Technically Impossible

Lets look at the weak link in your statement. Anything "Technically Impossible" basically means we haven't figured out how yet.

Mount Google Drive and Convert MP4 to GIF on Google Colab


Google Colaboratory (Colab)*1 is Jupyter notebook environment provided by Google. Mounting Google Drive*2, user can edit files there on Colab.

This post introduces procedure to convert MP4 movie to GIF animation. Converting to GIF, MP4 is

  • cropped to remove unwanted area
  • resized to make outputs smaller
  • thinned to drop frame rate

MoviePy or OpenCV + Pillow are used for processes above. This post also compares performance and quality of them. Although MoviePy provides better syntax, OpenCV provides massively faster performance.

Mount Google

Colab supports various way to mount Google Drive. Directory structure of Colab is as following.

🔎Colab directory structure

It should be focused that Google Drive is mounted as "/drive" under "/content". Next Linux commands also show the common fact. This is the case of mounting via Colab GUI.


In the case of mounting with Python code, "/drive" in mounted path is replaced to the designated one. Example, the next case shows mounting as "/gdrive".


from google.colab import drive

Preparation and assumptions

The source movie in this post (MP4 file) is the one attached at the end of the past post*3. This MP4 file is stored at the next path after mounting Google Drive via Colab GUI.


This time, upper half of this movie is output as GIF animation. Its assumption is

Size of movie (animation)

width height
MP4 frame size 1800 2784
MP4 cropped size 1800 1392
GIF resized size 640 495

They are implicitly reflected to Python program introduced later.

Convert from MP4 to GIF


Converting from MP4 to GIF, seriese of frames consist of movie are converted one by one. In this process, size of source image is smaller, converting process is faster. So, process making sources smaller has priority. This time, processes are executed in next order.

  1. crop
  2. resize

And drop frame rate finally reduces number of images converted.

OpenCV + Pillow

OpenCV (CV: Computer Vision)*4 and Pillow (PIL: Python Imaging Library) are image processing libraries for Python.

The original function "getCroppedFrames" return array of Pillow images to be converted to GIF. OpenCV is used there, and its next specification should be focused. Its default color format is BGR, and it should be converted to RGB.

Note that the default color format in OpenCV is often referred to as RGB but it is actually BGR (the bytes are reversed).

OpenCV: Color Space Conversions

def getCroppedFrames(movie, crop_size, resize_size):
  ret_images = []

  while True:
    ret, bgr_images =

    if ret:
      cropped_images = bgr_images[0:crop_size["h"], 0:crop_size["w"]]
      resized_images = cv2.resize(cropped_images, (resize_size["w"], resize_size["h"]))
      rgb_images = cv2.cvtColor(resized_images, cv2.COLOR_BGR2RGB)
      pillow_images = Image.fromarray(rgb_images)
      return ret_images

And the other original function "makeGIF" outputs GIF file. Images to be converted are thinned with setting FPS. Image format is defined by designated path. No need to tell expected image format as parameter.

def makeGIF(path, images, fps):
  dur = int(1000.0 / fps)
  images[0].save(path, save_all=True, append_images=images[1:], duration=dur, loop=0)

Full text of source code is as following. It ends entire process around 8sec.



MoviePy*5 is library for video editing. Its syntax is easier to understand than OpenCV. It just can be written as programmer may expect it to be written, and it results in a program is easy to understand. Example,

input_video = VideoFileClip(source_path)
cropped_video = input_video.crop(x1=0, y1=0, width=1800, height=1392)
resized_video = cropped_video.resize(height=640)
resized_video.write_gif(target_path_ffmpeg, fps=12, program='ffmpeg', logger='bar')


Writing in common style of OpenCV case, it is like this.

Function, getCroppedFrames

def getCroppedFrames(movie, crop_size, resize_size):
  cropped_movie = movie.crop(x1=0, y1=0, width=crop_size["w"], height=crop_size["h"])
  resized_movie = cropped_movie.resize(height=resize_size["h"])
  return resized_movie

Function, makeGIF

def makeGIF(path, movie, fps, program):
  movie.write_gif(path, fps=fps, program=program, logger='bar')

However, MoviePy is slow. Even if it can be written as expected, it takes 20 times longer for common processing. It takes 3 min or more to output a single GIF animation. Although it can select program as FFmpeg*6 or imageio*7 for converting to GIF, there is no big difference.
Output 2 GIF with both programs takes less than 8 min, around 3 min per a single conversion process.
Full text of source code is as following.


Comparison of GIF

Big difference is only syntax of program, but quality of outputs are almost no difference.