Microsoft today announced Azure Media Redactor as part of Azure Media Analytics that offers scalable redaction in the cloud. As the name suggests, Azure Media Redactor will perform anonymization by blurring the faces of selected individuals in videos. Redaction will be a free public preview for a limited time, and will be in all public datacenters starting around mid September. Microsoft is planning to release it in China and US Gov datacenters in the GA release.
When videos are requested for disclosure through Freedom of Information or Public Records acts, responding to these requests by various government agencies or news organizations take time and money as the faces of minors or bystanders must be blurred out. A video with multiple faces can take hours to manually redact just a few minutes of footage. Azure Media Redactor does facial redaction by detecting faces in every frame of video and tracking the face object both forwards and backwards in time, so that the same individual can be blurred from other angles as well.
Since the automated redaction may not be 100%, Microsoft offers the following ways to modify the final output.
In addition to a fully automatic mode, there is a two pass workflow which allows the selection/de-selection of found faces via a list of IDs, and to make arbitrary per frame adjustments using a metadata file in JSON format. This workflow is split into ‘Analyze’ and ‘Redact’ modes, as well as a single pass ‘Combined’ mode that runs both in one job.
Read more about it here.