DEV Community

Cover image for So videos don't have Ctrl+F...
Lucas Eduardo
Lucas Eduardo

Posted on • Updated on

So videos don't have Ctrl+F...

Youtube-dl is an awesome download tool for videos and audios in a huge amount of sites but there are some features that people don't usually use. One of them is to download video subtitles that sometimes is available.

Youtube-dl is a CLI program, it can be a bit difficult for begginners but it will be worth learning. I promise.

People usually just use youtube-dl with a link, maybe referencing a list of links using the -a flag.

youtube-dl $link
youtube-dl -a $file
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

If you run youtube-dl --help there will be a lot of options and I will show some of them related to subtitles;

  • --list-subs: Shows the list of embedded subtitles that the video have. Usually not that useful, at least not in this case xD;

  • --write-subs: Downloads the subtitles that are embedded in the video;

  • --sub-lang: Specifies a language to the downloaded subtitles, the default is en. In brazil the language is pt;

  • --sub-format: Specifies a file format of the downloaded subtitles. The default is VTT and is the fallback if the specified formats aren't available to download;

  • --write-auto-sub: This is the flag I was talking about xD. This flag downloads the subtitle automatically generated in youtube, the video transcript. lang and format flags are hints about what subtitle will be downloaded;

After downloading the subtitle, the program will also download the video, if you just want the subtitle you can use the flag --skip-download.

Batching works too, so if you want to download a full playlist or a file with all the URLs using -a you can and it will work.

When you download a subtitle you download not a TXT file full of words but a VTT file, that if you want just the text you can delete the unwanted parts. In every text line there is a fixed lines of other data that you can delete using someting like a vim macro, sed or other text manipulation tool you like.

Top comments (0)