Whether on day 14 of a mandated work-from-home experience or just getting started, you’re likely using Zoom to stay in touch with co-workers. The video conferencing platform, which has seen a significant rise in both use and popularity due to the Covid-19 virus, offers users the ability to stay in touch while keeping their distance. For those looking for a way to virtually “tidy-up” their backgrounds while logged on, Zoom offers a built-in setting that takes home offices from a lived-in mess to a look that’s absolutely out of this world.
Hide Your Mess, or Just Fool Your Co-workers
Massachusetts-based software engineer Andrew Eckel recently went viral after creating a false background for his bedroom office that tricked his co-workers into thinking he was living in the lap of luxury. Eckel created a backdrop that blocks out the sight of his unmade bed and overflowing closet during video conferences. Using images he sourced from Flickr, he created a large scale replica of a luxury apartment interior and hung it directly behind his computer desk.
Eckel carried the charade out for an entire 90-minute conference call, where he wrapped up the group video chat by zooming out and revealing his ruse. Fortunately, his co-workers found the fake-out as funny as Eckel did, at least after they stopped wondering how he managed to afford such a nice place based on company salaries.
Try it Out For Yourself
Since Eckel’s low-tech fake-out is a little more time consuming than most parents can manage right now, Zoom offers several built-in options for users that give the same effect. They may not all be as lavish as the one Eckels created, but some of them are downright cool (we like the view of earth from outer space). Follow the instructions below to create your own Zoom backdrop.
From Your Desktop:
- Click on the Settings option from inside the Zoom app.
- A menu will open to your left, click Virtual Background.
- From there you will see a few different background options. Once you find one you like, click on it and watch your screen fill with the image.
If you want to take a page from Eckel’s book and create a more personalized background, Zoom allows for uploading a photo of your choosing into the system.
Follow the same steps as above, except at the Virtual Background Page click the plus sign next to where it says Choose Virtual Background. From there, a box will appear allowing you to upload your own photo. Once it has been uploaded it will appear next to the other default backgrounds Zoom offers.
- Open the Zoom app and click on the three dots that appear in the bottom right-hand corner.
- Tap on the Virtual Background option.
- Follow the steps from above to select a background or upload your own.
Want to purchase myriad customized options? Zoom Virtual Backgrounds (link below) is currently offering their bundles at a reduced rate. Their first tier bundle, normally $59, is being sold for $29.