MacMost Now 590: Blurring A Moving Face in Final Cut Studio Pro X

Learn how to use the Censor effect in Final Cut Studio X to pixelate or blur a portion of your video. You can also animate the effect, moving it along a path to follow a moving subject. With this example you will also learn how to use effects and how to animate them, changing their properties gradually over time.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 590: Blurring A Moving Face in Final Cut Studio Pro X.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode, let's learn how to blur a face using Final Cut Pro and in the process learn a little bit about effects animation.
So the task here is simple; we've got a face on video and we want to blur it so that you can't see who it is. Now we're going to do two examples. The first is where the face remains in the same place, and the second is where it moves. Here I am in Final Cut Pro and I've got two examples. One, I'm staying still during the video and the other one I'm moving. So let's start with a simple example. Bring that one into the main timeline there.
Now I want to blur my face and the way to do that is to select Effects which I have here by clicking there. Under Effects, I'm going to list all and I'm going to look for one called Censor. I'm going to drag that onto the clip and what that does, if I select the clip there, is create this circular area where there's a blur and I can move that over my face there and for the entire length of the clip, scroll back and forth, you can see that my face is blurred. I can also, you can see in the information area here, change things about the censor effect. I can change the amount of pixelation. I can change from pixelate to say blur instead and change the radius, larger and smaller. So a lot of different things I can do and I've essentially blurred out this area of this clip in the video.
Now let's complicate things a bit. Let's use the moving example and drag that. I can do the same thing here. I'm going to drag censor over and I've applied this to the video except that censor is not over my face, so I'm going to go to the beginning of the video here. I'm going to select it, go the beginning, and I'm going to move it where my face is. The problem is of course, as the video plays, I move out of the blurred area, so in order to make it so my face is always blurred I'm going to animate. I'm going to click here and bring up the little menu and go to video animation.
What will happen is, I see all these different things here in the timeline that can be animated, one of them being the censor effect and here I can select what part of the censor effect is animated, so everything, amount, radius or center. I want to move this so I'm going to use center, so the center of the effect and right now it's static, it's in the same place but I could add what's called a keyframe, it's an animation term. A keyframe is a location at a specific point and it will animate between them. So for instance, I'm right here right now in the video. Let's go and under modify, add a keyframe. You can see it's option K. I can see now a dot has appeared there. That's a keyframe. So I can go over here where I've moved.
Let's look at the end of the movement right there and I can do option K again and I can see it's added a second keyframe. Now if I select that keyframe, I can move the effect over here and even though it's supposed to be there on that keyframe and if I go to this keyframe, that's where it's supposed to be. It will actually animate between the two spots. You can see it moves with me. Now if I wanted it to be more accurate, I could add another keyframe. If I see it's getting a little ahead there of my movement I can added another keyframe there. Select that one and modify it a bit so it moves like there. So now it's moving between these three keyframes and it's keeping my face always blurred. So that's how you blur a spot on your video using the censor effect in Final Cut Pro.
Now the animation technique you just learned using keyframes can be used on all sorts of different effects. It can be used on the video itself. It could be used on all sorts of different aspects of the video, so any effect you can apply, numbers that you could change, scaling, rotation, all sorts of things. You can go into the video animation area that I showed you and add keyframes and change it over time. So in other words, you could have an effect like blur that gets blurrier over time starting with the first keyframe where the blur is about 0 and moving towards an area where the blur is 50% say. Or you could have a shape that you're using like an arrow actually follow something in your video by setting its location, its center in one location using a keyframe, and another location using a keyframe later on. So there's a lot you could do once you've learned how to use the animation and keyframes in Final Cut Pro. I hope you found this useful. Until next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 12 Responses to “MacMost Now 590: Blurring A Moving Face in Final Cut Studio Pro X”

    8 years ago

    Gary, GREAT tutorial on using the Blur effect in FCP! Actually I have quit using iMovie and have now gone “all in” to FCP. your tutorial has inspired me to search the Internet to find an in-depth tutorial on the use of Effects which I know are quite


    8 years ago

    To those of us who are not Pros,or have never used this app, How do you restore old home videos like they do in Hollywood? I would appreciate some examples.

      8 years ago

      I don’t think this is the right way to do it. But I have never had to do that, so I’m not sure. I’d imagine that it uses different software, perhaps even a completely different technique. I’d also think it relies a lot on the person doing the work — probably experts who have their own techniques and such.
      Final Cut Pro X can be used for bringing in the video (provided you have the hardware side figured out). And then you can use some filters and effects to maybe enhance the color of the video and such. But I don’t think that is how the pros would do it.

    peter lelievre
    8 years ago

    Hi Gary love your videos on the new FCP
    I have a question on imovie. I shoot lottery video’s and in one of the videos someone typed in the wrong number that didn’t match
    the numbers in the video. How do i blank out only the typed numbers and replace it with a black background and re-type the correct numbers? hope you understand the question and here is the youtube video to help you understand what i’m trying to do

      8 years ago

      You would just use a picture-in-picture to overlay the numbers on a black background.

    7 years ago

    Hi Gary,
    Can FCP X blur multiple faces in the one clip. Currently I use FCP 6 and apply Andy’s Region Blur filter multiple times to a clip to blur and track faces.

      7 years ago

      You can do this twice to blur two faces at once.

    Ashley Connor
    7 years ago

    Great. Thank you!

    King Justice
    7 years ago

    Please i want to know how to change faces in final cut pro.
    Like the one michael jackson used in his one of his music videos title Black or White.

      7 years ago

      That’s a very advanced video effect. You can’t do it with FCPX by itself. I think it takes special software that specifically does that. Not sure as I’ve never had to do it.

    King Justice
    7 years ago

    Please can you show me the name of the softwere or the program? Where and how am i going to get it?
    Or there is no other way that i can change face which is more unnoticeable than crossdesolve?
    Am editing a movie which the ghost will be changing to many faces. Please help me.

      7 years ago

      I don’t know the name of one that will do that. I’d ask on a video experts or special effects forum.

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