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Techniques for Protecting Anonymity in Videos


Keep your subject’s identity a secret with these four great tutorials on protecting anonymity in videos.

There are many reasons why you might want to protect the identity of your video’s subject. No matter the reason, there are quite a few things you can do to keep your subject anonymous. Let’s take a look at a few of the best ways to protect anonymity in videos.

1. Pixelating Faces

  • Created by: eHowTech
  • How it’s done: motion tracking your subject and applying a masked adjustment layer with Mosaic effect.

Pixelating faces is probably the most widely used method for protecting your subject’s identity in video. There are many ways to do this method, but the most popular way is simply using After Effects. This tutorial shows us how to use the built-in effects in AE to create a pixelated face. You could also use this same technique to create a blurred face by replacing the Mosaic effect with a Fast Blur.

2. Back Lighting

  • Created by: eHow
  • How it’s done: use two strong back lights to expose the edges of your subject.

In classic investigative-journalism-style videography, you’ll have a bright back light and no key or fill light. This technique is surprisingly easy to emulate — all you need is a dark room, a bright light, and a light stand. In this tutorial from eHow, we’ll take a look at how to accomplish this must-know technique.

3. Silhouette

  • Created by: eHow
  • How it’s done: key out your subject and apply a fill effect.

Silhouetting using color keys and fills in After Effects is a quick way to hide your subject. While the end result will only show the shape of your subject and not much else, it can still work in some situations. This method can also be a great way to create a classic iPod commercial look.

4. Voice Changing

  • Created by: HGI-Tube
  • How it’s done: using the PitchShifter effect in Premiere.

No matter what video editing application you’re working on, changing a voice is usually pretty easy. In this helpful tutorial from HGI-Tube, we’ll take a look at how to use the PitchShifter effect to change voices. The effect is as easy as turning a knob, so even Premiere rookies will be able to pull it off.

It should go without saying, but protecting someone’s identity is incredibly important. Along with the technical skills required to protect identities in video, you’ll want to protect yourself from any potential legal problems associated with working on sensitive material. There’s a great post on all about protecting video subject identities. I highly recommend checking it out.