Zoom has become an essential tool for communication and collaboration in this unprecedented time of disruption to normal working habits, yet until the coronavirus pandemic took hold, the vast majority of people had never heard of it, let alone used it.
Now that Zoom is a staple of working life, it makes sense to take full advantage of all the features it has to offer. One excellent option it includes is the ability to change your background, replacing it with an image or video of your choice. Here is a quick guide on how to do this and what makes it worthwhile.
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Before you set your virtual background on Zoom, it is a good idea to choose the background you want to act as the stand-in for the actual environment you are calling from.
Thankfully there is an incredible range of backgrounds for Zoom calls to consider, ranging from sleek domestic interiors to stylish office settings to corporate boardrooms and beyond.
It makes sense to select your background based on your needs; for a chat with prospective clients, a business-like setting will be sensible, while more casual calls can be better suited to backgrounds that are more homey and inviting.
You can download as many as you like, then fire up Zoom and browse to the ‘settings’ menu, where you should find the Virtual Backgrounds subsection. Here is where you can pick from the preloaded backgrounds, or add your own.
While Zoom does a pretty good job of dealing with non-unified backdrops, for the best results when using Virtual Backgrounds you should aim to position yourself and your device’s camera so that the area behind you is entirely made up of one color. A plain wall or curtain will usually do the trick.
With your background added and enabled in the settings, you can get a preview of what it will look like before you join your next call. A static background is the simplest and least hardware-intensive option, although a video may bring a little more life to your calls.
Should you find that the background is not displaying correctly or your face is not showing up, you can take advantage of Zoom’s built-in color picker tool on the Virtual Backgrounds settings page to manually select the color you want to replace.
There are a number of reasons to prioritize the use of virtual backgrounds in Zoom, chief amongst which is giving the right impression to other call participants. You may not have time to clear up the house, organize your bookshelves into a pleasing backdrop or find some aesthetically pleasing corner of your home to occupy, but with the help of backgrounds, anywhere can become your perfectly orchestrated professional space.
Of course you will probably be using Zoom for more than just fulfilling professional obligations, in which case the backgrounds can be harnessed for fun with family and friends during calls just as easily, so get tinkering and see what amazing results you can produce.