There are hundreds of protests occurring all around the world right now, and online video content is becoming increasingly important for ensuring visibility and justice. Countless thousands of videos are being recorded every day to keep those in power accountable and advocate for change in every way possible.
But it’s vital that online videos are shared in ways that protect the most vulnerable people involved. Protesters shown in famous online photos – some winning major photojournalism awards – have often received great harm or even died as a result of their high visibility to the public.
So if you’re sharing important videos online as part of your advocacy, it’s vital to take great care with the information you’re providing. This can include redacting personal details from audio, blurring or covering faces, and obscuring license plates of the more vulnerable individuals included in your photos and videos. Here’s how to do so quickly, for free, and online.
- Covering or blurring faces & license plates
- Redacting personal info from audio recordings
1. Covering or blurring faces
This is the most common and important form of identity protection that online videos filmed in public should include. It involves a bit of work, but with the right process it can take just a couple minutes.
If you want to work quickly, it’s best to simply cover the faces of the individuals involved in your picture or video. You can use a simple shape, if you want, but it’s just as easy to tailor your content to the cause by adding a relevant image, word, or sticker, rather than just a shape. In the Kapwing Studio, upload your video or image and find the person or people whose identities you need to protect. Choose “Images,” “Text,” or “Shapes” from the upper toolbar to add the type of covering you want to use. If you’re using text, you should also add a background to it – you’ll see a “Background” option on the right side of the screen when a text layer is selected.
If the people or license plates you’re protecting move a lot during the video, you’ll need to make your covering move, as well. Create copies of the covering layer and place them where they need to be as the video progresses. Once they're all in place, click "Timeline" in the upper toolbar and drag the start & end points for each layer so they follow the video's subjects while it plays. To make sure it flows smoothly, use the "Set to current time" button to make the movement seamless.
Blurring out parts of a video or photo takes a little more work, but it can be done very quickly. Simply make a copy of the layer you want to blur, crop it to the area you want to cover, and increase the blur in the "Adjust" menu. Here's an in-depth tutorial on blurring parts of a video.
2. Redacting personal info from audio recordings
Sometimes audio recordings, or the audio included in a publicly recorded video, will also contain personal or identifying information that should be redacted before materials are shared online.
The easiest way is to add a free sound effect: this free bleep sound effect works great with Kapwing, since you can add audio directly from web links. Just click "Audio," paste the link, and change the sound's duration and starting point – if it needs to be longer, just make sure you have "loop audio" selected.
If you need to add an audio effect again, split your video into separate scenes. To do this, just click the Duplicate button in the upper left corner (it looks like two rectangles stacked), trim the end of the first scene to any spot in between your redactions, and trim the beginning of the second scene to the same spot. Now, go to your second scene, click "Edit Audio," and change the starting point and duration of your sound effect.