Make a gif from a video using ffmpeg and ImageMagick on Linux

05 Jan 2018 ᛫ 2 min read


Method 1

This method extracts intermediate frames from the video that will be used to create the gif. The output folder where the frames will be saved should already exist.

Step 1: Extract frames

ffmpeg -i <input.mp4> -r 10 <path-to-output-folder>/frame-%03d.png

Step 2: Convert the frames to a gif

convert -delay -10 loop 0 -layers Optimize <path-to-output-folder>/*.png <output.gif>

Method 2

This method option forgoes the intermediate frames by piping the outputs of the ffmpeg extraction directly to the convert command.

ffmpeg -i <input.mp4>  -r 10 -f image2pipe -vcodec ppm - | convert -delay 10 -loop 0 -layers Optimize - <output.gif>

Useful ffmpeg and convert options

You can check the help or man pages of ffmpeg and convert for more details about the available options but here are a few that I’ve found to be the most useful.


  • -ss : start time offset; specify the time of the video to start extracting the frames/creating the gif
  • -t : duration; specify the length of gif to create
  • -r : set the frame rate; I make this equal to -delay option in convert
  • -vf scale=n:-1:flags=lanczos : I add this to the ffmpeg command when I want to force the gif to be a different resolution than the source video while keeping the quality high, n = frame width


  • -delay : specify the pause between frames; I make this equal to -r option in ffmpeg
  • - layers Optimize - : optimizes the resulting gif; greatly reduces file size especially if the frames have a lot of similar images (e.g. background doesn’t change).

Skip the first 10 seconds of the video and make a 5 second gif

Add -ss 10 and -t 5 to the ffmpeg command.

Using method 2:

ffmpeg -ss 0 -t 25 -i <input.mp4> -r 10 -f image2pipe -vcodec ppm - | convert -delay 10 -loop 0 -layers Optimize - <output.gif>

Force gif to a different resolution than the video source

Add -vf scale=n:-1:flags=lanczos to the ffmpeg command where n is the width you want for the output gif.

Using method 2 and assuming I want a gif with a width of 1080 pixels:

ffmpeg -i <input.mp4> -vf scale=1080:-1:flags=lanczos -r 10 -f image2pipe -vcodec ppm - | convert -delay 10 -loop 0 -layers Optimize - <output.gif>
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