Without a lot of fanfare, YouTube about two weeks ago added a new and advanced blurring tool that lets video uploaders easily and precisely blur out anything that might not be appropriate for public viewing, from the faces of bystanders to license plates on cars.
While YouTube has long had the ability to blur out all the faces in any particular video, the ability to blur out anything at all is an obvious step forward in usability.
“While the use cases for this tool are vast, we built this feature with visual anonymity in mind,” YouTube notes. “We wanted to give you a simple way to blur things like people, contact information or financial data without having to remove and re-upload your content.”
The new tool, which is appropriately called Custom Blurring, not only lets users blur out relatively stationary objects, but even objects that are in motion thanks to a new technology developed at Google.
The official YouTube blog explains:
We’re launching a Custom Blurring tool on YouTube that lets creators do just that. With this new Enhancements feature, available on desktop versions of YouTube, you can blur any object in your video, even as it moves. Whether you want to blur sensitive information such as a license plate or cover up a wardrobe malfunction without reshooting an entire scene, the new Custom Blurring tool will let you blur objects throughout your video, right within YouTube.
To use the tool, simply select the enhancements icon (the magic wand) and then select Custom Blurring from the Blurring Effects tab on the right hand side.
I toyed around with the feature for a few minutes and it really is as simple as YouTube describes, as evidenced by the images below.