Creating an animated gif
Creating an animated gif is not too difficult. There are various programs available, some free and some not.
The most user friendly tool is Adobe Imageready, and this tutorial will cover that. Other great programs are the Flash programs made by Adobe and Macromedia (Adobe now owns Macromedia). Still better is Adobe After Effects, an industry standard special effects program.
Imageready lets you open quicktime movie files, and save them as animated images. Open your movie file, and resize it in the Image menubar. In the top right pallete, click Optimize, and then under the Options, change the "lossy" slider. The more lossy the image, the smaller the file (but worse the quality). Then, go to File and Save Optimized. It should save as an animated gif. Check to see that the saved file is under 3MB; if not, you'll hve to make it smaller and/or lossier.
Adobe Photoshop CS3
With Adobe's release of their third Creative Suit software package, Imageready was eliminated and the animation features were brought into Photoshop CS3. If this is the software you are using, simply choose File > Import > Video Frames to Layers. This will bring up a dialogue asking you to specify which specific section of the video you would like to import as well as giving you the option to import every other frame, which produces a smaller, albeit jerkier, clip. Once you select the section of the video to import, Photoshop opens the frames in its Animation window. This interface is very similar to the one found in Imageready. Once you have completed your animation, select File > Save for Web & Devices which brings up the optimization dialogue, again very similar to Imageready.