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Show HN: Put “GIF” in front of any YouTube URL and hit enter (gifyoutube.com)
577 points by RoryGlyphic on Aug 16, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 181 comments

Very nice. If this had a simple way to add timed annotations ("#ann=top,10s,18.3s,SomeText" or similar), that'd be absurdly useful.

What technology did you build this with? What do you use to decode videos and write out gifs?

Here's a useful bookmarklet to apply this to a video: javascript:location.host="gifyoutube.com"

EDIT: are you getting hammered by traffic right now? Because I tried this on a 15 second video, and it's been processing for ten minutes.

YES. IDEA #1 IS GREAT. Will be done! Also thank you for the bookmarklet. I'll PM you about the tech ^_^

As per the edit - yeah a ton of traffic BUT generally right now 98% of GIFs are making. We have a known problem with vevo and other music videos though :(. If you post the YT link I can look into it and see if it's a traffic thing or just one that wouldn't work normally

> YES. IDEA #1 IS GREAT. Will be done!

Thanks! On that note, you'll want to handle fractional seconds for the annotations, or possibly frame numbers.

> I'll PM you about the tech ^_^

I look forward to it.

> As per the edit - yeah a ton of traffic BUT generally right now 98% of GIFs are making. We have a known problem with vevo and other music videos though :(. If you post the YT link I can look into it and see if it's a traffic thing or just one that wouldn't work normally


I don't know what you normally use to download videos, but you might try youtube-dl; it seems to work on just about everything, and you could script it.

HMmMM Strange! I tried the video and it worked for me :O

I'll try to look into that problem :3. Nice to meet you btw ^_^

What's up with the emoticons?

If I were to speculate, I'd say RoryGlyphic is younger than you.

hahahahahahhaha. Yeee. I also love emoticons. We actually started out with a gif messenger (glyphic) because we loved texting with emoticons/gifs so much.

I don't agree, some of the people that use emoticons all the time are actually older than 40.

In conversation in Facebook, Skype, et al, they usually have a number of smiley faces.

Some people use them all the time. And they don't have to be graphics, they can be done in text too. :]

I'll email you about tech* woops

Well you are posting at an extremely tech oriented group. I believe i speak for like 90% here that we all want to hear about the tech* wooops.

Shed some light in how you made everything. This is what interests us mostly.

This may not be 100% accurate, but this is one way of doing it:

1) youtube-dl ${video-id} video.avi #download youtube to avi

2) ffmpeg -i video.avi -t 10 out%02d.gif #export avi file to gif frames

3) gifsicle --delay=10 --loop *.gif > anim.gif #makes animated looping gif

OP will surely deliver

Hey, great job with this! I'm really interested in details as well.

Me too please!

can I read about the tech as well?

Also interested!

Could someone maybe elaborate publically, it seems like something people are interested in :)

Also interested. mplayer?

The exif comment of the resulting gif file is 'Lavc54.59.100'. So it's most likely ffmpeg/libav or a tool that utilizes their libraries, such as mplayer. It's fairly simple to produce a GIF from a video file using the ffmpeg cli.

Since gifyoutube doesn't support https, this is an updated bookmarklet for thost who use youtube with https and need to change the protocol along with the host:


https://gifyoutube.com/ seems to work just fine.

carlesfe is talking about using the bookmarklet in a situation when you're viewing a youtube video over https

Yes, we all got that. But the reason why doing so would break gifyoutube would have been because gifyoutube didn't support HTTPS. Which is why the former commenter noted that gifyoutube does support SSL.

Https certified :O

Great job with this. Very useful. The only issue I see is that Google may sue over domain/trademark issues. Facebook has done this to many sites for using "fb" in their domains. While you're getting lots of attention, you may want to offer a browser plugin/extension/bookmarklet that interfaces with the site (have the bookmarklet use a domain less likely to be contested) so that you can keep momentum going if they happen to take your domain.

I wouldn't bet on it. http://pwnyoutube.com has been around for quite a while now. Although if I remember it right, youtube blocked some IPs associated with tools that let you download/convert videos, as these services violate the terms of use.

Btw: I find it nice that this tool supports https. pwnyoutube.com requires you to remove it manually, which makes it so much more inconvenient to use.

I've never had any trouble with cueyoutube.com (although admittedly it's never been terrifically popular but people do complain if it breaks :)

The cases I'm familiar with were 1) clones of Facebook and 2) using "book" in their name. They were more obviously trying to be Facebook. Being a thing for Facebook (YouTube, etc.) is usually handled differently.

To back up your statement: Back in the day my buddy created "greedtube.com" and received a Cease and Desist within 48 hours.

Definitely; great advice. Thank you downandout :D

How about let me google it for you?

Correction: let me google that for you


Thanks, I couldn't think of a way to find the address of that site.

I'm sure it must be listed in the Yahoo Directory somewhere.


The presentation of the page ("copy pasta z", the fullscreen gif background, the popup in the middle, the banner in the top left) all strike me as being dodgy/malicious and from a site that I'd immediately want to close and never visit again.

I'm not sure why you see the need to be so 'internet' with it all when you could do a fully functional equivalent that would be easier on your servers too. Just make it clean and usable and it'll be far better.

Hey Nam! Really appreciate the comment.

We were just being silly and hacking away at it adding random things that made us lol hahaha.

You're right though. Moving forward minimalist is what we hope to accomplish.

Thanks for the feedback ^_^

I like the design, all the way down to Copy Past Z. I think grandparent post is out of touch with your target demographic :D

On the flipside, I think the target demographic would use it without a second thought regardless of the design because the thing they're after is the end result. They only look at this site for fleeting seconds to develop their gif. Essentially, you're trying to appeal to an already sure audience, and in doing so risk losing out on the 'maybe' audience.

I cannot think of a target demographic who would use the site in its current incarnation but would not if it were a cleaner, simpler, "less /b/-inspired" design. I can however think of a demographic who wouldn't use the site unless it were cleaner.

edit: This sounds like A/B testing 101 to me.

Thank you for the insightful comment Nam ^_^. Will do some AB testing

Awhh. Thank you Heyadayo <3

I'd second that. Make it clean, easy for the eye and it's far more usable.

But great tool nonetheless. Props to you!

Ab testing at the moment :D. Or at least setting it up

As an amateur sportswriter, I expect to be using this a LOT during the upcoming season -- provided there aren't any legal issues with the youtube name, copyright on clips, etc.

Took like 15 seconds to make http://share.gifyoutube.com/lcD.gif (a game-winning shot from a couple seasons back).

Thank you lotharbot ^_^. We appreciate it! Great GIF btw

Shouldn't you be more worried about legal issues of turning a copyrighted broadcast, possibly not even uploaded by the content owner, into a gif?

My blog is officially part of one of the content owners' networks. Plus there's the whole "fair use doctrine" that generally allows small snippets for commentary purposes.

I've never heard of these networks, mind explaining how it works?

Here's the wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TrueHoop (we're a part of ESPN.)

mmm I love truehoop

Really great idea. A little feedback: the huge animating background is really distracting. It also doesn't play well with click-to-play flash blockers.

I'm sorry :(. That was totally me. I made sadsquidward.com and riddlydiddly.com a little while ago and just was obsessed with GIFs ahaha.

Will definitely change in the next update. I was thinking maybe a very small change just for the lols- like a cloud just drifting by

Regarding the latter: please provide alternate content (at least a notice) for your <object> tags, for people who don't have flash. If nothing else, you might provide a <video> version, if the content is not interactive. (Then again, if the content is not interactive, you might as well only have a <video> version.)

Thank you JT :D

Yes, someone else gets it - keep it simple!

I made quietyoutube.com (put 'quiet' in front of any youtube video) and get a page of just the video, nothing else. I made it a couple years arg. Shame I can't get the SSL cert, though the bookmarklet I made works well enough.

Mwahaha TYTY :D

I love it. You should probably get another domain though for the imminent C&D

Maybe but maybe not. nsfwyoutube.com uses a similar idea of appending "nswf" to the domain and has been around for years.

Definitely :3. Any suggestions?

A few names still available:






yougif.net or .org

Also, you can still keep your url-based usability with a name like this. Instead of telling people "just add gif to the beginning of the domain", tell them "just add .gifjam.com to the end of the domain". Bonus: you can then easily extend to other video sites.

Thank you JT <3. You've been a great help

GifinaJif.com is available.

I wanted to suggest gifyoutu.be, but I guess you've got it already.

ahahah ;). One of our friends actually got it for a $1 from one of his friends ahahhaha.

gifi.fi (gifify.com is taken). The domain is as of now not registered.

Love all the suggestions guys. Thank you for taking the time to help <3


darn this would have been a great transition

giferizer.com? gif.info?

I'd suggest .com so you can just double click the youtube word and replace.


This is why we can't have nice things!

This is really cool. And I hate to be that guy, especially so early. But wouldn't it be easier on both networking and cpu to convert it to a webm?

Absolutely! We actually made a webm version (that's the smallest size to date and the fastest to create), but just wanted to perfect GIF creation and get some captions on the system early before introducing webm.

Maybe we should reverse that?

It depends, who is your actual target audience? If it's a general anyone and everyone, gif is the way to go. If it's a more technical audience, who probably know what webm already is, then webm may make more sense

And from a more marketing side of things

If you went gif first and five months down the line announcing support for webm makes you look innovative and will probably get you posted to a handful of subreddits and the front page of hn.

If you went webm first and five months down the line announce gif support, you probably won't be able to achieve the same results.

Definitely. At first we wanted to target general audience and then transition into more technical.

It's a little conflicting because I love HN and reddit, so my* general preferences differ from what I think is actually the best transition :3

If you want to convert GIFs to WebM/MP4/etc you might want to check out the MediaCrush[1] code. Or just use https://mediacru.sh, which is and always will be free.

[1]: https://github.com/mediacrush/mediacrush

I'd love to know your thoughts on using WebP (image format that supports animation) versus WebM (video format) for GIFs.

Do you think it's worthwhile? If not, why?

We haven't looked much into WebP as an animation container. And since it's only supported by Chrome (and will likely remain that way) we are not currently considering it. WebM and MP4 both have pretty good codecs for video; definitely a lot better than GIFs, that's for sure.

I love your work. Thank you for mediacrush. Are you guys doing alright, financially, if you don't mind me asking?

Thank you for using MediaCrush! We publish regular transparency reports[1] about several things, including our finances. We don't have any seed money, it's just coming out of our own wallet.

[1] https://blog.mediacru.sh/2014/07/12/State-of-MediaCrush-2014...

What is the most efficient way to donate to MediaCrush? Gittip? If so, is the weekly subscription easy to cancel?

If you'd like to set up a recurring donation, then yes, Gittip is the easiest way to do it. That said, we're not picky about donations; we'll accept pretty much every payment method or barter.

Thank you! Are you behind midacru.sh?

I am indeed. Happy to answer your questions.

Absolutely! May be able to work together. What's the best way to reach each other?

Another mediacrush guy here - jdiez went to sleep. Us devs hang out in #mediacrush on irc.freenode.net and we also read emails sent to {jdiez,drew}@mediacru.sh

I definitely prefer gifs, so please dont remove that option.


webm doesn't work on Safari or IE http://caniuse.com/webm

I just call those two SafarIE. Safari is shaping up to be the new IE so we might as well just say them in one phrase instead of always specifying them both.

Cant email a webm

How is attaching a gif any different than attaching a webm?

Some email clients support animated gifs embedded in the main email content. None that I currently use, but I do remember it as a feature in Outlook 2003.

Mail.app on OS X also does this

gifs will survive for ever!

This is nice work, but I'll go ahead and be the token negative nancy HN poster and say:

Fuck GIF; just because the patent expired doesn't mean we should use this piece of shit (by modern standards) format for things it was never really intended for and for which there are far better solutions, like just linking to the actual video.

Now I only need to send that link to http://www.gfycat.com/ for it to load fast.

Full circle!

Or you could just use gfycat to create both gif and webm versions (up to 15 sec long) directly from youtube, vimeo etc.

We actually made a webm version! Will update when we release ^_^

It's always good to have bidirectional functions I guess.

Wow, talk about a really small world! OP (RoryGlyphic) are you the guy who sent me a text message asking if I'd want to get involved with making a YouTube-to-Gif site (specifically, this conversation[0]). If so, I wanted to say good job on finishing your project, it works great and is easy to use (an much less hackish than my original GifMachine[1]).

Also, I'm super excited that something I made a long time ago prompted someone else to make something waaaaay more awesome.

Question, you asked about using Gunicorn in our conversation, is this written in Python or is it written using something else? I'm really curious about the technologies you use to make this work!

Also of note, why do you ask for a title? I don't see it on the resulting gif page: https://www.gifyoutube.com/gif/lP1

[0] - http://i.imgur.com/KVl7beK.png

[1] - http://gifmachine.xwl.me/


Damn this is actually great. We messaged a few people asking to help cut times (which was my biggest pet peeve). No one ever came through :').

For the title, it's just something we're testing out. I love scrolling through the DB etc, and a title makes me laugh ahaha. Maybe we can use it in a future thing?

I'm gonna text you ^_^

This looks great!! Thanks. Coub.com has great ui for user selecting precise in/out points. http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=WThZsGOVkbk&p=n#/458;464 lets you select LOOP in/out right in URL. But neither make GIF, so easy to cut and paste.

Feature request: please enable preview of youtube loop right in your url like gifyoutube.com/y0ut0oo0biD&loop=123.4;5.67 where first number is 'start time' then second number is 'length'. And allow millisecond specification.

File size could be smaller? EG 0.14 second frames instead of 0.08, longer duration frames aren't too noticable and may cut bulky GIF sizes almost in half.

I love the feature request! We'll definitely try to implement this (maybe after captions?)

File size is something we want to do as well. Working with smallest webm available, but still want the gif size to be smaller

I like that you can choose the starting time directly in the video. But I'd like to choose the finishing time in the video too. (I wouldn't remove the option to choose starting point+lenght).

Thanks for the feedback! I definitely agree and something we were trying to work on.

One thing that's difficult is choosing the finishing time on the video. For example if it's 5 seconds or something, the two end points are really close.

What do you think about beta.gifyoutube.com? It's a little different mechanics for choosing start time (which I'm not the best fan of), but maybe it's a little easier for end time.

I'm actually not really sure on this. We were going to try some A|B testing but the beta GYT isn't 100% ready

I like this interface over the current one. The only issue I had with it is not having millisecond steps to create a decent loop. I also wasn't getting a thumbnail preview in the black box when seeking the video.

Nice useful tool.

Yeah thumnail thing we have to work on. Thank you ^_^ appreciate the comment

Clicky: http://beta.gifyoutube.com

I couldn't test it because the video didn't load. I saw the beta UI once (two slice bars), but when I reloaded, the video didn't appear. (I tested IE11 and Chrome)

Another small UI complain. If I type in the text box the YouTube address and I hit the enter key, it doesn't get to the edit page. I have to reach for my mouse, and click in the green "Create Gif" button.

ahahaha YESSS the create gif enter is something we wanted to change but just never got to :[. Will do soon!

I think the advantage of choosing your endpoint is it allows finer grained control over what gets rendered in the GIF

you could argue that if you really cared you'd just use a GIF editor to "trim" the final result to your liking, but would be nice not to have this step.

Maybe it would be a good idea (or not) to use javascript to ease on server side CPU usage:


It's quite bruteforce and it is a really large javascript file, however you could leave out all the unneeded codecs for reducing the size. Also you could first preprocess the video on server side (clipping the time interval, maybe resizing) and only leave the gif encoding to the client.

Are you willing to add a way to easily export to Mediacrush (https://mediacru.sh)? Would be super useful.

Yes definitely. I think the founder of Mediacru.sh posted below - will email him in the coming days :D

http://gifyoutube.com/gif/sDY ← My favorite GIF right now.

Love it

My videos get stretched from 4x3 to 16:9 (they're stuff I've transferred from film). Example: TcoLoIcxCRg

Hmmmmm...it's something you'd rather maintain as 4x3 right?

Not necessarily - just something I wanted to mention.

will look into seeing if any quality is lost ^_^. cheers

Displaying a video or photo in an incorrect aspect ratio is unequivocally a loss of quality.

Really cool!

One issue I see is when someone uses the same word as title, no one else can use it (as opposed to a number-based titling system where no one would care if /90289432 was in use). Also someone else can peruse other people's gifs by just checking random titles (perhaps a non-issue, though).

HMMM. Can you describe the first issue again please? Also sorry for the late response. Not too good at seeing the responses

This is neat but putting it in front of the URL gives me:


Which doesn't work. I am amazed that Google hasn't complained about the gifyoutube.com domain.

Looks like it's getting crushed with traffic, so I can't even check it out.

But one key feature for me would be the ability to add text to various frames/time ranges. That would make creating GIFs that actually say stuff you can read much easier.

HMMM. Still working for me :O. Maybe a video that won't be GIF'd? (vevo/music). Sometimes it does stop people though :O.

The text thing was going to be our next update mwahahahhaha. Great idea thank you

Worked good...I'm amazed it hasn't been crashed from being top on Hacker News Oo It mentioned queueing work and things like that, must be impressively well written to not just try every request at once and hose itself.

Ahaha thank you thank you. We ended up being the most upvoted thing on imgur one day ( http://imgur.com/gallery/vSDlg ), and we learned a lot of lessons after crashing a lot ahahaha:')

I'm actually surprised now too :O

Excellent job! I love url hacking =). I still frequently type "repeat" after "youtube" in order to loop songs, but I probably wouldn't bother to cut and paste the url into a third party site.

One of the inspirations :')

Along those same lines, if you feel like doing some related hackery, I'd love to see a youtube video (and audio) reverser. Sometimes people stick reversed audio in their videos, and I'd like to hear it played back the right way around; right now, I do that via youtube-dl and audacity, which is a pain. As far as I can tell, there aren't any reverse video players around at all.

hmmm....that would be really interesting. What type of use do you see for it? I think it'd be neat too :O

There seems to be a bug where if you try to create a gif at the same starting point but with a different length than one you've already created for the same video, it only ever returns the original length gif.

Hm. Can you post an example please. Want to solve this ASAP.


Surface UI really does make all the difference.

Interestingly, makeagif also has trouble with vevo vids.

The founder of makeagif is nice :D

Trouble with vevo vids is in the DL. Vevo does some funky stuff :[

So cool, congratulations! I made this in a few seconds - http://share.gifyoutube.com/lin.gif

wait until you can add captions ahaha I'm already thinking of a few good ones for this gif

What about music?


This seems a perfect match for my audio/video mashupper! It could accept YouTube as video source, but despite my efforts, often gifs still sync better than youtube's quirky player as they are converted to webm automatically.

It's begging for captions!

This is awesome. Less than a minute to create this: https://www.gifyoutube.com/gif/kWm

Mwaha I love it. What's really cool is clicking the View on Youtube button to go back to the source video ^_^

In case typing "gif" is too much work for you. A Chrome extension.. http://goo.gl/BnRKuN

Haven't downloaded yet, but can't wait to!

I had the SAME idea after seeing not-so-good options out there. Great job! I am interested on how you did this. The conversion speed is really quick!

tytyty <3

Cool idea, interface looks nice, but I never actually managed to convert anything. I guess it's because the server is hammered right now.

Now we just need something like this for gfycat.

RoryGlyphic thanks for seeing "the need to be so 'internet'"!

Doesn't load in the same time I watched a 3min video on Vimeo

always feel a bit weird when I view the source and find things like this:

<font color="#AAAAAA">/watch?v=QgaTQ5-XfMM</font>

how does one go about deciding to use such markup?

ahahah we kind of just hacked this together for fun. Legacy code, snippets, and just being silly :#

Yes, I could tell by the massive amounts of inline css that either this was a hack, or you ran it through mailgun's css inliner.

But seriously, if I wanted to add an html tag from 1996 to my site, where is the best place to look for one on the world wide web?

This is great! Reddit/4chan and what not is gonna abuse the service.


it was supposed to be a gift for reddit :')

This is wonderful.

Thank you :D

Really cool but wonder how youtube's legal department will react to having youtube in the domain name let alone copyright claims.

What are you using for the queue?

Plan was to get a different domain (suggestions?) and fwd it but still have the GYT functionality

I'm not 100% sure if youtube minds. Someone from youtube actually put it on one of their videos (a button for it), and then said youtube community department were having fun and spreading it around

We don't use a 3rd party queueing software ^_^.


Maybe giftube.com or yougif.com?

I'd register those but keep what you currently have for now. Being able to say "put the word gif in front of any youtube url" is just great for user experience.

I'd keep the URL functional as a redirect but change the brand...

We will give you a free premium listing on BootName.com if you want community support to find a name.

Darn both taking! Will keep thinking :3

I'd suggest talking to a lawyer.

My (unsolicited) layman's take:

Someone from youtube != Google's legal department, which makes this situation both awesome and sad. If Google wishes to maintain their ownership of the youtube trademark, legally they must enforce their ownership of it (which means either granting you a license, or sending you a C&D). That said, I'd search around for trademark licensing info - they may have an existing license which covers this use.

In the mean time you may be able to protect yourself a little by adding some text that says that YouTube is a legally registered trademark of Google, Inc., and this site is not affiliated with Google in any way.

Maybe Google could by it for a few bob? You never know.

Very good point! Will do this :D Cheers

Awesome concept!

I am not a lawyer, but it seems one could easily argue that an "idiot in a hurry" might confuse this for youtube. Which is sort of what the threshold is for this sort of thing nowadays. So, yea, start thinking about a domain that doesn't include youtube

Thank you Paul :D

Didn't mean to spread fear but looks like if the staff are using it then maybe they are okay with it.

Do you have plans to monetize it? How are you paying for the hosting.

Really good idea and well executed. Would you mind saying a few words behind the code?

Do you scrape the whole video, or just the part requested? And is the conversion to gif a library or something you wrote?

I'm totally ignorant when it comes to scraping videos and converting them, but I find it interesting.

I'm also interested in how you're doing this. I also wanted to do youtube previews for a website and this seems strictly superior to the thumbnails they offer :)

Also, why don't you throw Adsense on this page?

AWHH! Thank you :D.

Sure! I will email you about this :D. Cheers

you can also take a look at https://github.com/rg3/youtube-dl also to find out how to download Youtube videos

+1 simplicity!

tyty :D

Seriously what is up with the emotions? You use quite a bit of them.

EDIT: The emoticons in your comment replys

maaaaan what can I say. Gifs are worth 100x emoticons. But if I can't post gifs, gotta use emoticons

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