4 min read

March 18, 2022

How to Record a Live Stream for Free

If you're looking to start a live stream, or are curious about the process, we'll go over how to record a live stream for free using software that is available to everyone.

If you’re a content creator, there’s a good chance you’ve considered streaming live video at some point. Live streaming can be a great way to connect with your audience in real-time and build up your following. Plus, it’s easier than ever to get started — all you need is a webcam and an internet connection.

But what if you want to record your live stream so you can share it later or repurpose the content? Fortunately, there are ways to record a live stream for free. We’ll show you how to do just that in this blog post. Keep reading to learn more!

Record a Live Stream via Streaming Software

One of the easiest ways to record a live stream is to use streaming software. If you’re not familiar, streaming software broadcasts a live video signal from your computer. Almost all of these streaming programs will have the ability to record your stream as you broadcast it. Below is a list of some of our favorite programs and the pros of each one.

  1. Streamlabs Desktop: Streamlabs Desktop is an easy-to-use broadcasting software built on top of the core OBS engine. It comes with a few extra features that make it ideal for recording live streams. Streamlabs Desktop comes built with a video editor called Highlighter. It lets you use hotkeys to clip highlights of your stream quickly and will save them in the software. You can organize the clips, add transitions, and upload them directly to YouTube. Streamlabs also comes with Selective Recording, which lets you picks which sources appear in a recorded video. This is ideal if you have alerts that you want to appear on the screen when you are live but may not necessarily want them in your recording later.
  2. OBS Studio: OBS Studio is a robust open-source streaming and recording software that is free to use. It has many features and can be customized to fit your needs. It may be a little bit tricky to set up, so you may need to do some research before getting started. But once you have it set up, OBS Studio is an excellent tool for live recording streams. Plus, upon downloading and opening the program for the first time, you can specify if you plan to only record with it, which will make some adjustments to the settings to optimize recording quality.
  3. XSplit Broadcaster: XSplit Broadcaster is a paid streaming software that offers many features for its price tag. It’s relatively easy to use and has a lot of customization options. One downside is that some functionality may be limited behind a paywall, so definitely check it out and see if it’s for you.
  4. Nvidia Shadow Play: NVIDIA Shadow Play allows you to capture and record your screen. With a hotkey, you can record up to 20 minutes of gaming. Your GPU must be in the 600 series or higher to use this feature. While there aren’t as many customizable options as Streamlabs or OBS, if you’re looking for a straightforward tool to capture content quickly and easily, you might consider this one.
  5. Gamecaster: Gamecaster performs most of the setup for you, which is terrific for beginning streamers, but there are some limitations. The good news is that you can choose whether you want to record or stream content, and it will guide you through the setup procedure. A few recording settings are absent in alternative streaming tools like OBS and Streamlabs, but for a good combination of quality and ease-of-use, Gamecaster is a solid choice.

Live Stream Recording via Built-In Screen Capture Tools

Different computer operating systems have specific built-in screen recording tools. If you have Windows or macOS, you can easily capture live streams on your computer for free.

For Windows users, you can easily record your live stream with the following steps:

  1. On your keyboard, press Win + G to open the recording tool.
  2. Adjust the settings if necessary or if prompted
  3. Click on Start Recording to begin capturing your video.
  4. Click on the Record button appearing on the floating bar to stop recording.
  5. A pop-up notification will appear telling you that your video recording was successful. Click on it to go to where your computer saved the video.

Note: The Windows screen capture tool includes the Game Bar, a feature that captures gameplay. Therefore, make sure the Game Bar is disabled before you begin to record. Also, if you previously uninstalled the Xbox app, re-install it first.

For macOS:

  1. Press the Shift+ Command+ 5 combinations to open the recording tool
  2. Select the area on the screen you want to capture using the control panel at the bottom, or choose to record the entire screen
  3. On the Options menu, select where you want to save the recording
  4. Click on Capture to start recording
  5. Click on the Shift+ Command+ 5 combinations again and choose Stop Recording

Summing it up

Typically, whether you use a built-in screen recorder or streaming software, the process tends to be similar. You start by identifying the ideal capture tool depending on your situation. If you want a device with editing abilities or other functions, find streaming software or decide on the built-in recorder that serves you better.

Once you have identified your ideal tool, you can start familiarizing yourself with the various settings and make adjustments where necessary. 

Finally, hit the record button to start. You can pause and resume as you wish or even adjust audio settings. Once you finish recording, click the stop button if visible, or press the command buttons described earlier.

However, it’s essential to deactivate functions like screen savers that may interrupt recording if they start running. Also, if you’ve set your PC to sleep after some inactivity, make sure it will not go to sleep before your live stream recording is complete.

If you are looking to record a live stream from your channel or an inspiring podcast for free, it all narrows down to the above options.

Get Streamlabs Desktop — go live in minutes!

google play store

Free Windows 240MB
Free macOS 10.14+ 309MB

Turn your passion into a profession!

Open Streamlabs University

Further reading