fixed : convert video for WhatsApp

Question :

I have a short video file (a movie clip) that I want to share with my friends on WhatsApp. When I drag&drop it into the WhatsApp.app in macOS, the file appears to start uploading… but when done, there is no preview shown and no Play-button, just a file icon… as if it were an unknown or incompatible type of file…

What can I do to fix this ?

Answer :

Before uploading your video file to WhatsApp, you must make sure your video file meets WhatsApp’s file requirements :

  • video format preferably MP4 in H.264 or MPEG-4 codec ( MKV, AVI or 3GP will also do )
  • audio format preferably AAC ( or AC3 codec )
  • file size smaller than about 16MB ( in reality even 18MB might be okay )
    • usually, this means your movie clip will be about 90 seconds, but by tweaking the display size and the frame rate ( fps ) you can even squeeze 3 minutes or more into about 16MB

Do this to check your video’s specifications :

  • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the movie clip’s icon
  • select “Get Info” from the popup-menu
  • in the window that opens, check these :
    • the file name either has the “.mov” or “.mp4” file extension
    • at “Size:” less that 18MB should be listed
    • at “Codecs:” either “H.264” or “H.264, AAC” is listed

If these are all okay, you should be able to just drag&drop the movie clip into the macOS WhatsApp.app.

If not, you will have to convert the movie clip. To do this conversion, do this :

  • first, download the FREE OmniConverter.app ( by 7littlemen ) from the Mac AppStore :
  • then, open the OmniConverter.app and click on “Convert Video” from the list on the left
  • then, drag&drop your movie clip file onto the OmniConverter window
  • now, at the right of the arrow (in the middle), check if “MP4” is listed and the file size is less than 18MB
    • if you do not see “MP4” listed at the right of the middle arrow, click the Format-button
      • in the window that opens, select the “Device”-tab
      • then, select “iPhone” from the list on the left
      • then, select the “iPhone HD” option
      • now, click the Confirm-button
    • if you see a file size larger than 18MB listed at the right of the middle arrow, click the Edit-button
      • in the window that opens, at “Video”>”Encoder:” select “H.264”
      • and at “Audio”>”Encoder:” select “AAC”
      • leave the rest as is and click the Confirm-button
  • back in the Convert Video window, click on the Start-button ( circled arrow icon, at the right )
  • now, wait for the conversion to complete
    • if the file size already was less than 18MB, you’re usually okay and you will not need to do extra compression
    • if the file size was over 18MB, do this :
      • open the OmniConverter.app and click on “Compress Video” from the list on the left
      • drag&drop the .mp4-video you’ve just converted onto the OmniConverter window
      • check if the file size listed at the right of the arrow (in the middle) is less than 16MB
        • if so, click the Start-button on the right
        • if not, click the Edit-button (below the arrow)
        • in the window that opens, set the “Quality:”-slider in-between “Mid” and “High”, set “Resolution:” to “720P” and set “Frame Rate:” to “24 FPS”
        • if at “Size:” it now says anything less than 16MB, click the Confirm-button
        • if at “Size:” it says anything over 30MB, set “Resolution:” to “480P”
        • if at “Size:” it says anything between 20MB and 30MB, set the “Quality:”-slider to “Mid”
        • now, if at “Size:” it still says anything over 18MB, start tweaking the available settings until at “Size:” it says about 15MB ( see how much the file size decreases when you tweak each setting to find the optimal combination of settings )
        • when done, click the Confirm-button
      • now, in the “Compress Video” window, click the Start-button
      • …and wait for the compression to finish

After the file conversion, drag&drop the converted movie clip into the WhatsApp.app to share it with your friends…

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

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 😉