This post has been republished with new information.
This post will supplement an upcoming post on why you should stop using GIFs in favor of newer image and video formats. Here’s how to generate animated images in various media formats using FFmpeg.
Preparing The Source Clip For Further Conversion
First thing to do is convert it to an uncompressed
y4m video, slicing it up and setting the framerate as necessary:
ffmpeg -ss <start_point> -t <duration_from_start> -i <source_media> -an -vf 'scale=<width>:<height>,setpts=<stretch_factor>*PTS,fps=<framerate>' -pix_fmt yuv420p <raw_input>.y4m
What the option flags mean:
||Marks the start position of the video stream as a time duration|
||Specifies the duration of the datastream from
||The video filters|
||Sets the width and height of the video|
||Sets the presentation timestamps (PTS) for the video. Used to speed up and slow down video|
||Specifies the framerate for the video.|
||Sets the color format. Necessary if you’re converting from GIFs.|
Note, if you are going to set a framerate for a GIF, it has a delay between frames in hundreths of a second (fps=100/delay). So:
ffmpeg -i <source_input>.y4m -filter_complex "[0:v] split [a][b];[a] palettegen [p];[b][p] paletteuse" -loop 0 <output>.gif
Simply put the
-filter_complex flag in this case generates a color palette to use in the GIF. See GIPHY’s Engineering blog on how to make GIFs to explain the flag.
-loop 0 makes it loop forever.
You can leave it out, resulting in a much smaller GIF (at the expense of quality).
ffmpeg -i <raw_input>.y4m -loop 0 -q:v 100 -compression_level 6 <output>.webp
q:v is the image quality, from 0 to 100. It’ll be much smaller, but WebP can get blocky if you push the quality too hard.
-loop 0 makes it loop forever.
Sequenced AVIF (Chrome For Now)
ffmpeg doesn’t support writing to AVIF containers when I wrote this, so you nee to use avifenc to do this.
avifenc <raw_input>.y4m <output>.avif
From here on out, I won’t go over the options too much since there’s a lot to consider, most of which I don’t understand so I’ll link to the respective encoding guide if you want more options.
AVC/h.264 MP4 (widest support)
ffmpeg -i <raw_input>.y4m -c:v libx264 -preset veryslow <output>.mp4
preset flag tries to find the best tradeoff between quality and compression at a given bitrate and file size.
ffmpeg -i <raw_input>.y4m -c:v libx265 -preset veryslow -tag:v hvc1 <output>.mp4
You need the
-tag:v hvc1 for the video to play in Safari. Thanks Aaron!.
preset is the same as in AVC.
VP8/VP9 (Not WebKit)
vp9 depending on which one you choose.
vp9 is newer so better, although it doesn’t have the support of
vp8 (although it’s reasonable).
ffmpeg -i <raw_input>.y4m -c:v vp9 <output>.webm
AV1 Video (Chrome and Firefox)
Encoding AV1 will use a lot of CPU and it takes longer than the others.
ffmpeg -i <raw_input>.y4m -c:v libaom-av1 <output>.webm
If you’re on an older version of ffmpeg, you need to add
-strict -2. Note that you can also use
SVT-AV1 in FFmpeg to encode AV1 videos.
aomenc (Reference Encoder)
aomenc.exe -o <output_file>.webm <raw_input>.y4m
You can find rav1e’s builds on GitHub. Note that rav1e only generates the raw video stream (saved as an ivf file) which needs to be muxed into a webm container file.
rav1e.exe <raw_input>.y4m -o <intermediate>.ivf ffmpeg -i <intermediate>.ivf -c:v copy <output>.webm -hide_banner -loglevel error
While there are some SVT-AV1 builds on GitHub, the project is marked as archived and SVT-AV1’s Gitlab Repo doesn’t have any prebuilt binaries so you’ll have to compile it yourself. However you get the binary, like rav1e, you need to mux the raw video stream into a webm container file.
SvtAv1EncApp.exe -b <intermediate>.ivf -i <raw_input>.y4m ffmpeg -i $destIvf -c:v copy <output>.webm