How to Convert a Video to GIF [PC, Mac, App & Online]
Have you ever sent a video to a friend, only to have them complain that it’s too long and they don’t have time to watch it? If so, learning how to turn video clips into short, animated GIFs may come in handy.
GIFs allow you to highlight your favorite moments of a movie, TV show, or YouTube video so that the recipient doesn’t need to sit through the entire video. These animated images also provide the perfect opportunity to share memories with friends and family members in an easily viewable, convenient format.
If you’re looking to convert a video to GIF format, you may be a little intimidated by the process. Thankfully, there are several easy, free ways to turn a video into a GIF using your desktop computer or mobile device.
Read on to learn how to convert a video to GIF format using the easiest methods available.
- What is a GIF?
- How to Create a GIF From Video on Windows and Mac
- How to Turn a Video Into a GIF on iPhone, iPad, and Android
- How to Change a Video Into a GIF With an Online Converter
- Best Video to GIF Software Free Download
- Video to Animated GIF FAQs
- How Do I Make a GIF From a YouTube Video?
- Can I Convert a GIF to Video?
- What Is the Best GIF Maker?
- Can I Convert a Photo Into a GIF?
- What Features Should I Look For in a GIF Converter?
- What Is the Best Frame Rate for a GIF?
- What Is the Best Aspect Ratio for a GIF?
What is a GIF?
Graphic interchange format, or GIF, is a type of image file format that supports both animated and static images. Typically, when you hear someone mention a “GIF,” they’re talking about a silent animation in a GIF file format.
GIFs include several features that differentiate them from videos and images. These distinguishable features include:
- No sound: GIF files are completely silent. As a result, many people add captions to help viewers understand the GIF’s context.
- Two hundred fifty-six (256) colors: Most GIFs are 8-bit graphics, which means each pixel within the GIF is 8 bits, or 1 byte. This means that the most colors a GIF can display at one time is 256, or 28. Because GIFs cannot use the vast selection of colors that traditional videos do, they often appear to be duller and of lower quality.
- Low frame rate: GIFs typically have a frame rate between 15 and 24 frames per second (fps), which is slightly lower than that of traditional videos. As a result, GIFs look a little jumpier than videos.
- Loop: GIFs play on a loop, and you cannot pause or rewind these animations.
How to Create a GIF From Video on Windows and Mac
You can use several methods to convert a video into a GIF on your desktop computer. However, the easiest and most efficient way to do this is through an editing program. This option gives you more control over your conversion than a free online editor would, enabling you to produce a high-quality, impressive GIF from your video.
You can find a wide range of editing programs that allow for video-to-GIF conversions, but PhotoDirector is undoubtedly your best choice. This image editing software comes with a range of professional-level tools and features and enables you to convert videos to GIFs in a few quick and easy steps.
PhotoDirector’s video-to-photo tool streamlines the GIF creation process. You can follow these steps to master the video-to-photo effect and turn any video into a short, convenient GIF:
- Open PhotoDirector.
- Click “File” in the top left corner and select “Import” and “Video-to-Photo.”
- Choose the video you would like to convert to a GIF.
- Select “Create Animated GIF File” in the video-to-photo editor.
- Select the frames of your video you would like to capture within your animated GIF. You can select these frames manually by clicking the camera icon. However, we recommend choosing “Auto Capture” to let PhotoDirector do the work for you.
- After clicking “Auto Capture,” specify how many frames you would like your GIF to include.
- Click “Go to Library” to navigate back to your PhotoDirector library. You will now see the photos you captured from your video in the sequence in which they will appear within your animated GIF.
- Adjust the “frames per second” value to reflect your desired GIF speed. Keep in mind that a higher rate creates a smoother finished product, but it also produces a larger file size.
- Preview your GIF in the PhotoDirector preview window.
- Once you’re happy with your GIF, click “Save as” to export your file as a GIF.
You should now have a high-quality GIF that plays your desired portion of the video in a loop. You can share this GIF on social media, send it in a text message, or save it to your phone’s camera roll to keep for later.
Turning Videos Into Photos
Along with allowing you to turn videos into GIFs, the PhotoDirector video-to-photo tools also let you capture specific video frames and edit them using the program’s photo editing tools.
For example, let’s say you want to highlight the exact moment your favorite athlete scored the winning shot. You can import the clip of this moment into PhotoDirector, use the video-to-photo tools to capture the winning frame as an image, and save the file as a JPEG or other photo format.
Once you have your JPEG, you can use PhotoDirector’s editing suite to enhance the image and apply fun effects to make the photo pop. For example, you can add color effects to brighten the image or improve the contrast, add text and titles, and even remove unwanted objects or people from the background.
Turning Photos Into GIFs
You can also use PhotoDirector to turn images into photo animations that you can then export as GIFs. PhotoDirector allows you to add curved or straight motion arrows to your photo and then create an animated ripple effect within your designated area to bring certain aspects of your image to life.
Let’s think back to the example above in which you captured your athlete’s winning goal as an image. You can now animate part of this image to represent the motion of the ball soaring into the net. Adding a straight motion arrow from the ball to the goal will automatically bring this portion of the image to life while keeping the rest of the photo static.
You can find this motion effect under the “Guided” tab in the PhotoDirector editor. We recommend trying out this effect in several portions of your image to determine the most eye-catching placement. Once you’ve applied the perfect motion effect, simply export your image in the GIF file format to maintain the animation.
PhotoDirector’s wide selection of GIF and animation tools allows you to do much more than simply convert a video into a GIF. Download PhotoDirector today to try out these impressive features for yourself and add creative effects to your favorite shots.
How to Turn a Video Into a GIF on iPhone, iPad, and Android
The above method is the most effective way to turn a video into a high-quality GIF. However, if you don’t have access to a laptop or desktop device, don’t fret — you can also convert a video to GIF on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device.
If you want to create a GIF from a video on your mobile device, you’ll need to download an app. We recommend using the ImgPlay app. This app is free to download, is relatively user-friendly, and allows you to achieve several animation and GIF effects right from your smartphone or tablet.
Here’s how to turn a video into a GIF with ImgPlay:
- Download ImgPlay: You can find the ImgPlay app in the Apple and Android app stores.
- Import your video into the app: Once you open the ImgPlay app, you’ll see an “Import” icon in the bottom left corner of the screen. You can import videos in MP4, MOV, and M4V formats. Be sure to save the video to your camera roll before starting this process so you can easily upload it into the ImgPlay app.
- Select the video in the ImgPlay library: Next, you’ll want to start a new editing project with the video you just uploaded. Double-click on the video within the ImgPlay library, and navigate to the editor.
- Crop the video (optional): If you’d like your GIF to be shorter than the existing video, you’ll need to crop or trim it in the ImgPlay editor. You can do this by dragging the edges of the yellow bar on the timeline to represent your desired selection. You can also adjust the frame rate to make your GIF slower or faster.
- Export the video as a GIF: Once you open the video in the editor, you can export it as a GIF file. Just click “Share and Save” and then “Save to Photos.” You’ll see the option to save your project as a GIF or video and specify your video’s quality.
Exporting your GIF from the ImgPlay app will send it to your camera roll. You can now share it with your friends and family through text messages or your favorite social media platform.
Unfortunately, ImgPlay does not include many advanced editing tools and features that you would find on a more versatile program, such as PhotoDirector. However, PhotoDirector does have an app version you can download for free. It can’t convert videos to animated GIFs but it does have a lot of advanced features for creating photo effects and animations. It is available on both the Apple App and Google Play
How to Change a Video Into a GIF With an Online Converter
If you simply want to change a video file into a GIF file without any bells and whistles, using an online converter tool may be your easiest option. Online converters allow you to upload a video file, click a few buttons, and immediately convert it into your desired file type. While these tools don’t include many editing features or effects, they do leave you with a relatively clean GIF file.
Our favorite GIF converter tool is EZGIF.com. This website allows you to convert GIFs to videos, videos to GIFs, videos to images, and more. Here are the steps you can follow to convert an MP4 to a GIF:
- Head to the EZGIF.com website and click the “Video to GIF” tab.
- Upload the video file from your computer or paste the video URL into the text box.
- Specify the start and end times for your GIF. If you do not select these times, EZGIF will automatically capture the first five seconds of your video.
- Click “Upload video!”
- Wait a few seconds for the GIF to appear below the converter window.
- Use the site’s crop, resize, and optimization tools to adjust your GIF file size and dimensions.
If your video is a MOV file instead of an MP4 file, you can also convert MOV to GIF using the EZGIF tool.
Once you finish creating your GIF with EZGIF, you can save it to your computer and upload it to your social media page.
Best Video to GIF Software Free Download
Creating a GIF from a full-length video is a fun way to share your favorite video clips with others. While GIFs do not boast the same quality and specifications as a typical video, their convenient nature makes them popular across social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
You can convert a video to a GIF using several methods and devices. However, the overall best way to make a GIF from a video is with PhotoDirector for Windows and Mac. This user-friendly, versatile program makes it easy to create GIFs and photos from videos and edit them using advanced tools and effects.
While you can also create GIFs from videos with mobile apps or an online conversion tool, these methods do not produce as clean, high-quality GIFs as you can achieve with PhotoDirector. Because PhotoDirector breaks down your GIF frame-by-frame, you can create a seamless, smooth finished GIF using this program.
Download PhotoDirector for free today to begin turning your favorite videos into GIFs and gain access to all the fun features PhotoDirector has to offer.
Video to Animated GIF FAQs
1. How Do I Make a GIF From a YouTube Video?
If you’d like to turn your favorite clips from a YouTube video into a GIF, there’s good news — the process is quick and easy. First, you’ll need to download your YouTube video to your computer using an online downloader. We recommend saving the video as an MP4 file to maintain its specs on your device.
Once you have the video on your computer, you can follow the steps above to convert the MP4 to a GIF using PhotoDirector.
2. Can I Convert a GIF to Video?
You can also convert a GIF to a video using a desktop program or mobile app. We recommend using PowerDirector, as this program takes most of the work out of converting your GIF. You can check out our recent How to Convert a GIF to Video article for step-by-step instructions.
3. What Is the Best GIF Maker?
The best GIF Makers on iPhone and Android are:
- ImgPlay – GIF Maker
- GIF Toaster
The best GIF Makers on Windows and Mac are:
- PhotoDirector 365
For an in-depth look at each of these apps check out our Best GIF Makers article where we also discuss the best online GIF Makers.
4. Can I Convert a Photo Into a GIF?
Yes, you can convert a photo into an animated GIF using PhotoDirector’s animation tools. These tools allow you to add movement to any image, making it look like a portion of the photo has come to life.
You can follow these easy steps to achieve these animation effects within your photos:
- Open PhotoDirector.
- Head to the library and select the photo you would like to animate.
- Click the “Guided” tab at the top of the PhotoDirector window.
- Select the “Animation Effects” tab and choose “Photo Animation.”
- Add a motion arrow in your desired position. Be sure that the tip of this arrow is facing the direction you would like the motion to travel.
For more detailed instructions about these animation effects, check out our How to Convert Image to GIF article.
5. What Features Should I Look For in a GIF Converter?
The best GIF converter programs do more than simply turn your MP4 or MOV file into a GIF file. These programs also provide all the editing tools and features you need to edit your GIF and create professional-level projects from home.
We recommend looking for the following features in a GIF converter program:
- Photo animation tools
- A straightforward, user-friendly interface
- Crop, resize, and trim tools
- Video-to-photo features
- Artificial intelligence effects
- A range of compatible file types
We’ll save you the trouble of looking for a program that includes these features. PhotoDirector features all the editing tools and effects you need and then some to create a high-quality GIF from a video.
6. What Is the Best Frame Rate for a GIF?
The appropriate frame rate for your GIF depends on the speed of the motion within your animation. If your GIF features fast movement, you’ll want a high frame rate close to 20 or 25 fps. If your action is slow-moving, 10 or 15 fps may suffice. We recommend starting at 15 and adjusting your speed as needed.
7. What Is the Best Aspect Ratio for a GIF?
The most versatile aspect ratio to save your GIF in is a 2:1 aspect ratio, which equals 1200 pixels wide by 600 pixels high. Now that you know how to convert a video to GIF with PhotoDirector, you can have greater control over your aspect ratio to best suit your GIF’s file destination and quality.