You may have seen faces blurred in documentary or hidden-camera footage and assumed the filmmaker was attempting to comply with a law protecting the subject’s privacy.

You could have been right … or wrong. The filmmaker may have just wanted to protect the subject’s privacy for personal or professional reasons, not because airing un-blurred images was against the law.

In some cases, laws do protect people from having their images recorded and broadcast without their permission. However, this doesn’t mean the videos can’t be posted or aired.

Laws don’t work that way—there isn’t an invisible gatekeeper checking every YouTube video or cable TV show to make sure every face has an image-rights authorization to go with it.

Instead, YouTube or the cable channel will allow the video to air … but if you broke the law in broadcasting the image, and the subject finds out and disapproves, he/she could sue you.

That’s why it behooves you, as a content creator, to know when it is prudent to blur faces in your videos and have elite apps to blur faces in videos. No one else will do it for you. Better safe than sorry.
How do I Blur Faces in my Videos?
Face blurring is a function built into many professional- and consumer-grade video editing apps. Some apps have been designed specifically for the task of blurring faces to anonymize your video subjects. Here are some of the best face blurring apps available ones available:

Adobe AfterEffects

Price: $19.99 per month.

Compatibility: Windows, MacOS.

It’s hard to beat Adobe. For decades they have offered industry-leading creative software. AfterEffects is one of the best video-modification softwares on the market.

AfterEffects uses motion-tracking software to identify faces (or license plates, or other sensitive images) so that the blur tracks with a moving object.

The face simply needs to be linked with a “null object.” With the clip loaded, go to “Insert” > “Add Null Object.” This is an invisible mask pegged to the image data selected. You can select a rectangle corresponding to the person’s face, or use the pen tool to more exactly select the face for more accurate motion tracking.

Next, set your null object as the target and go to “Layer” > “Add Adjustment Layer.” Then go to “Effects” > “Mosaic” and drag your desired mosaic effect over the null object to anonymize the subject.


  • Industry-leading professional software.
  • Motion tracking.


  • Multi-step process.

Movavi Video Editor

Price: $39.95 for permanent personal license; $79.95 for permanent business license.

Compatibility: Windows, MacOS

Movavi Video Editor contains an intuitive, easy-to-use face blurring tool. Once you have imported your video, simply go to “Filters” > “Blur” and select the portion of your video you want blurred. You can customize the intensity of the blur, or add a fun spin on anonymization by covering peoples’ faces with hearts, diamonds, or other icons.


  • Easy to use.
  • Small selection of masks.


  • No media library.
  • Poor developer support.

Filmora  Video Editor

Price: $59.99 for lifetime license

Compatibility: Windows, MacOS.

Filmora contains one of the quickest, most user-friendly tools to blur faces: the Face-Off function. If you are pressed for time, need to create content quickly, or just don’t have the time to learn how to produce Oscar-worthy films (spoiler alert—that takes years), the Face-Off function in Filmora can anonymize your videos in less than a minute.

Face-Off features motion-tracking software so one application can anonymize your whole take. It also contains a selection of humorous masks or icons you can use in place of a basic blur.

To use Face-Off, right-click the clip in question on the timeline and select “Power Tools.” From there, choose “Tilt-Shift” > “Mosaic” > “Face-Off.”


  • Dedicated motion-tracking face blur function.
  • Takes less than a minute.
  • Fun/creative mask options.


  • No storyboard editing.

VSDC Video Editor

Price: Free

Compatibility: Windows

Free, function-rich VSDC Video Editor allows you to draw masks to create highly-targeted blurs. It can also be used to highlight various parts of the video or erase blemishes and imperfections.

To use it, make sure “Stretch Video” is set to “Yes” on the control panel, then go to “Video Effects” > “Filters” > “Pixelate” Adjust the level of pixelization, then add an ellipse shape over the face from the left-hand toolbar. Everything should be pixelated but the face. Go to the “Composition” mode on the right and select “Invert Mask” > “Yes.”

To make the pixelated mask follow the face, double-click on the ellipse layer mask, select “Movement Option,” then draw a line that follows the face’s path.


  • Free
  • Lots of features


  • Manual motion-tracking — doesn’t intelligently follow the faces.
  • Can only pixelate
  • Windows only.

Corel VideoStudio

Price: $47.99 for a lifetime license.

Compatibility: PC only.

For Windows users who like Corel products, Corel’s award-winning VideoStudio film editor can perform numerous blurring functions, including anonymizing faces.

To use it, select the desired clip and click “Track Motion” (the icon with the three fading overlapping circles). Set the tracker as “Area” with “Multi-Point Tracking.” Select an area that covers the face, then use the multi-point tracking nodes to follow the face’s motion throughout the clip. Select “Apply Mosaic” and “Track Motion.”


  • User-friendly.
  • Dedicated PC developer.


  • Windows only.
  • Can only create a mosaic.
  • Manual motion-tracking — doesn’t intelligently follow the faces.

Can I Use the Built-In YouTube Blur Tool to Blur Faces?
You might have some success blurring faces in your YouTube videos using the built-in YouTube blur tool.

However, if the video file is large, or if you need to preserve the quality and fidelity of the video, you will get better results using a dedicated desktop face blurring app on your computer to anonymize your subjects.
Why do I Need to Blur Faces in my Videos?
You might not have to. Laws vary, but if you intend to monetize your video in any way, it’s safer to blur the faces of any persons from whom you have not obtained express permission to film.

Consider the 2011 lawsuit where the Travel Channel faced the prospect of paying up to $1 billion in damages. Producers filmed inside an Illinois fast-food restaurant but failed to blur the faces of the patrons or collect permission to broadcast their likeness.

Under Illinois law, the patrons filed a class-action lawsuit, demanding $1,000 in damages per violation—each home the show aired in counting as a violation. The suit was eventually settled.

You could release a million videos revealing the faces of bystanders and no one will ever complain about it.

But all it takes is one person to discover the indiscretion, get angry, and discover they have grounds for a lawsuit. Your content-creating days could be replaced by days spent in court or in pricey lawyers’ offices.

Why take the risk? Learn to use a basic face blurring app, and you can do with those videos as you please!

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