Turn MP4’s into GIF in seconds
Turn MP4’s into GIF in seconds

Turn MP4’s into GIF in seconds

This is literally how easy it is.
This is literally how easy it is.

1. Intro

I got to know about this tool from my friend Paul Esteves, to whom I am eternally grateful!

The tool is made by Keerah, and I use it literally every day to post tests on Slack or share animations/renders constantly. Keerah elaborates on this tool and goes into a lot more detail than I will, but since I’m making this website about productivity tools, it felt crazy not to include this one. If you want the full picture and more info, please check out Keerah’s blog or github at:

a. What is SendTo_ffmpeg?

SendTo_ffmpeg is a couple of scripts that uses ffmpeg to convert files from different formats and codes into... other different formats and codecs. The tool is vastly bigger than I will address here, but at its full extent, it will let you convert videos into a multitude of formats. Amongst them, GIF. And that’s what we’re getting into.

b. How does it work?

There are three key parts of this utility. There is the ffmpeg folder, the settings bat file, and then the presets bat file.

You run your videos through the presets file, which has specific settings like fps, resolution or number of colors. Then it talks to the settings file to find out where the ffmpeg folder is and runs and the magic code. That’s as far as I understand, anyways.

2. How to ‘install’ the utility

I made a ‘quick’ setup for this utility that involves just two steps. I packed everything into a folder that you drop in the Program Files folder, and then you add shortcuts to your Send To: menu. The folder includes a version of ffmpeg, but if you already have ffmpeg installed (or want to do it the ‘correct way’), and you’re comfortable pointing to it through the settings script file, that’s good too. Otherwise, here are the steps:

a. Move the folder into Program Files

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Here’s the zipped folder I made:
SendTo_FFmpeg.zip134106.8KB

Once you download the zip file, extract it and move the SendTo_FFmpeg folder inside:

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C:\Program Files\

b. Create Shortcuts

Inside the SendTo_FFmpeg folder you will find three files:

  • GIF 420px LQ.bat
  • GIF 500px MQ.bat
  • GIF 800px HQ.bat

The 420px preset will export at 420px on the longer side, 20fps and a max no. of 32 colors. The 500px preset will export at 500px on the longer side, 25fps and a max no. of 128 colors. The 800px preset will export at 800px on the longer side, 30fps and a max no. of 256 colors. You can change these settings or create new ones by editing and/or duplicating the preset files. Open them with any text editor and look around for those values. There are a couple of spots that you will need to replace them.

Select those three, and create shortcuts (Right Click → Create Shortcut). Windows might ask you to create those shortcuts in the Desktop, just click Yes. Then, you can place the shortcuts inside:

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C:\Users\*YourUsername*\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo

Alternatively, you can press Windows Key + R, and type:

image

Then press OK. This will take you to the same folder. You can rename the shortcuts to whatever you want. And now, you should be able to easily right click on any video file, Send To → and choose either of the presets!

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(Bonus - this is a good time to delete all the other awful shortcuts that Windows and other programs adds to that Send To: folder, that no one ever uses!)

You can also select multiple files at the same time and create GIFs at the same time:

Lastly, there are a few variables you can tweak on the presets to adjust the filename for the GIF or the quality, so if you’re feeling adventurous you should jump into the preset files and find where files are getting their settings and name from! I included a %today% variable in there that will add the current date to the filename.

I hope this tool makes your life easier!