK1xVMD.m3u8':
  Duration: 00:00:49.90, start: 3.000000, bitrate: 0 kb/s
  Program 0
    Metadata:
      variant_bitrate : 0
    Stream #0:0: Video: h264 (Main) ([27][0][0][0] / 0x001B), yuv420p, 414x720, 23.75 fps, 23.75 tbr, 90k tbn, 50 tbc
    Metadata:
      variant_bitrate : 0
    Stream #0:1: Audio: aac (LC) ([15][0][0][0] / 0x000F), 44100 Hz, stereo, fltp
    Metadata:
      variant_bitrate : 0
Output #0, mp4, to 'file:HIUSpLP6H0q4JGdt-HIUSpLP6H0q4JGdt.mp4.part':
  Metadata:
    encoder         : Lavf58.20.100
    Stream #0:0: Video: h264 (Main) (avc1 / 0x31637661), yuv420p, 414x720, q=2-31, 23.75 fps, 23.75 tbr, 90k tbn, 90k tbc
    Metadata:
      variant_bitrate : 0
    Stream #0:1: Audio: aac (LC) (mp4a / 0x6134706D), 44100 Hz, stereo, fltp
    Metadata:
      variant_bitrate : 0
Stream mapping:
  Stream #0:0 -> #0:0 (copy)
  Stream #0:1 -> #0:1 (copy)
Press [q] to stop, [?] for help
[https @ 0x7f97ed018200] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/6000/9000/414x720/R5Fg1BJ8cpdH-wqB.ts' for reading
[https @ 0x7f97ed804800] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/9000/12000/414x720/06wvoQLlQW8tK6fc.ts' for reading
[https @ 0x7f97ed018200] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/12000/15000/414x720/Y1qSwXOybn036JVo.ts' for reading
[https @ 0x7f97ed804800] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/15000/18000/414x720/fSuqUyg250MlKCIx.ts' for reading
[https @ 0x7f97ed018200] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/18000/21000/414x720/7nj3lJFKsUwsOppn.ts' for reading
[https @ 0x7f97ed804800] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/21000/24000/414x720/ldQahm7jF2r7qH7n.ts' for reading
[https @ 0x7f97ed018200] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/24000/27000/414x720/rh6L9N5QOwF_vJAC.ts' for reading
[https @ 0x7f97ed804800] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/27000/30000/414x720/Vg7amM1CRQt-b8Xm.ts' for reading
[https @ 0x7f97ed018200] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/30000/33000/414x720/sN9eF4l7UMfcVRws.ts' for reading
[https @ 0x7f97ed804800] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/33000/36000/414x720/15yUDCP7oir4Zju5.ts' for reading
[https @ 0x7f97ed018200] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/36000/39000/414x720/CSzxl0t2yL5oRZsf.ts' for reading
[https @ 0x7f97ed804800] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/39000/42000/414x720/UOm2B2QtjBSt9_4B.ts' for reading
[https @ 0x7f97ed018200] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/42000/45000/414x720/kYZBW3BvUer1JIVr.ts' for reading
[https @ 0x7f97ed804800] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/45000/48000/414x720/1Ea_rNaMwxSYxpOL.ts' for reading
[https @ 0x7f97ed018200] Opening 'https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1083861042181144576/pu/vid/48000/49895/414x720/lQnPgxYrt_y9RCCq.ts' for reading
frame= 1185 fps=0.0 q=-1.0 Lsize=    2351kB time=00:00:49.87 bitrate= 386.1kbits/s speed=72.4x
video:1906kB audio:411kB subtitle:0kB other streams:0kB global headers:0kB muxing overhead: 1.455244%
[ffmpeg] Downloaded 2407189 bytes
[download] 100% of 2.30MiB in 00:01

Header photo by William Bayreuther on Unsplash

Un pensiero su “Download Twitter blob videos with youtube-dl

  1. Thank you for being my lazyweb rescue for today, when I could not find the right resource URL to feed into youtube-dl for saving a crucial cat video from oblivion in the twitter-verse.

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