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A great deal of the available video on the Internet — 80 percent, according to Adobe® — is Flash® video. Video hosting sites like Google Video®, Yahoo! Video, and YouTube®, news sites like Reuters.com®, and social networking sites like MySpace®, all favor the FLV format. GIF (Graphic Interchange Format), a bitmap image format introduced by CompuServe® in 1987, was extended to animated GIF — sometimes called GIF89a — by Netscape in the 1990s. It is possible to convert FLV to GIF image, to animated GIF, or to GIF sequence. None of these GIF formats is actually video, but GIF can be desirable if you want a drawing or simple animation from an FLV site, for example, to display as a thumbnail of a full video on a web page.
To convert FLV to GIF, the first step is to find an appropriate converter. The converter may be available free of charge, or you may have to pay. Make sure to choose one that is compatible with your operating system. Some software programs that can convert FLV to GIF can also convert other formats, so especially if you’re paying for the video converter, you may want to think ahead to other types of conversion you may need. File types often offered include AVI, MP4, MOV, and SWF.
Once you choose a converter, you are ready to convert FLV to GIF. Designate the kind of file you want to convert and add the file to it, either using a utility to open the file or by dragging the file to a window. Next, you will select the format you want for the exported file. This may also be called the “output format.”
You may or may not want to change the video settings. If you wish, you can make changes in resolution and frame rate. Keep in mind that GIF is not a video format and is limited to 256 colors. The quality will not be the same as in the original file. Also note that unlike the situation in which you are converting FLV to MP4, for example, there are no audio settings, because GIF only has image data.