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How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Joel Cornell has spent twelve years writing professionally, working on everything from technical documentation at PBS to video game content for GameSkinny. Joel covers a bit of everything technology-related, including gaming and esports. He’s honed his skills by writing for other industries, including in architecture, green energy, and education. Read more.

Skype now offers custom backgrounds. Rather than show everyone your office, you can choose any backdrop image you like. Skype will automatically detect and replace the background behind you with the image while you’re video chatting, just like Zoom can.

How to Customize or Blur Your Background During a Skype Call

First, make sure that you have the latest version of the Skype desktop client downloaded and installed on your Windows PC or Mac. Don’t use the Windows 10 Store version, which doesn’t have this feature for some reason. Some older versions of Skype support background blurring, but not custom backgrounds.

To blur your background during a Skype video session, hover your mouse over the “Turn Video Off Button.” Click “Choose Background Effect.”

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Select the “Blur” option, and the call you’re on will automatically have its background blurred.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Choose the “Add Image” option, and you can select any image file that is on your local hard drive. Your background will automatically update for the call that you’re currently having. To delete a background image that you’ve uploaded, click the small white X in the top-right corner of that image.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

How to Customize or Blur Your Background for All Skype Video Calls

You can set a default background effect for all of your Skype video calls. Start by clicking on your profile picture in Skype window and selecting “Settings.”

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Choose the “Audio & Video” tab. From this menu, you can select “Blur” to blur all calls or click “Add Image” to create a custom background from a picture file on your local hard drive. You can also select an existing custom background you’ve already uploaded.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Whether it’s silly or serious, with your family or your colleagues, adding a custom background or blurring it entirely can make Skype video calls more enjoyable and more effective.

David Murphy

There’s little I enjoy more than a the well-executed use of a silly background in a video chat. While this quirky feature used to be exclusive to Zoom, more apps are integrating the functionality—including, recently, Microsoft Teams, and now, Microsoft’s own Skype app.

You can play with custom backgrounds on the Windows or macOS versions of Skype, provided you first make sure you’ve updated to the latest version of the app (8.59.0.77). It’s easy, and it doesn’t take very long to do. One caveat for users of the Windows 10 app version of Skype—the one you downloaded from the Windows Store: You’ll need to switch to the version you can download from Skype’s website in order to use the new custom background feature (at least as of this writing).

Once you’re ready, hop into a Skype video session and click on the triple-dot “More” icon in the lower-right corner. You’ll see two options pop up: the classic “Audio and video settings” and new “Choose background effect.” You can click either one, as they both take you to the same place:

Select “Blur” for Skype’s traditional background effect, which simply makes your background hazy and unremarkable. If you’d rather plop yourself on an island or into the middle of a favourite movie location, click “Add image” and search for an image on your computer you’d like to use:

And, yes, even though you’ll be seeing your own image mirrored, anyone else on your call will see it normally. Such is a quirk of Skype, and there’s no setting that lets you flip the image of yourself on your own screen.

New Skype background option added in latest update

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Microsoft has added a new cool feature in Skype that allows users to add a custom background in a video call, technically hiding what’s behind them in a way that’s more fun and entertaining.

While the feature isn’t new, as other video calling platforms offer similar functionality, it’s certainly a welcome addition to Skype’s arsenal, especially these days when so many people are working from home and trying to stay in touch with friends and workmates using this kind of software.

What’s important to know is that the custom backgrounds are only available in the desktop version of Skype, which can be installed on Windows, Linux, and macOS. The dedicated Windows 10 version that you can install from the Microsoft Store is currently lacking such functionality.

On the other hand, all versions of Skype, including the one aimed at Windows 10 users, comes with blur support for the background, even if you can’t use a custom image, an option to hide what’s happening in the background is still available.

The new custom background feature, however, can be configured in various ways.

For example, you can set it up from the initial wizard that is displayed after Skype is installed on a new device. This way, all your calls would use the configured background from the very beginning, without further customization required.

Then, you can enable it right from an active video call by simply hovering the video button in the main UI or by clicking the three-dot More button in the top right corner. Next, just click the option that reads “Choose background effect” and add a new image to be used as background.

And of course, you can do the whole thing from the settings screen of Skype by following this path:

Skype > Settings > Audio and Video > Choose background effect > Add image
A preview screen in the same window will provide you with a quick look at how the new background is applied in a video call, so you’ll be able to choose an image that better fits your seconds. The majority of image formats are supported, including JPG, PNG, GIF, and TIFF.

Microsoft, however, recommends users to stick with landscape images with files that are stored locally.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

If the options to blur the background or add a custom image are missing from your Skype installation, it’s all because of some hardware limitations on your computer. Microsoft explains the following:

“When the focus belongs on you and not your room, you can blur or customize your background during a video call in Skype. The option to choose a background effect is available in Skype on Windows, Mac, and Linux. To blur your background in Skype, your computer processor needs to support Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (AVX2). For more information, check with your computer manufacturer.”

Most likely, it’s all just a matter of time until Microsoft also updates the Windows 10 version of Skype with similar functionality, especially as the company is pushing hard for Microsoft Store versions of its apps. The company hasn’t yet provided any ETA as to when this could happen, but given the blur option already exists in this client, there’s absolutely no reason not to add the custom background as well.

In the meantime, everyone can just turn to the desktop client for the custom backgrounds – of course, this isn’t possible on Windows 10 in S Mode, where only apps from the Microsoft Store, therefore only the Windows 10 version of Skype, can be installed.

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  • You can blur your Skype background from the settings menu if you want to hide clutter or disguise the room behind you in a Skype call.
  • Skype also allows you to replace the background with a preset image or one of your own.
  • You can also blur the background before a call begins or while it’s in progress.

As people increasingly work remotely and take part in online meetings from home, a new kind of problem has started to occur: cluttered, messy or otherwise unprofessional backgrounds in conference calls.

Like most web conference apps, Skype has risen to the challenge by letting you digitally blur the background in your calls. Even if your office’s background isn’t messy, blurring the background can keep other attendees focused by removing distractions from your video.

How to blur your Skype background before a call begins

1. Before you begin a video call, click the three-dot menu icon to the right of your account avatar, which you’ll find in the pane on the left.

2. In the dropdown menu, choose “Settings.”

3. Click “Audio & Video” in the pane on the left.

4. In the “Choose background effect” section, you have a choice of several backgrounds. You can replace your background with one of the provided images, upload your own background, or blur the backgrounds. Click “Blur.”

5. Close the Settings window. You’re now ready to place a video call with a blurred background.

How to blur your Skype background during a call

If you forgot to blur the background ahead of time and a call is already in progress, you can still blur the background.

1. At the bottom right of the window, click “More.”

2. In the pop-up menu, click “Choose background effect.”

3. In the “Choose background effect” section of the Audio & Video Settings window, click “Blur.” You can also choose one of the background images or upload your own.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

  • You can blur your Skype background from the settings menu if you want to hide clutter or disguise the room behind you in a Skype call.
  • Skype also allows you to replace the background with a preset image or one of your own.
  • You can also blur the background before a call begins or while it’s in progress.

As people increasingly work remotely and take part in online meetings from home, a new kind of problem has started to occur: cluttered, messy or otherwise unprofessional backgrounds in conference calls.

Like most web conference apps, Skype has risen to the challenge by letting you digitally blur the background in your calls. Even if your office’s background isn’t messy, blurring the background can keep other attendees focused by removing distractions from your video.

How to blur your Skype background before a call begins

1. Before you begin a video call, click the three-dot menu icon to the right of your account avatar, which you’ll find in the pane on the left.

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How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

2. In the dropdown menu, choose “Settings.”

3. Click “Audio & Video” in the pane on the left.

4. In the “Choose background effect” section, you have a choice of several backgrounds. You can replace your background with one of the provided images, upload your own background, or blur the backgrounds. Click “Blur.”

5. Close the Settings window. You’re now ready to place a video call with a blurred background.

How to blur your Skype background during a call

If you forgot to blur the background ahead of time and a call is already in progress, you can still blur the background.

1. At the bottom right of the window, click “More.”

2. In the pop-up menu, click “Choose background effect.”

3. In the “Choose background effect” section of the Audio & Video Settings window, click “Blur.” You can also choose one of the background images or upload your own.

GEOFF WHITING

Skype is a great way to communicate with your friends but it doesn’t natively offer anything that really expresses your personality. You can download and integrate applications that add fun effects to your Skype video, from new backgrounds and objects to masks or cartoons that cover your face. Available effects from programs like Magic Camera, ManyCam, and WebCamEffects (links in Resources) can be turned on directly through Skype itself.

Explore this article

  • Turning on Effects
  • Building New Backgrounds
  • Masking Your Face
  • Interacting with Digital Objects

1 Turning on Effects

To turn on special effects you’ll need to select your webcam effects program in Skype. Start Skype and click the “Tools” menu. Under the Options menu, select the “Video settings tab and click “Select Webcam.” In this drop-down menu, select the name of your special effects software. Click “Save” and your camera will now have image options in Skype. During calls you will have a new border around your image where you can select new backgrounds, masks and other objects.

2 Building New Backgrounds

Many webcam effects programs can add an exciting background to your video chats. Backgrounds can make it look like you’re underwater, in space or at famous locations such as the Eiffel Tower. To add the effect you’ll need to select the background option on your webcam software and pick your preferred background. After you click the “Apply” button, step out of the frame so the webcam can determine what to lay the new background on top of, such as your wall and chair. Some services will offer customizable backgrounds, such as magazine covers with editable titles on Magic Camera.

3 Masking Your Face

You can add a bit of silly to your video chats by placing a mask or face on top of your own through your webcam software. Webcam software does this by monitoring your eyes and other parts of your face, such as your ears, and then digitally adding a mask in at the appropriate place. Masks can take up part of your face, such as adding a pig nose, or even give you an entirely new face by replacing your head with that of a panda or puppy. ManyCam offers the most masks and faces of the products described.

4 Interacting with Digital Objects

To help express your emotions on video chats you can also add icons and graphics to your video feed. Objects you add can include static images of flowers and smiley faces or even animate items, such as a sad rainclouds or angry explosions. When you add these to your video chat, you’ll be able to drag each icon to where you want it to appear on your Skype chat. Depending on your program, you’ll either double-click or drag the object off-screen to remove them. WeCamEffects offers a wide range of graphics that you can add to your frame.

If you want to change what appears behind you in your video meeting or call, you can either blur your background, replace it entirely with any image you want, or use Teams virtual background template.

Note: Blurring or replacing your background might not prevent sensitive information from being visible to other people in the call or meeting.

Change your background before a meeting starts

While you’re setting up your video and audio before joining a meeting, select Background filters . It’s just below the video image.

Your background options will display on the right.

Select Blur to blur your background. You’ll appear nice and clear while everything behind you is subtly concealed.

You can also replace your background with one of the images provided, or with one of your own choosing. To use an image of your own, select Add new and then select one to upload from your computer. Make sure it’s a .JPG, .PNG, or .BMP file.

Your new background will persist in all your meetings and calls until you change it again.

To turn off background effects, select .

Note: If you don’t see this option in the menu, the feature might not be available on your device yet.

Change your background during a meeting

Go to your meeting controls and select More actions > Apply background effects .

Select Blur to blur your background, or choose from the available images to replace it. To upload an image of your own, select Add new and pick a .JPG, .PNG, or .BMP file from your computer.
To turn off background effects, select .

Select Preview to see how your chosen background looks before you apply it, and then select Apply.

For now, Linux users aren’t able to use this feature.

Background effects won’t be available to you if you’re using Teams through optimized virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

Change your background before a meeting starts

While you’re setting up your video and audio before joining a meeting, select Background effects near the top of the screen.

Your background options appear below your image.

Select Blur to blur your background. You’ll appear nice and clear while everything behind you is subtly concealed.

You can also replace your background with one of the images provided, or with one of your own choosing.

To use an image of your own, select the plus sign and then select one to upload from your device. Make sure it’s a .JPG, .PNG, or .BMP file.

Your new background will persist in all your meetings and calls until you change it again.

To turn off background effects, select .

Change your background during a meeting or call

Go to your meeting or call controls and select More options > Background effects .

Follow steps 2 and 3 above.

Android requirements

To change your background, your Android device must have the following:

Teams mobile app for Android (version 1416/1.0.0.2021143402 or later)

By: Waseem Patwegar

It is possible to block or hide your background while making Skype Video calls on your computer. You will find below the steps to hide background during Skype Video Calls.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Hide Background During Skype Video Calls

When you make a video call on Skype, you also run the risk of allowing other people to peek into your house or office.

This can be a problem, if you are required to take a Skype Video Call at short notice and your house or office is totally unorganized or not in a presentable condition.

The Background Blur feature in Skype offers a solution to this problem by practically blocking your environment during any Skype Video Call.

Unlike other tacky webcam masks, Skype’s Background Blur feature uses artificial intelligence (AI) to keep you in focus, while blurring the background during Skype Video Calls.

According to Microsoft, the Artificial Intelligence used in Skype is trained to detect your hair, hands, and arms, which makes background blur calls as easy as regular video calls.

Note: Currently, the Background Blur feature is only available on the desktop version of Skype, it does not yet work on the mobile versions of Skype.

How to Hide Background During Skype Video Calls

Make sure you are using the Latest Version of Skype on your computer.

Activating the Background blur feature during Skype Video Calls is really easy.

1. Open the Skype App on your computer

2. Start a Video Call with someone and you will see three icons at the bottom of Video Call screen.

The first icon allows you to access Microphone Settings, the second icon allows you to change Video Settings, while the third is an End Call button.

3. To Hide your Background, click on the Video Settings icon and toggle ON Blur my background option.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Once Blur my background option is enabled, the person at the other end of Video Call won’t be able to see your background.

At any time, you can disable Blur my background feature by clicking on Video Settings Icon and toggling OFF Blur My Background.

Note: If you do not see Background Blur option in Video Settings, update to the latest version of Skype on your computer and you should be able to see “Blur my background” option.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

With the world trembling with the spread of COVID-19 and countries all over the globe in lockdown, most of us are now transitioning into the work-from-home mode. Although quite straightforward, it’s important that you stay professional when working from home even if your surroundings don’t look the same.

If you’re someone who’s working in a limited space, you’d want to keep the things around you obscured enough when holding a video conference. Fortunately for you, there are many video conferencing programs that let you change the background to something entirely different.

The following list of apps and programs will help you make video calls to your team and colleagues in such a way that you can change your background or blur it, however you choose.

  • Zoom
  • Skype
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Cisco Webex Meeting
  • ManyCam Chroma key
  • ChromaCam
  • XSplit VCam
  • CamMask
  • SparkoCam Virtual Webcam

Zoom offers a virtual background feature that’s different from the ones mentioned above. Instead of blurring your existing background, you can display an image or video as your background during a Zoom Meeting. Virtual Background on Zoom can be accessed inside Settings where you can choose and comes with the ability to add custom images and video to your background.

Download Zoom: PC | Mac | Android

Skype

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Skype lets you focus on yourself and not your surroundings when video calling someone over the service. The option to blur your background can be found before starting your video call as well as during the call. The blur feature uses AI to detect your face and maps the edges from the background so that your background will always be blurred. Skype’s background blur feature can be found:

  • By hovering over the camera button while on a call
  • By right-clicking on the call screen
  • By clicking the settings button at the top right of your call screen

Download Skype: PC | Mac | Android

Microsoft Teams

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

If you’re not happy with the backdrop in a video meeting, Microsoft’s other collaboration tool – Teams, also features the Background blur option. You can conceal everything that’s behind you and make yourself appear clear with the feature on Teams. Additionally, Teams also comes with a way to adjust the blur effect of your background by moving through the blur slider. The background blur option on Microsoft Teams can be found inside ‘More options’ when on a video call.

Update [April 12, 2020]: Microsoft Teams now allows you to change backgrounds too. You can select from the pre-installed custom backgrounds to change the background of your video. You still cannot use a background of your own or a video, though.

Download Microsoft Teams: PC | Mac | Android

Cisco Webex Meeting How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

With Cisco Webex Meeting, you can change your background so that you remain in focus while your surroundings are altered. You can either blur your surroundings, use the default virtual backgrounds provided by Cisco, or add a virtual background from your gallery.

Update [July 14, 2020]: Cisco initially allowed Webex users to change virtual backgrounds or apply blur effect on iOS devices only. The company has now rolled out similar features to its Android and Desktop users who can access the option by heading over to Menu icon > Change Virtual Background and apply Blur or any other virtual background. How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Download Cisco Webex Meeting: PC | Mac | Android

ManyCam Chroma key

ManyCam lets you replace your background when you’re on a video call or conference. The service comes with a Chroma Key feature that can apply a green screen to your video so that you can choose images and videos as your background or just keep it transparent. You can also pick solid colors as the background so that you can have a clean and professional-looking background.

Download ManyCam Chroma key: PC | Mac | Android

RELATED:

ChromaCam

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

This Windows application uses your standard webcam to remove backgrounds from your surroundings without needing a green screen at the back. The software also allows you to blue your background or show up presentations at the back for immersive viewing. The app can be used as your PC’s default camera so that it can blur or change your background in other video calling apps like Skype, Webex, Zoom, and Hangouts.

Download ChromaCam: PC

XSplit VCam How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Working in a similar fashion to that of ChromaCam, XSplit VCam makes background removal and blurring possible with any webcam. You can add a blur effect to your webcam without the need for extra hardware to maintain privacy and keep things professional. The software also offers the means to replace your background with an image or webpage. XSplit VCam is compatible with major video conferencing tools including Zoom, Hangouts, and Skype.

Download XSplit VCam: PC

CamMask How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

CamMask provides a background replacement tool which can easily change the background into other scenes.

Download CamMask: PC | Mac

SparkoCam Virtual Webcam How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

SparkoCam is a PC software that can apply a background image to your live webcam feed. You can replace the background of your webcam video with a picture or a video.

Download SparkoCam Virtual Webcam: PC

Are you working from home at the moment? If so, do you use any software to keep your background clean when video conferencing with your colleagues? Let us know in the comments below.

More related stuff for those stuck at home’:

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Ajaay

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Free Virtual Backgrounds For Skype: hide your messy office

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Best Free Microsoft Teams Backgrounds: the ultimate collection of Teams Virtual Backgrounds

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31 Funny Zoom Backgrounds your coworkers will be drooling over [Updated]

Now that we are all working from home, the use of virtual meeting technology like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Webex, and Skype has exploded. Now, of course, we all want funny Zoom backgrounds to hide our home office! We’ve got your back! In this post we share:

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How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

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With so many small business owners and their employees currently working from home, many are using video chat services like Skype and Zoom to stay in touch. Many of these users may want to hide their boring or messy homes or offices when they’re on calls. So there’s an increased demand for virtual backgrounds.

On Skype, you can change the color or blur your background directly within the Skype for Business app. But Zoom allows you to add custom background images or videos, leaving more room for customization. This feature works best for those with a green screen and consistent lighting, since that allows Zoom to easily detect the difference between the user and background.

There are no size restrictions on these virtual backgrounds. So you can use nearly any visual you’d like. However Zoom does recommend cropping or choosing images that match the aspect ratio of your computer’s camera. So standard images of 1280 pixels by 720 px or 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels often work well.

Sources of Virtual Backgrounds

If you want to add Zoom virtual background images to your video chats, here are some of the top places where you can find options online.

In the Zoom App

If you’re not picky about the backgrounds you use, there are a preloaded set of background images available directly within the Zoom app. These include cityscape, space scenes, and basic office images. To access this part of the app, go to your settings and then find the virtual backgrounds tab to choose the option that you want for your meeting.

Zoom Virtual Backgrounds

This site offers more than 200 images and videos that are made specifically for this purpose. Some of the videos even include subtle movements like cars driving by the windows or coworkers walking by so you can mimic the look of a real workspace. You can browse through the selection to find specific options that fit your needs or even purchase the entire bundle so you have them on your computer whenever you want to upload a new background.

Shutterstock

Shutterstock is a stock photo platform with millions of royalty-free images available for use in Zoom virtual background images. You can browse images with that specific tag or search for another keyword that fits your needs. The site includes pretty much everything from basic office photos to vectors. But you’ll need a subscription to download.

Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark offers an array of Zoom background images that users can download or even customize within the app. Each one starts out as a template that you can add text or other graphics to. Some of them even offer a bit of humor like a customizable “Employee of the Month” frame.

Pexels

If you’re looking for free virtual backgrounds, Pexels is a stock photo site that includes a huge variety of images. You don’t need an account or membership to access images. And you can find photos of all styles and aspect ratios. However, some may need to be cropped in order to fit the camera on your computer.

Unsplash

Unsplash is a free stock photo site that allows you to easily download a huge variety of images that you can use or customize for your meetings. The site’s Zoom background section is full of office related images that fit the aspect ratios of most standard cameras.

The Points Guy

For those who love to travel, the Zoom backgrounds offered by The Points Guy may be right up your alley. Many of these images are based in airports, lounges, or popular destinations that many people aren’t visiting these days. And they’re all available in a Google Drive folder for free.

Pocket-Lint

If you’re looking for some funny or unique images to lighten up your virtual meetings, Pocket-Lint has a variety of photos from popular shows, movies, games, and even memes that are sure to get a laugh. These free virtual backgrounds are easy to download to your computer and then save on Zoom so you can add a bit of your favorite pop culture elements to your workday.

Make Your Own

If you have a really specific vision for your virtual backgrounds for video calls, you can always design your own. Use your photo editing app of choice to create an image in your desired aspect ratio, then add the graphics or text that you want to display in your meeting. Programs like Canva even offer templates to help you get started quickly. This can help you gather some inspiration but still give you the freedom to customize your desired background.

Your Camera Roll

You don’t have to download virtual backgrounds for video from online platforms or separate websites to customize your Zoom meetings. You can upload pretty much any image from your computer to use for this purpose. So if you want to add personal photos from a recent vacation or maybe even a picture of your dog, you can simply take your own pictures and then add them in the Zoom app.

COVID-19 means many of us are (still) working from home and swapping in-person meetings for video chats on Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet. Here’s how to make sure you look your best while on camera.

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How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Everybody was supposed to be famous for 15 minutes in the future, but now you’re appearing on video 15 times a day and you want some anonymity. That’s not going to be the case for a while as social distancing continues, so you might as well make the best of your time in front of the camera.

Whether you’re in Zoom meetings with colleagues or having virtual cocktail parties with friends, follow these steps so you can spend more time focusing on others and not anxiously checking how you look in the corner of the screen.

Let There Be Good Light

Finding good light is essential. Shadows falling on your face will highlight signs that you haven’t slept and darkness will obscure your best features. Either face a sunlit window or position a light directly behind your laptop, phone, or tablet. A small selfie light (Opens in a new window) that clips onto devices or a selfie light that holds a phone (Opens in a new window) at the same time can also solve your lighting problems.

Get a Little Height

Whether you’re using a computer or a mobile device, you want its camera to be at eye level. This means you might have to jury rig a setup, like a stack of books on top of a desk or a step stool placed on a table. If you don’t already have one, now might be the time to get an adjustable-height stand that accommodates laptops, phones, and tablets. Or if you’re mostly using your phone for calls and conferences, get a tripod (Opens in a new window) that can be affixed to a variety of surfaces.

In the Background

On a video call you want the focus to be on you, so choose a spot without a cluttered background. Turn on your camera before a call to see what’s being captured and make adjustments to ensure your framing is good.

In Zoom, you can change your background completely. There are lots of backgrounds you can choose from online or you can create your own. On a computer, go to Zoom in a browser. Select Room Management > Zoom Rooms. Select Edit for either the room, floor, or location and then in the Room Settings tab, go to Room Setup. Next to Background image for Zoom Rooms, click Upload New Image and then open the image.

For mobile Zoom, during your video chat, select More and then Virtual Background. Select one of the available backgrounds or tap the plus sign to upload your own.

Your Personal Best

You don’t want to be too self-conscious during your call but in general pulling your face a little bit away from your neck will give your jaw a more taut and flattering appearance. And looking up a bit into the camera is a model trick for making your eyes seem bigger.

Even if you’re not a regular makeup wearer in your outside life (this includes men who don’t even own a skin-care product), consider a skin tint, like one from Glossier (Opens in a new window) or Pixi (Opens in a new window) . Lightly blended on (Opens in a new window) , it will give you a natural-looking glow.

Those who are used to facing the world with a full face of cosmetics but who don’t want to bother with that during *gestures everywhere* all this, welcome to multipurpose balms (Olio e Osso (Opens in a new window) and Pixi (Opens in a new window) make good ones). They make lips and cheeks look like you’ve actually been outdoors.

So you’re all excited to hop on a video chat with grandma, but the quality is less than desirable. The video is choppy, the audio echoes and cuts out, and you can barely see the person on the other end. Before you flip that table, here are a few things you can tweak to make sure you’re getting the best quality possible.

Blast from the past is a weekly feature at Lifehacker in which we revive old, but still relevant, posts for your reading and hacking pleasure. Today, we’re HD-ifying our Skype sessions.

While it isn’t realistic to expect the same level of quality Skype shows off in their commercials , you can probably make your chats look better, sound better, and generally run more smoothly with a few simple tweaks at home. Note that for some of these, we’ll be using Skype as an example, since it’s the most popular video calling application. However, you can apply almost all of these tips to any video chat program. We’ll note where the tip is Skype-specific.

Note also that these tips go for both parties—in many caes, your video chat partner will have to implement these too if you want to see better video.

Simple Fixes

Make sure Skype is updated to the latest version. They improve the quality of video chats with each new version, so if you’re still running a copy from two years ago, you’re probably going to get the same crappy quality you had two years ago. This also goes for iChat and any other video chat programs. Web-based apps like Google Chat and Facebook Chat should stay up to date, though you might want to check and see if they have any updates or add-ons that improve the quality.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Step in style
Included in this sale are some very on-trend marble and tie-dye varieties, from black and white to sorbet pastels. Text your mom: she’s gonna want a pair.

Wear headphones. If anyone is hearing echoes in the audio, it’s because the other party’s speakers are too loud. Wear headphones and this problem disappears instantly. Any headphones are fine; earbuds are nice since they don’t distract from your face. Note that this depends on a bit of communication between you and your friend: if you hear an echo, they need to wear headphones, but if they hear an echo, you need to wear headphones. Photo by Dan McKay .

Adjust your light. Again, this is a small tweak that can make a world of difference. Make sure you have a lamp or other light behind your monitor, pointing toward you, and that you don’t have too much light behind you. If you’re on a laptop, make sure the camera is at eye level and not pointing up at the ceiling lights, or down at the floor. Better lighting can mean the difference between talking to a real person and talking to a grainy silhouette.

Make sure your background is stationary. If you’re in a bustling coffee shop, or you have your family watching TV behind you, move somewhere else. The more motion is in your shot, the more work Skype will have to do and the choppier your video will get.

Don’t overload your internet with other tasks. If you’re downloading files, watching YouTube videos, or playing video games (or if someone else in your house is doing any of these things), that’s less bandwidth Skype gets for itself. Close any unnecessary programs, specifically those that are using your internet, and you might find that the call quality increases dramatically.

If you can, use wired Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is okay, but you’re much more likely to get lag and interference, which can make your video and audio choppy. Wired internet will give you a much smoother, more consistent experience.

More Advanced Fixes

Adjust your webcam’s video settings. Most webcams will let you tweak the brightness, contrast, microphone volume, and other things within their settings. If you’re using Skype, you can get to them quickly through Tools > Options > Video Settings. Drag the video settings window so its next to Skype’s Options window, so you can see your video preview. Adjust any brightness, exposure, color, while balance, and other sliders until your video looks better. This could take a bit of playing around, and it won’t help as much as, say, better lighting will, but if you’re short on real-world fixes this can help a bit.

Set up Quality of Service on your Router, if you have it. We’ve talked about setting up Quality of Service (QoS) before , so I won’t go too deeply into it here, but this should have the same effect as shutting down BitTorrent, online video games, and other programs that hog your bandwidth. Essentially, it ensures that when you’re video chatting, it takes bandwidth away from other applications and gives it to you. Again, it’s the same as shutting down those programs yourself, only with QoS your router will do it automatically. Note that not all routers have this setting, but if you don’t, you might still be able to use it by installing DD-WRT on your router .

I am looking for an app that will allow me to change my video background to a picture or something else to help me hide my current background.

I participate on several web-conference meetings that include video chat. Many of these happen when I am on the go (public places). I normally stick to use Skype and webEx conferencing services.

I use a Dell built-in camera.

Is this request something that can be achieve with an app or needs to be something built-in the conferencing software I am using?

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What you are talking about is a process called Chroma Keying, more colloquially known as greenscreening. Skype used to have an add in called Magic Camera that would change your background to one of several gimmicky naff ones, it also wasn’t very good. My understanding is that it got binned when Microsoft bought Skype.

Normal greenscreening is achieved by replacing a background of uniform colour (normally a bright lime-esque green) with something else. The background has to be uniform in colour for this to work best. This is usually done in video editing software during post production.

I don’t currently know of any plugins for Skype or Webex that would achieve what you are trying to do in real time or “on the fly.” Especially as you have stated that the reason for changing your background is because they are potentially quite busy and unattractive, I just can’t see how this would work effectively without being even more of a distraction to the party on the other end of the video conference.

There’s a long-running issue with Skype for Android where, in recent versions (since 2014 I believe), it very often ignores incoming calls and doesn’t notify about messages when it is running in the background. There are many long (and often angry) threads about this on Skype’s forums, for example: No incoming call and chat notification on Android KitKat (12 pages), Skype never rings on Android phone (9 pages), skype not running in background anymore? (4 pages), and many others.

From these threads I’ve extracted some clues:

  • It used to be possible to fix this issue by downgrading to before version 4, but older versions now no longer connect, so this appears to be no longer an option.
  • There is some mystery about why this happens, but there are claims that it’s something to do with Skype’s status changing to some kind of “inactive” status when it goes into the background after a period of inactivity (some sources say 15 minutes, some 5 minutes, some immediately on the Skype app window not being open), which, recently (but not in the past) results in Skype centrally not connect calls or messages to this user when this status is present.
  • If this is the case, it happens even when the optional Skype notification tray status icon shows the status as being “active” – some comments suggest this icon doesn’t update when Skype becomes inactive in the background
  • There’s a separate issue where Skype doesn’t notify on a phone if you’re active on a computer, but plenty of people report this problem even when they’ve confirmed they’re only logged in on Android.
  • There’s a post from 2014 which suggests that background calls work if “Answer calls automatically” is ticked in Skype settings – but I don’t like the idea of people calling me and instantly hearing the sound of the inside of my pocket (maybe I’ve misunderstood what answer calls automatically means?), and I imagine I still wouldn’t know they’ve called unless I’m in a silent room
  • A few users mention that turning on “sync group chat in the background” in notifications fixes notifications for calls and messages too (example) but this didn’t work for me
  • A minority of posters claim to not have this issue, suggesting there might be something to do with general Android settings that influences whether Skype becomes unreachable when it goes into the background.
  • There’s mention of 3rd party apps that fix this problem by keeping Skype active, thus preventing the status change. However I couldn’t find any such examples that wasn’t followed by a comment later suggesting it no longer works (and I can’t find any examples now I look for it).

I’ve discussed this with Skype customer support, who were unable to help beyond establishing that it’s nothing to do with my Skype app settings (notifications are on) or being logged in on another device. My main hope, therefore, is for some kind of 3rd party solution like the apps referred to above for keeping Skype active, or some general Android setting.

Non-rooted, Android 5.1.1, Skype 6.8.0.590, Sony Z3 compact. I’d prefer not to root but this issue is very important to me and if that’s the only option I’d accept an answer that involves rooting the phone.

I’d prefer not to install a custom mod, but I’d consider it if that can somehow reliably fix this problem and give me reliable notifications and incoming calls any time I’m online and someone calls or messages me by Skype.

Sometimes, you just need a change

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

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What to Know

  • To change name in app, select Skype profile image\name >Skype Profile >Edit (Pencil) > Enter new name >Enter.
  • To change on mobile, tap profile image >Skype profile >Pencil > enter new name > tap checkmark.
  • To change on the web, log into Skype.com > select your name >My Account >Edit profile >Edit profile > enter new name >Save.

This article explains how to change your Skype name. Instructions apply to all Skype platforms, including Skype for Windows and Mac, Skype on the web, and the Skype mobile app.

What’s My Skype Username? What’s My Skype Display Name?

Your Skype display name is different from your Skype username. You can change the display name whenever you like, and it’s what other Skype users see when they communicate with you.

Your Skype username is the email address used to create your Microsoft account—a result of Microsoft acquiring Skype in 2011 and requiring a Microsoft account to sign up for Skype. Consequently, you can change your Skype username or ID only by changing the email address associated with it and your Microsoft account.

In cases where you signed up for a Skype account before Microsoft acquired Skype, you’ll likely use a non-email-based username that can’t be changed, unless you create a new account, which means losing your existing contacts.

How to Change Your Skype Display Name on Windows and Mac

Here’s how to change your Skype display name:

Launch the Skype app.

Select your Skype profile image or display name, both of which are in the upper-left corner of the screen.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Select Skype Profile.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Select the Edit Pencil icon and type a new name.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Press Enter or select the checkmark on the right side of the text box.

How to Change Your Skype Display Name on Mobile

Changing your Skype name on smartphones is straightforward.

These directions are for the Skype app only, not Skype Lite.

Open the Skype app.

Tap your Skype profile image at the top.

Tap your Skype profile, then tap the pencil icon next to your display name.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Make the necessary changes and then tap the checkmark to save.

This process changes only your Skype display name, not your Skype username or Skype ID. While changing your Skype display name alters what other users see when they connect with you, they can change how they see your display name after it’s added to their contacts.

How to Change Your Skype Username on the Web

Change your Skype username on the web in a similar way.

Log in to Skype.com.

Select your name in the upper-right corner of the screen.

From the drop-down menu that appears, select My Account.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Scroll down to Settings and preferences and click Edit profile.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Click Edit Profile again and then input your new username.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Select Save, near the upper-right corner of the page.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

This method doesn’t work for Skype usernames created before Microsoft acquired Skype and started linking Microsoft and Skype accounts. However, these usernames don’t have to be displayed, meaning you don’t need to worry about these.

How to Change Your Name With Skype for Business

With Skype for Business, people are typically unable to change their usernames or display names themselves, because their accounts are created for them by their employer, who assigns them an email address (usually their work email address) and name. If you ever want to change your Skype for Business ID, you’ll need to reach out to the relevant member of your IT department.

RYAN GOODRICH

Skype enables numerous users to bridge the geographic divide and communicate with friends and family using a webcam, but admittedly it can get rather boring just talking to a camera all the time. If you want to add a little humor and variety to your Skype conversations, webcam utilities exist to overlay your existing video feed with a variety of images and special effects.

Explore this article

  • Adding Visual Effects
  • Download and install a webcam utility
  • Launch Skype
  • Within Skype Options
  • Open the utility
  • Launch Skype and begin a call

1 Adding Visual Effects

2 Download and install a webcam utility

Download and install a webcam utility. Common options include ManyCam and WebcamMax, which are free, and ArcSoft Magic-i Visual Effects, which is paid (links in Resources).

3 Launch Skype

Launch Skype and click “Tools” and then “Options.” Select the “Video settings” tab. Select the webcam feed, for example “ManyCam Virtual Webcam,” as third-party utilities often create their own feed separate from the main webcam. Click “Save.”

4 Within Skype Options

Within Skype Options, click the “Audio settings” tab. From the Microphone drop-down, select the microphone, such as “Microphone (ManyCam Virtual Microphone).”

5 Open the utility

Open the utility and adjust settings as needed. For ManyCam, to activate special effects, image overlays or backgrounds select the “Effects” tab. Different category folders of effects will appear, and each contains multiple webcam effects, as well as the ability to download more custom art.

6 Launch Skype and begin a call

Launch Skype and begin a call. Each time Skype loads, the cam you chose will also appear. Select the effect or graphic you want during a Skype call and the utility will automatically apply the selected elements onto your webcam feed.

The XSplit VCam lets you pick your setting—no green screen required. And it’s now nearly 60 percent off.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

We’ve all wanted to change our surroundings, and that’s never been more true than in these trying times. Yet even with all the technology at our disposal, we find it hard to do that even when we’re chatting online. Open up most Facebook Live videos and even popular vlogs and you’ll see the same unkempt bedrooms and office cubicles in the background. It can be embarrassing at best (Opens in a new window) and a security threat at worst. And anyway, who wants to clean the house for visitors who aren’t even there in the flesh?

Introducing the coolest tool for video, whether you’re doing a simple Skype or shooting a high-profile vlog: The XSplit VCam. It basically puts one of the oldest and greatest Hollywood special effect techniques into your webcam. But unlike the setup in a regular film studio, there’s no green screen needed here. Simply filter your video through the app, and you can change or alter your background at will.

Want to try it for yourself? You can pick up a lifetime subscription to the XSplit VCam for $19.99, nearly 60 percent off the list price.

The interface is one of the greatest things about this tool. Bring it up, and you’ll get a panel of options for your new background. Choose from saved photos or pull one from online. You can use video clips directly from YouTube, game clips from your favorite streaming service, or even web pages. A simple click and you can watch yourself be transported to any setting you choose—and so can your viewers.

Keeping it simple? Just go with a general blurred background, whether it’s your real one or an imported virtual setting. That value alone is priceless.

The app is compatible with most of the major chat software, such as Slack, Skype, Google Hangouts, Discord, and more. You can also use it with streaming software such as XSplit’s own Broadcaster or Gamecaster, OBS Studio, and others.

Don’t wait. Save nearly 60 percent on a lifetime subscription to the XSplit VCam now.

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How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Skype has revolutionized communication for people around the world with its free voice chats, video calls and conference video calls.

However, one thing that’s quite cumbersome with Skype is that it plays all the sounds that your computer microphone picks up. Sometimes, the background noise is even louder than your own voice.

Of course, you can always get a headset with a microphone which noise levels could be adjusted. There is a way to lessen the noise in Skype voice chats and video calls. Follow these simple steps:

1. Go to your desktop and right-click the sound icon (the one that looks like speakers) and select “Recording Devices”.

2. Click the default microphone of the computer, then the Properties button, then the “Levels” tab.

3. Check the bar that says “Microphone Boost”. Make sure that the tab is all the way to the left to disable it. This decreases your microphone’s sensitivity to background noise. Click the “OK” button to save your new settings.

4. If you have Realtek HD Audio Manager, open this up as well from your computer tray by right clicking it and selecting ” sound manager”.

5. Click the Microphone Tab, and the Microphone Boost button (the one on the right of the recording volume slide bar). Make sure it’s set at 0 decibels. You can also choose to click the Noise Suppression button, which also helps reduce background noise for your microphone.

Once all these changes are made, you can now enjoy a background-noise-free video call and chat, which is what you need when you want to record Skype calls or Skype videos.

Skype doesn’t have a built-in recorder, but there is SuperTintin, which is the most reliable recording software for Skype calls. It’s not based on screen-capture technology, which means it directly records your video calls and voice chats without interrupting the call or changing the quality of the call. Check it out and enjoy high quality recorded calls with SuperTinTin.

Did you know that there is more to Skype chat than just typing away? You can actually customize your settings, edit sent messages, and use emoticons. Interested in knowing all these Skype chat tricks? Here’s a few of them:

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

1. Use hidden emoticons: Aside from the many emoticons that you see when you click on the smiley at the top left corner of the chat box, did you know that there are secret emoticons that you can use to make Skype chat more fun? Here are a few codes not on the menu: (mooning), (rock), (swear), (headbang), (smoking), (drunk), (bug), (tmi), (fubar). Go ahead and type in the one you want to use into the chatbox!

2. Stop those annoying animated emoticons: If you are not the type to enjoy animated emoticons, there is a way to disable and make them static instead. All you have to do is go to Tools, then click on Options, then IM & SMS, then IM Appearance, then you can uncheck the animated emoticons tickbox and chat in relative peace.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

3. Change the default font and text size: This chat trick is very useful for people with bad eyesight since the default text is quite small. The controls for the Change Font setting is also in IM Appearance, same as #2 above.

4. Edit a typo in your last message: If you are a stickler for grammar, then this is the Skype Chat trick for you. If you made a mistake that was already sent, you can still correct it! Simply click on the Up arrow on your keyboard and the offending message appears on the chatbox. Now you can edit and send again.

5. Edit or delete a recent message: This one is for messages already recorded after the last one. Right click on the message and options for editing will appear.

6. Hide the type indicator: This indicator is the moving pencil that you see when the person at the other end is typing or deleting a message. If you’d rather not show your typing activities, then you can uncheck the “Show when I am typing” option at Tools>Options>IM & SMS>IM Settings. Click on the Show advanced options box and a bunch of options will appear.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

7. Edit a contact name: Is your Skype life getting to be too much to handle? Too many contacts, some with the same names? You can organize your contact list with this little-known Skype trick. Just go to your Contact list and click on a name. When a window opens to the right side of your screen, place your cursor above the name and click on the Edit icon that appears.

Skype is a great tool with many uses. Explore these tricks and know your way around and make your Skype chat a lot more fun!

Learn how to get a blurry background in videos! Complete tutorial & tips to get a blurred background for your YouTube videos (known as the Bokeh Effect), with everything you need to know about depth-of-field and how to maximize results with a DSLR, smartphone or any camera.

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Download the Free PDF Guide: The ULTIMATE Video Editing Process!

Recommended Webcam Software:

Recommended Smartphone Apps:

Related Videos:

How to Get a Blurry Background in Videos: DSLR, Camera AND Smartphone Tutorial!

Getting that blurred background effect in your videos, also known as the Bokeh effect, is simple to do with many cameras. Unlike those terrible Zoom video call backgrounds you’ve seen, getting a GOOD result involves a basic understanding of depth-of-field and how to set it appropriately BEFORE you shoot your videos.

The good news is – it’s not hard to get awesome results with just some quick tips, and it works with almost any camera (although some are definitely better than others!)

Whether you’re using an iPhone or Android smartphone, a DSLR, point-and-shoot, or other video camera, in this video we’ll run through everything you need to know to get the BEST blurry background effect out of your camera & lens.

Recommended Gear & Resources

Check out an up-to-date list of all the gear, software & tools we use and recommend right now at Primal Video on our resources page here!

Looking for something to brighten up your online calls with colleagues and friends?

Dreaming of your next trip to Japan? Try using our stunning virtual backgrounds to take your dreaming a step further and visualise yourself in various locations across Japan.

These images are optimised for use in online conferencing such as Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams.

UPDATE: Head over to our new page to discover more virtual backgrounds.

To save the high-resolution images:
1. Click the ‘Download’ link below your selected image. A high-resolution version will open in a new window.
2. Right-click on the high-resolution image and select ‘Save image as. ‘
3. Save the file to your computer in a place you can easily find it, such as your Desktop or Downloads folder.

For instructions on how to set your virtual call background in your selected conferencing software, please refer to their FAQ pages as each one differs slightly.

Take a virtual journey

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto

The bamboo grove is one of Arashiyama’s most famous sites, and the sound of the stalks swaying is recognised as one of the top 100 soundscapes of the country, but there is plenty to explore in this area.

Hirano Shrine, Kyoto

Hirano Shrine in Kyoto is a popular place to view cherry blossoms in spring and is known for having a longer blooming period (around mid-March to late April) than many other places due to its many different varieties of sakura, around 60 in total.

Kenrokuen Garden, Ishikawa

One of Japan’s three most famous gardens, Kenrokuen Garden boasts every feature of a traditional garden, from waterfalls to tea houses, and is well worth visiting in any season as it has been cultivated to be enjoyed year-round.

Kintaikyo Bridge, Yamaguchi

Considered one of the great three bridges in Japan and especially breathtaking during spring and autumn, the beauty of Kintaikyo Bridge has inspired many a photographer and even famous woodblock artists such as Hokusai.

Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter, Okayama

Once the political and commercial centre of the merchant district of Kurashiki, Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter now attracts visitors for its picturesque willow-lined canal and charming atmosphere, with many former storehouses converted into shops, museums, and cafes.

Matsumoto Castle, Nagano

Also known as ‘Crow Castle’ due to its dark facade, this National Treasure is set against the backdrop of the Japanese Alps, and is one of the oldest surviving castle towers in Japan.

Ritsurin Garden, Kagawa

Considered one of Japan’s best gardens, visitors can relax on a traditional wasen boat ride, unwind with some tea in the Kikugetsutei teahouse, or simply enjoy strolling around Ritsurin Garden’s impressive grounds.

Takaoka Old Castle Park, Toyama

The huge moats and rolling green grounds make Takaoka Old Castle Park a beautiful area to visit and relax, even if the castle itself is no longer there, having been destroyed a few years after its construction in 1609.

Tsubosaka Temple, Nara

Surrounded by seasonal flowers and foliage, Tsubosaka Temple in Nara is known as a temple of healing, especially for those with eye ailments, and is considered unique due to its mix of Japanese and Indian styles.

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How to blur your background in a Zoom call

How to blur your background in a Zoom call

This simple Zoom trick can protect your privacy or hide a messy room from coworkers during your next video conferencing call.

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Let’s say you have a Zoom meeting, but your normal work-from-home space is occupied, or worse, a mess. You have no time to clean it up, or find a neutral, privacy-maintaining space to set up, and panic sets in. Don’t worry–you have options built right into Zoom to hide the space behind you: background blurring.

This easily toggleable option can keep your space private, or render messy rooms indeterminably fuzzy, and it’s available in Zoom right now.

How to blur your Zoom background before a meeting

If you don’t want to use a virtual background during a Zoom call, there’s no reason you have to show off your personal space. With Zoom open, click on the gear in the upper-right of the window, which will open the Settings window.

With Settings open, click on Backgrounds And Filters. On the screen that appears simply click Blur and watch the world behind you dissolve into an amorphous haze (Figure A).

Figure A

The Backgrounds And Filters menu in Zoom.

How to blur your Zoom background while in a meeting

If you decide you want to blur the background mid-call you’re in luck, as that’s a simple task as well.

From the main meeting screen, look to the bar on the bottom (you may need to move your mouse to make it appear), where you should see a button labeled Stop Video with a small up arrow in the corner. Click the arrow, and then click on Video Settings (Figure B).

Figure B

Where to find the menu options to blur your background during a Zoom call.

The screen that appears is the same Settings menu from Figure A, so click on Backgrounds And Filters and select Blur just as shown in Figure B. Close the menu and you should see yourself with a blurred background in your current meeting.

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‘Jogging the laptop and revealing a shameful glimpse of pillow will immediately give yourself away as someone who is comfortable letting Colin from accounts see where you sleep.’ Photograph: Wavebreak Media ltd/Alamy Stock Photo/Alamy Stock Photo

‘Jogging the laptop and revealing a shameful glimpse of pillow will immediately give yourself away as someone who is comfortable letting Colin from accounts see where you sleep.’ Photograph: Wavebreak Media ltd/Alamy Stock Photo/Alamy Stock Photo

I t’s your third day working from home under quarantine, and it’s going really well. Admittedly you haven’t made it out for that brisk constitutional walk yet, but you’ll get round to it at some stage. The advice you read about getting up at your normal time sounded sensible, but you’ve been tired lately so getting up at 11.30 is probably fine, right? And it’s actually good for your productivity, personally, to watch a couple of hours of rolling coronavirus news as a lunchtime break. Anyway, the point is that you’re nailing this, and feeling confident that your first office e-meeting this afternoon is going to be a similar success story. You’re actually looking forward to it, gleeful at the prospect of no commute and being able to play games on your phone just off camera. What could go wrong?

Plenty. As soon as the little green light goes on, you will have effectively invited your nosy colleagues to view a snapshot of your home, to have a snoop through the looking glass and draw whatever conclusions they like about your private life. It is time to learn an art that all layabout freelancers know in their bones: Skype set-dressing.

There’s a delicate balance to be struck here. You want your background to be neutral enough that it doesn’t reveal to your co-workers the squalid reality of your living circumstances, but not so neutral as to seem like you’re hiding something. Maybe your workplace will be using Zoom instead of Skype, and you’ve noticed there’s a handy feature that will replace your real background with a green screen, like you’re shooting stunts for a very boring, office-based action film, and so you think that none of this will be a problem. This is a trap. I know someone who regularly uses Zoom for meetings with her colleagues, and the one guy who uses the green screen is a pariah: troubling, suspect. Don’t let this be you.

The other people on the video call will spend at least half the time looking at the little feed of their own face wondering why they look like a toe in a wig, but the rest of the time will be spent looking at you, and the background you have provided for yourself. There are the obvious things: don’t let there be an overflowing bin, or pile of dirty clothing, or unmade bed peering out from behind you. Maybe have a pot plant visible, or a stack of erudite-but-not-obviously-staged books: whatever, as long as it says you do something with your leisure time other than eating cake slices from the Tesco discount shelf while watching Crufts on TV. But there are sneakier pitfalls to avoid, too. Don’t think you can sit in bed without people noticing. Even if your headboard is one of those soft ones that could conceivably be a sofa, jogging the laptop and revealing a shameful glimpse of pillow will immediately give you away as someone who is comfortable letting Colin from accounts see where you sleep.

Things might be yet more complicated. Let’s say you live with your parents, and perhaps that isn’t something you’ve shared with the people you work with yet, because it doesn’t scream “professional adult colleague”. Warn your parents you’re going to be on a video call: under no circumstances must they suddenly appear behind you. You won’t be catapulted to national treasure status like Professor Robert Kelly and his adorable children. No memes will be made if your dad bursts into the frame demanding to know where the big suitcase is and whether you can log him back into iCloud again. Nobody will laugh.

Now that you’ve laid the scene for your background, what about your own appearance? Even if you’re expecting to be taking part in a telephone conference call, assume nothing. Margaret said it would be a voice-only meeting, did she? Did she? Even if you’re sure, is she going to remember not to video-call you? Whatever you would be wearing for a meeting in person, put that on. A friend of mine recently sat down at his computer for what he thought was a very important voice call with a client, only to be beamed into a full boardroom while wearing a hair wrap and bathrobe.

I’ve heard of some cowboys out there in the lawless badlands of working from home who like to spice things up by only dressing for business on the top half of their bodies to participate in a video meeting. This is insanely risky and offers little discernible gain. It will be fun for about 30 seconds to know that while your colleagues think you’re wearing a full formal outfit, you actually aren’t, you bloody card, you! And then if you suddenly have to get up, the possibility of exposing your B-team pants to your assembled colleagues is simply too high and – if you got it really wrong – potentially litigious.

In the face of a possible global pandemic, these might seem like trivial considerations. But fail to prepare for your home’s on-screen debut, and prepare to be the butt of cursed office “banter” long after the virus has passed.

Imogen West-Knights is a writer and journalist based in London

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Never before have employees worked remotely on such a massive scale. When millions of companies went fully remote in a short period of time to slow the spread of the coronavirus, video conferencing became the logical solution for connecting the remote workforce and keeping teams productive from home. In a matter of weeks, video conferencing usage exploded, permeating nearly all aspects of professional and personal life. In addition to business-related meetings, remote teams around the globe are using video conferencing to host virtual happy hours, ice breaker activities, online games, wine tastings, birthday parties and other social activities.

These informal gatherings have also led to an increase in interactive background images as colleagues have sought out ways to make virtual meetings and events more fun and engaging. Want to talk to your coworkers from a beach, the Himalayas or on the surface of the moon from your living room? There’s an app for that. Looking for a way to transform your face into a talking potato or favorite meme for your next virtual happy hour? Choose from dozens of camera filters or create your own virtual background images. With Lifesize, virtual backgrounds and effects are easy to implement and a fun way to add a little levity to your next conference call.

For more traditional meetings, virtual backgrounds and camera apps are also useful tools to present a more professional look or added privacy. This is especially useful if you’re joining a conference call from a public space or working from home and want call participants to focus on you, not your background. Additionally, virtual backgrounds, images and animated effects are a great way to make virtual icebreakers, your video presentation, or a webinar more engaging and visually appealing. In this blog, we look at five great resources for adding interactive virtual backgrounds and effects to your next Lifesize video conference call.

5 Best Resources for Virtual Backgrounds

All of these third-party virtual background and special effects tools work with the Lifesize desktop application. Read through the descriptions, decide which one you would like to try out to enhance your video conferencing experience and then follow the step-by-step instructions to get started (and use CX analytics to take you to the next level).

1. ManyCam

ManyCam is an app for Windows and Mac that allows users to add multiple video sources — including webcams, prerecorded videos, images, smartphones and tablets — to live streams and video calls. ManyCam also offers a slew of features designed to help you produce professional-quality live stream videos, similar to a newscast. This is especially beneficial for organizations creating interactive, professional-looking webinars without the luxury of a recording studio. Like other virtual camera apps, ManyCam also provides plenty of features to give your video stream a more light-hearted flair, such as 3-D masks that wrap around your face, virtual objects, digital props, backdrops, effects and fun filters.

2. Snap Camera

Snap Camera is a free desktop application for Windows and Mac made by the creators of Snapchat. For Snapchat users, the app offers a familiar and impressive library of prebuilt lenses, filters and backgrounds that are sure to add extra enjoyment to your conference calls. You can choose from thousands of different virtual backgrounds and lenses, including classics made by Snapchat, and fresh designs created by Snap Camera users using the app’s free Lens Studio. When turned on during a conference call, Snap Camera replaces the input of your webcam with your selected lens or virtual background and streams the augmented video to call participants in real time.

3. ChromaCam

ChromaCam is a simple but powerful virtual background desktop application for Windows and Macs. With ChromaCam’s easy-to-use interface, you can quickly remove your background, blur it, add streaming effects or drop in PowerPoint presentation slides as your background. There is a free-to-use “lite” edition that lets you replace your background with a standard image or virtual green screen. With a ChromaCam Pro account you can customize your background and logos, unlock additional images and use PowerPoint content as a dynamic background.

4. CamTwist

CamTwist is an application that lets you add special effects and filters to live video feeds. Currently available to Mac users only, CamTwist acts as a broadcast-quality video switcher, enabling you to create distinct setups or scenes that can be easily changed during a live call. While the software package includes a large selection of premade effects, it is also easy to create your own custom elements. If you’re a bit more tech savvy and ready to take your video conferencing experience to the next level then CamTwist is the perfect tool for you.

5. XSplit VCam

XSplit VCam is a webcam background removal software for Windows only. XSplit VCam supports JPEGs, GIFs, PNGs and even full web pages, giving you unlimited personalization options for background replacement. You can also apply a customizable blur effect to your actual background for ultimate privacy. XSplit VCam is a great option for Windows users looking for a simple video conferencing background replacement tool without all the filters, digital lenses and animated effects.

How to Add a Virtual Background in Lifesize

Adding third-party virtual backgrounds and animated effects to your Lifesize desktop app is simple and only takes a few minutes to set up. Here are step-by-step instructions for adding virtual backgrounds to your next Lifesize call. You will need to complete these four steps before the start of your call.

Step 1: Download virtual background app

First, download and install the third-party virtual background application. After installation is complete, keep the software open.

Step 2: Open Lifesize settings

In the Lifesize desktop app, click on settings in the top right corner.

Step 3: Change camera input

In the Audio/Video settings click on the camera drop-down menu. Select the third-party virtual background app you just installed.

Step 4: Control background with third-party app

Control and customize your augmented video with the third-party virtual background app. After you have selected the perfect background or filter, make or join a Lifesize call and have fun! During the call, you can continue to change your virtual background and filters or turn off the augmented video by going to Lifesize settings and changing the camera source.

Conclusion

It can get repetitive to showcase the same backdrop in every conference call. Adding a fun virtual background or digital filter can really spice things up. These apps give you the freedom to customize your look since there are thousands of different backgrounds, filters, animations and lenses you can add to your video call. Get creative and share a laugh on your next team virtual happy hour by joining the meeting as someone [or something] else from your favorite spot in the world.

Microsoft Teams has introduced a feature to change the background in a scheduled video call. This feature is useful for remote employees who are working in cluttered environments to present a cleaner, more professional background. The background can be changed in devices in which users can see the Show background effects option. Let us show you how to change the background in Microsoft Teams.

Changing Background in Microsoft Teams

There are two things you can do to hide your background during scheduled meetings. You could either blur the background in such a way that you are in focus and everything behind you is concealed, or you could change the background with custom images. This can be changed either before the meeting starts or during the meeting.

How to Change Microsoft Teams Background Before a Meeting?

You can change the background while setting up your audio and video before joining a scheduled meeting.

Select the three dots (…) next to the hand symbol on the bottom of the screen.

You will see Show background effects when you expand the menu. Choose the blur option if you want to make your background obscure while the focus of the camera remains on you. Alternatively, you can choose from one of the images available by default. Or use the Add New option to set a custom background with a .JPG, .PNG, or .BMP image stored locally on your computer.

How to Change Microsoft Teams Background During a Meeting?

If you have already joined a meeting, you can still make changes to your background. Navigate to the meetings control on your computer during the call. You can do this by hovering your mouse to the bottom center during the call until you see a black strip with 3 dots () for More actions. Click on Show background effects. Select the Blur option to obscure the background. Try out some of the default templates. You can even use the Add new option to select a .JPG, .PNG, or .BMP image during the meeting. Note that this feature is not available for all devices. You will not be able to use this feature unless you see the Show background effects as an option. Additionally, sensitive information could be visible even after changing/ blurring the background.

Apps4Rent Can Help with Microsoft Teams Services

The ability to change or blur the background is a useful, yet relatively simple feature on Teams that is open to all Teams users. Beyond that, Teams offers a lot more features that are indispensable to remote teams such as meeting recordings, online features, and audio conferencing. As a Tier 1 Microsoft CSP, Apps4Rent provides premium Office 365 solutions with many more integrated features with Microsoft Teams along with other cloud services. Contact our sales team available 24/7 via phone, chat, and email for promotional prices on Microsoft solutions and services.

Using Meeting and calling

You can configure the camera, microphone, and speakers settings in StarLeaf for desktop. These settings can still be accessed if you are in a call.

Configure audio and video settings

  1. Go to the Account tab in StarLeaf.
  2. Open Audio & video settings .

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Select the audio and video devices you want to use from the options available to you. Select Same as system to set your devices to be the same as your system settings.

StarLeaf automatically adjusts your microphone levels, however you can override this by using the slider underneath Microphone . Increasing the level on the slider increases your transmitted volume.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Click Play test sound to check that you have selected the right speakers or headset.

If you are experiencing any issues with your selected camera or microphone, see Troubleshooting StarLeaf app for more information.

Blur or replace your background

For information on how to blur or replace your video background while in a call or meeting, see Blur or replace background.

Virtual cameras

You can use virtual cameras from third-party programs such as OBS , for calls and meetings. Before using a virtual camera with StarLeaf, make sure you have activated it from the third-party program that you want to use.

To select a virtual camera:

  1. Go to Account > AV settings .
  2. From the Camera dropdown menu, select the virtual camera you want.

It’s sometimes helpful to change your displayed name for an online call, here’s how to do it in Zoom and the limitations of Skype, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.

The displayed name can be helpful in both casual and business calls.

For a business call, you might prefer to add your team or position to your label. For a more friendly meeting, drop last names.

  • Peter – HR leader
  • Paul – IT liaison
  • Mary – VP for Marketing
  • Crosby – Ad Agency rep

In a casual group call, change the name to an alias, team name (for quizzes) or just something fun or personal (Grandma)

Zoom makes name changes within a call or meeting easy. Change the displayed name within any call, though the setting isn’t where most people expect it.

In a call, go to the Participants list and choose yourself (‘Me’) then Rename.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

In the Zoom mobile apps it’s in the same place under ‘Participants’.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

(Most people look under Meeting settings to rename themselves which is understandable but wrong).

Teams

You can’t easily change your name just for Teams calls. That applies to both Guests and Users.

Only Administrators can change names and that change applies everywhere not just in calls.

Go to Admin Home | Users | choose a user then edit the name in the Identity section.

Skype

Skype accounts are linked to a Microsoft account and there’s no feature to change the label for a single call.

The workaround is to change the name on your Microsoft account – which is way too much trouble for a simple label on a video call.

Google Meet

It’s the same problem with Google Meet (formerly Hangouts). Changing the name label requires a change of name for the linked Google account.

A Modest Proposal …

Microsoft and Google may not have a name change option within a Teams, Skype or Meet call for security reasons. There’s a legitimate concern that someone might get into a meeting and pretend to be someone else.

There’s a simple answer to that. Retain the ‘fixed’ name display but allow users to add a label on a per call basis e.g.

  • Harry Secombe (Neddy from The Goon Show)
  • Kenneth Horne (Round the Horne)
  • Kenneth Williams (too many characters to list here).
  • Betty Marsden (Many times. Many, many times)

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How to change your face in Zoom with Snapchat’s desktop camera app

How to change your face in Zoom with Snapchat’s desktop camera app

Looking for a way to spice up Zoom meetings? Snap Camera can transform you into a potato, give you dog ears, and create more ways to make video conferencing fun.

Zoom may be facing scrutiny over its security shortcomings, but since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the resulting shift to at-home work, it’s practically become eponymous with having meetings of any kind.

Like any type of meeting, virtual ones can become a bit dull too, but Zoom has ways to spice up video calls: You may have already tried to use Zoom’s virtual backgrounds, or maybe even tried to create your own. Changing the room behind you is only so much fun, though: What about changing your face?

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Zoom doesn’t feature a way to change your look aside from its video touchup feature, which subtly smooths lines and erases blemishes. To change your appearance in a significant way you’ll have to turn to the company that made smartphone camera filters the rage they are today: Snap, Inc.

Snap’s desktop camera app, Snap Camera, can do all the same crazy filtering that mobile Snapchat users have been playing with for years; with a download and a few clicks, Zoom users can be chatting as cartoon characters, potatoes, and more.

NOTE: This feature is not working on macOS as of Zoom version 4.6.9. Zoom macOS version 4.6.10 has been released, but this feature was not fixed in the update.

How to add Snap Camera to Zoom

First, you need to download the Snap Camera app from its website (it’s available for Windows and macOS). Grant the app permissions it asks for (camera and microphone access), launch it, and you’ll be greeted with the main screen (Figure A).

Figure A

Snap Camera’s main screen

Play around and find a filter you like–there are a lot to choose from, and you’ll need to select one in the Snap Camera app, not in Zoom. I’m partial to the potato.

Once you’ve found a filter you like, open Zoom, but don’t close Snap Camera–both apps need to be running for Snap to work with Zoom.

Look for the gear icon in the upper-righthand corner of your Zoom app. Click it to open the Settings menu, and then click on Video on the left side of the Settings window.

The Video screen shows a preview of what your camera will display to other meeting attendees–look below the preview window for the Camera option. Click the arrows on the right, and you should see both your desktop’s webcam and Snap Camera. Select Snap Camera, and the preview video should change to match the Snap Camera app (Figure B).

Note: If you are using version 4.6.9 or newer of Zoom for macOS, which currently doesn’t work with Snap Camera, the drop-down menu will not have Snap Camera available.

Figure B

Image: CNET/Mark Serrels

From there, you can start your meeting as a potato, gender-swapped version of yourself, pirate, viking, shiny elf, or whatever other filtered version of reality you can find in the Snap Camera app.

Snap Camera also works with Skype, Microsoft Teams, and the Twitch gaming platform.

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Ever wish you could immerse yourself in a Pixar movie? Well, now you can! With video calls and meetings on the rise, Pixar Animation Studios wanted to share a little fun to brighten up your next chat. Now, you can choose a backdrop from your favorite Pixar movie and ensure your next video chat will take you to infinity and beyond!

Here are some instructions on how to save the backgrounds!

How to download backgrounds via mobile:

  1. Find an image you would like to download.
  2. Use your finger to hold down the image.
  3. Select add to Photos.

How to download background via desktop:

  1. Find an image you would like to download.
  2. Click the description below each image to automatically download.

Now, on to the backgrounds!

It’s the perfect time to bring the elements of Pixar homes into your own! From the iconic walls of Andy’s room in Toy Story, to the super mansion of Incredibles 2, there’s definitely a range here. You can cozy Up in the house Carl and Ellie built together, or channel your little chef in the kitchen from Ratatouille.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

For all the nature lovers out there, you can Brave the forest of DunBroch, “spot” a gorgeous landscape from The Good Dinosaur , just keep swimming in the reef from Finding Nemo , and share the setting from A Bug’s Life with your entire colony!

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

It’ll never just be another day at the office, especially when you introduce your coworkers to the scaring, caring halls of Monsters, Inc . or a racetrack from Cars 3 . Ka-chow!

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

No location is too far from reach. These backgrounds can take you Inside Out , to the far reaches of space aboard the Axiom from WALL•E , and even to the Land of the Dead from Coco !

Looking for a way to have a bit more fun and goof around on video chat? Snapchat Camera allows you to use Snapchat filters applied directly to other video chat apps used on a Mac or Windows PC, including Skype, Zoom, Hangouts, and more.

So, do you want to use the Snapchat filters you know and love while video calling your colleagues, friends, and family members?

Snap Camera is a software developed by none other than Snapchat themselves to allow people use the filters and lenses they’re accustomed to, while video calling from a computer. It’s free to download and use, so you don’t have to worry about spending any money. Therefore, whether it’s to look goofy or enhance your visual appearance during video calls, Snap Camera can be put to good use.

This tutorial will cover how you can use Snap Camera filters on Zoom, Skype, Hangouts, and other video calling services, all from a Mac or Windows PC. For the purposes of this article, we’ll cover Zoom, Skype, and Hangouts, in particular.

How to Use Snap Camera Filters on Zoom

To use Snap Camera, your computer needs to be running at least Windows 7 or macOS 10.12 and have a working webcam. Most of us are already aware of the popularity Zoom has gained recently. If you use Zoom meetings to stay connected with your friends, colleagues and classmates while you’re staying home, follow the steps below to use your favorite Snapchat filters.

    First of all, you need to download Snap Camera from the official website. Once you’ve installed it, make sure your webcam is connected and open Snap Camera on your computer. Select any one of the filters and lenses that you see in the software.

Next, head over to zoom.us and click on “Join a Meeting” or “Host a Meeting” to enter a video call. This will download a “Start Zoom” executable file on to your computer. It will automatically open up after installation.

Now, click on the “arrow” icon right next to Start Video/ Stop Video option to change the camera you use for the video chat session. Choose “Snap Camera” as your preferred webcam.

That’s it. You’ll notice that your Snapchat filter is instantly applied to the video feed. This filter can be removed by changing the camera back to the original source again.

How to Use Snap Camera Filters on Skype

If you use Skype instead of Zoom for all your video calling needs, we’ve got you covered too. After all, it’s still the most popular video calling service out there. Simply follow the steps below to get started.

    Open Snap Camera on your computer and make sure it’s running. Then, download Skype for Windows or Mac, if you don’t already have it installed on your computer.

Once you’re done, Open Skype. Click on the “triple-dot” icon right next to your profile name and choose “Settings”.

In the Settings menu, head over to the “Audio & Video” section and set the preferred camera as Snap Camera, as shown in the screenshot below.

There you go. Now you know how to use Snapchat filters during your Skype video calls.

How to Use Snap Camera Filters on Google Hangouts

Do you use Google Hangouts for video conferencing with your colleagues? Well, you can use Snap Camera filters with Hangouts in a fairly similar way too. Let’s take a look at the necessary steps.

    Head over to hangouts.google.com on your web browser and click on “Video Call”.

Now, head over to settings by clicking on the “gear” icon as shown below. In the settings menu, change your preferred camera by clicking right below the “Video” option. Click on “Done” to go back to your video call session.

That’s pretty much all there is to it. Have some fun!

As you can see, you basically launch Snap Camera first to apply the filters, then use the video conferencing software to broadcast your filter to the video chat participants. It works this way with just about any video chat app, so try them all out if you’d like.

Snap Camera can essentially be considered as a third-party software for your webcam. Therefore, regardless of what video calling service you use, you’ll probably be able to use Snap Camera with it by setting your preferred camera as Snap Camera instead of the default webcam on a Windows or Mac computer.

It’s important to note that Snap Camera needs to be running in the background to keep using these filters. If you close it or the software crashes for any reason, the video feed from your webcam will be cut off during the call, unless you change your camera or re-launch Snap Camera.

Also, if you want to switch between the various filters and lenses that are available in Snap Camera, you need to do it in Snap Camera app directly, and not within the video calling apps.

Unfortunately, Snap Camera is only available on Windows and Mac (for now anyway), so if you were hoping for an iOS, iPadOS, or Android application for using Snapchat filters during video calls on your smartphone or tablet, you’re out of luck. It’s not available on Linux either.

We hope you had plenty of fun messing around with Snapchat filters during video calls. What’s your favorite Snapchat lens or filter? Will you be using Snap Camera filters during Zoom, Skype, or Hangouts video calls? Do share your thoughts and experience in the comments section down below.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Microsoft Teams virtual backgrounds have taken the world by storm. What we once assumed was a business video conferencing tool is now used for pub quizzes, family catch-ups, and even school lessons.

Users love Teams for its HD video, buckets of Microsoft integrations, and helpful features (like screen sharing). But, most of all, people are loving Microsoft Teams virtual backgrounds.

Let me ask you this: how messy is your home office?

Is your home office actually your bedroom?

You can opt for a default Teams virtual background or upload your own. You can even create bespoke videos if you’re fancy.

In this post, we’ll walk through the following:

  1. Can you add backgrounds to Microsoft Teams?
  2. How can I change the background of my video call?
  3. How to change Microsoft Teams backgrounds
  4. How do you download Microsoft Teams backgrounds?
  5. Microsoft Teams background images
  6. Microsoft Teams video backgrounds

Yes! Microsoft added the virtual background feature in 2020.

You can either choose background blur, one of Microsoft’s suggested backgrounds, upload your own, or download these premium backgrounds for Microsoft Teams.

If you’re using Microsoft Teams, read on to the next section.

If you’re using Zoom, click here.

If you’re using Skype, click here.

You can customize your Teams meetings with virtual backgrounds.

To find virtual backgrounds, launch a video chat, and tap the … menu:

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

Click Show background effects.

This will bring up a sidebar with some alternative background options.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

You can upload your own photo by clicking the add new button above the stock photos.

How to Change Your Skype Video Call Background

For something more advanced, and to stand out in front of your boss, colleagues or clients, you can opt for a third-party background like these.

If you want to use a virtual background outside of the default Teams options, you have a few choices:

  1. Choose your own from your computer
  2. Download an image or video from the internet
  3. Download premium Microsoft Teams backgrounds

When using your own images for Teams virtual backgrounds, you’ll need to make sure you use a photo with high resolution. You also need to make sure you have the rights to use this image. Microsoft Teams auto-expands the image to fit the screen. This works more times than not. But, sometimes you can end up with a stretched image just as you start a video meeting.

Instead of faffing around with images, you could use custom-made Teams virtual background images like these, for the price of your weekly coffee.

You could pretend you’re at the beach…

Or relaxing by the pool…

For premium Microsoft Teams background images, you can download this package to access 300 beautiful Teams virtual backgrounds.

When using your own video for a Teams virtual background, you’ll need to make sure you use a photo with high resolution. You also need to make sure you have the rights to use this image. This works more times than not. But, sometimes you can end up with a stretched video just as you start a video meeting.

Instead of faffing around creating videos, you could use custom-made Microsoft Teams virtual background videos like these, for the price of your weekly coffee.

For premium Teams virtual backgrounds with video, you can download this package.

It’s not a competition. And some people just prefer their natural background to a virtual background.

But if you are competing, then these premium Teams virtual backgrounds are right up your street.

And if you use more than Microsoft Teams for video conferencing, you’re in luck too. These premium virtual backgrounds are available for Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and even Skype.