Converting video to high-quality gif using ffmpeg

📅️ Published: February 13, 2021  • 🕣 1 min read

Converting videos to GIFs using ffmpeg is a pain in the ass if you don’t know what’s happening. GIF size getting 10x the size of original video ? Don’t worry, I got you!

Below are few points that can help:

  1. Always create a custom palette
  2. Don’t increase/decrease file dimensions
  3. Save unnecessary frame conversion by skipping timeframes (using -t).
  4. Experiment with fps (default value is 24)
# Get video dimensions
ffprobe -v error -select_streams v:0 -show_entries stream=width,height -of csv=s=x:p=0 video.mp4
# generate a palette
ffmpeg -i video.mp4 -vf "fps=22,scale=1024:-1:flags=lanczos,palettegen" palette.png
# use the generated palette
ffmpeg -t 29 -i video.mp4 -i palette.png -filter_complex "fps=22,scale=1024:-1:flags=lanczos[x];[x][1:v]paletteuse" output.gif

A more generic version in a simple bash script

#!/usr/bin/env bash

# Utility to convert video files to GIFs using ffmpeg
# Usage: <video-file-path>
# To skip frames: <video-file-path> <time-in-seconds>
# Example:
# video.mp4 28

if [[ -z "$1" ]]; then
    echo "No video file specified"
    exit 1

# get everything after last /
# remove everything after .

echo -e "$(tput bold)Getting video dimensions $(tput sgr0)"
# Get video dimensions
dimensions=$(ffprobe -v error -select_streams v:0 -show_entries stream=width,height -of csv=s=x:p=0 "$1")

echo -e "$(tput bold)Generating Palette $(tput sgr0)"
# Generate palette
ffmpeg -i "$1" -vf "fps=22,scale=${dimensions%x*}:-1:flags=lanczos,palettegen" "$filename".png

echo -e "$(tput bold)Converting Video to GIF $(tput sgr0)"

if [[ "$2" ]]; then
    ffmpeg -t "$2" -i "$1" -i "$filename".png -filter_complex "fps=22,scale=${dimensions%x*}:-1:flags=lanczos[x];[x][1:v]paletteuse" "$filename".gif
    ffmpeg -i "$1" -i "$filename".png -filter_complex "fps=22,scale=${dimensions%x*}:-1:flags=lanczos[x];[x][1:v]paletteuse" "$filename".gif

echo -e "Removing palette"
rm "$filename".png

🔽️ Download complete script