I'm trying to convert a .mov to a .gif and I'm not having success.

Here's the error:

ffmpeg -pix_fmt rgb24 -i yesbuddy.mov output.gif
ffmpeg version 0.11.1 Copyright (c) 2000-2012 the FFmpeg developers
  built on Jun 12 2012 17:47:34 with clang 2.1 (tags/Apple/clang-163.7.1)
  configuration: --prefix=/usr/local/Cellar/ffmpeg/0.11.1 --enable-shared --enable-gpl --enable-version3 --enable-nonfree --enable-hardcoded-tables --enable-libfreetype --cc=/usr/bin/clang --enable-libx264 --enable-libfaac --enable-libmp3lame --enable-librtmp --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis --enable-libvpx --enable-libxvid --enable-libopencore-amrnb --enable-libopencore-amrwb --enable-libass --enable-libvo-aacenc --disable-ffplay
  libavutil      51. 54.100 / 51. 54.100
  libavcodec     54. 23.100 / 54. 23.100
  libavformat    54.  6.100 / 54.  6.100
  libavdevice    54.  0.100 / 54.  0.100
  libavfilter     2. 77.100 /  2. 77.100
  libswscale      2.  1.100 /  2.  1.100
  libswresample   0. 15.100 /  0. 15.100
  libpostproc    52.  0.100 / 52.  0.100
Option pixel_format not found.

If I leave out the -pix_fmt rgb24 part it complains. Thoughts on how to fix?

  • 2
    FYI, There is an excellent solution for high quality conversions given here. – ryanjdillon Mar 28 '14 at 13:37
up vote 140 down vote accepted

The order of command line arguments matters. This command line should work but will generate a giant file:

ffmpeg -i yesbuddy.mov -pix_fmt rgb24 output.gif

Note that you probably want to reduce the frame rate and size when you convert, as well as specify a start time and duration. You probably do not want to convert the entire file at its original resolution and frame rate.

ffmpeg -ss 00:00:00.000 -i yesbuddy.mov -pix_fmt rgb24 -r 10 -s 320x240 -t 00:00:10.000 output.gif

The file size will still be huge. You may be able to use ImageMagick's GIF optimizer to reduce the size:

convert -layers Optimize output.gif output_optimized.gif
  • 3
    Awesome answer, thanks :) GIF is a crazy format... the original .mov was 250k, the converted .gif from ffmpeg was 8mb, and the convert-optimized version was an astounding 10k! Impressive! – TooTallNate Jan 22 '13 at 1:37
  • 15
    ffmpeg complains about the pixel format, and switches from rgb24 to pal8; should the command in the answer be updated? – user1071136 Mar 17 '14 at 20:39
  • 6
    Incompatible pixel format 'rgb24' for codec 'gif' – highmaintenance Jul 18 '14 at 10:15
  • 1
    @Andy auto-fixed to rgb8 in my version of ffmpeg. – James Campbell Sep 6 '17 at 22:46
  • how to do in Android? – Ajay Shrestha Nov 3 '17 at 23:18

After converting:

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 input.gif 

Try optimize frames:

convert input.gif -verbose -coalesce -layers OptimizeFrame input_optframe.gif

And use gifsicle to make final optimization:

gifsicle -O2 input_optframe.gif -o optimized.gif

Got 6.8mb GIF from 12.2mb video with almost the same quality!

  • 1
    Mind explaining how these steps work and what they are doing? – Raystafarian Nov 5 '14 at 19:31

I made a tool that bundles FFmpeg, ImageMagick and giflossy into a single easy to use command line program that you can install in one line: https://github.com/vvo/gifify

I recommend anyone willing to turn videos => GIF to use it instead of trying to spend a lot of time browsing 3 documentation websites to understand how to resize the GIF or change the start/end time.

  • And if you have Docker running on your machine, just do an alias like so: alias gifify='docker run -it --rm -v $(pwd):/data maxogden/gifify' then use it gifify screencast.mkv -o screencast.gif --resize 800:-1 – sabbour May 28 at 6:38
ffmpeg -y -i input.mp4 -f image2pipe -vcodec ppm - | convert -delay 2 -loop 0 -layers Optimize - gif:- | gifsicle -d 3 -O3 -o optimized.gif

first use ffmpeg to convert mp4 file to images via pipe then use imagemagick to compress it to gif at last optimized it with gifsicle

I don't know why using gifscicle directly won't work.

or you can make the gif smaller by this

convert -dither none -matte -depth 8 -deconstruct -layers optimizePlus -colors 32 in.gif out.gif

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