There are instances where you might look at a picture and say "Yuck it came out blurry." In this day of moving images and privacy battles, however, people caught in documentary or man in the street stints are not pleased; showing their faces clearly is something an image user might want to try to avoid.
YouTube knows that. In the world of moving images, they know the value of freeing up content creators to exercise a blurring effect to protect a person's anonymity and address sensitive content. On Thursday they announced a new custom blurring tool.
"Today, 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."
They said they built the feature "with visual anonymity in mind."
This is a new "Custom Blurring" feature. How it works: You draw a box around whatever it is you want to blur. "Choose the video that you want to edit and select Custom Blurring within the Blurring Effects tab of our Enhancements tool."
You can also edit your blurs. If you want, you can move the area that has been blurred; you can resize it.
"We hope this new tool helps you to tell your stories on YouTube, and continue to experiment with your creativity and expression," stated Amanda Conway, YouTube Privacy Lead.
Natt Garun, US Editor, at The Next Web, said the update was available on the desktop version of YouTube and mobile support should follow soon.
TechnoBuffalo's Brandon Russell wrote that this is not an entirely new feature from YouTube; they already had issued a blurring tool to hide identities but the tool, he said, "was rudimentary at best, and even YouTube admitted there was plenty of room for improvement."
The key advantage: this tool blurs moving objects, said Russell, "which wasn't possible if you used YouTube's previous tool."
It's not just about anonymity for faces. Other bits of information need protection too for creators to walk off satisfied they are getting their visual messages across but averting privacy invasions.
Alexander Maxham said in Android Headlines: "With high-quality and long videos, this can be a pretty big deal. Many may ask, why would you want to blur something in your video? Well imagine you got someone's license plate, or maybe a phone number, credit card number, or something else sensitive. You'll want to blur that out so that the millions of views that video may get, don't see that sensitive information. It makes everything much easier for creators."
Viewer comments on the news were quite positive. One reply said that the new custom blurring tool will be helpful for blurring sensitive data in educational training videos. Another, from Sebastiano Poggi, said, "This is an incredibly interesting technology! Motion tracking is an extremely complicated thing to do properly (just ask anyone that has ever done video post production)."