Transform a YouTube video into a GIF

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Everyone knows what a YouTube video is. But not everyone knows what a GIF video is (even though just about everyone has seen one on Facebook or somewhere on the internet). Did you know that you can easily take a YouTube video, and create a GIF video out of that? Today I’ll show you how.

GIF video


A GIF video is pretty much just a short video that usually plays on an endless loop. Here’s an example of one. In this, you first see the dog get up and run out of the camera range, for no apparent reason. Then you see what he sensed before any of the humans did (an earthquake):

GIF video example


Sometimes short little videos like this can be pretty handy. Since this one appears to be a video that was taken by an office security camera system, the original video was probably hours long and full of just boring footage that showed nothing of any interest to anyone. But that little animated section of it is interesting. It’s true that animals sense something like this before a human ever would, and that dog clearly jumps up and runs before anything starts happening visually.

The good news is – you can make your own GIF videos, and it’s really easy! Here’s how.

Let’s say you find this great video on YouTube. For our example, we’ll use this “military homecoming surprise” video. This father was deployed for 9 months and his young daughter was not expecting him to come home already, and he surprised her by showing up at her baseball game. Here’s the full video:

That video is almost 2 minutes long. A lot of that is the silent intro, then the narrator sets up the story, then the actual reunion of father and daughter, and then the long wrap-up. But you might only want to make a quick GIF video of just the actual reunion.

First, while you’re at YouTube on this video, look up at the address bar at the top of your web browser. It should show a website address that looks like this:

GIF video


Now, click your mouse so that the cursor is flashing just in front of the “y” in “youtube”. Then, type the 3 letters “gif” (without the quotes). So now the website address looks like this:

GIF video


Now hit the Enter key on the keyboard, and you’ll be taken to a video editing page and you can decide how long the GIF video will be, and exactly where it will start and end. You can also put a title at the top of the video, and you can even create a caption to last for a certain period of time (I just put the caption “Wow” for a short time in the middle of the GIF). Then you click the big button at the bottom that says “Create GIF”.

GIF editor


Shouldn’t take long for the GIF video to be created. Then you are presented with a menu that gives you the link to the actual GIF file, and a website link where you can send people to view it, and a few other things. The first time you play it, it might play in sort of slow motion, because it is also loading at the same time. After the first play, it should be at normal speed.

You can see what my final creation looked like here:

They also give you the option to share your new video on all the social media sites. The nice thing about this whole process is that there is no software to download or install on your computer, so you probably don’t have to worry about malware or viruses sneaking in. I would guess they are making some money from ads, but I didn’t see any because they were blocked by my ad-blocker software.

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