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GFYCAT FAQ

Motivation:

GIF -- 4.5MB
HTML5 Video -- 286KB

This classic 4.5MB gif has made the Internet round trip many times. The video version is 16 times smaller. And this happens all the time.

And with video, you can also pause, slow it down, speed it up, step frame by frame, or play in reverse. Check it out

What is Gfycat? #

Gfycat is gif hosting, with three unique advantages:

More about Gfycat's service:

What is a gfy? #

A gfy is a short, looped, soundless video moment that includes GIF as one of the available formats.

The name stands for "GIF Format Yoker" (we pronounce it "jiffy"). And the purpose is to bridge the gap between gif and html5 video by providing both-- allowing users much faster delivery, and more playback options

We built gfycat to solve a problem: gifs are awesome... but they suck. They are huge, slow, CPU burning, limited to the color space of 1987, they don't stream, and they can't be interacted with (pause, rewind, speed controls, scrubbing).

But they are still awesome because:

Gifs set expectations: you're not going to sit through a 5 minute video to get at the meat. A gif fills a unique space somewhere in the intersection between video and still images-- a moment.

The problem is that html5 video doesn't work everywhere (we actually encode six different videos to cover the most browsers)

We think the best solution is to keep the gif, to host plain gifs as fast as possible, and seamlessly yoke them with the newer formats wherever possible: that way 90% of users will get a faster delivery, and those who can't, will still get the gif transparently. Everyone gets exactly the same content.

And if you don't like all this video stuff, we still want you to host your massive gif here-- direct link to it, and get fast cloud fronted hosting.

How can I embed these or link to them? #

There are several ways to use gif hosting from gfycat.

To turn this into a gfycat, you will need to include the following javascript snippet. Just paste it anywhere in your page.

<script>
(function(d, t) {
var g = d.createElement(t),
s = d.getElementsByTagName(t)[0];
g.src = 'http://assets.gfycat.com/js/gfyajax-0.517d.js';
s.parentNode.insertBefore(g, s);
}(document, 'script'));
</script>

With this bit of code, you can now use the following simple tag structure to embed a gfy anywhere on your page, just like you would a plain old gif (the data-id string is you unique gfy name):

<img class="gfyitem" data-id="everyillchick" />

The script will automatically fetch all of the data from our servers and construct the gfy objects for you!

There are three optional attributes you can specify for formatting:

Note: Gfycat.com is still beta, but this embed feature is still in an early alpha stage. So if you do try it out please let us know any issues you encounter.

What is "Do not Resize"? #

Normally, a large video (dimensions greater than 852x600) uploaded to gfycat is resized. The reason for this is that many users want to be able to upload clips without thinking about the size, and have Gfycat provide a link that works well for sharing.

This is particularly true for uploads from your phone, where you might not even realize how large the video is.

However, as a user you also might be sharing a very large clip with good reason, so we give you the choice to ask Gfycat not to resize it. Think carefully when you use this however, as viewers usually want something quick, simple and easy to view.

Note: Conversions of very high resolution videos might be slower than you expect. Transcoding time for video rises very sharply with frame area.

What does "Ignore Existing" mean? #

Gfycat stores a reference to every upload, so if you try to convert the same file (or url), it will instantly direct you to the already converted Gfycat link.

But sometimes you really do want to re-convert a link. For example, if the link is dynamic (a weather gif would be one case). The option to ignore any existing Gfycat results lets you run the conversion again and create a new link.

What is the green dot? #

The dot is a loading indicator and a size indicator. While the video is streaming, the dot will trace out a pie chart to indicate the % complete until the stream is fully downloaded.

The color of the dot indicates the total file size. If you link directly to the gif, the url itself serves the same function. Gfys come in three sizes:

If you've ever stared at your screen waiting for a gif to trickle in, wondering how long it will take, and if you should just kill yourself, you might appreciate these indicators. Good news everyone: most of the gfys will be 'green'!

How do I pause, reverse, or change the playback speed? #

In order to see the controls, you need to mouse over the gfy area. This is to keep the clutter out of your face and show you just the content you want.

Move your mouse over the pull tab in the bottom right corner:

You should now see a blue panel slide down, with controls for Pause, Reverse Playback, Decrease Speed, or Increase Speed. If you right click on the video, your browser should also display scrubbing controls.

Notice that the URL parameters are updated as you adjust playback. If you like the results, you can copy the URL to share the modified version directly (this will only work for video).

Want to share that monkey eating a banana backwards? It's as easy as this: http://gfycat.com/MeanRevolvingCockerspaniel#?direction=reverse

Also you can give our control ball a try. Drag the little green ball in the bottom right corner around, and you can move through the clip at whaever speed you want. Drag the ball farther out to move slower.

Why does mobile make me choose? #

There are restrictions for mobile devices imposed by the vendors. For example, on iOS and most Android browsers, videos cannot automatically start playing. The user must initiate the request.

When the user presses the "HTML5 Video" button, this is sufficient for iOS security to allow us to start playing the video. It will still save you a lot of time when you come across that 25MB gif that just won't download, or when you want to pause the action at a key moment. Another advantage on mobile is that many phones are able to decode the stream in hardware, using much less processing power and battery than downloading and unzipping the LZW compression of GIF.

Android devices also cannot handle the highest compression options for videos, so we serve a different version of the video to android.

And all of the html5 options for controlling videos are not yet consistent on mobile. We decided that the best approach was to keep the presentation as clean and simple as possible, and guarantee that the user gets the same core response on all devices: a sequence that immediately starts playing, without any clutter.

I get a black square or playback stops on Chrome #

There is a bug in the current version of Chrome when using hardware accelaration. This only affects some users with hardware acceleration turned on in Chrome, and running incompatible hardware.

If you are using Chrome and experiencing this issue, then you can resolve it by going to your browser settings by typing chrome://flags into your browser address bar:


Then click "Enable" for the setting that states "Disable hardware-accelerated video decode:


And finally, restart your browser and the problem should be resolved.

How do I choose between gif and video? #

Most of the time, you won't need to care. When you go to a gfy link, it will figure out what your browser can support so that the same link always works, for all users.

If you want to change the format playing on your device:

So why "cat"? #

  1. Just because.
  2. "cat" is a plain and simple unix program designed to dump the contents of files. gfycat is designed to dump the contents of gifs, plainly and simply. (Also, we might want a UUOC award)
  3. We acknowledge that 90% of gfy's will likely involve cats.

What is with the really weird link names? #

Most randomly generated urls look like this:G1XeD4SwlHReDA

We thought it would be fun to do it differently. Our URLs consist of this structure: AdjectiveAdjectiveAnimal This is enough to give us a namespace of billions, while also letting humans write them easier.

Most links are not case sensitive, but if you hotlink to a file on the content delivery network, then it IS case sensitive so make sure you copy and paste the URL from our Links popout exactly.

Do you have an API? #

Yes you can interact with gfycat programmatically following the guidelines here

Can I upload video or a set of image frames for conversion? #

Yes! You can upload most formats of video (max 15 seconds). We have not implemented uploading of individual frames yet, but stick around.

What are accounts for? Can I upload without one? #

Accounts are completely optional. You can upload and publish a gfy without an account, and there are no upload limits with or without accounts.

If you want to collect and keep tabs on every gfy you've ever uploaded, we think the accounts are a nice feature.

What is the maximum size allowed? #

There are no set restrictions on size or number of uploads at this time. Have at 'er.

Can I hotlink directly to the gif or videos? #

Yup. It would be a pretty useless service without it!


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