An animated GIF file is a great way to have a video effect where you want a sequence of images to autoplay. Animated GIFs are very popular at present on websites and in email campaigns. Services such as Giphy allow for free hosting and sharing however it’s very easy to create an animated GIF from a video file and to display the GIF in an email message or web page.
The difference between video and an animated GIF
For most people, the most relevant difference between a video file (e.g. MP4, AVI and Quicktime) and an animated GIF is that an animated GIF may be embedded wherever a standard GIF file may be embedded. This means that motion may be included in the form of an animated GIF in MailChimp campaigns, WordPress pages and posts and mostly wherever HTML may be rendered and displayed. Auto-play video cannot be rendered in many web and email systems.
In addition, Google have been moving to stop auto-play video in the Chrome browser over the past year (animated GIFs are not affected by this).
There are significant disadvantages in using animated GIF in place of video; mostly quality deteriorates and filesize increases (GIF wasn’t designed for animation) . The disadvantages however are often acceptable particularly where the display size is small, the ‘video’ is short and the animation doesn’t need to be of a high quality.
How to create an animated GIF using AWS
There are many services and software available to convert your video files to animated GIF. I’m a huge fan of AWS so use Amazon Elastic Transcoder for conversion from video to animated GIF.
Amazon Elastic Transcoder seems a bit complex at first look however to convert your video all you need do is:
- Save your video file to an AWS S3 bucket.
- In your web browser go to Elastic Transcoder.
- Create a new pipeline.
- Create a new job (be sure to set the output as System preset: Gif (Animated).
In a few seconds your animated GIF will be available in the S3 bucket you chose as your output.