How to Blur Student Faces on YouTube Videos

Blur student faces on YouTube

Student privacy is important, but so is sharing student work online. With the ability to blur faces on YouTube you may be able to have the best of both worlds. YouTube has had blurring effects for some time now, but it was somewhat crude and did not always work as well as it might. However, this week YouTube introduced custom blurring effects, and they work much better than before. Here’s how they work!

Step 1: Upload your video to YouTube. If you have student faces that you need to blur before you go public with your video, be sure to set your video to private until you get all the edits done that you need.

Step 2: Follow the URL for your new video and click the magic wand under the player controls to go to the Enhancements menu.

magic wand youtube player

Step 3: Select the Blurring Effects tab on the right-hand side of the screen, and then click the Edit button next to Custom blurring.

blurring effects youtube

Step 4: Cue up your video to the point where you would like the blurred effect to begin, then click and drag a box around the face(s) that you would like to blur. Adjust the size of the blurred area by dragging the corners of each box. You will see a blurring preview in the player and during playback you will notice that YouTube will attempt to track the movement of the face(s) you selected.

blurred faces on YouTube

Step 5: Adjust the duration of each blurred box by clicking and dragging the effect boxes on the timeline underneath the video. This will control when the effect begins and ends.To prevent the blurred area tracking the subject as they move around the screen, click the Lock icon to fix it in position.

edit blurring effects

Step 6: Once you are finished, click Done and preview the effect in the before and after window. If you find you need to make further tweaks, click Reconfigure to fine tune your adjustments.

Step 7: When you are ready, you can save your creation, adjust your sharing permissions accordingly, and share your video with everyone you want to see it.

If you are planning on using the YouTube blurring effects to blur student faces in videos, you will find that it works best on static or slower moving subjects. As of now, it is not as effective for things like sporting events or unpredictable movements. For all other scenarios, this is a useful tool for educators and for anyone else that needs to make light work of an otherwise complex editing process.

YouTube in the Classroom: Practice What You Teach

youtube: practice what you teach

If there’s one question I get asked a lot from educators, it’s how to download YouTube videos. There are lots of reasons why you might want to do this, but truthfully, there aren’t any good reasons why you should. I realize that this may not be a very popular post with some people, but I feel like it should still be written. In essence it comes down to this. Can you download videos from YouTube? Yes. Should you? No.

Why Would You Want to Download Videos from YouTube?

The number one reason why educators want to download videos from YouTube is an unreliable Internet connection. This may be at school, or at a conference where they are giving a presentation. Either way, they don’t want to stand at the front of the room waiting for a video to buffer. It ruins the flow of a presentation and inevitably leads to you losing the attention of your audience.

Other reasons for downloading a YouTube video include the desire to archive your own copy of the video just in case it ever gets removed from YouTube by the person who uploaded it, or by YouTube itself. Some teachers may want an offline version of a video for students who don’t have high-speed Internet at home, while others may just be using software like Apple’s Keynote, which doesn’t let you natively embed YouTube videos in your slides.

What Do the YouTube Terms and Conditions Say?

As a user of the site, you agree and are bound by these terms. In Section 5, Your Use of Content, they say:

Content is provided to you AS IS. You may access Content for your information and personal use solely as intended through the provided functionality of the Service and as permitted under these Terms of Service. You shall not download any Content unless you see a “download” or similar link displayed by YouTube on the Service for that Content. You shall not copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, or otherwise exploit any Content for any other purposes without the prior written consent of YouTube or the respective licensors of the Content. YouTube and its licensors reserve all rights not expressly granted in and to the Service and the Content.

Here we can clearly see that it would be against YouTube’s terms and conditions to download content from YouTube without a specific button or link on their site that permits you to do so. Why would they have this condition? YouTube is owned by Google, and Google make a lot of their money from advertising. The more you visit YouTube, the higher their site visits are, and the easier it is for them to sell advertising on videos. You might not like to see ads on your videos, (few people do), but YouTube is a free site, and this is how they pay to keep the service alive and available for everyone to use.

So, I Can’t Download Anything From YouTube?

You can download your own content from the Video Manager page. Admittedly, you probably already have an offline version of your video, but if you deleted the original, it is good to know that you can download it again if you need it. Simply go to the Video Manager from your channel page or by navigating to www.youtube.com/my_videos. Click the down arrow next to the video you want to download and look for the Download MP4 option.

Download from the Video Manager

Is it Illegal to Download Videos from YouTube?

I’m not a lawyer so the advice that follows should absolutely be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt. Downloading videos from YouTube may not seem like a crime if you think of it in the context of ignoring (or being unaware) of the YouTube terms and conditions, but you could potentially be in breach of copyright. After all, the original creator of the video retains ownership of the copyright associated with that work if they upload it with the Standard YouTube License.

This gets a little dicier when you consider that some very large corporations put some of their very expensive intellectual property on YouTube. Movie studios upload trailers, record companies upload music videos, and media companies upload original content. We all benefit from these great offerings, but you can be sure that none of these corporations would approve of you downloading their content for your own use, so you are very likely in breach of copyright.

What’s the Harm? Everybody does it, right?

Unfortunately, lots of people do. In fact, some of the biggest offenders are the speakers and headline keynotes that you enjoy listening to at your favorite EdTech conferences. I’m not going to mention any names, but I see it a lot and I’m sure you do too. Do they get permission from the original copyright holder to download and show those videos? Some do, some don’t. So this brings us to an important classroom concept that, as educators, it is our sworn duty to reinforce with all of our students; digital citizenship.

We need to practice what we teach. We are role models for our students, so we need to act in the way that we would want them to act. This, to me, is the biggest reason why we should not download videos from YouTube. It might seem like a small thing, but it sends a message that it’s okay to bend the rules. It can easily lead to other transgressions like not citing image sources or using 13+ products and services that you are not old enough to use without parental permission. (By the way, did you know that YouTube is a 13+ service?)

What Should I Do Instead?

YouTube is an amazing resource, of that there is no doubt, but you needn’t abandon it altogether. If you are using it in a school that does not have the most reliable internet connection, have a plan B. Technology is great when it works, but we all know that it all fails at one time or another, regardless of the device or service that you rely on. Plan B is a great example for students, so embrace it.

If you are giving a presentation at a conference, remember PowerPoint 2013 (and later) lets you embed a YouTube video in your slides. Google Slides let you do the same, and so does Prezi. If it works, great. If not, you too need a plan B. One that includes an ethical use of media. You could leave a link to the video on your slide so the audience can see it later or you could try to contact the original creator of the video to procure and get permission to use an offline version of their work.

Conclusion

I have no doubt that there may be some of you who have read this post and did not know that you were not supposed to download videos from YouTube. That’s okay. How many of us have clicked “Agree” on 47 pages of terms and conditions without ever reading one word? I know I have. I’m not perfect. No one is. I am sure there are posts in this blog that lack a link or a citation to sources that should have been cited, but it wasn’t deliberate, and I genuinely try to be the best digital citizen that I can online, just as I am sure you do too. There are things I forget, or just don’t know, but I’m human, I’m still learning, and I will always take feedback on how I can improve. So the next time you think about downloading a YouTube video, be it for educational purposes or otherwise, think about the example you are setting for other teachers and educators.

How to Create Custom YouTube Thumbnails With Canva

youtube thumbnails on canva

Looking for a quick and easy way to increase views on your YouTube videos? If so, custom thumbnails are for you. With Canva you can create a thumbnail for YouTube videos that is guaranteed to catch the eye when your video appears in search results or is embedded on a website. Here’s what you need to know.

YouTube recommends that your image be 1280 x 720 pixels, that it is less than 2mb, and is either a JPEG, PNG, GIF or BMP file. Thankfully, this is easy to replicate in Canva using either the web interface or the iPad app. Simply select Use custom dimensions, enter the pixel measurements above and hit the Design button.

use custom dimensions canva

From here, pick the tools that will give you the look and feel that you want for a video thumbnail. Take advantage of the text elements that are provided, or get creative with your own. Think about bold, clear text or icons that can will catch the eye and be easily read at a glance. Be sure to leave a small margin at the top and bottom of your image because this is often covered with the the YouTube player when your video is embedded on a website. If your video is part of a series of videos, or you want to create an identity to match your school colors or brand, you can easily incorporate that into your thumbnails in the same way that districts like CCSD59 in Illinois do with their videos.

create custom thumbnails

Continue reading “How to Create Custom YouTube Thumbnails With Canva”

How to Add Questions for Students to YouTube Videos

With the popularity of flipped classrooms showing no sign of waning, a new crop of web tools for teachers are emerging to help support instruction. In this post, I take a look at four ways that teachers can add questions to a YouTube video for their students to answer when watching a video at home or on their own.

1. Educanon.com

For a more polished approach, check out Educanon.com. It works with YouTube, Vimeo or TeacherTube videos. You can add students to your online class, and even assign them video lessons of your choice. You can also watch student progress, question by question in real time, as they work through the video. Teachers can have up to eight classes, and can arrange videos in the order that they want students to watch them

To get started, simply copy and paste the link to the video into the Educanon video builder. Then, add a question at the appropriate time in the video. Unlike the YouTube question editor, Educanon stores all student responses so you can go back and check for student understanding at a later date. Educanon is also in beta, but is currently free to use.

educanon

2. EDpuzzle.com

The last site I am going to share is called EDpuzzle. It is a little more versatile in the sources it allows for your video with YouTube, Khan Academy, TED, National Geographic and more as supported sites. Once you have chosen your video you can trim the beginning or ends to get the content you really need. You can also record an audio track for the video to describe it in your own words or to relate it to what you have been doing in the classroom. If you don’t need a full audio narration, you can leave voice comments at specific points in the video.

Like Educanon, you can create a class, add students and get a record of results as they come in from students who are watching your EDpuzzle videos. You can also assign a video as homework for students that are in your class. Edpuzzle.com is also a free service for educators, so feel free to check it out too.

EDpuzzle

3. Google Forms

As a couple of people have reminded me on Twitter and in the comments below, the recent introduction of video to a Google Form means that you can now integrate a YouTube video alongside questions that you may have on a Google Form. All the student answers will be recorded on a Google Spreadsheet, and could potentially be graded for you with the Flubaroo script. This would work a little differently to the options above, because you cannot insert questions at a specific point in the video without splitting the clip and having several smaller clips. However, it could still be a nice option for teachers who are flipping their classroom and looking to add questions to a YouTube video. To add a video, create your form and go to Insert > Video, or click Add Item and choose video. Then paste the link to the YouTube video you want to use.

Google Form Videos

So, the next time you want to add a little more interactivity to videos that you assign to your students to watch, check out one of the options above to help you add questions to YouTube videos.

Editing Online Video with the YouTube Editor

iowa-mini-summit

Have you used the YouTube video editor before? Did you even know that there was a YouTube video editor? At a recent Google Mini Summit, I gave a presentation to teachers on how to use the YouTube video editor, and many were surprised at just how much you could do with it.

When it first came out, it was kind of limited, but it is improving at a steady pace, and you can already do a lot of very useful editing inside YouTube itself. Joining clips, trimming clips and splitting clips is just the beginning, especially when you can add up to 50 videos and 500 pictures.

Transitions add style to your videos and make them look less like an amateur, while text overlays can be added to a number of areas on your video to help tell your story. Videos and pictures can have the brightness and contrast adjusted, with black and white, slow motion or a number of other Instagram-style video filters only a click away.

Audio options include the ability to adjust your clip volume, and access to a vast YouTube library of tunes that can be added to your videos without worries about copyright or anything else.  All of this saves automatically, even if you close your browser and come back to it the next day.

So, if you are interested in checking out what the YouTube Editor has to offer, check out the slides from my presentation below, and visit http://youtube.com/editor. Stay tuned for my other two Google presentations in the posts that follow.

How to Use the New Slow Motion Feature in YouTube

A staggering 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and more and more of it is being tweaked, trimmed and remixed with the free YouTube video editor. Yesterday, Google announced a new feature that it added to YouTube – slow motion effects.

So, where do you find the new slow motion effects in YouTube, and how do you use them with your videos? Well, start by visiting http://youtube.com/editor and choosing one of your videos to apply the effect to. Once it is in the editor timeline, hover over the thumbnail of the video with your mouse until you see the magic wand icon. Click on it to access the various effects that can be applied to your video.

YouTube Slow Motion Editor

In the window that opens, you will see an option that lets you apply a slow motion effect to your video. In essence, this just adjusts the playback speed to be slower than you originally recorded it. You can set speeds to 50%, 25%, or 12.5% of the original speed. It would be very effective for a slow motion replay, or adding a touch of additional drama to your video. Once you have added all the effects you want, click Done, and then Publish to create a new version of your video that uses the slow motion effect.

Applying Slow Motion Effects in YouTube

Of course, you don’t have to use the YouTube editor to apply the effect if you don’t want to. You can go to your Video Manager, click the dropdown Edit menu next to the video you want to apply slow motion to, and select Enhancements. This takes you to an editing screen that looks a lot like the YouTube editor, but with a slightly different user interface. From here, you click on the turtle icon to choose your speed and apply the slow motion effect.

Slow Motion from the Enhancements menu

What’s the difference between the two? The editor will keep your original video intact and publish your edited video as a new video. If you apply slow motion effects through the enhancements menu, you are changing the original video, and not creating a copy, UNLESS you click the dropdown arrow next to the Save button and choose Save as.

Overall, the effect works pretty well. This is not a professional movie quality effect, but considering that you probably didn’t use a high speed camera to shoot your footage, this simulated effect is good enough. Just be aware that any audio you have will also be slowed down. This can be nice at times for comic effect, but you may want to choose to mute the audio of slow motion clips and your own background music for more serious or dramatic moments! 🙂

I could easily see teachers using this in Science to slow down a video of a fast moving chemical reaction, or in PE where coaches want to do a slow motion analysis of a golf swing, springboard dive, or a high jump. An example video from YouTube of Times Square (slowed to 12.5%) can be seen below.