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Preferred method for blurring license plates, signs, faces, etc.

May 20, 2011 5:12 PM

Ok, this may be a newbie question--I've just never had to do it before so I'm really not sure the best way to do it. What's the best way to blur faces, license plates, signs, etc? I've tried using the titler to create a shape which I've put over top of the sign in question and applied a blur to the shape--the problem I'm running up against is that a) it's difficult to get the shape to properly track with the sign as my camera moves (only need that once--everything else is pretty much stationary) and b) I can't seem to make a "transparent" shape that will still have the blur effect applied to it--taking the transparency to 0 also removed the blur effect.

 

I'm guessing this is going to be an AE fix, which I'd like to avoid if I can, but I'm willing to go that route if it really is the best way to do it.

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 20, 2011 6:12 PM   in reply to davidbeisner2010

    Sur you can make this easily in AE, but you be surprised what you can do in Premiere.

    You can make the shape with the Pentool in the Titler.

    Then make the shape pure white and Filled Bezier and use this as a track matte.

    Set you footage on track 1 and copy/paste it to track 2.

    Set the matte on track 3.

    Add the Track Matte Effect to track 2 and set it to track 3.

    Add an Blur or Mosaic effect to the footage in track 2 and blur it out.

    Set a keyframe for position for track 2 on the 1 and last frame.

    For the in between you set keyframes moving the matte around over time to cover, in this case the face, in the program window.

     

    track matte blur.png

     
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    May 20, 2011 9:54 PM   in reply to davidbeisner2010

    If you do decide to go the After Effects route, here are some videos that show how:

     

    using motion tracking with an unchanging mask

    using motion tracking and rotoscoping

    using Roto Brush

     
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    May 25, 2011 7:22 AM   in reply to davidbeisner2010

    David,

     

    If you try this in AE, definitely give Mocha a shot; it's a far superior motion tracker than the one built into AE (planar versus point tracker). It takes a little getting used to, but once you do, you'll never want to use a point tracker again--though that's not to say that the AE tracker doesn't have its purpose.

     

    Mocha is included with AE, by the way; it's a standalone program that you import your clip into for tracking. You then move the tracking data from Mocha into your AE comp.

     
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    May 25, 2011 7:28 AM   in reply to Colin Brougham

    > If you try this in AE, definitely give Mocha a shot; it's a far superior motion tracker than the one built into AE (planar versus point tracker). It takes a little getting used to, but once you do, you'll never want to use a point tracker again--though that's not to say that the AE tracker doesn't have its purpose.

     

     

    I find that mocha is overkill for something like blurring a face, license plate, or logo---i.e., situations in which your track doesn't need to be perfect. It's a bit faster to do the work all within After Effects with the point tracker. But I _always_ use mocha when doing motion tracking for precision compositing.

     
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    May 25, 2011 7:32 AM   in reply to Todd_Kopriva

    Maybe so, but I've had such miserable luck with the AE tracker forgetting what it was tracking and going off on a random search that I rarely give it a chance any more. Truthfully though, most of the tracking I'm doing requires much tighter tolerances, e.g. screen replacements, that Mocha is about the only thing I'd try any more for something like that.

     
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    Oct 28, 2012 10:10 AM   in reply to Ann Bens

    Okay, so I am certain I am completely missing something extremely vital BUT here's my problem:

     

    This works perfectly, except the matte is working exactly the opposite of what I am trying to acheive.  IE Instead of it allowing everything look look crisp and clean EXCEPT where the matte is keying (and having that be blurred, mosaiced, etc) INSTEAD it is showing the entire frame as blurred with the exceptiong of the track matte key which looks clear as day.  Sort of draws attention to the face instead of hiding it.  Anyone can help with this I'd greatly appreciate it.  CS6 Premiere Pro, incidentally.

     
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    Oct 28, 2012 10:14 AM   in reply to Sean_M_P

    Tick reverse button in Track Matte Effect.

     
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    May 5, 2013 3:17 PM   in reply to Ann Bens

    In CS6 there is an even easier way of blurring out parts of your video. I think this workflow is very nice since it doens't involve track mattes or duplicating your footage anymore! Everything is done with just a simple shape +adjustment layer!

     

    You can check out a quick one minute explanation of the new process here:

     

    http://oneminutevideotutorials.com/?p=133

     
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    May 5, 2013 9:41 PM   in reply to Andy Bay

    Nice tutorial. The text to speech wasn't bad either. Not great, but not bad.

     

    Many Premiere Pro users have been doing it with track mattes so long that using an adjustment layer might never have occurred to some of us.

     
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