About the YouTube archives

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The YouTube archive page is a repository of magnet links and/or torrent files containing archives of various YouTube and BitChute channels that I have mass downloaded and converted to a very compact format (often an MP4 container, x265, 960×540, 128 kbps MP3 audio, faststart enabled/“web optimized” moov atom). The video quality takes a hit with the level of compression used, but the sheer number of videos available on many YouTube channels requires some aggressive compression. These files won’t play in QuickTime Player but are fine in all modern media players (VLC, MPC-HC, MPC-BE, PotPlayer, GStreamer, any ffmpeg-based player, etc.) and take up an extremely small amount of space. Newer mobile devices with HEVC (H.265) hardware decoding should be able to play these files as well.

These archives are (usually) not 100% complete because I practice a degree of editorial discretion to keep sizes down. I may remove large live streams which tend to have poor re-watch value, content that I am not personally interested in, or content that I don’t believe has archival value. A good example of this is the Joe Rogan Experience “Fight Companion” videos; they are tied to a sports event that won’t matter after a while and I don’t personally care about professional fighting. I will also often delete unedited “Let’s Play” content as seen on many game-oriented channels while I’ll leave more information-dense edited game reviews in place.

Want to help? Seed or donate!

Do you have computer(s) with a relatively powerful CPU that you don’t need? Bring or ship it to me and I’ll happily add it to the HandBrake “cluster.” I’ll return it at your request, or you can optionally give it to me permanently if you want to. The slowest machines I’m currently using are two desktops with Core i5-3470 processors (PassMark: 4643) and I need processor power at that level or higher. GPU, RAM, HDD all don’t matter, I just need raw CPU power. Beyond the minimum, the ideal CPUs are those with the AVX2 instruction set which speeds up x265 significantly.

No hardware and no desire to seed, but still want to help? Toss me some cash for my hard work (and to pay for my expensive high-bandwidth internet access to be able to put this stuff out there) by becoming a SubscribeStar subscriber.

Can you help seed on a reasonably fast connection and want a complete copy to seed from? Email me at jody@jodybruchon.com and let me know. You’ll need to ship me an external hard drive big enough to hold everything I have so far and cover shipping both ways. We’ll figure out the logistics by email.

Archive format and content

Most of these channels are constantly being updated with new videos, so each individual archive is provided in a few different formats:

  1. A complete archive as of a certain date. These can be very large (hundreds of gigabytes) and can contain many thousands of files. If a complete archive says it is “Final,” no future updates are anticipated. Complete only means “not partial,” not that it is a definitively complete archive of everything by a channel. The word “complete” is mainly intended to mean “not partial,” as in “this contains everything I was able to obtain as of this date.” If you have something that I am missing, please let me know so I can add what you’ve got.
  2. Partial segments of large archives. These contain a subset of a complete archive. For example, if a channel has 1600 serial videos, the first partial archive may contain the videos from 1-199, the second archive may contain 200-399, and so on. Partial archives may also serve as intermediate updates to an ongoing archival rather than a subset of an existing complete archive; in this case, the partial archive will be labeled “update” rather than “partial.”
  3. Older complete archives. If a channel creates a lot of videos beyond the current complete archive for that channel, a whole new complete archive will be posted.

Archives will often contain video metadata in a “metadata” folder, including the video description, thumbnail, English subtitles, a JSON file with various info attributes (date uploaded, video tags, etc), video chapter marker listings, and possibly others. Depending on how many videos are present, these may be packed into a file called metadata.7z and can be unpacked with 7-Zip (right-click the file and “Extract Here”). For example: the Reddit Robot Videos archive has several thousand videos and each video has at least three metadata files associated with it (sometimes more), totaling 21,873 files and 825 MB total size; packing the metadata up in this case saves 1/4 the total size and significantly reduces filesystem metadata overhead during and after downloading.

Videos that were deleted, removed, banned, copyright struck, etc. before I could obtain them will be missing. If you have missing content, please email me at jody@jodybruchon.com and help me build a more complete archive.

The presence of a channel here is  no guarantee of ongoing archival. I will stop archiving channels and stop seeding downloads at my own personal discretion.

Archival does not equal approval or endorsement. The presence or absence of a channel here does not imply endorsement of its content; in fact, many channels are in my archive because I disagree with them rather than agree with them, or because I enjoyed their old content and I don’t care for the new content. What gets archived is entirely decided by my personal whims and only I know why I chose the material that I did.

Archive releases are cumulative

Partial archives and older complete archives are always a part of the most current complete archive. You should always point all downloads for a particular channel archive to the same folder; the torrent client should automatically pick up the existing data from the partial or older complete torrent(s) you already have and only download the new stuff. Please leave your old torrents in your client so that you cross-seed to anyone who picks up the older torrents, too.

If you feel especially generous, download every torrent/magnet associated with a channel, point them all to the same download folder, fetch the data using the most recent complete torrent, then activate the other torrents so they will pick up the data and start seeding too.

Extracting audio to an MP3 file

If you’d like to extract the MP3 audio from an archive video for loading on a listening
device, you can use the ffmpeg command like so (where VIDEO_NAME is the video file you want to convert:

ffmpeg -vn -i VIDEO_NAME.mp4 -acodec copy VIDEO_NAME.mp3

Unfortunately, instructions on using command-line applications is beyond the scope of this page. If you don’t know your way around a command prompt or terminal, you can try an ffmpeg front-end such as myFFmpeg or using the audio extraction ability of LosslessCut.

If you think my compression choices are stupid

“Use MKV! Use AAC! Use Opus! Make better YouTube format choices! Use AV1!” Your criticism is well-meaning but also wrong; please keep it to yourself. I posted a now-deleted thread on r/DataHoarder asking for possible advice on maximizing the reach of this archive’s torrents, but I had to nuke it because the well-meaning but irrelevant, low-tact replies (I love that subreddit, but like any nerd “community,” it has its share of bull-headed folks) bashed my compression choices and completely ignored the question posed in the title. I made my choices for good reasons. These objections come from a failure to understand the problem domain and requirements. Because of this experience, here are my responses to all of the criticisms raised, to put the nail in that coffin once and for all:

  • No, YouTube’s 720p/480p VP9/Opus streams aren’t “better.” My 540p/128kbps files are massively smaller than the equivalent YouTube 480p stream.
  • No, I don’t care about the low quality. This is all about maximum archival in minimal size; the core quality requirement is “reasonably watchable missing necessary visual detail.” Yes, the original YouTube rips are nicer, but they’re also an order of magnitude bigger.
  • No, I won’t use AV1. AV1 encodes slow as a dog, isn’t supported by many media players, and has zero ONE OR TWO commercially available hardware decoder(s). The hardware decoders are next-gen high-end video cards that can’t yet be purchased at the time of this writing.
  • No, I don’t want my stuff in MKV or WebM containers that are “better” than MP4. MKV (Matroska) seeks slowly; WebM is based on MKV and not supported by older players.
  • No, I don’t care that Opus and AAC have better quality for the same bitrate. Old hardware/software can’t play Opus and ffmpeg’s AAC encoder has some noticeable audio quality issues.

HandBrake compression presets

These are the presets I use for the vast majority of these archives, along with a brief explanation. To use them, right-click and download the JSON file at the link, then import it into HandBrake as a new preset.

  • Tiny x265 960×540 is the “workhorse” preset. For most videos, this is what I use to maximize compression while still being comfortable to watch. Why not 480p? Because 540p is just 1080p at half resolution both ways, but also because 480p at a 16:9 ratio is 853.3333 pixels horizontally. 540p is a little more resolution and the 16:9 horizontal is a nice round integer.
  • Tiny x265 1280×720 is for videos that have fine visual detail or otherwise greatly benefit from extra resolution. Ahoy’s gaming documentary videos are an excellent example of videos that fall into this category.
  • Tiny x265 1280×720 HQ follows the same rationale as Tiny 960×540, but encodes with significantly higher quality (RF26, Slow preset, aq-mode=3) and some light image sharpening, resulting in larger archive files and taking more time. This preset is used sparingly.
  • Reddit Robot Videos have a special, ultra-low-quality preset. Due to the nature of most Reddit text-to-speech videos, the video content is largely static (almost entirely non-moving images of Reddit text posts) and the audio is minimal in quality. This preset is unsuitable for most videos because it encodes at 5 frames per second with mono audio.