Why show your messy bedroom or office when you can video chat from the beach or from the Star Trek Enterprise?
Millions of people have turned to Zoom’s video chat app to work and study from home during the coronavirus pandemic. And many have discovered a fun little stage that transforms the background of your video from the room behind you into outer space. You can even upload your own photo to customize the background of your session.
Zoom, which is seeing a huge increase in usage as a result of governments requiring people to stay home, will keep your background image pretty good, making it a fun way to express yourself or to hide clutter from your room. After all, you may want participants to focus on you and not on your trivia collection.
Just be aware that if you tend to gesticulate a lot or lean back in your chair, or if a whimsical puppy or child falls onto your lap during your call, your caller will notice interruptions in the background.
Change your Zoom background in the desktop app
1. Zoom in the app, click the upper right corner of your profile and click Settings (Settings)
2. In the left menu click Virtual Background.
3. You’ll see some default background options provided by Zoom, including an outer space scene or a grass scene. You can choose one of them by clicking on it, and it will also automatically change your screen. There is also an option in case you have a green screen and want to use it.
4. If you want to upload a photo to use as a background, on the same virtual background page, click the + icon next to where it says Choose virtual background. A box will appear allowing you to upload a photo from your computer. Click the one you want, and it will appear alongside the other images as an option for you to choose from.
5. To delete the photos you have previously uploaded, tap on the X in the upper left corner.
Change your Zoom background in the mobile app
1. When you log into your account and join a meeting, tap the three dots at the bottom right of the screen to open the More menu.
2. Tap Virtual Background.
3. Choose a background from the options there or upload your own photo.
Another tip for Zoom: Add a beauty filter
You’ve probably already heard all the advice about working from home: wake up on time, shower, dress like it’s a day at the office, and so on. But if it’s one of those days when you don’t think you look better, Zoom has an answer: a feature called Retouch My Look. Basically, it’s a smoothing filter, like the one you’ll find on Instagram, FaceTune or your phone’s selfie camera.
To activate it, click the up arrow next to Start video. Click Video settings and under My video, check the Retouch my appearance box. Ready!