Saturday, March 24, 2012

Save Images and Videos From Online Flash Galleries by Monitoring HTTP Requests

Some websites use different tricks to prevent visitors from saving content on their site to their own computers. Sometime this is deliberate, for example, video streaming sites often obfuscate the URL to the actual video file. Others may be unintentional, for example, Flash websites and Flash photo galleries. Flash websites can display animation and transition that cannot be easily recreated using HTML and JavaScript. But images, text and videos embedded in Flash websites cannot be saved by right-clicking on the content.

One way to save pictures embedded inside Flash galleries is to save the SWF file to your computer and then using a decompiling software such as Flash Digger or Adobe Flash Professional to extract its contents. However, this method doesn’t always work. Most websites use Flash only as a player, just like YouTube or any other video streaming sites does. The actual video file or images are pulled from a directory on the server and displayed inside the Flash player. Decompiling such a Flash/SWF file will yield nothing.

So how do you save images displayed within such a Flash gallery? The same way video downloading tools such as Stream Transport does – by sniffing the traffic between the browser and the remote server and capture the URL to the actual files.

Now since there are no software that will sniff out images, we will have to do that ourselves. Some browsers have developer tools built-in; that’s all we need for our purpose. In Chrome you can open Developer tools from the Tools menu or by pressing Ctrl+Shift+I. In Opera, developer tools is under Page > Developer Tools > Opera Dragonfly.


After you have opened the Developer Tools window, load the website or page on which the Flash gallery is. Click on the Network tab on the Developer tools window and keep your eyes on the HTTP traffic that is exchanged between the browser and server. The Type column will tell you the type of files that the browser has downloaded. Watch out for images or videos, whatever you want to save. The moment the image or video loads on the page you should see the files downloading. Grab the URL of these files from the developer tools window.

In Firefox, you can use the Firebug extension. Another easy tool is Tamper Data. It has a clean interface, and focuses only on HTTP requests.


By monitoring HTTP requests it is possible to save almost anything that is seen in your screen or heard through the speakers.


  1. You can also use the AdBlock Plus extension for firefox to see these, what it calls an "Object Subrequest", or a paid program called Charles Web Debugging Proxy which can intercept all web traffic and do tons of other cool stuff.

  2. Didn't know Adblock can do that. There is another tool called Fiddler - a web proxy that can also monitor web traffic. And of course, there is Etheral. But these are all general purpose and too powerful.

  3. Hi, how abount Safari?

  4. Not sure about Safari. It's rarely used by Windows users.


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