Digitally masking corporate logos in your home videos

Hacktivist/tech artist Jeff Crouse is developing a digital filter that automatically masks corporate logos in recorded video. I'd imagine that it won't be too long before this can be done in real-time for mobile augmented reality applications! Crouse set up a Kickstarter project to fund his next phase of development. From the project page:

Unlogo is a web service that eliminates logos and other corporate signage from videos. On a practical level, it takes back your personal media from the corporations and advertisers. On a technical level, it is a really cool combination of some brand new OpenCV and FFMPEG functionality. On a poetic level, it is a tool for focusing on what is important in the record of your life rather than the ubiquitous messages that advertisers want you to focus on. In short, Unlogo gives people the opportunity to opt out of having corporate messages permanently imprinted into the photographic record of their lives.

It's simple: you upload a video, and after your video is processed, you get an email with a link to the unlogofied version (example: You can choose to have the logos simply blocked out with a solid color or replaced with other images, such as the disembodied head of the CEO of the company. This scheme is a bit ridiculous (which is kind of my style), but I like it because it literalizes the intrusion into the record of your life that these logos represent.

"Unlogo, the Corporate Identity Media Filter by Jeffrey Crouse" (via Submitterator, thanks Darran Edmundson!)


  1. With all the logo blurring going on in commercial television, I think, oddly enough, that there could be a lot of commercial usage for an application that erases brands.

  2. Oops, it seems like his Kickstarter funding ended 5 days ago, and it only got 6% of its goal. Too bad.

      1. David, apologies for Submiterating(â„¢) without realizing the Kickstarter project had ended. I only discovered this when I went back to contribute to Jeff’s (IMHO) worthy endeavour.

        I’d like to see this software doing logo redaction in real-time. Imagine a small camera plus thin-film overlay for one’s glasses that could selectively de-logo the visual field. I’d really like to drive down a commercial street cluttered with signage and only see the store I’m looking for (or even none at all if just passing through).

  3. Isn’t it absolutely ridiculous that something like this has become a necessity / market in today’s society? We’ve created a monster!

  4. OR… don’t buy products bearing logos that you would be embarrassed to see in your videos…

  5. The application should only be able to replace the brand logos with an OBEY/CONSUME/BUY/etc. image. Then I would approve.

  6. This app has huge potential in film and television location work.
    As a graphics person in the film industry, one of my jobs is to “greek” signage and logos on location (greeking being filmspeak for hiding/removing/disguising).
    If we don’t get legal clearance on copywritten logos etc. and we show them on screen, we’re leaving ourselves wide open to litigation.
    I’d be pushing this software to film editors,best of luck! – Boyd

  7. I like the overall idea, but does anyone else think its a little stupid to not want to see logos at a mall? What, should all the stores have a sign in 64 pt Times New Roman font?

    1. As he said in the video, they went to the mall as a great place to find lots of logos to test and develop the software. I don’t think he’s specifically saying erasing logos from mall footage is a great idea.

    2. I think the mall was just used to show how the tech works. A place guaranteed to be stuffed with logos. A heavy-case scenario to prove it works decently.

    3. The mall is however a good place to test/demonstrate the concept, which is what they were trying to do.

  8. If logos upset you to the point where you feel it necessary to actively remove them from the social exposition of your imaged life-record, you should probably ask yourself why YOU need a brand.


  9. these are the rose coloured glasses I was looking for…

    seriously, was a brilliant idea decorporatize and to take back our experience in public spaces. when this can be done real-time and fed into some kinda HUD….this would be amazing…

    but putting aside the vital practical side of this…this would be a great art peice…..

    Photos of cities without marketing….

  10. That is pretty useful, but I am afraid that someone will take this nice consumer friendly concept and give it another twist: replacing competitor logos. Hosts could also censor logos from companies that did not pay pay a fee, or who someone decided was inappropriate.

  11. 1) If you add a feature to replace corporate logos with DIFFERENT corporate logos you may find many paying customers.

    2) I refuse to take any action to appease the current litigious landscape where the very space we live in is owned and controlled by corporations. You put your logo in my way. The mismatch between the laws corporations have purchased and the actual way people live their day to day lives is terrible.

  12. “Video Pirates” already do this with a custom plug-in for TMPEGEnc & it’s been in use for over a year. ( Used for Dvd screeners & such )

    Day late & a dollar short lol

    1. That’s totally different tech if it’s what I think it is. This tech finds logos in pretty uncontrolled circumstances, in the background where things are rarely head-on in angle. The tech you’re talking about attempts to blur out a static overlayed graphic in the corner. What makes this tech special isn’t that it can cover things up in any special way, but that it can find the logos at all in the chaos of handheld footage to then do what it wants afterward (whether that’s blurring or something else). It’s a thousand times more sophisticated.

    2. Grym: If what you’re talking about is what I’m thinking you’re talking about, that is used for blocking/blurring a static object. The Unlogo software tracks the position and rotation of logos as the camera or logo moves. That’s far ahead of removing a line of text from the bottom of the screen.

      1. The plug-in I am thinking about is not the blur one but the one that removes the the offending Logo/Watermark/Text by sampling the previous frame / next frame if I remember rightly.

        But yes, It’s for static and not moving Logo/Watermark/Text ( you must define the area )and not some bouncing logo that moves all-over the screen area.
        Tho,it has been used on scrolling text, to good effect ie. This video belongs to blah,blah,blah

  13. A real “take control of your video” tool wouldn’t be a web app, it would be open source and I could run it on my own computer.

    I felt like this in college, raging against the … well raging against whatever anyone had. I went out of my way to remove the logos from my Nikes and my Levis. I’m not your brand, man!

    But I still bought the Nikes and the Levis, so in the end it was pretty hypocritical.

    Though every once and awhile I get a kick out of asking enthusiastic “What’s it like being a brand ambassador?” questions to people I see wearing gratuitously branded T-shirts.

  14. This would be enormously useful to small film production actually. I believe the “Strangers With Candy” movie was held up because they had filmed some posters they didn’t have the rights to use.

    Personally, I take the Tiger Woods approach to logos. Unless you’re paying me a great deal of money to wear one, no dice.

    Currently, there are no takers to sponsor a YA librarian with an excellent tenor voice and no athletic ability.

    1. That’s a good point about independent movies, but posters? Not only does this have to have a database of all the logos in the world, but also all copyrighted images? Seems like an almost impossible undertaking. He’d have to hand this off to Google to even make a dent in it. Unless the posters you speak of contain logos.

  15. Has William Gibson been made aware of this? I bet Cayce P would love a set of Virtual Light sunglasses hacked to incorporate this code.

  16. As soon as you replace logos with other logos, you increase the offensiveness of the whole logo-space. Immediately, you create a market for LogoBlock Plus.

    Me, I’ll take “FOOD” “BEER” and so on, a la Repo Man.

    (though, woah, you could surreal the place up by pasting in billboards from fictional verses. Blind Mag Sings! Changed Your Face? Now Change Your Race! Zydrate!)

    1. You beat me to mentioning Repo Man. I thought the food logos there were hilarious.

      I really think it’s stupid that we have to even think about this kind of thing, though. Is it really necessary to cover up or blur out the logos of everything? Is Nike really going to sue you if someone wears a Nike hat on your TV show (or your youtube clip)? Kind of sickening to think that they even could. And I agree with those who said that if your personal life has so many things with big logos, you should stop buying things with big logos on them. I don’t buy anything with a logo if I can help it, and if I can’t I remove or cover it up if it will be visible (I put gaffer’s tape over the apple logo on my macbook pro, and drew a penguin on it in silver sharpie).

      Also, blurring things out or covering them up in video really bothers me if I’m trying to watch. It draws my attention to whatever is being blurred rather than to the show itself. I just *have* to know what’s underneath!

      On Mythbusters they have a good solution – they put gratuitous amounts of duct tape on top of logos (and despite what they said on one of the duct tape episodes, duct tape is not the same thing as gaffer’s tape – gaffer’s tape would be the better choice for logo removal but they do use duct tape). That show lends itself to duct tape, though, whereas it would look weird for other kinds of programming to have duct tape or gaffer’s tape all over the place. That would still be better than the obnoxious blurring, though.

      In Thailand you can’t show alcohol or smoking on TV. Mostly they avoid writing alcohol into the script, but alcohol is an important part of the culture so in many cases it’s necessary. So they blur it out, but they do a terrible job – they use huge blur circles but they still don’t manage to track things properly, so there are always a few frames when you can see it. I’ve also seen them not do it at all when quickly cutting between different camera angles. This is of course besides the fact that blurring it only draws attention to it, which defeats the purpose I think.

  17. AdBlock for RL!

    This will come in handy when the Glasses envisioned by Gibson and Stross become a reality.

    Personally, I’d choose to leave the storefront brand names, as that’s the only place they’re actually useful.

    I would replace branding in other places with more functional words (Starbucks becomes Coffee, Abercrombie is Clothes, Taco Bell and Wend’s are Fast Food), so I could get the jist of an ad without having to actually look at it.

    The future’s future is right around the corner.

  18. It’s too bad that the goal wasn’t met. I’m sure Steve Mann (to drop one very big name) would be very interested in this.

  19. An intrusion in our lives? Seriously? Are you so weak willed that the mere sight of a Nike logo means you’re dropping $100 on sneakers? Ignore and get over yourself.

  20. I’ve seen similar commercial work for greeking. Smoothing the jitter is much easier than getting OpenCV to run against hundreds of any-perspective, any-rotation patterns on decent resolution video in over 10 frames per minute, but certainly a worthy project.

  21. Marketing it as something to be used in commercial video would be a better way to go. As it is, this guy is trying to convince the consumer to buy into something they don’t need. Much like the brands he is trying to remove.

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