Build Your Own Louisiana Legislature Video Archive
As a state, our fiscal situation has never been more dire. So whether you're a lobbyist, a grassroots advocate, a journalist, a historian, or just an interested party, here's something you can do to keep costs down for your government and benefit your own operations at the same time. After all, why invoke a public records request for legislative session video when, thanks to recent tech improvements at the Capitol, you can download it yourself in a fraction of the time? In just a few minutes, you can get started on your own legislative video archive.
NOTE: While Senate video is easy to download, House video is a bit more tricky. There are some browser plugins out there that will purport to intelligently identify and grab video from web pages, but I don't recommend them because they are historically unreliable and of dubious security. This is the only reliable, built-in method and, with minor tweaks here and there, it will grab almost any web video you can find.
These instructions will work for Safari and Google Chrome browsers, although the steps for Firefox, etc aren't far off. Let's use the Joint Budget meeting from February 13th for this exercise.
House of Representatives Video
- Chrome is ready to go right away, but if you're using Safari, navigate to Preferences > Advanced and click Show Develop Menu in Menu Bar.
- Make sure you can access your browser's developer tools. In Chrome, click the Menu button (to the right of the address bar, with three horizontal lines), select More Tools, and select Developer Tools. In Safari, click on the Develop menu, then click Show Web Inspector. This should bring up a new section in the bottom half of your browser window.
- In this new developer tools section, you will see a row of tabs near the top. Click the one called Network. Next, if you're using Chrome, click the subheader for Media. If you're using Safari, select Other from the dropdown menu. This tells the developer tools to only show you certain types of files from whatever webpage you are viewing.
- Now we'll pull up the video for that Joint Budget Meeting.
- You should see some action in the developer tools in the form of one or more files appearing with an extension of .mp4. In Safari, you will only see one file; in Chrome, you might see three, but the bottom one is the largest and will take a longer time to fully load. This is your video.
- Double-click on the .mp4 file you see in the developer tools. This will open it by itself in a new tab. Start the video, then right-click it and select Save Video As or Download Video As. Choose where you want to store the video (I strongly recommend renaming it in a way that helps you immediately understand the date and what you are watching), wait for it to download, and you're done!
For whatever reason, Senate committee video is served up by a different player and is therefore much easier to download with no special tricks required. Whether in Safari or Chrome, load your video, right click, select Save Video As or Download Video As, and choose your destination.
Hopefully this is helpful to advocates and media across the state. And, of course, if you need to turn your research, hard work, and passion into a digital campaign for your cause or candidate, reach out to We Met In The Air to get started.