GIF warriors dealing with the file format’s crappy quality, take note: Today, Imgur released Video to GIF, a service that lets you easily snip clips from streaming video (like YouTube) and turn it into a GIF file–beautiful, high-quality GIFs, at that.
Well, kind of.
Most of the time, the resulting GIF will be in .gifv format, which features a couple key differences in playback from the industry standard .gif–primarily that the .gifv format isn’t as easy to share. Normally, you can drop an image (.jpg, .png) or moving image (.gif) into websites with friendly WYSIWYG editors (like Tumblr) which automatically display the linked image when you post the link. The rarer .gifv tag, on the other hand, is often treated like a movie file format. To get a .gifv to behave like a GIF and autoplay, you might have to drop in the Video to GIF embed code to directly instruct the website you’re blogging to to display the .gifv like a GIF. Sites can fix this by adding backend functionality to treat .gifv files like .gif files.
Of course, these .gifv GIFs work great on Imgur–and as The Verge points out, that’s for Imgur’s benefit since it’s an image-browsing and commenting network on top of being an image repository. But there are still kinks to work out in the format: The conversion process sometimes fails, the text overlay doesn’t work, and where the GIF starts and stops isn’t entirely accurate. Growing pains.
GIF-making tools have been around for some time, but Imgur’s new tool brings significant quality to the mix. Even YouTube itself tinkered with a video-to-gif tool last December, and as other GIF-making tools have already cropped up in the New Year, 2015 is already gearing up to look like The Year Of The GIF (again).