Sharing videos and pictures can be a great way to build community and showcase the great things happening in your school. Of course, when we do this we want to do it in a way that protects and respects the privacy of students and our colleagues. To that end, here are some relatively easy things we can do to protect privacy when publishing videos and pictures.
How to Blur Faces and Objects in Videos
YouTube’s built-in editor offers a tool for blurring faces and objects in your videos. The editor has two blurring options. The first option is “automatic face blurring” which automatically detects faces and blurs them. The downside to using that option is that it will blur all faces for the whole length of the video. That’s fine unless you want to selectively blur faces or you want to blur something besides a face. The other blurring option in the YouTube editor is to selectively blur. That option lets you manually place a blurry box or oval over a section of your video. Both blurring options are demonstrated in this short video.
If you don’t want to use YouTube to blur your videos, try Screencastify’s free video editor that offers an easy way to blur faces and objects in your videos. In Screencastify’s video editor you can choose to blur any face or object for as long as you like in your videos. You can also have multiple blurs running simultaneously in your video. Screencastify’s object blurring feature is demonstrated in this video.
Blur Faces and Objects in Pictures
If you’re taking pictures with your phone to publish online, the easiest way to blur faces or objects is to use the photo editors that are built into the cameras on Android phones and iPhones. Alternatively, you might just use the drawing tools to scribble over the things you want to obscure.
For slightly more advanced options than the built-in iOS and Android image editors offer, I turn to Pixlr. Pixlr offers free mobile apps that make it easy to apply stickers, selectively pixelate or blur objects, and edit your pictures. Pixlr also offers a free web app for doing the same things as the mobile apps offer. There are plenty of other services that do the same things as Pixlr, I chose to highlight it here only because I’ve used it for so long that it has become my default mobile image editor.
Be Aware of Image Metadata
Image metadata (known as EXIF data) is a part of every digital image that you take. Some of that data includes the time and place where you captured the image. Depending upon where you’re publishing your pictures, you might be unintentionally publishing information about where and when you took your pictures. The big social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) remove that metadata for you. Other places to which you publish your pictures online might not remove the metadata. Fortunately, you can remove that data before publishing your pictures. Lifehacker provides simple directions for how to do that.
A good practice before publishing any video or picture online is to simply ask yourself, “is there anything in here that someone else wouldn’t want published?” If the answer is anything other than a solid no, take a minute to do a little blurring or perhaps use a different picture or video instead.