Making videos into GIFs on the command-line with gifify

I like making gifs.

You also probably like making gifs.

It's a thing we do.

On a regular basis I'll have video from television shows or movies or other video I've taken myself like screencasts that I want to turn into a gif.

Turning video into a gif can be done using online services, but I need a quick way to do it on the command line.

I've previously used this bash script:

But I was excited to discover an npm module that was built for this purpose: gifify

It can be used on the command line and as a Node module that supports streams.


gifify has three dependencies:

Here are instructions for installing those dependencies on a Mac:

ffmpeg & imagemagick

You'll need homebrew if you don't already have it.

To install ffmpeg & imagemagick with homebrew run this command:

brew install ffmpeg & imagemagick


This tool for reducing image file size needs to be installed from the source.

I found that I needed to install automake before following the install instructions for giflossy:

brew install automake

Follow full instructions here:

After following those install instructions you'll have a gifsicle command available.

Install gifify

Now that we have the dependencies installed we can install gifify using npm:

npm install -g gifify

The -g option installs the package globally so that we can use its gifify command.

Using gifify

The moment we've been waiting for: let's make a gif.

Here's the options for the command-line usage:

> gifify -h

Usage: gifify [options] [file]


    -h, --help           output usage information
    -V, --version        output the version number
    --fps <n>            Frames Per Second, defaults to 10
    --from <position>    Start position, hh:mm:ss or seconds, defaults to 0
    --colors <n>         Number of colors, up to 255, defaults to 80
    --compress <n>       Compression (quality) level, from 0 (no compression) to 100, defaults to 40
    -o, --output <file>  Output file, defaults to stdout
    --resize <WxH>       Resize output, use -1 when specifying only width or height. `350x100`, `400x-1`, `-1x200`
    --speed <n>          Movie speed, defaults to 1
    --to <position>      End position, hh:mm:ss or seconds, defaults to end of movie

I found that with some videos I've needed to use the gt-faststart command that comes with ffmpeg on a video before the gifify command would work.

So I would first make a compatible video:


Then run gifify:

gifify -o video.gif

Here's an example of a gif I made using gifify from the video of one of my first JavaScript games:


gifify on GitHub:

gifify on npm:

Seth Vincent

Seth makes weird arcades, writes JavaScript, and builds civic technology.