Animated GIFs in Google Forms

blogEntryTopperRecently, I’ve been spending a lot of time toying around with animated GIFs.

For whatever reason, GIFs seem to be making a comeback these days. Then again, it kind of makes sense: GIFs allow you to bring some lightweight animation to your webpage, without the reader having to take action on the image (i.e. press play) and continuously loop which makes it easy to re-watch the action in case you missed it.

I was working on creating my own GIFs using a few different tools when it occurred to me that GIFs would be awesome in the Google Forms assessment sheets that I use in my classes.

That being said, I decided to see if Google Forms even supported GIFs and, sure enough, they do!

Here’s the process I’ve been using to create short GIFs that I will be using in my Google Forms (not to mention all of the ones you have been seeing around the site).

Step One: Find a video clip you want to convert into GIF format

The first step is actually finding the content you would like to convert. For this example, I will be using the short clip of me shooting a set shot in basketball (this is the clip I used for the QR Code Skill Posters).



Step Two: Download GifBrewery (Mac)

GifBrewery is the $5 Mac app that I have been using to convert videos to GIFs. The app is pretty straightforward and makes it easy to create the animated images I’m looking make.

Step Three: Open the video clip in GifBrewery

You’ll probably want to resize your video to make sure the final file isn’t too large. GifBrewery has a simple feature for this: from the menu bar, just go to GIF -> High Quality Resize and then set your size (for the blog, I usually got with 600px wide).

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 2.17.56 AM

Step Four: Set the start time and the end time for the portion of the clip you want to convert

This is really easy to do, just set the arrows on the time bar beneath your clip to mark the start and end times of the GIF you wish to create.

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 2.25.01 AM

Step Five: Set the frame count & frame delay values for your GIF

This was the tricky part for me. The frame count indicates how many frames will be in your GIF, taking into account the amount of frames per second you want your GIF to run. If you want your GIF to run at 24 fps, then multiply 24 by the desired duration of your GIF. In the case above, the portion of the clip that I wish to convert is 2 seconds, so my total frame count will be 48 (2s. x 24 fps).

As for frame delay, that is the amount of time, in milliseconds, that lapses between frames. I read somewhere that the best two values here are 42ms and 100ms. I usually go with 100ms when creating my GIFs (then again, I’m not an expert at these things).

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 2.32.35 AM

Step Six: Create your GIF

Once you click “Create GIF”, GifBrewery will start building your GIF for you. Once it renders, you’ll be able to see how big the image file is. If ever it is too large of a file (e.g. > 5 MB), you can reduce that by clicking “Discard”, checking the “Reduce the number roof colors in GIF” box in the inspector, and then clicking “Create GIF” again. This should allow GifBrewery to significantly reduce the size of your GIF. Just be mindful that the colours were not too affected in the process (sometimes, you’ll see glitches).

Set Shot Gif

Step Seven: Create your Google Form

Now that your GIF is created, you can head on over to Google Drive and start creating your Google Form. Once that is underway, you can insert your GIF into the form by adding it as an image. Google Forms will treat it as just another image, when in reality you’ve got some pretty sweet, Harry Potter-style stuff going on (here’s a link to my mock Google Form).



Jokes aside, I think that GIFs can be really useful tools for helping students observe skills/situations and then writing a response to whatever it is that they are meant to be observing. GIFs allow you to work around slow loading times/school blocks that we (sadly) still sometimes encounter when trying to share YouTube videos with our students.

It’s a little more work, but I think it might just be worth it.

What do you think? Do you see some potential for GIFs in physical education resources? Have you worked with them before? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading and happy teaching!


Joey Feith is a physical education teacher from Canada and the founder of ThePhysicalEducator.com.

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