Make animated GIFs from videos with GifCam

Create your own quirky and possibly hilarious animated images with this nifty screen-recording freeware.

When Yahoo acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion ... was it because of the GIFs? In our media-saturated Internet landscape, the 5-second animated GIF may be the most essential entertainment currency. If a picture can paint a thousand words, the animated GIF can tell 10,000 stories in 10 frames or less. (Isn't Vine (for Android or iOS) mostly just video-based animated GIFs?)

Newbies who want to dip their toes in the GIF-creation waters no longer need fancy image-editing software like Adobe Photoshop--a freeware app called GifCam lets anyone easily produce animated GIFs from on-screen activity, i.e. streaming videos, flash games, or anything else that happens on your screen, and a new update to version 2.0 throws in custom text captions, a "nearest" color output, and the ability to open and edit existing animations.

Using GifCam is as simple as resizing and positioning the interface window to encompass the screen area you wish to capture, hitting the "Rec" button to start recording (at a default 10 frames per second), hitting "Stop" when your screen sequence is complete, then hitting "Save" to output the recording as a compressed GIF animation. See:

Once you've captured a sequence of frames--at the default 10 FPS, or higher frame rates of 16 or 33 FPS--an Edit button will spawn a new window showing all the frames of your animation. If It doesn't immediately look like you can do anything with those frames, but right-clicking that interface will bring up a sparse context menu that enables deleting individual frames, deleting a series of frames from the start or end, or deleting half of the frames (to speed up your animation 2x).

(Credit: Screenshot by Peter Butler)

Right-clicking in the the Edit window will also allow you to add text to any frame or series of frames. A small amount of text customization is available--bold, italic, font size, etc.--but the app can also automatically align the text if you so choose. I did not find an easy way to add text to all of the frames in my animations (or else I would have added "Where's Annie?" to this classic TV scene animation.)

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