How to obscure logos in video with Premiere Pro

There are some cases where a cameraman needs to hide a logo or a face in his images. Learn to handle this task in Premiere Pro.

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Ant Pruitt

In today's world of high privacy and trademark, public viewing of video images could be denied. Or, you could face legal ramifications by showing something on your footage without express written permission.

Fortunately, there are video editing tools available in Adobe Premiere Pro to hide unwanted objects or even blur faces in your video.

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Identify and mask the subject

  1. First, determine the problem area in the video. Sometimes it is a logo; other times it can even be a person's face. The technique to blur and obscure an object or face is the same. In this case, we will use a t-shirt logo as an example.
  2. Inside Premiere Pro, navigate to the problem area in your timeline.
  3. Duplicate the footage simply by pressing and holding the ALT key (option on Mac) and dragging the footage up to another track. The duplicated layer ( Figure A ) is necessary because it will mask all other areas of the footage, but will keep the problem area visible. Trust me, it sounds against intuitive, but it works.
  duplicate-video-track.jpg "data-original =" https://tr4.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2019/08/22/803e96fb-4315-4750-b934-9294861cb4a8/resize/ 770x / f37786878546858535424f3a9c0ef38e / duplicate-video-track.jpg

Ant Pruitt

Next, be sure to select your duplicate layer and then navigate to the effects control panel.

There, you will see an opacity effect labeled "fx Opacity". This effect allows you to create an ellipse or polygonal shaped mask, or you can simply use the pencil tool and draw a free hand mask. For this example, we will use the ellipse mask because the logo is round.

When you click on the ellipse mask, you may need to change its size to fit correctly on the footage. Simply use your mouse to drag the ellipse where it should be. Also, click on the ellipse mask points to help resize. Be sure to set the feather mask ( Figure B ) at 30 pixels.

  radial-mask-properties.jpg "data-original =" https://tr4.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2019/08/22/ae051eb0-f1c6-433d-9b38-61888cc2fa2d/resize/ 770x / 8ef102bbb3715b8a29e1bd56b31icsoft34 / radial-mask-properties.jpg

Ant Pruitt

Next, navigate to the effects panel ( Figure C ) and look for blur. This will show a list of blur types available in Premiere Pro. I recommend using Camera Blur or Gaussian Blur. I will use Gaussian blur in this example. Simply drag the effect on the duplicate footage in the timeline.

  blur-effect.jpg "data-original =" https://tr3.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2019/08/22/f3f657fd-3666-49cd-8136-793f55d84a67/resize/770x/ 6fc2cbfe89397b321341f5d1dc5d5ab3 / blur-effect.jpg

Ant Pruitt

Within the effect control ( Figure D ), you can adjust the amount of blur you want to add to the clip. Because we wear a mask, only duplicate material is affected. It's a great effect until you play in your video. Especially if the object that is getting dark moves in the clip. Fear not, there is a solution for that.

  blur-amount.jpg "data-original =" https://tr2.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2019/08/22/95e1990a-8c8f-4bd1-9e3f-4a8d8bc6dbf0/resize/770x/ 28ad1c28ae3286867be2cbae7da7c07a / blur-amount.jpg

Ant Pruitt

Premiere Pro has a rather amazing motion tracker built in. This motion tracker is connected to the "Mask path" parameter of your ellipse mask. When you have the mask applied, make sure your reading head is set where it should be in the timeline. Then press the play icon on the motion tracker ( Figure E ). Premiere Pro will begin loading a motion tracker dialog box. During this process, Premiere Pro will establish keyframes that indicate where the mask will be placed in the footage. When the tracker is completed, it plays its footage to verify that the mask has been followed correctly for the duration of its footage. If you lose the mark a bit, just pause the footage and replace the mask.

  mask-tracker.jpg "data-original =" https://tr4.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2019/08/22/ac7e0a36-1215-49dd-b535-11af788b8782/resize/770x/ e13f9fbbb6f3d4305f2abb3d23abed55 / mask-tracker.jpg

Ant Pruitt

Depending on how much movement there is in the footage and contrast, this could become a tedious task. The tracker works very well when there is more contrast in the footage and the mask is large enough. It is a difficult task when it comes to tracking smaller objects with less contrast. When you finish your task, your footage will have a blurry object as expected ( Figure F ).

  final-output.jpg "data-original =" https://tr2.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2019/08/22/fd9e5903-110e-443d-8054-8f1e05f2863e/resize/770x/ 8840a7dbf4580b6b2876b8ed07b2aad7 / final-output.jpg

Ant Pruitt

Premiere Pro does a great job of hiding objects in videos. Of course, After Effects has a great tool for
content filler
that could also do a great job. But, if you are a Premiere Pro user, try this technique and see if you can hide a person's face or logo.

See also

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