Explore: Basic giffing tools that you can play with
Here on the Utterly Content blog, we’ll be chatting about some tools that you can use to create interesting content. This week: We get stuck into gifs and a few ways to make them.
When words simply don’t feel enough, say it with a gif.
While the history of these short looping videos goes back a way, they’ve been used more frequently in recent years as a means of communicating ideas and emotions through visuals. Is your friend planning a great party? Has someone said something utterly bewildering? House burned down? Sometimes a short burst of animation expresses it best.
(Okay, maybe not that last one)
Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have recognised the popularity recently, allowing users to upload gifs so that they automatically load on people’s timelines.
And they’re not just for informal conversation. Organisations such as Harvard are using gifs to showcase their content because they can share quick highlights direct to people’s feeds without asking them to wade through an entire video. It catches people’s attention more easily and adds a bit of dynamism to a text-heavy blogpost.
So how do you make your own? Here are a few options:
OPTION 1: USE AN ONLINE GIF-MAKER
If you’re really hooked on the idea of making a gif, you can put one together using Photoshop. But some people just want to dive in and chuck something out before lunch, or before the conversation moves onto something else.
These two have a huge archive of gifs for nearly any occasion, and allow you to chop up your own videos, or even your favourite YouTube clips.
The interface itself is simple. Copy and paste the youtube link of your choice into the search box, and it’ll automatically load the video up in the window below. From there, you can drag across the green progress bar to pick out your start time, and increase or decrease your running time to catch the perfect moment.
From there, you can save the gif to Imgur or Giphy itself, or download it to put on your own website. Remember, it needs to be uploaded to a site to animate properly.
NOTE: You’re unlikely to be sued for re-posting a gif from a movie, but be aware that copyright does exist. Our sister company Pickle Jar Communications has written up a blog post on sharing content which covers some of this.
OPTION 2: SCREENGRAB VIDEOS WITH GIFGRABBER
We’ve talked a little bit about creating gifs from completed videos, but what about events that are still happening?
While Gifgrabber is perfectly fine for capturing videos that are done and dusted, it’s also handy for providing snippets of live events. Why would this be useful? Say you’re livestreaming an event, and want people to tune in. Instead of sharing the same link to your coverage 20 times, you could create gifs of the highlights that have already happened and encourage your followers to tune in for more.
To do this, simply position Gifgrabber’s green selection window over the video, shrink or expand it to the size you need, and press the “Start Capture” button. When you’re done, press the button again. and then the adjust the dimensions on the Gif Viewer.
NOTE: With stuff like this – which require you to switch the recording on and off – it’s always worth adding a buffer of a few seconds before and after your recording, so that your action isn’t ruined by a distracting cursor sweeping across the screen to click “off”.
OPTION 3: EDIT YOUR VIDEOS WITH GIF BREWERY
I’ve recommended Gifrocket in the past, as it’s a great drag-and-drop app for people wanting to create gifs on the Mac. Opening the app reveals a colourful box and then it’s just a case of dragging your movie file in, waiting for the churning to finish, and picking up a gif of the file when it’s done. Easy.
Of course, sometimes you want to be a bit more precise with which bits of your video you share. In those cases, I’ve found Gif Brewery to be a nice and simple option.
Once you’ve loaded your gif into the window, you can adjust the speed, drag your markers around the timeline bar to pick out your desired chunk, and adjust the speed by changing the “Frame Delay” in the “Gif Properties” menu. Oh, and you can also crop the video, and add a text caption.
It’s pretty user-friendly stuff, as you can see from the gif below. Yes, we’ve been giffing videos of us creating gifs from videos.
NOTE: Remember to keep your gif as short as possible, it keeps the file size down so that it’s easier to share on some platforms. And…y’know…modern day attention span and all that.
Once you’ve completed that process, you’ve got a gif that you can use to show highlights of your new video, or just share with friends and family.
Have a go with these and see how you get on. Good luck…