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>
comments powered by Disqus

You may also like:

Convert a PDF to an Image (PNG, JPG, etc) in Linux using ImageMagick

05 Oct 2018 ᛫ 1 min read

My new daily driver

15 Feb 2020 ᛫ 6 min read


[email protected]

Creative Commons License
Except when explicitly stated otherwise, this work and its contents by Ben Hur S. Pintor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Other works (software, source code, etc.) referenced in this website are under their own respective licenses.
This site is powered by Jekyll and hosted on Github (view source)