How To Download Clips and Videos from Twitch
YouTube is still the king of online video sites, as well as being a popular social networking destination, but when it comes to live streaming content (particularly of video games), Twitch is the big name in town. Yes, YouTube has its own streaming service (YouTube Live) but Twitch is still the market leader by a large margin. Twitch came into being back in July of 2011 as a gaming-focused spin-off of Justin.tv, which was live streaming service at the time. Justin.tv itself is long-gone but the company lives on at Twitch, which quickly became the primary focus; Amazon purchased Twitch not long thereafter and the service has continued to grow astronomically since that time; on average, more than 1.3 million people are watching a Twitch stream at any particular moment in time.
Although it’s most closely associated in the public mind with gaming, the service has slowly expanded its reach to include content like music streams, radio shows, and podcasts. There are two major non-gaming categories: Creative, which focuses primarily on showing the creation of artwork and other projects, and In Real Life (IRL), which allows users to show themselves doing just about anything, from eating food to chatting with fans.
With all the content available on Twitch, it isn’t surprising that users want to take some of their content offline, either to have it to watch later (perhaps at a time when they don’t have wifi) or to work with it in a video editing program. Unfortunately, unlike YouTube, which provides an officially-sanctioned method for downloading videos for Premium subscribers, Twitch doesn’t have any option to let you take your favorite content offline if you aren’t the creator an officially-sanctioned editor of that content. Of course, this being the age of the Internet, that doesn’t stop anyone from doing it. In this article, I will show you how to save Twitch videos and clips offline, as well as explain the difference between the two types of content.
The Difference Between Clips and Videos
Twitch draws a distinction between a video and a clip. Although both are just saved versions of streams, clips are limited in length to 60 seconds, and you can take a clip from anyone’s content on the service. Twitch provides a Clips Manager which allows you to save content to your own page. The various types of videos can be archived on your page for lengths of time depending on the length of the video and the level of subscription you have to Amazon Prime.
This can all be a little confusing, but bottom line, clips are short and videos are long. Regardless of what kind of content it is, the goal here is to download this content to your PC, phone or tablet to watch or work with offline. Let’s talk about saving clips and videos to the device of your choice.
Downloading Clips from Twitch
The easiest form of downloading is the one supported by Twitch itself. If you create a clip yourself, either from your own stream or from someone else’s, you can save it right on the service. You just use the clip creation functionality within the actual video player on Twitch. Then once you’ve saved a clip to your own account, you can save the clip right to your desktop. Done.
In the past, Twitch used to allow direct downloads of any clip right from the video player in your browser. However, in May of 2018 they changed the platform to stop this. There was some doubletalk that claimed this was about giving streamers more control over their content, but it was nonsense and everyone knows it. Fortunately, there is at least one tool available to let you download clips you didn’t create – Clipr.
Clipr is super easy to use. Just get the URL of the clip you want to download – and it only works on clips, not on full videos – and paste it into the download bar on the site. Note that you have to clean up the formatting. Twitch clip URLs usually copy as something like “https://www.twitch.tv/jukes/clip/SomeRandomWordsInOrder?filter=clips&range=7d&sort=time”. You have to manually trim everything from the “?” on, so you’d put “https://www.twitch.tv/jukes/clip/SomeRandomWordsInOrder” into the bar on Clipr. Hit the “Get Download Link” button and Clipr will pull down the clip and you can download it immediately. It’s fast and easy.
Downloading Full Videos from Twitch
You’ll need to use a different tool to download a full video. The best-regarded tool for this purpose is called Twitch Leecher, and it’s been around for a while. As of January 2019 the program is up to version 1.5.4, and you can download it from its own repository on GitHub.
Sadly, Twitch Leecher is Windows-only. Sorry, Mac guys and gals.
Once you have the program, it’s actually really easy to download streams right to your PC for consumption at your own rate. Although Twitch Leecher is widely-regarded as safe and effective, for this article I tested the program by downloading a version of Bethesda’s E3 conference in 2018, where they showed off Fallout 76, and announced Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI with teasers for each. After downloading and installing Twitch Leecher (quick and easy), I just entered the video ID of the video I wanted to download.
Click “Search” and after a few seconds, the video is right there for me to download. All I have to do is click the “Download” button and Twitch Leecher starts grabbing my video.
After I click “download”, an options menu appears offering some choices of video quality (from the native format all the way down to 284 x 160 for the truly bandwidth-constrained), a choice of where to download the file, the filename, and options to crop the video and only download a certain portion of it.
The time to download will depend on how busy the Twitch site is as well as your computer and Internet connection speed, but most users report pretty good download speeds from the service.
You can also download clips with Twitch Leecher, although the Clipr interface is a bit easier and quicker for doing single one-off downloads.
So whether you just need download a quick clip from your favorite streamer, or you need to grab those eighteen-hour playthroughs for the long weekend without an Internet connection, these tools will give you what you need to download content from Twitch. I’d love to see Amazon offer a native download function for Prime subscribers, but until that happens, these tools will get the job done. Don’t let Twitch’s restrictions and lack of easy downloading get in the way of you having a great time watching your favorite games. Whether you’re into Fortnite, League of Legends, Overwatch, God of War or Dark Souls Remastered, it’s easy to take your favorite gameplay videos with you wherever you go.
Do you have any suggestions or techniques for downloading Twitch clips and videos? Please share them with us in the comments section if you do!