Monday, February 29, 2016

How to Use YouTube Custom Blurring Tool

YouTube introduced the Custom Blurring Tool in late February 2016. This is an extension of the blurring feature they had launched in 2012. This new feature provides the ability to blur people’s faces or blur sensitive information in your videos uploaded to YouTube.

I think it’s a great feature to have built-in, as part of the YouTube’s video Enhancements tools. This blur feature can be used once the video is uploaded to your channel.

The blur tool is a desktop version and works on static and moving objects. Of course, it’s a bit tricky and potentially time-consuming when working with moving subjects in your video.

When using the Custom Blurring tool, I noticed that it can be a little tricky when blurring moving objects, especially during the beginning of the video. The preview looks grainy and so it’s not always easy to tell if the final edited video will come out right. The video below is a test video I used to test out YouTube’s Custom Blurring Tool. As you can tell, at the beginning of the video, it didn’t completely cover one of the girl’s faces, but overall I think it’s did a pretty good job of blurring the faces in the entire video.

To use the Custom Blurring Tool, find the video in your Video Manager. Then click on the Edit button, and choose Enhancements. Next, in the Blurring Effects tab, you will find two blurring options: automatic, and custom. When you choose the Custom option, you will be able to draw a blur box around the area in the video that you want to blur.

This tool is designed to intuitively analyze what you’re trying to blur as the video plays. Depending on how movement there is, you will need to do some fine-tuning by adjusting the blur boxes as your scrub through the video. You will see the blur annotations in your video timeline. You can accordingly adjust the duration of the blur on the timeline itself. For static objects, you can use the Lock feature in the video timeline.

Once you’re done making the changes, you can save the video as a new video, or override the existing video and publish it on YouTube. In case you don’t want to publish the video life publicly, you can first upload the video as Unlisted and then make it public once you’re completed the changes and are happy with the result. It does take a little while for processing the changes.

For example, a short 19 second video (as shown above) took around 10 minutes to process. 10 minutes may not seem like a long time, but for a 19-second video, it is. But then again, it will depend on how many adjustments have been made. The Custom Blurring Tool is not perfect, but it’s very useful to have in your video editing arsenal.

You can check the video tutorial below on How to Use the YouTube Custom Blurring Tool:

Have you tried YouTube’s Custom Blurring Tool? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Thanks for stopping by!

- Canoeing video footage of taken by Anthony Godinho at Port Credit, Ontario, Canada
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