When Twitch deletes your VOD and chatlog
There are five kinds of Twitch video:
- Premieres, formerly Uploads
- Reruns, formerly Uploads and VODcasts
And VODcasts can combine and schedule 2, 4, and 5. Be sure to check out Collections, too, especially once you rack up a few permanent videos. You can also link to collections akin to YouTube playlists, but the UI is pretty terrible so I’d advise against it.
Update Jan 19, 2018: Premieres and Reruns, managed by Video Producer, are now available as more specific Uploads and VODcasts. VODcasts seem to have been replaced by the Video Producer feature that This page will be updated or rewritten to reflect this later. Right now, I’m going to wait a bit to make sure it remains the way it is now since a fair number of streamers aren’t happy with it.
New flow for the new Video Producer seems to be to re-do Past Broadcasts as Reruns after each stream to ensure the Broadcast is archived permanently.— Cygnatus (@cygnatus) January 19, 2018
Means multi-timezone viewings, but this will also happen at the expense of hosts which benefit smaller, non-partnered streamers.
I am working on a draft for a Video Producer guide.
This too shall pass
August 6, 2014, Twitch announced they would start purging VODs after a given period of time. The Highlights feature already existed.
May 26, 2016, Twitch announced the Clips feature.
October 3, 2016, Twitch announced the Uploads feature.
One day, I noticed that some of my—and the community’s—favourite Clips no longer had a chat replay next to the video of the “classic” moment. It turns out that when a Twitch VOD is deleted, the chatlog not just for the VOD, but also all related Clips from it, disappear as well.
As always, Twitch suck at explaining things, and when your most important moments and content disappear as a result, you need to figure things out yourself.
This is how the video types compare:
|Video type||Video expiration||Chat expiration||Transcode|
|VODs||14/60 days||14/60 days||During stream|
|Clips||None||14/60 days||During stream|
|Uploads||None||Not supported||On upload|
VODs, Highlights, and Uploads can be clipped and used in VODcasts.
VODs and Uploads support custom thumbnails.
Older, bigger broadcasters like LIRIK got grandfathered in so their VODs don’t get deleted automatically. As a result, neither do the chatlogs.
Some of the things to infer from the table:
- Highlights is the only feature that preserves video with chatlog
- Showing chat on stream is a good, simple way to preserve chat across different kinds of video
- Just don’t show all the bots that can clutter things
- Uploading a video re-transcodes it, which can be useful if Twitch’s transcoding improves in different ways
- Especially if you have the raw recordings
- There’s always YouTube and local backup
Clips vs Highlights
What is even the point of some of these video types? Here’s one way to look at them.
- max length of 1m
- specific purpose
- shareable (and better embed support)
- available to everyone
- featured in the Clips section
- chat disappears
- no max length
- no specific purpose
- available to editors only
- featured in the Videos section
Clips give people an idea of what viewers like about the stream; Highlights give people an idea of what you like about the stream.
A chat caveat
When do people comment on your channel? During streams and for uploads, sure, but you’re forgetting something.
What about when you’re offline? What about when you’re hosting someone?
I don’t think Twitch exposes logs for your chat during downtime, so you’ll basically need to have a bot run and save a log all the time.
Just remember the gaps between your livestreams and uploads and how this matters, if logging chat during those times is important.
And what does this mean for moderation?
This is exhausting
Yes. Yes it is. Here are the main things to consider in light of all this:
- Do I need to back up all VODs and chatlogs?
- Do I need chatlogs for when I wasn’t streaming?
- Should I save a recording while streaming with OBS?
- Where would I store all the data?
- Is it a problem if parts of my VODs get muted?
- Do I need the chatlogs for my videos?
- Should I start showing chat directly on the stream?
- Good: keeps your chat with little effort
- Bad: some dumb comments will eventually appear
- Bad: sucks for VODcasts which have their own chat
- Bad: Not searchable
- LogViewer and other third-party chat loggers can help
- Should I start showing chat directly on the stream?
- Which of my videos do my followers people watch when I’m offline?
- What videos should people see when they come to my Videos section?
- What, if anything, should I do with YouTube?
- Build a cross-platform audience?
- Make money?
- Upload something different? Reviews, commentary, high-quality?
- Back up Twitch videos, or double dip and gain more views and money?
There’s no right answer to all these questions.
The most important thing you need to know is what will disappear from your stream and when.
From its “discovery tips”:
Scheduling: Keep your viewers engaged when you are not able to broadcast, such as during a convention, a holiday or other life event. If you are not broadcasting, you still can have fresh content for your followers by using the scheduling tool to plan when your content goes live. Downloads: You can also download your content previously uploaded to other platforms and upload it to your Twitch channel, making it easier for your Twitch viewers to find more of your content in one place.
Tags: Your uploaded videos can be discovered in the search function so make sure that you include good keywords which can help in surfacing your videos to interested new viewers. The search function also works for mobile viewers so your opportunity to be discovered via search is maximized. Tags should accurately describe the content of your video and are subject to the Twitch Terms of Service and Community Guidelines.
Analytics: You can see analytics of each upload on the Stats tab of your dashboard. Check in with these to see which of your uploads do best and learn to better hone your content! The following video-specific analytics are available: # of views, minutes watched, new subscriptions/new followers, average view duration, platform, source of traffic. Use these to also notice what your core demographic is watching your content on, and how long each video is watched for, as well as other helpful statistics.
“How to Back Up Your Computer” by The Wirecutter