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I have a video presentation slide with one long text paragraph of ~30 lines of purely black text on purely white background (well, with some font smoothing) that I am using in a presentation video. The whole text itself is in regular font with no special formatting, I definitely do not expect the audience to read it during those 15–20 seconds they see it. Let's say it's only the last sentence that I'm actively pointing to and the whole shown text is just to emphasize its quantity.

Now for a reason™ there are two or three words somewhere in the middle of the paragraph that should be “censored” and not be readable at all, even if someone pauses the video and reads the whole paragraph. The video is already done, so I am looking for some solution that can be done directly on the video and not by modifying the slide itself.

Since those words are totally irrelevant to the content of the presentation and I am not expecting anyone reading the lines around them, I want some way of censoring them without catching attention, i.e. when someone sees the slide for the first time, their sight is not attracted by some black bar, huge grayscale pixels, blurred spot, or white island in the text, but they still see a long dense paragraph of text with 99% of the original content.

What would be the best way to accomplish this?

Edit after the answer of @Scott: The used font is proportional, i.e. iiii does not have the same width as WWWW, but the text is long enough so that I can find some other word that has the good width to replace the censored word. Also I'd focus on using the screenshot of the video because re-creating the words from the original font would mean I'd have to match the exact size and proportions of the font transformed to slide and to video. And the main reason is that that paragraph is actually a screenshot from a website, so I even did not choose the font. But provided that I am speaking about a video the whole time, this shouldn't play a role.

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eumiro is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
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    I was about to suggest writing something else (like x's), but since the video is already made I think you mentioned the 4 most common ways to censor text. – Wolff Feb 23 at 17:26
  • @Wolff Since the text is not moving nor changing, I could create a graphical image of the right number of xxx with larger white background in the same font/size/weight and cover the censorfed words. That would need some manual work in order not to make the text too heavy or too light, but should do the job. Thank you for the suggestion. – eumiro Feb 23 at 17:31
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    Or perhaps just scrambled letters would attract less attention than a row of x'es ... – Wolff Feb 23 at 17:46
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    an incredibly simple solution is just delete them - easy as that – Fattie Feb 24 at 17:22
  • @Fattie what does “deleting” them mean? It's an image of the text, so if I do not want “reformat” the whole image, I would have to replace these words with white space that would quite catch the attention of the viewer. – eumiro Feb 24 at 19:37
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Replace the word to censor with an equal length innocuous word.

For example, many websites will censor words like "kill" or "fxxx" and substitute "hugs".
Or substitute "murder" with "lovely".
Or "shxx" with "love". Etc...

One could do the same for any word really.
It looks like a standard text flow, but may not read like one.

I would simply format a few replacement images that are 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 letters in length - whatever will be needed. Then reuse. You could replace any 4-letter word to censor with the same 4-letter replacement.

Of course, with a proportional font, you'd use any word which fills the same relative space, even if the actual glyph count were different.


Me, not being a "video guy" really... I would pause the video and take a screenshot where the text is… edit the screenshot in any image editor (e.g. Photoshop)...

In fact, I would even go so far as retype the entire text… or if it's from a website, copy and paste the text... Font doesn't have to match precisely it just needs to be visually similar, if you redo the entire image.

Then replace the entire section of footage by overlaying the edited screenshot on top of the old footage. Any artifacts would then be uniform and editing the entire screenshot would ensure more uniformity throughout... I wouldn't "patch" pieces of the screen in the video… I'd merely replace the entire screen for that section, but that's just me.

I've done this for disclaimer screens… sometimes rekeying is the best option if quality is the concern. Few, if any, will catch that you didn't use the exact same font as the original, but many may catch random patchwork.

There may be better, more efficient, methods. As I posted, I don't really consider myself a "video guy" and my editing knowledge is limited.

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  • Based solely on eumiro's description, that can't be done. If the video is already done, what came from the slide can't now be modified any more than the slide itself – Robbie Goodwin Feb 24 at 2:11
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    ...ermm.. you can overlay an image on the video where needed. How else would you expect anything to be done? – Scott Feb 24 at 4:10
  • Yes, overlaying the video with something is the only option. However with “regular text” I unfortunately didn't say proportional font, which means 4-letter word does not replace any 4-letter word (iiii won't replace wwww). Also creating new word images may be difficult because the slides and the video do not have the same size and the video compression might also add some artifacts. However, since the text is long enough, I may find some other word in it that fits the width, and apply a screenshot of that word. – eumiro Feb 24 at 6:06
  • Edited the question. – eumiro Feb 24 at 6:12
  • Thank you for the extended answer. Cloning random other words might be the best way to go. – eumiro Feb 24 at 19:42
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Just blur it out or cover it with black boxes.

If the actual text isn't important, it's not something you've written, and it'll only be visible briefly, why not just cover it with a blur or a black box? If it's someone else's profanity, maybe leave the first letter visible so that people can tell what word it is without the word itself being visible; if it's a brand name that you're censoring because they haven't paid product placement or something, just block it out entirely. How much are people likely to care about you censoring something inappropriate from the quotation of other people's content during your presentation?

Alternately, just remove that slide or section of video from your presentation entirely. You say that it'll only be on the screen for a few dozen seconds, so will anyone notice if your presentation is just a little bit shorter?

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nick012000 is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
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    Blur, yes; black box, no. Since the OP wants to call attention only to the last sentence or so, blurring the rest provides the context without calling attention to it -- indeed, it focusses attention on the text that isn't blurred, which the OP says they want to refer to. – T.J. Crowder Feb 24 at 8:51
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    Note that some blurring methods allow a sufficiently motivated user to reconstruct the original word, so if secrecy of the censored words is important one must be careful. Using an uniform gray rectangle avoids this issue. – Federico Poloni Feb 24 at 16:55
  • Thank you for your answer. Black box is like using bold text: it catches attention. I was looking for something like italics that catches attention only when read directly. And removing the slide is beyond the scope of this question. – eumiro Feb 24 at 19:43
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Instead of the typical black box for censoring, use a gray that is roughly equal to the visual weight/value of the word.

enter image description here

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  • Thank you for the visual example. The three blurred spots immediately caught my attention even before I've read your introductory comment. – eumiro Feb 24 at 19:41
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In order to not draw attention to certain words you could blur these words and a random amount of other words as well.

or a whole sub sequence of words where the concerned words are contained Thus there is some blurring, but as it's 'quite some blurring' no particular attention will be drawn to a few particular words

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