How to Blur Faces in a Video from Command Line

By  on  

Privacy is always incredibly important, especially with visual media where you may not have the permission of individuals in the video. If you're filming something in public, it's likely you'll catch someone's face who simply doesn't want or need to be identified. This recently got me to thinking: what's the easiest way to blur faces in a video via command line?

The best open source utility I found for blurring faces in a video was deface. Let's have a look at how you can use deface to blur faces in videos!

Start by downloading Python-based via pip:

python3 -m pip install deface

With deface installed, simply provide the video name and get the output file with blurred faces:

sudo deface ./sample-4k-faces-video.mp4
Input:  ./sample-4k-faces-video.mp4
Output: ./sample-4k-faces-video_anonymized.mp4
100%|█████████████████████████████

The resulting video does an impressive job of blurring out faces of persons walking by in the original recording:

View the resulting video of persons walking down the streets of New York:

The default threshold for face recognition works very well, even on moving subjects. You can experiment with thresholds with the thresh argument, and even draw the thresholds out while debugging:

I downloaded a handful of YouTube videos using my favorite YouTube downloading utility youtube-dl and I was amazed at how well deface did on a variety of visual environments. Faces were identified at a reliable level even at default threshold!

Recent Features

Incredible Demos

  • By
    Build a Toggling Announcement Slider Using MooTools 1.2

    A few of my customer have asked for me to create a subtle but dynamic (...I know...) way for them to advertise different specials on their website. Not something that would display on every page, but periodically or only the homepage. Using a trick...

  • By
    Scrolling “Go To Top” Link Using Dojo

    One of the most popular code snippets of posted on my blog has been the scrolling "Go To Top" link snippet. The premise of the snippet is simple: once the user scrolls an element (usually the BODY element) past a given threshold, a "Go...

Discussion

    Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!