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Here’s an embarrassing secret: Before today, I’d never made a GIF.
I mean, obviously I’ve seen them, laughed when they’ve been passed along, and made a note so that I could share them myself later. I’ve even searched for them once or twice on Giphy.
But deep down, I knew I was a fraud, someone who feared the day when an editor would say, “Hey, can you whip up a funny GIF about this?” and I’d have to admit that I didn’t have any idea what I was doing.
That’s why I breathed a sigh of relief when I learned that Imgur was launching Video to GIF — as the name implies, it allows you to easily convert online videos into GIFs. In fact, the popular image-sharing service describes this as “the easiest and fastest way to make awesome GIFs from videos.”
Since I haven’t actually created a GIF before (yes, it’s embarrassing, we discussed this already), I don’t know whether this is truly the easiest and fastest method (YouTube, by the way, has also been rolling out its own built-in GIF creator), but it is pretty friendly to neophytes like me. You just enter a video URL, select the portion of the video that you want to convert, add some text, and voila, you’ve got a GIF a few seconds later.
Imgur says the tool is compatible with more than 500 video sites, including YouTube, Vimeo, and Vine.
Even I managed to do it. I’ll admit I had a brief moment of panic when I got confused by the various markers showing the start, stop, and current play points in the video, but nonetheless, I did it. Even if it’s a dumb inside joke (borrowed from HBO’s Silicon Valley), and even if I haven’t figured out how to make the text larger, I still feel a ridiculous sense of accomplishment. GIFs, I will never fear you again.
And if you weren’t looking for a new GIF-making tool, it’s still interesting to see Imgur expand — maybe it can turn lurkers who pop by the site into active posters. In the press release announcing the tool, Director of Product Sam Gerstenzang said the company is “democratizing GIF creation for everyone.”