The heart of tech is coming to the heart of the Mediterranean. Join TNW in València this March 🇪🇸

This article was published on July 17, 2013

Riffsy for iOS lets you create animated GIF-like clips from any online video

Riffsy for iOS lets you create animated GIF-like clips from any online video
Ken Yeung
Story by

Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startup Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startups, parties, and interesting people. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and Google+.

The founders of online video discovery service Redux have launched an Web and iOS app called Riffsy. The concept of this service is to enable anyone to take an existing video online and create a 5 to 10 second clip and share it instantly — it’s an animated GIF generator, essentially, but with some pretty fascinating features.

Riffsy is a spin-off of the company’s Redux product. Its founder David McIntosh tells us that after launching its online video service for the connected TV space, it decided to tackle the problem on finding videos on the mobile platform. This isn’t a “second screen” application. Rather, it’s intended to help you easily navigate through and find videos that you will find appealing, without having to determine its worth by watching the whole thing.

Video clips for Tumblr


When you look at this app, one of the first things you’ll think about is Tumblr and I’ll explain why in a bit.

If there’s a movie you wish to share with others, whether it’s from YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, Netflix, or wherever, simply copy the URL and paste it into Riffsy’s Web interface. You can choose which scenes you want to make a clip of — it can be between 5 to 10 seconds so think about it like you’re creating a Vine from already produced content.

Currently users cannot post directly from their camera, but any videos from mobile devices could be uploaded to YouTube first before having a riff made.

Once the clip has been generated, you can insert captions right onto the video. Starting to see the Tumblr reference? When finalized, the clip becomes part of a set, which can have up to four clips in it, so it’s like Storify for animated GIFs.

Currently riffs can only be created through the Riffsy website or by using a Chrome extension.

Here’s the result of what a riff would look like:

And another, this time showing off the four clips in one set:

Each video clip can be embedded onto other sites and includes a link back to the original source. If there was advertising featured, it would be carried over — basically you’re taking a screenshot of what you see. Riffs can be shared on Tumblr (naturally), Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. We’ve looked into the social aspect of Riffsy and it turns out that it only supports Facebook’s embed process. It does not yet offer Twitter Card support, meaning that videos will not be displayed in-stream like a normal YouTube video would.

YouTube trailers

LjsQwvDRiffsy says that it is being used by YouTube networks and creators like iJustine and Machinima, to help advertise their work and drive traffic to their sites. After all, who wouldn’t like to easily make short clips of their work to have it be passed around, almost like it’s a quick and simple trailer.

Movie studios can also use the service to help advertise their latest offering, such as the new Despicable Me 2 movie.

Clips can be shared with friends and fans through a variety of ways, including SMS and email.

McIntosh tells us that the video clips are not in a GIF format. By doing so, it would increase the size of the videos and take longer to load. Riffsy is focused on helping streamline the discovery process and would rather have users skim through to find interesting files. But, when a video is shared in an email or through text, it’s transformed into an animated GIF, since those platforms support that common file format.

Riffsy is available starting today on iOS devices and will work across all browsers. An Android version is in the works but will not be released for the several months.

Riffsy for iOS

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Disclosure: This article contains an affiliate link. While we only ever write about products we think deserve to be on the pages of our site, The Next Web may earn a small commission if you click through and buy the product in question. For more information, please see our Terms of Service.