fixed : quickly create GIF from QuickTime or MP4 video

Question :

For my social media I regularly want to create a .gif-animation from small clip out of an .mp4-video file that I have, but I don’t have a lot of video-editing skills or specialised software.

Is there a simple way to do this ?

 

Answer :

There are lots of ways to do this. And no video-editing skills are required to do the most basic, but with some editing you can quickly get better results.

I would recommend buying the $5 GIF Brewery 3 from the Mac AppStore and doing the editing in QuickTime (or iMovie).

The recommendations for a good GIF-animation for most social media are (suggested by .gif-database GIPHY) :

  • duration of about 6 seconds (shorter is better)
  • file size close to 8MB (smaller is better)
  • video resolution of 480 pixels (or 720 pixels maximum) on the shortest side (depending on either landscape or portrait view, or square, or any custom size)
  • total number of frames of 100 maximum (less is better)

If you just want to turn part of an existing video into a GIF, do this :

  • get GIF Brewery 3 from the Mac AppStore ( the $5 price tag is worth it if you plan on doing this more frequently )
  • first, open the video source in QuickTime.app
  • then, in the top menu bar, click on “Window”
  • then, in the pulldown menu, click on “Movie Inspector”
  • then, check out the number that is at “Encoded FPS” and remember it (you need this later)
  • then close QuickTime.app
  • now, open your source video in GIF Brewery 3
  • then, in the video slider below your video, slide the green slider to match the first frame of your desired GIF
  • and slide the red slider to where you want your GIF to end
    • click on the PLAY-button (black triangle left of the video slider) to preview your GIF
    • if the preview-length is not okay, readjust the green and/or red slider to improve your clip
  • now, in the editing window, click on the Resize-button top left
  • then, in the popup window, make sure “Maintain aspect ratio” is checked
  • then, move the Scale-slider until either Width or Height is 480px (if the clip size is less than 5 seconds, you could also stop the Scale-slider at 720px)
  • now, in the editing window, click the Settings-button top right
  • then, at “Frames Per Second” set the fps to match the “Encoded FPS” of the original video
    • again, click on the PLAY-button (black triangle left of the video slider) to preview your GIF
    • if the preview-speed is too slow, adjust the Speed-slider to a higher value (anything less than 110%, even 103%, will usually do)
    • if the preview-speed is too fast, adjust the Speed-slider to a lower value (anything over 95% will usually do)
  • then, make sure there’s a checkmark at “Optimize GIF colors”
  • then, adjust the ColorCount-slider to 48
    • again, click on the PLAY-button (black triangle left of the video slider) to preview your GIF
    • if the preview looks okay, leave the ColorCount-slider at 48
    • if the preview looks too dark or otherwise odd, adjust the ColorCount-slider to a higher value like 96, 128, 216 or 256, but make sure to set it as low as possible
  • then, click the “Create”-button (at the bottom, slightly right of the middle, with a beer glass in it) to generate the GIF
  • then, click on the Save-button (bottom right)
  • in the popup window, type the name you want your GIF to have, set the location where you want it stored and click the Save-button
  • then, browse the Finder to find the GIF’s icon and ALT-click on it
  • first, select “Get Info” from the popup menu and check if the file size is 10MB or less
    • if the file size is over 10MB, go back to GIF Brewery 3, lower at least one of the values you have set there and create an extra version of your GIF that has a file size of 10MB or less
    • as mentioned before, the main values you can adjust are :
      • Length of the clip
      • Scale / Resize (might make the picture more grainy)
      • Frames Per Second / FPS (might make motions less fluent)
      • Color Count (might make the colors less vibrant)
  • then, ALT-click on the GIF’s icon again and select “Open with” from the popup menu and select your internet browser (probably Safari) to preview the animated GIF
  • If you are happy with the end result, you are ready to post the GIF on your social media
    • if not… redo your editing and try again

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

 

fixed : use old iPad as an extra screen for your Mac (or PC)

Question :

Since we are working from home a lot (and the children are home schooling), and we have several old iPads and iPhones lying around gathering dust, we were wondering if it would be possible to use them as second screens on our Macs and Windows PCs to make our work and homework easier by being able to do this (and more) :

  • manage our music playlist (iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify) on our old iPad/iPhone whilst running  MS Office on our Mac/PC without switching apps
  • use our old iPad/iPhone’s touchscreen to put a signature under a PDF-document whilst typing it on our Mac/PC
  • use our old iPad/iPhone as a drawing tablet for our Mac/PC
  • videochat or view an online presentation onour Mac/PC whilst making notes on our old iPad/iPhone using a full-size keyboard (and easily swapping the two around when needed)

We noticed Apple has introduced this great feature called Sidecar that enables you to use your iPad (or iPhone) as a second screen for your Mac. But when I looked at the Sidecar requirements on the Apple website, I found that our older iPads/iPhones aren’t supported.

Is there any way to use Sidecar (or something similar) on our old iPads/iPhones ?

 

Answer :

Yes, even though you cannot use Sidecar on any unsupported iPad, iPhone or Mac, there is an alternative that works just as great for any old iPad (or iPhone) and is not limited to a Mac, but does support Windows PCs also… and best of all : it’s FREE.

This is ideal for working from home and home schooling since you can do all this (and more) :

  • manage your music playlist (iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify) on your iPad whilst running  MS Office on your Mac/PC without switching apps
  • use your iPad/iPhone’s touchscreen to put a signature under a PDF-document whilst typing it on your Mac/PC
  • use your iPad/iPhone as a drawing tablet for your Mac/PC
  • videochat or view an online presentation on my Mac/PC whilst making notes on my iPad/iPhone using a full-size keyboard (and easily swapping the two around when needed)

This FREE alternative for Apple Sidecar is Splashtop Wired XDisplay. It enables you to use any iPad/iPhone running iOS 7 or newer as a second or third (touch)screen for any Mac running OSX 10.9 Mavericks (or PC running Windows 7) or newer.

This means that all these iPhone / iPad / Mac models are supported :

  • iPhone 4 or newer
  • iPad 2 or newer
  • any iPad mini
  • any iPad Air
  • any iPad Pro
  • any aluminum iMac (iMac “Mid 2007” or newer)
  • any iMac Pro
  • Mac mini “Early 2009” or newer
  • Mac Pro “Early 2008” or newer
  • white MacBook “Early 2009” or newer
  • any aluminum MacBook
  • MacBook Air “Late 2008” or newer (2nd gen MacBook Air or newer)
  • MacBook Pro “Mid 2007” or newer

To install, do this :

  • install the Splashtop Wired XDisplay app on you Mac/PC
    • you can download Splashtop Wired XDisplay for Mac or Windows here
  • install iTunes on your PC if you have done so yet
    • you can download iTunes for Windows here
    • on a Mac you don’t need additional software for your iPad/iPhone to be recognized
  • install Splashtop Wired XDisplay on your iPad/iPhone
    • you can download Splashtop Wired XDisplay for iPhone here
    • you can download Splashtop Wired XDisplay for iPad here
  • then, plug your iPad/iPhone’s USB-cable into your Mac/PC
  • then run the Splashtop Wired XDisplay app on your Mac/PC
  • then run the Splashtop Wired XDisplay app on your iPad/iPhone
  • then goto the Settings on your Mac/PC, find the Screen Settings and arrange your screens the way you like
    • you can choose “Mirror Screen” to see exactly the same on your MAc/PC and your iPad/iPhone
    • you can choose “Extend Screen” to arrange the iPad/iPhone as an add-on for your desktop
    • if you already have a second screen attached to your Mac/PC, you can use your iPad/iPhone as an additional third screen also

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : quick way to make hidden files visible on macOS

Question :

I sometimes need to view the invisible files on my Mac. I know I can do this using the Terminal.app, but isn’t there an easier way to do this ?

 

Answer :

To turn on the ‘Hidden File Viewer’ (or ‘Invisible File Viewer’) mode in MacOSX, you could use the command line in Terminal.app or you could use little apps named something like ‘Hidden File Viewer’ or similar.

In macOS 10.12 Sierra and newer, there is a far simpler way to do this :

  • press the [SHIFT] + [CMD] + [.] key-combo on your keyboard

Using this key-combo, you can switch the visibility of invisible files ON or OFF.

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : MacBook Pro sighs then hangs during startup without progress bar over and over again

Question :

I have a  2018 MacBook Pro 13″ with TouchBar and 4 Thunderbolt3 ports that seems to hang during startup : the MacBook ‘sighs’ (fan noise) during startup and shows only a black screen with a white Apple-logo, but no progress bar as usual… then it automatically restarts… and the same thing repeats itself…

Is there any way to solve this ?

 

Answer :

This might be caused by a hardware problem, so if it happens frequently, you should take your MacBook Pro to an AppleStore or authorized Apple Repair shop for repair.

But before you do so, try this, as it might fix your problem :

If you do see a progress bar during startup, look at this post :

fixed : MacBook Pro hangs during final stage of macOS startup

If you do not see a progress bar during startup, do this :

  • unplug everything else from the USB-C ports
  • now plug in the USB-C power-adapter
  • then, if you can, plug-in a USB-C-to-Ethernet-adapter and make an ethernet-connection to your network (and the Internet), if not leave it
  • then, press the ON/OFF-fingerscan-button (top-right in the Touch Bar) to restart your Mac
  • then, during restart, immediately press the [CMD]+[ALT]+[R] key-combo on your keyboard
  • keep this key-combo pressed for about 30 seconds, then release
  • now, leave your MacBook connected to power and internet overnight
  • in the morning, your MacBook will have reinstalled the latest version of macOS

…and you will be good to go 😉

If the problem persists overnight, you might want to try this also, before you decide to bring in your MacBook Pro for repair :

  • create a macOS installer on a USB-stick (or even a USB-C stick)
    • as your own MacBook Pro is not available for this, you need to do this on another Mac or ask someone to do this for you
    • instructions on doing this can be found here on Apple.com
  • then plug the USB-C stick (or USB-stick with a USB-to-USB-C-adapter) into your MacBook Pro
  • then restart your MacBook Pro, while pressing the [ALT]-key on your keyboard
  • release the [ALT]-key when the Startup Manager window opens
  • then select the USB-stick as your startup disk
  • then follow the onscreen instructions for (re)installing macOS

That’s it !

As mentioned before : if you keep running into this problem frequently, you might have a hardware problem and you should bring your MacBook Pro in for repair.

enjoy 😉

fixed : compress video for WhatsApp (or eMail)

Question :

I would like to send a small piece of a video I just shot at a birthday party to a group of friends on WhatsApp, but it’s too big to upload.

How can I compress it for easy viewing on Whatsapp ?

 

Answer :

If you have shot the video on your iPhone you can send it right away, and iOS will do the compression for you.

However, if you already have the video on your Mac and you want to compress it before you send it using WhatsApp Desktop (for macOS), do this :

  • make sure you trim down the length of the video to a clip that only includes the most relevant part of the video
    • you can do this in QuickTime Player (included in macOS for FREE)
  • use Smart Converter (FREE from Mac AppStore) and choose ‘for iPhone or iPod’, then click ‘Convert’ to convert
    • this will convert to an .mp4 video with 1280×720 resolution at 30 frames per second and AAC sound (file size ca. 10MB per 10 seconds)
  • use Handbrake (FREE from handbrake.fr) and choose ‘Presets’ > ‘Gmail Large 3 minutes 720p30’, then click ‘Start’ to convert
    • this will convert to an .mp4 video with 1280×720 resolution at 30 frames per second and AAC sound (file size ca. 2MB per 10 seconds)

Note : even though the frame rate and screen size are the same, the ‘Gmail’-ready file will be much smaller than the ‘iPhone’-ready file, even though (or rather ‘because’) this comes with the downside that quick-moving objects will blur in the ‘Gmail’-ready video (compared to the ‘iPhone’-ready video that hardly has any blur and is similar in size and quality to the ‘Fast 720p30’ preset in Handbrake) 

That’s it !

enjoy 😉