Thanks to the popularity of digital camcorders and numerous video on-demand services like YouTube and Hulu, almost all internet users have dozens of video clips on their hard drives. There are many free YouTube downloading and video conversion utilities, with the assistance of them it’s easy as pie to download your favorite videos from the web and convert them to the corresponding digital video or audio format for your portable devices like iPhone, iPad, etc.
If, however, you’d prefer to create an animated gif file from the downloaded file, so that you can post it easily to your FaceBook page, personal blog, or use it as your signature on a forum, you will find that most video to gif conversion applications are not free, there are some online video to gif converters, such as gifsoup.com and gifninja.com, but they are lowly customizable. Adobe Photoshop users can import a video in mov format and save it as gif file, but Adobe Photoshop CS5 will cost you $670.00 to buy.
If you are looking for a free video to gif converter, read along.
1, iWisoft Free Video Converter
This is an excellent free video converter, cutter, joiner and editor, we’ve reviewed it 4 months ago, today I’ve tested tens of video convert programs, and I found that it’s the only one among them which can convert videos to gif format.
iWisoft Free Video Converter supports almost all popular video formats including mpg, mpeg, flv, mp4, 3gp, 3g2, asf, avi, wmv, mov, h261, h264, rm, rmvb, you can export your videos to most mainstream digital video/audio/picture formats, luckily, the gif format is among them.
Moreover, using it you can set the beginning and end time, crop the video to customized zone, and specify the image size( width and height ) and frame rate of the output gif file, the image quality of the gif file created with it is very perfect, it’s highly recommended.
iWisoft Free Video Converter works on most popular Windows operating systems.
2, Movie to Animated GIF Converter
This lightweight and portable program is very simple, with it you can create animated gif or still image in gif/png/jpeg format from a video file, it allows to set the start point and end point, only four input formats are supported: mpeg, mpg, avi, mov. But if you already have a video converter installed, such as Format Factory, that’s definitely not a problem.
Movie to Animated GIF Converter works on Windows 7.
You can download it from http://www.evanolds.com/.
3, KMplayer + PhotoScape
KMplayer is not only a media player, it can also capture video/audio/image from the playing stream for you, you can save a sequences of frames of a video to still image files, then import them into a gif editor such as PhotoScape.
To capture the frames, right click in the KMplayer window and choose “Options” – “Advanced Menu” from the context menu, this will show all menu items in the next time. Then right click in the window again and select “Capture” – “Frame: Extract” from the pop up menu or press the “Ctrl + G” shortcut key combination to open the “Frame Extraction” dialog, it will let you choose the image format( bmp, jpb, png ), frame size, frame account and interval, etc.
Now you can drag the play slider to the position you like, press the “play” button in the main window to let KMplayer render the stream, and hit the “start” button in the “Frame Extraction” window to start capturing whenever you like, you can stop the capturing process at any time.
After the still images are captured, you can launch PhotoScape, and hit the “Animated GIF” button to let it create one animation with multiple photos. PhotoScape will let you to change the display time for each frame, specify the photo size and effect. Apparently, PhotoScape is not as powerful as Ulead GIF Animator, but it’s free.
KMplayer and PhotoScape is compatible with Windows 7, Windows XP, etc.
4, GIMP + GAP
GAP – short for “the GIMP Animation Package”, is a plugin for GIMP, it provides you the ability to import a video in various format into GIMP and save it to GIF format, here is a video on how to convert a video to gif animation using GAP. I’m a long time user of Adobe Photoshop, and I have no experience with GIMP, but I successfully converted an avi file to a gif animation after I watched the video tutorial.
GIMP works on Windows and Linux.
5, Microsoft GIF animator
It’s created to edit an existing file in gif or avi format, in our test, when I tried to open an avi file with it, it pops up a message box saying: “Error Reading File: There was an error reading the file. It could be invalid or corrupt”. I tried many times and finally found that only the avi files encoded with rawvideo codec are supported.
The picture quality of the output gif animation created with Microsoft GIF animator is a bit poor, it’s not recommended.
Microsoft GIF animator supports Windows 7, Windows XP, etc.
Download it now from CNET.