You can download a Youtube video transcript with yt-dlp.

yt-dlp --write-auto-sub --skip-download --sub-format vtt --output transcript "<video_url>"

This will output a file called transcript.en.vtt. That file can be cleaned like this, to remove all formatting and metadata except the transcript text.

cat transcript.en.vtt | grep : -v | awk '!seen[$0]++'

This approach is useful for simple way to pipe the contents of a Youtube video into an LLM, my motivation for finding a way to accomplish this task.

Here is a script that pulls the transcript of a video then summarizes it using llm.


if [ $# -eq 0 ]
    echo "No arguments supplied. Please provide a YouTube URL as an argument."
    exit 1
yt-dlp --write-auto-sub --skip-download --sub-format vtt --output transcript "$1" >/dev/null 2>&1
cat transcript.en.vtt | grep : -v | awk '!seen[$0]++' | llm "write a short summary of the contents of this youtube video transcript"
rm transcript.en.vtt

Run it like this

./ <youtube_url>