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How to Make GIFs

From the GIF Whisperer himself.

As you all know, I love making GIFs. I've even been called the GIF Whisperer, which is one of the more hilarious things I've been called. GIFs are an extremely effective way of demonstrating a point, and since they loop, you can keep watching a specific play until you've seen what everyone on the field is doing.


I often get questions about how to make GIFs, so I wanted to put together a quick guide. Unfortunately, I can only advise you on how to do this on a Mac, but if you have one, you'll soon be making GIFs of every play by the New York Jets.

I generally use NFL GameRewind to get my clips. It provides high quality video, often from multiple angles. It's also possible to use YouTube or any other streaming video service. Every Mac comes with Quicktime, so if you look under FILE, you'll see an option for "New Screen Recording." Select this option, and press the red circular button. Once you do that, you can drag over what part of the screen you want to record. Simply highlight the streaming video, select the button in the middle to start recording, and then hit play on your video. Once you have recorded the video you're interested in, select the button on top bar of the screen that just appeared on the right, a square inside of a circle. That will end the recording, and you can then save it as a .mov file. TIP: Try to keep your GIFs to 3-4 seconds.


Once you have the .mov file, I would suggest purchasing GIFBrewery. There are free options available, but I don't think there are any that create such high quality GIFs with such an easy-to-use interface as GIFBrewery. As of this writing, it's just $4.99 in the App Store.

When you open up GIFBrewery, you can open the .mov file and begin to tinker with it. This is when practice will make perfect. Here are a few of my suggestions:

  1. Add a small caption with your name, Twitter handle, or some other identifying mark. If your GIFs are any good, people will spread them around. You should receive credit for your work.
  2. Once you create your caption, you can adjust when it will pop up under the Manage Overlays section. This is great if you want to write a comment when something specific happens. See below for an example.
  3. Play around with the total frames and frames per second under GIF Properties so you can keep your GIF under three megabytes. That's the limit that Twitter will allow you to upload. Imgur is even less, only two megabytes.
  4. One easy way to do this is to resize the video to 600px wide, or even less. This is a reasonable size that will allow you to see everything, without using up precious megabytes.
  5. Keep the GIF limited to exactly what you want to show using the "start" and "end" timing features. Any extraneous video will just make the GIF drag on.


The art of making GIFs requires practice, but I'm happy to help anyone who asks. Please let me know if you have any questions.