How to Protect Identities With YouTube’s Blurring Feature

How to Protect Identities With YouTube’s Blurring Feature

No matter what you’re filming, it’s important to think about the privacy of everyone you capture in your video before sharing online, especially if someone could be put at risk for speaking out. In this short video we’ll take a look at how to protect identities using the blurring function built into YouTube. Let’s start with a video we’ve already uploaded. This one is of a media activist reporting on a protest in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Below the video frame you’ll see some editing tools, and we’re going to click on the second one called ‘enhancements’. Within enhancements, you’ll see a submenu that includes the feature we’re interested in: ‘blurring effects’. Our first option is to allow the tool to automatically detect and blur all the faces it finds in the video. When we click apply and drag the preview bar over to see the full frame, we can see how it did. The tool seems to have done pretty good obscuring the faces in this scene. But for our purposes, we’re really only interested in obscuring the identity of the activist at the center and not so much about the members of the press surrounding him. So let’s go back and undo the automatic blur by just clicking again on the ‘Apply’ button. And instead we’ll go just below that to the custom blur option, which allows us to designate a region that we want to hide. In this case, the region we want to hide is his face, so I’ll make sure to cover it entirely by drawing a box over it and adjusting the size and shape as needed. Now we’ll play the video and see how the tool keeps up with his movement. Anytime you have a camera moving around a lot or a person turning their head, the tool is going to have a tough time keeping up. Here I’ll need to extend the duration of the effect and adjust its position. As you tweak it, the tool will better understand what you’re trying to obscure and it’ll fill in the gaps. Once I’ve watched through the video and feel comfortable that this activist’s face is adequately obscured, I can click done. Now that I’m done, I have a few options for how to save this newly blurred video. Clicking ‘save’ gives me a prompt that says YouTube will save my changes and keep the original video so I can revert back if I want to undo those changes later. But I’m going to cancel here and save another way. The ‘save as new video’ option is similar and can save this blurred video as a copy of the original, but I keep my video archived elsewhere and don’t rely on YouTube as a place to save my originals. With that in mind, and since security is my biggest concern in this case, I’ll check this box here that tells YouTube to delete the original and then I’ll click ‘save’. For more guidance on how to be safe and effective when using video for change, visit

6 Replies to “How to Protect Identities With YouTube’s Blurring Feature”

  1. ну да, чтобы террористы не палились на видео, молодцы ребята из Гугла…
    well done, now terrorists can brush their faces, great job, guys from Google…

  2. 我本就失明,又可需製做視覺匿名?😂只是有一點不太明?傳訊息?删除後再重新上傳?我喜歡的人?也許這就是人類思維進展的方向,事,物本無什麼破壞視,聽覺的能力!就是加了人的腦細胞過分活躍,想得太多了,事物隨着某種節奏,扭曲再扭曲,最後変成了另一个故事!

  3. Am I able to upload a video of an owner of a business, wearing her company uniform and driving her company vehicle without having to blur her face?

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