How To Download Clips from Twitch
While YouTube might be the biggest destination for online video (not to mention one of the web’s largest social networks), Twitch is the big name in town when you’re looking for live streaming content. Sure, YouTube Live is an offering, but no streaming service has grown as large as Twitch in such a short amount of time. Twitch was introduced nearly seven years ago, in July of 2011, as a gaming-focused spin-off of Justin.tv, a then-popular live streaming service. As game streams grew quickly, Justin.tv continued to focus more on Twitch, and eventually made Twitch the primary product of its company, shutting down Justin.tv for good. Just a couple of weeks after Twitch shut down Justin.tv, Amazon purchased Twitch for nearly a billion dollars. In the four years since that purchase, the service has grown astronomically.
Twitch isn’t just for games, even if it might seem like it from the front page of the website. Instead, Twitch has slowly expanded its reach to include content like music streams, radio shows, podcasts, along with its two major non-gaming categories: Creative, which focuses primarily on showing the creation of artwork and other projects. You can use this category to explore the works of painters, sculptors, editors, and anything else that requires a specific amount of training in creation and exploration. It wasn’t until the IRL category was added in May of 2017 that Twitch began allowing full support for content outside of gaming. IRL (or In Real Life) allows users to show themselves doing anything, from eating food to just chatting with fans.
The amount of content available on Twitch basically guarantees that a number of people are going to want to watch something from the service, be it gaming, podcasts, or just your favorite Twitch personalities that you’re looking to take on the go. Unlike a service like YouTube, which allows you to download videos officially by signing up for a YouTube Premium account, Twitch doesn’t have options to take your favorite videos and clips offline. That said, it’s definitely possible to save clips and videos for offline consumption—you just have to know how to do it. Let’s take a deep dive into what Twitch clips are, how downloading Twitch clips is possible, and how you can take full-length clips and videos offline.
The Difference Between Clips and Videos
Unlike YouTube, there are some pretty significant differences between a video and a clip. While full-length on-demand videos do exist, not all Twitch streams are saved automatically. Streamers have to enable the ability for their streams to be archived; it’s not automatically enabled by default. Once you or your favorite streamer has enabled the ability to save their streams to their own channel, there are still limits on how that content is saved. While YouTube might hold onto the content for an infinite amount of time following a live stream or a video upload, Twitch puts some limits on how clips are saved to the website. Once you or another user has enabled auto-archiving on their videos, their videos will appear saved on their page for 14-days for regular streamers. If you have Amazon Prime, you can upgrade to Twitch Prime to gain access to 60-day archives; alternatively, if you’ve been made a Twitch Partner, your streams will also archive for sixty days.
Highlights are different from videos. If a highlight is saved to your account, it lasts forever, as opposed to just for the 14 or 60 days on standard accounts. That said, highlights are much longer than a clip, often taking up full videos at a time. Meanwhile, clips are only up to sixty seconds long, typically ranging from 30 to 60 seconds depending on how the content was edited. While highlights are made by the creator or specifically chosen editors, but clips can be made by anyone looking to save content to their own page. Clips from other streamers that you create save directly to your own account inside your clips manager, which allows you to save content right to your own page.
Overall, archived videos on Twitch are a bit confusing. Between videos, highlights, and clips, there are three distinct tiers of content saved to a streamer’s (or your) page. This might make things a bit confusing, but at its core, the goal is the same. You want to save content right to your computer, phone, or tablet to watch without an internet connection. Let’s talk about saving clips and saving videos right to the device of your choice.
Downloading Clips from Twitch
Let’s start with the basics. If you’ve found a clip that you think is worth saving offline—whether it’s an epic juke in League of Legends, a last-second goal in Rocket League, or the final shot of the game in Fortnite, there’s no shortage of reasons why you might want to save content to your account and to save it offline. Creating a clip from your own content, or the content of your favorite streamer, is easy, completed right within the actual video player on the platform. Once you’ve saved a clip right to your own account, you can start saving the clip right to your desktop.
Twitch used to allow for clips to be downloaded right from the video player in Firefox and Chrome, simply by right-clicking on the video and selecting the “Save Video As…” prompt in the context menu. Unfortunately, a recent change in May of 2018 to the Twitch platform caused clips to become no-longer downloadable. According to developers on the Clips team at Twitch, this change was unintentional, and potentially, download buttons for video creators and streamers on Twitch will come back to allow creators to save clips to their computers for archiving and playback. The post that detailed these upcoming changes noted they wanted streamers to have more control over their content, so don’t expect the download button to go site-wide anytime soon. That said, there is a way around downloading clips without the old “Save Video As…” prompt command, and strangely enough, it involves using AdBlock Plus, uBlock Origin, or any other ad blocker on your computer.
We tested it using Chrome and uBlock Origin, but the original instructions use AdBlock Plus, showing the flexibility and the ease of use involved with this system. To start, save a clip you want to download to your own account, or find the clip on someone else’s clips page. This only works with clips, so make sure that the segment you’re downloading are sixty seconds in length or shorter. Theoretically you can download multiple clips of moments next to each other in a video to edit them together and create a longer video, but that takes a serious time commitment and a lot of work. It’s best to use this method for clips only; for longer videos, we have a guide below.
Start by opening your ad blocker’s settings on your device by right-clicking on the icon in your browser and selection options. This will open a tab for your blocker right inside your browser, where you can edit or save settings at will. Find the “My Filters” setting in your ad blocker. For uBlock Origin users, it’s the “My Filters” tab; for AdBlock Plus users, it’s under the advanced menu options. You’ll then need to create two custom filters for two separate links at Twitch.
Once you’re in the custom filters tab, copy and paste both of these links into your blocker’s filters editor:
Apply your changes and leave the settings page. Refresh Twitch and find the clip you want to download, either from your own clips manager or from the actual streamer’s page. Any time you find a clip, you can now right-click the clip inside the video player to select “Save Video As…” This will download the video to your computer as an mp4 file, playable in almost any video player app and on almost any device, be it Android, iOS, Windows 10, or MacOS. These clips download at their full resolutions, and look great for playback, editing, and uploading.
Again, if you try to do this on a video that isn’t a clip, you’ll run into issues performing the task, so make sure to stick only with proper clips and not the actual videos, highlights, and archives that can be multiple hours long.
Downloading Full Videos from Twitch
Okay, so while saving clips might not be too difficult for most to accomplish right from their desktop browser, you’ll have to turn to a third-party tool to download full archived streams to your computer for offline playback. Because of the length of Twitch streams (often three to six hours long, depending on the streamer) Twitch streams are perfect and ideal for road trips, vacations where you might not have internet connections, long and international plane trips, and anything else where you’re in need for long video streams. Whether you’re looking to save some Fortnite gameplay or you want to take Games Done Quick speedruns on the go, downloading archived videos from Twitch seems like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, there’s no official way to do it just yet.
And that’s why it’s worth turning to an unofficial stream method, the best way to save your videos right to your device without having to worry about them disappearing or using up all your mobile data on playing back a stream. Twitch Leecher is designed as a method for downloading the content you need without having to rely on shady downloader tools that take forever, no matter how fast or unlimited your internet actually is. It’s a tool available for download on Github, the internet’s favorite place for distributing tools that make your life a whole lot easier.
First things first: you’ll need a Windows computer to use Twitch Leecher. It isn’t available for MacOS as of writing, and frankly, we aren’t sure if this style of program will arrive on MacOS anyway. Once you have the program, it’s actually really easy to download streams right to your PC for consumption at your own rate. Twitch Leecher is a neat program. While programs like FFMPEG can be used to download Twitch streams, the developers of Twitch Leecher decided the program was too slow for general consumption, so instead, they sped up the program by building Twitch Leecher, which downloads all the clips in individual chunks and uses FFMPEG to stitch them back together. Since its on Github, you can review the source code before downloading the program if you wish, but rest assured that Twitch Leecher comes highly reviewed and recommended by both regular users and sites like Lifehacker—not to mention yours truly.
To test it out, we went to Bethesda’s Twitch page in order to download their recent E3 2018 press conference, where they showed off Fallout 76, and announced Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI with teasers for each. We installed the application to our Windows computer and opened the program, revealing a pleasant and well-crafted user interface that is surprisingly solid for a tool that doesn’t need to put an emphasis on design. Along the top of the app, you’ll find options to search and view current downloads, as well as an option to link your Twitch account to download sub-only videos if you so please. You don’t need to add your Twitch account to the program if you don’t want to download sub-only content, so if you feel risky doing so, you can ignore that option easily.
There’s also a preferences menu with several options worth looking into, including the ability to auto-download content from your favorite channels, to change your downloads folder, and to set your default video player. You can also find a donation button in the top corner of the app, but it’s by no means a must-donate application. To start downloading, you simply select the “Search” option, which allows you to open a video you want to download with a few distinct choices. You can enter the channel name, post a URL, or paste a video ID from a URL to begin batch downloading. Each of these has their own pros and cons. Video IDs allow you to quickly add a number of videos without having to repeatedly use the URL function, while URLs also have a similar function. Channel searches allow you to find the correct videos you wish to download by adding search tools like dates and number of videos, which both URLs and video IDs lack.
Entering Bethesda into the search box within the app and searching for videos from the last 10 days brought up the E3 2018 stream without an issue. With that page in our search results, it was easy to select it and add it to our download queue immediately. Twitch Leecher allows you to automatically search for videos, highlights, and uploads, all of which make it easy to parse through a popular stream’s content to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Clicking on the download button on the video link led us to a final settings page, which allows for custom video starts and ends in order to keep your file size manageable. The full stream for the Bethesda E3 conference was a full three hours, but the actual conference was half that length. By using the proper timecodes, you’re able to download just the right segment of the show to your computer, keeping things slim and secure and easy to take on a phone or tablet. You can also change the quality of the download, though it defaults to what most gamers and video content fans will be looking for in their streams: 1080p at 60fps (so long as the stream was originally produced at that level).
Once you add the stream, you’ll begin to see the content download to your device. It’s surprising how fast the video actually downloads; though we were downloading a 1:40:00 clip, that video length is actually pretty short compared to many Twitch streams. Within 30 seconds, we were up to seven percent complete, and since you can add multiple streams to your queue at once, it’s easy to download a massive amount of content in no time. Videos download in .mp4 format, just like clips above, which means it’s easy to save and transfer to any device, be it a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone for playback.
When the video has finished downloading, Twitch Leecher will convert your file to a viewable format and finish up by moving your file to your destination folder, making it easy for you to view the full file without any issues. If you have an error message, make sure to check the download log to discover what the problem is with a given video file.
Obviously you can use this for clips as well; basically any video on Twitch can be downloaded easily and quickly through Twitch Leecher, making it the perfect utility for any fan of gaming and streaming in general. Twitch Leecher is updated regularly. It’s currently on version 1.5.2, released only a day before we prepared this article for publishing, making it an easy and obvious choice for offline playback. While it isn’t quite as easy as the method used to download clips, it’s easy to see how downloading full streams is much more helpful than downloading just thirty to sixty seconds for offline playback.
Whether you’re looking to download small clips of your favorite streamers, or you want to save full six-hour streams for offline playback wherever you go, it’s pretty easy to download content from Twitch. While we’d love to see an official offline playback and download option for Twitch Prime users added sometime in the future, as long as you have a Windows PC lying around your house, it’s easier than ever to save Twitch streams right to your PC once they’ve been put online. This also makes it easy to help save streams from your favorite livecasters before their 14 or 60-day archives disappear for good.
So the next time you want to watch your favorite streamers offline in your own spare time, 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 played. Whether you’re into Fortnite, League of Legends, Overwatch, or single-player experiences like God of War and Dark Souls Remastered, it’s easy to take your favorite gameplay videos with you wherever you go.