Saving Clips from IRONMAN Video Streams

So you're watching a friend come across the finish line of an IRONMAN race on the live video feed and you think "man, I'd love to save just that part to rewatch later." Or you just finished an IRONMAN yourself and you'd just love to have that moment to look back on.

So here's documentation of how I've sliced out clips from finish videos, fairly quickly without having to re-encode the video causing any loss of quality.

What You'll Need

I use a Linux operating system to do this, but I'll keep things as generic as I can since these tools are available for Linux, Windows, and OS X. Generally commands are just run on the command line in a terminal window.

First, you'll need to be able to download the video from IRONMAN's website. To do that, I use an extension for the Chrome web browser called FBDown Video Downloader. You can find and install it here.

Second, you'll need a tool that can slice out chunks of the full video. I use FFmpeg for that, you can find the appropriate download to install it for your operating system here.

Getting Started

Once you have the tools above installed, you'll need to download the video you want to pull a piece from. I'll use IRONMAN Maryland as an example, and pull out the finish video of one of my club mates.

Head over to, go to Results -> Past Coverage, and click on the race. This will bring you to the Live Coverage page you see when a race is going on, with the embedded live coverage videos.

To allow the Chrome extension to find the video to download, you need to start playing it - so in this case, scroll down to the Finish Line video and hit Watch Again, then the Play button.

You can immediately pause the video. Click on the FBDown Video Downloader icon in the upper right of your Chrome window that you installed earlier. You should see a list of videos available to download. You'll want to get the highest resolution version you can, so for Maryland, click the Start button next to [1280x720] IRONMAN Maryland Live Coverage.

These videos are 8-9 hours long, and quite large - generally around 10GB, so make sure you have enough free space to store it, and it'll take some time to download. So get the download started, and go ride your bike.

Finding Your Target

So, the timestamp on the video won't match up with the clock (nor will it match the chip time of most athletes) so you'll need to find out what time on the clock at the finish line they crossed.

In this case, the lovely and always motivating Sarah Crane snapped a still image of Holly Golden coming across the finish line so we can see the time on the race clock.

Next, open up the video you downloaded in whatever player you'd like, and start skipping ahead until you find this time on the race clock. Back it up slightly to where you'd like your slice to start, and note the exact time of the video in your player (not the time on the clock). Also let the video play to decide how long you want the clip to be. 10 seconds? 20 seconds?

Slicing the Video

Now, on the command line you can plug in the start time and duration you found above into an ffmpeg command. You can use my example command below, just switching out the path to the video you downloaded, and the name of the video you want to save to.

ffmpeg -i "[1280x720] IRONMAN Maryland Live Coverage - IRONMAN  
Official Site  IRONMAN triathlon 140.6 & 70.3.mp4" -ss 07:28:52 -t  
00:00:17 -vcodec copy -acodec copy holly_finish.mp4  

Since this isn't re-encoding the video, it should only take a few seconds to complete, so a little trial and error getting the start time and duration right isn't a problem.


Lastly, you'll likely want to upload it to Youtube to easily share your video. Just sign into your Google account, and click the upload icon on the upper right of the page. Select the video file you saved your slice to, enter a title and any information you'd like, and select whether you want the video to be public or only visible to people who have the link (unlisted).

Once it's finished uploading and processing, share your video where you'd like or embed it on your blog. Just remember to smile as much as Holly the next to you come across the finish line at an IRONMAN event, because it's for keeps!