[3 Easy Steps] OpenShot: How To Blur Part Of Videos?

While there is no predefined filter or function in OpenShot video editor to blur part of video, a very common and useful feature to hide license plates, faces or other confidential information in your video creations, there is a simple way to actually blur static parts of of video, simply using... an image!

How to blur or pixelize an area in your videos with OpenShot for free?

While there is no predefined filter or function in OpenShot video editor to blur part of video, a very common and useful feature to hide license plates, faces or other confidential information in your video creations, there is a simple way to actually blur static parts of of video, simply using... an image!

All this can be done entirely for free, using the open source programs OpenShot video editor as a base program for video edition, and GIMP Image Manipulation program to edit pictures.

In short, the process to blur part of video in OpenShot - or, actually, in any existing video editor - consists of three steps:

  1. Take a relevant screenshot of a frame in part of the video to blur
  2. Edit the screenshot to keep only the blurred part
  3. Add the image on top of the video, right when it should be blurred

This process can be repeated for as many video parts that need to be blurred, and as many times as necessary: for example, you can have two license plates to blur at different places in the video, on concurrent timelines that are matching each other.

That's not an issue! Let's see in detail how to blur part of video with this three steps solution.

1. Take a relevant screenshot from the video

First of all, to get a relevant image to work on, the easiest option is to take a screenshot right from the video, at the point in which the part to blurred is easily visible.

OpenShot Video Editor | Free, Open, and Award-Winning video editor

In OpenShot, this can be achieved by navigating to a relevant frame, and using the Save Current Frame option with a camera icon, on the bottom right of the video preview in a standard program configuration.

And that's it, simply make sure that you save the video screenshot in an accessible folder on your computer.

2. Edit the video frame in an image editor to keep only the blurred part

Now that a relevant frame has been exported from the video as a screenshot, open it in an image editor that can handle PNG pictures and transparency, such as the free and open source GIMP Image Manipulation program.

GIMP - GNU Image Manipulation Program

From there, simply use any selection tool, such as the rectangle select tool, the ellipse select tool, or the free select tool, depending on your exact need, to select the part of the picture that you'd like to blur on the video.

Open the Pixelise tool in the blur filters submenu, and adjust options to your needs: the larger the video resolution, the more pixels it will be necessary to use for pixels blurring in order to have a visible result.

Pixelize - GIMP documentation

You can easily cancel the operation with CTRL-Z, and repeat it until you'll have found the perfect combination of blurring settings.

You could also for example simply paint the selection with a plain color, but that might not look as good on the final video as a pixel blurring.

Use the Pixelate Effect on Images in GIMP - VisiHow

When blurring will be satisfactory, right click in the blurred part, and select the Invert option of the Select submenu, to select the whole part of the frame that hasn't been blurred - this is the part we want to get rid of, as we'll only want to use the blurred part for a video overlay where necessary.

You can also access this function directly with CTRL-I to invert current selection in the edited layer.

The final step is to cut the part of the picture we don't want to keep, by using the CTRL-X keyboard shortcut, and the blurred filter for our video is ready!

You can also access the cutting tool from the Edit menu, just as in any standard program.

If after the cut, you see a plain color instead of the checkerboard canva that represents transparency, simply cancel the cut using CTRL-Z, invert selection again using CTRL-I to get back control of the blurred selection, and cut or copy it using CTRL-C or CTRL-X.

Create a new image with CTRL-N, make sure that transparency is selected as fill-in color in the advanced options, and paste there your selection.

Now, you should have a perfect picture with full transparency represented by a checkerboard canva, except for the part of the video frames you want to blur, that should be pixelised. Export this picture to your computer as a .PNG file using the SHIFT-CTRL-E shortcut, or the Export option from the File menu, make sure to use .PNG extension to have a picture saved with transparency channel, and go back to OpenShot video editor.

3. Integrate the blurred image on top of the video

The last step to blur part of video is to import the generated picture that includes a pixelised area in your OpenShot video project, and add it as an overlay track - it must be above the video track, create a new media track if necessary to ensure it.

OpenShot: move multiple items on timeline or insert time span

If you are asked to import your picture as an image sequence in OpenShot, select NO, as you want to import a still picture, and not a video sequence.

Thus, the picture will be displayed first, and the video second - blurring only the part of the video for which you modified the frame, and leaving the rest of the video untouched.

Adjust the picture track to be displayed only at required moments, and the work to blur part of video is over!

In conclusion: simply blur parts of videos for free

Using this simple tips that works with most video editor programs and is totally free to use with GIMP and OpenShot programs, you can blur as many parts of video you like, and even blur various parts of your videos at same and different times using various tracks and picture imports with pixelised blurry parts.

Simply make sure to add tracks above video, and to use different tracks for various blurry video parts.

Was this tip useful for you? Do you have a better one? Let us know in comments!

How To Blur Or Pixelize Parts Of Videos With OpenShot And GIMP For Free?

YB Digital
About the author - YB Digital
Yoann is an International Business Consultant, facilitator and coordinator. He worked more than 10 years in global business, supply chain, financial, SAP ERP projects, Web and SEO optimization for various industries, such as logistics, cosmetics, consumer goods, beauty care, or fashion, in more than 30 countries around the globe.

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