Video conferencing tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet have become an integral part of our daily lives. They not only facilitate contact with family and friends, but also communication with clients and colleagues at any time that is necessary and in any place. However, with new technologies new questions always arise. One question many Zoom users are probably familiar with is how to change the background. Virtual backgrounds in Zoom are quick to set up. We will explain here how you can do it.
Available not only in the free version but also in the subscription option, Zoom virtual backgrounds allow you to change your boring background to another completely fun and original setting with just a few clicks. Zoom’s virtual backgrounds feature was especially appreciated by users, with millions of workers forced to rely on Zoom video conferencing to communicate with colleagues as a result of quarantine measures and that is here to stay.
While remote work veterans can have the luxury of a dedicated and thoughtful video conferencing space, Zoom’s virtual backgrounds provide a great alternative for those whose home office doesn’t provide the ideal setting for a Monday morning meeting or who simply want to add fun to the formal environment of business meetings.
The human being is naturally curious. It has been shown that during your video meeting, speech, webinar, etc., much of the viewers’ attention will be focused on the rest of the elements that appear in your image. For example, if doors or windows appear, spectators will be continually diverting their attention to them, with the feeling that someone could open or cross at some point. If you have books, you will possibly try to read the titles of them. If you have photographs, you will feel great curiosity to know who are the people who appear in them. While the spectator is paying attention to everything, he will not be paying attention to what you are saying. In these cases, virtual backgrounds can play an important role in directing the focus of who is in the meeting to your person rather than your surroundings.
What is a Zoom Background
Zoom uses artificial intelligence to detect and isolate the background of your webcam (what you have behind you) and replace it with another image or video automatically in real time. The best thing about this option is that it is not obligatory to have a green screen behind you in order to replace your background digitally, whereas Zoom takes care of cropping your silhouette and replacing the background.
Evidently, if your background is solid and smooth like a wall, the replacement will be much more accurate than if there are furniture, objects, curtains and colored objects behind you.
How to use Zoom backgrounds
Enabling, setting up and using Zoom’s virtual backgrounds is simple, requiring just a few steps. First, make sure the Virtual Background Zoom feature is enabled in your account settings.
Any background selected in the settings panel will automatically be applied the next time you log into a video conference (which is worth bearing in mind if you are also using the app to chat with friends in your downtime).
To be able to use Zoom’s virtual backgrounds, you’ll need a higher version of the app than 4.6.4 (both Windows and Mac).
The steps you should follow to put a virtual background in Zoom are:
- Download your personalized virtual background.
- Open the Zoom app.
- See the adjustments by clicking on the wheel that is in the upper right corner.
- Click on the «Backgrounds and Filters» option.
- Press on the sign “+” that appears under the right of your webcam.
- Search on your computer for the image you want to set as the background and select it.
- Close the settings.
- Have a good time!
Users without a Zoom account only have the option to change Zoom backgrounds during the meeting. To do this, click the “^” symbol at the bottom next to “End Video” during the Zoom call and go to “Virtual Background”. Use the “+” symbol to create your own backgrounds from your personal gallery.
Zoom background conditions
To ensure that your Zoom background achieves the desired effect, the image must fulfill certain conditions:
File Format: JPG, JPEG, PNG, GIF
Size: at least 1280 x 720 pixels (ideal is 1920 x 1080)
If you decide to use a video background, the conditions are the following:
File format: MP4, MOV
Size: at least 480 x 360 pixels (360p), maximum 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p)
Where to find Zoom backgrounds
Any image can be used. The ideal size is 1920×1080, as the better the definition of the image, the more realistic and natural it fits behind the person. Google can be an easy source to get to, but we recommend that you check out this collection with the best Zoom backgrounds collected from the internet with hundreds of copies divided into different categories.
How to create custom zoom backgrounds
Creating your own virtual background Personalized Zoom is simple, especially with Canva’s newly released tool dedicated to editing and composing custom virtual backgrounds.
If you’re a Photoshop genius (or any other image editing software), you have the freedom to create any background you want, but Canva provides a simple alternative for those of us that don’t have a special design. The Canva tool lets you create your own virtual Zoom background using its library of millions of illustrations and icons, and customize the design with some easy-to-use editing tools.
Tips and suggestions
To get the best Zoom backgrounds and surprise your friends, colleagues and family, follow these tips:
- Make sure the background and camera area are lit evenly: not too bright and not too dark. An LED ring light is ideal.
- If possible, use a nearby physical background that has high contrast and a solid color (such as a solid wall color).
- If you use a green screen, place it close to you. It is always guaranteed that you will have a perfect result.
- If you want to show text in the background, uncheck the mirror option so that it doesn’t work the other way around.
- Avoid clothing that is the same color as your virtual or physical background. It is essential for the fund removal algorithm to work correctly if part of the clothing also disappears.
- Crop backgrounds to fit your camera size: For a 16:9 camera, images with 1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080 pixels are optimal.
Use a camera with high image quality.
Virtual backgrounds can be used normally with the most modern devices in Zoom without problem (whether they are PCs, laptops, smartphones or tablets). In rare cases, a monochrome green screen may be required as the background for considerably older devices, so that the actual background can also be substituted for the image.
In short, look for something that makes you stand out, using a fun, stylish or simply relaxing theme. If you’re teleworking from home or use Zoom as a more work tool, you can get a much more professional impression with a personalized workshop background. Don’t forget that there are other tools on the market that contain the same functionality. Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Cisco Webex are examples of excellent communication platforms that also allow for custom virtual backgrounds.