So if you have used Zoom as your conferencing platform, you have been exposed to the virtual backgrounds that no longer need green screens. If you need a tutorial on how to use the Zoom backgrounds, that can be found here.
Microsoft is set to deploy the setting on Microsoft Teams very soon according to Tom Arbuthnot’s post found here and it is something that I am sure users will enjoy. Below I will try to give a brief overview of what this is, how it might be useful and also provide some backgrounds that I have used so that you can prepare yourself when its available.
WHAT IS A VIRTUAL BACKGROUND?
Well in short, this is a step beyond what the blur my background setting in Microsoft Teams is and allows you to put yourself into a virtual space. It allows you to be in a physical space that might not be ideal and portray to the far side that you are actually in an environment suitable for a video call. While its intended for professional use, I will put some backgrounds below for fun that you can put yourself into for those video calls that can be a little more casual. Think about how Forrest Gump was able to be in the room with JFK and others. This is the basic tech of how you will be placed into the frame with that background.
KEY THINGS TO HAVE FOR VIRTUAL BACKGROUND TO BE EFFECTIVE
The one thing that nobody seems to understand is you need probably better lighting than what is provided by your overhead light or desk lamp can deliver. The software will do its best, but nothing can replace having a good light.
You don’t need the traditional 3 point lighting that television and movies dictate as the software has gotten much better over the years, but if you wanted to know how lighting works you can find a great description here.
I highly suggest just doing a search on the internet for what is called an LED ring light. These allow you to mount a camera in the middle of the light and can deliver a perfectly lit environment for you to take advantage of these virtual backgrounds without a green screen for your personal computer workspace and are all well under $50 (US).
It is best to have as few colors as you can behind you where the camera is facing. For instance, you don't want a television playing in your background or something like a very busy painting with a lot of colors. Believe it or not, plain single color walls are preferred if you are going to use the backgrounds and want optimal results. That’s why you see green screens used everywhere is the software is able to use the green and “key” it out of the video.
SOME FUN BACKGROUNDS FOR YOU TO LOOK THROUGH
Of course you can find a bunch of backgrounds if you just do a google image search for virtual backgrounds and there are even companies that will sell you some. I am surprised to see that some partners of Zoom or Microsoft haven’t readied themselves with a policy for their workers that provide “branded” virtual backgrounds, but maybe that is just me hoping someone will make one.
From putting yourself into the Simpsons living room or even delivering the monologue on Saturday Night live, these backgrounds below can just bring some fun to your casual meetings when needed. And with Microsoft delivering this very soon and Zoom already having this enabled, its time to make sure you can use these as they are a valuable tool in your meeting toolkit.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE