Zoom is not that customizable in its appearance as a pragmatic app, but you may have noticed a fantastic little setting that transforms the background during a video call. These backgrounds range from the Golden Gate Bridge to outer space.
In this article, you’ll learn how to change the background for your Zoom video meetings to eliminate those uncomfortable and embarrassing environments, as well as add a little excitement to your session, whether for personal or business use.
How to Change the Virtual Background Image in Zoom on a PC
Zoom is available across platforms. However, the Chrome OS App does not offer all features found in the desktop app, Android and iOS apps, and the browser add-on. To change your virtual background on Zoom, you’ll have to access it on an app. So, even with the Zoom web app, you won’t be able to change the virtual background on a Chromebook.
For PCs and Macs, however, things are relatively straightforward. All you need is the Zoom app, which is available for free on Zoom.com and a web browser.
By default, your account settings should have the virtual backgrounds option enabled. To be safe and before using the app, ensure that the virtual background option is enabled. Here’s how to do it.
- Go to Zoom.com.
- Sign in to your account.
- Navigate to “My Account.”
- From the left bar, select “Settings.”
- Scroll down and turn on “Virtual background” or verify that is is on.
- Check the box next to “Allow use of videos for virtual backgrounds.”
Once you’ve enabled virtual backgrounds on your account, you can move on to using the Zoom app to tweak your virtual background settings. Zoom apps for Windows and macOS look and function in the same way. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need to have at least Windows 7 or Mac OS 10.9.
- Open the Zoom app.
- Select the “cog icon” (Settings) below your profile photo in the upper-right corner.
- In the navigational settings menu on the left, select “Background & Filters.”
- You should immediately see the sample of your webcam feed. Click on the “Virtual Backgrounds” tab if not already selected, then tap on each background to view it.
- Your cam preview gets replaced by the background preview you clicked. Choose whether you want the San Francisco, Grass, or Earth background.
- If you want to use the “Northern Lights” or the “Beach” background, you’ll have to download the package first.
If adding video filters to your Zoom experience, you can only do it via the computer app. To add filters, go to “Settings -> Background & Filters” and select the “Video Filters” tab. Note that you can use the filters and the virtual backgrounds simultaneously. So, for instance, you can add the “Mosaic Eyewear” filter and use the “Beach” virtual background.
You can also add a custom picture or video by clicking the “plus icon” in the top-right corner of the backgrounds/filters section.
How to Change the Virtual Background Image in Zoom on iOS and Android Devices
The Zoom app works the same across Android and iOS devices. So, whether you have an Android phone/tablet, an iPhone, or an iPad, things work the same across the board. Keep in mind that you’ll have to be in a meeting to enable the Virtual Background. Also, make sure that the video is enabled by selecting Start Video.
- While in a meeting, go to “More.”
- Then, select “Virtual Background.”
- You’ll have the same three backgrounds available, as listed above
- However, by selecting the plus icon, you can add any photo from your phone and turn it into a background
There you have it. Changing the virtual background in Zoom is that simple. Remember that mobile and tablet apps also require you to enable the virtual backgrounds on your Zoom account first.
Add Studio Effects
In the desktop version of the app, you can add various studio effects to your webcam feed. In the Background & Filters menu, go to the bottom-right corner of the screen and click Studio Effects (Beta).
This feature allows you to switch between various eyebrow filters and mustache/beard options. You can even change the color of your lips. Select the color that you want or find it using the palette. Oh, and you can change the opacity of these effects using the provided slider.
Add a Beauty Filter
You might want to “beautify” your appearance, especially if you’re using the HD feature or a good camera. Thankfully, this has been made very simple.
- Navigate to “Settings -> Video” in the panel on the left.
- Check the box next to “Touch up my appearance.”
- Use the “slider” to adjust the beauty filter
- Go to “Settings.”
- Tap “Meetings.”
- Scroll down and slide “Touch Up My Appearance” to the on posiiton.
- Use the slider to adjust the level of “beautification.”
To make your Zoom experience more fluid and better, we’ve rounded up a few tips for you. These will help you make the most out of Zoom.
- Use the Recurring meeting option. You don’t have to create a reminder to create a Zoom meeting everytime and on a regular basis. Go to “My Meetings” and check the box next to “Recurring meeting” at the bottom.
- Record your video conferences for later use or legal reasons. You can store the video locally if you’re using the free version of Zoom and on the cloud if you’re a paid member.
- Use the keyboard shortcuts. “Cmd + I“ on macOS and “Alt + I“ on Windows will automatically take you to the invite window. To promptly mute everyone in a meeting, Use “Cmd + Ctrl + M“ on macOS or “Alt + M“ on Windows. Using “Cmd + Shift + S“ will share your screen on macOS, while “Alt + Shift + S“ will share it on Windows.
- You can access the list of meeting attendees under “Account Management > Reports.” Check out the “Usage Reports” and navigate to the meeting you want to check the attendance for. This is a very useful feature for larger meetings.
Can I use an animated gif or videos as a background in Zoom?
Unfortunately, Zoom doesn’t support GIF files—only static JPG, PNG, and BMP files. A workaround, however, does exist. Seeing as how Zoom allows you to use videos for your background, you can convert the GIF file to MP4, then use it in Zoom. You can do this conversion with various tools available online.
Can I use whatever image I want for a Zoom virtual background image?
As long as the static photo is a JPG, PNG, or BMP, you can use any photo you have on your device as your Zoom virtual background. Keep in mind that any images that violate the Zoom user agreement may get reported. GIFs, as mentioned above, aren’t supported, but MP4 videos are.
Can I do a virtual background without a green screen on Zoom?
Although a green screen can significantly improve your virtual background, you can use virtual backgrounds without a green screen. Most tablets and smartphones include cameras that support virtual backgrounds without a green screen, but your laptop/desktop webcam might not. So, if your camera supports this feature, you might be able to use a virtual background without a green screen.
Why is my zoom background blurry?
If you’re using a custom virtual background, the background might get blurry. If this happens, your custom image might be too low resolution. Ideally, a virtual background should be 16:9 in aspect ratio or 1280×720. Even better, go with 1920×1080, if at all possible. If Zoom is acting up and is blurring your custom high-resolution background, contact customer support.
Changing the Zoom Background
Zoom offers diverse options for changing your background. If you aren’t happy with the supplied options, you can always add your images, as long as they are one of the supported formats. In the end, you don’t necessarily need a green screen or anything fancy—just the Zoom app and a good webcam.
Hopefully, this article has helped you customize your Zoom virtual background experience. If you have any additional questions, don’t refrain from using the comments section below – our community is more than glad and happy to help.