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Want to make sure you don’t lose that Vimeo video? Here’s how to download it

The rise of video-sharing services made it easier than ever to find interesting clips and short films. Vimeo in particular is known as a platform for sharing high-quality, artistic shorts. But as convenient as Vimeo is, there is a sense of impermanence to it; all those videos are stored on a server far away from you, inaccessible the moment you don’t have an Internet connection.

In days of yore, when people wanted to capture the ephemeral television broadcasts of their favorite shows, they had to use a blank tape and a VCR to record it. Today, the process is a bit easier. If you want to archive a Vimeo video for personal use, there are a number of ways to go about it, all of which can be done for free on your computer.

Important: Keep in mind that laws regarding the copying and distribution of copyrighted material vary by location. Individual copyright holders might also have their own policies about whether or not they are fine with people making copies of their works. If you’re going to make a copy of a video on Vimeo, be aware of the creator’s stance on these issues.

From Vimeo itself

The first (and simplest) way to get a copy of a video on Vimeo is from the site itself. Many of the videos on Vimeo include a download option. If a video includes that option, there will be a button located under the video description that says “Download.” Simply click this button and a dropdown box will give you different formats (such as SD or HD) to choose from.

vimeo screenshot2

Depending on your browser setup, clicking the download button might simply cause the video to play. In this case, simply right-click the download link and choose “Save link as.” This will prompt you to choose a location on your hard drive to save the video.

Of course, not every Vimeo video includes a download option. If you find a video like this and feel an overwhelming desire to own a copy of it, you will have to put in a little more work.

Using screen recording software

There are a number of programs available on the web that allow you to record what is happening on-screen and save the recording as a video file. These programs might require a bit of finesse to use properly. Thankfully they aren’t too difficult to navigate.

The obvious thing to worry about when trying to capture a video through screen recording is that you can also record other stuff on your screen, such as browser tabs or pop-up ads. Watching the video in full-screen while you record is the most obvious solution. Some of the programs (such as Camtasia) will allow you to select a portion of the screen to be recorded.

If you do end up recording some bits you don’t want, such as your browser before you make the video full-screen, don’t worry; both Camtasia and Ezvid have features for editing the videos you record, allowing you to cut out unnecessary details.

Screenr, unlike the other two, is not a program you install on your computer. It functions entirely in browser, allowing you to record videos without the need to set up a program installation. The convenience comes with some tradeoffs. Screenr isn’t as rich in features as Camtasia or Ezvid, and you can only record up to five minutes per video. Still, if you only want to record a short Vimeo video and you don’t want to deal with downloading software, Screenr should fit your needs.

Online video downloaders

If the previous options don’t seem like the right ones for you, there are websites dedicated to downloading a copy of a video for you. Simply enter the URL of the video you want, and the site will take care of the rest. There is no guarantee about the quality of the recordings, however.

Be warned — sites like these sometimes have intrusive ads that will try to prompt you to download malware. If you choose to visit one of these sites, be cautious about what you click on.