If you’re a remote worker, you may have plenty of experience with video conferencing as a way to communicate with clients, team members, or other colleagues. But with millions of additional people working remotely right now, the use of video conferencing technology is at an all-time high.
And aside from work and business-related communication, many people are using the same technology to stay connected to friends and family.
Zoom has emerged as the most popular tool for video conferencing and it has a fun feature for virtual backgrounds that you may want to try (this is also possible with Google Meet and some others). Instead of showing your cluttered apartment or home office in the background, you can use a virtual background. Make it look like you’re at a tropical beach, at a famous landmark, or even on the set of your favorite TV show or movie.
Zoom’s virtual background feature is supported on Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS devices, but it is not supported on Android at this time (see this page for the technical requirements).
You can use one of the backgrounds provided by Zoom, use your own photo or video as a background, or make use of a growing collection of free backgrounds that are available.
If you’ve never used a virtual background before, you can find some helpful tips and resources at the end of this page. But for now, let’s take a look at some of your options.
Free Zoom Backgrounds from Movies and TV Shows
This showcase has to start with backgrounds from Seinfeld. Jerry’s apartment is my Zoom background of choice.
Take your conference calls from the Dunder Mifflin office.
One of the most popular shows of 2020 could provide a fun background.
Top Gun: Maverick
If the office or apartment setting is a little too boring, this option from Top Gun: Maverick could be a great choice.
For Star Trek lovers, what would make a better background than the Starship Enterprise? Any video conferences would be a lot more fun from outer space.
This background from CBS will make you feel like part of the BAU.
Parks and Recreation
Transform your home office into the offices from Parks and Recreation, including Leslie Knope’s desk.
How about a background from your favorite cartoon?
Free SciFi Backgrounds
Make it look like you’re taking your conference call from a spaceship instead of your home office with the help of these backgrounds from Vecteezy. They’ve been created as 3D renderings by Thanate Dokmai.
DC Comics Zoom Backgrounds
DC Comics has made a big collection of images from their popular comics available to be used as backgrounds. Some of them are showcased below, but you can find even more at DCComics.com.
The Daily Planet
The Fortress of Solitude
Hall of Justice
Funny Zoom Backgrounds
This one will be good for some laughs.
Instead of making your background more luxurious, how about a jail cell?
Surprise your colleagues by taking the call from the oval office.
Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders
Will your friends be surprised to see you in the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders locker room?
This is Fine
Turn this popular meme into your own background.
Place yourself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.
The bars might be closed, but this background from Budweiser can help.
Scenic Zoom Backgrounds
Tips for Using Zoom Backgrounds
To get the best results with your virtual background, please follow these tips:
- Make sure that your work area is bright and evenly lit. The backgrounds do not work very well if you’re in a dark area with lots of shadows.
- If possible, use a green screen or backdrop with a solid color. This is not 100% necessary, but a busy background is more likely to create issues with the virtual backgrounds. Green screens typically produce the best results.
- If you’re using a solid backdrop, your clothes should not be the same color as the backdrop.
- External HD cameras will typically produce better results than a built-in webcam.
How to Use Virtual Backgrounds with Zoom
Zoom has provided instructions that clarify the technical requirements, as well as the settings that you will use to get your virtual background set up. Please see this page. The video below also has some instructions and tips.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Zoom Backgrounds?
Zoom, Google Meet, and some other similar web conferencing tools allow you to use a custom background. You can use these backgrounds to hide the backdrop of wherever you are.
Do I Need a Green Screen to Use a Custom Background?
A green screen is helpful but not required. Using a solid background will give you better results and cleaner edges.
Is There Any Cost to Use a Custom Background?
No, there is no cost. It is a standard feature of Zoom and Google Meet.
Where Can I Download Images to Use as a Background?
You'll find a huge collection of awesome backgrounds on this page. If you see one you like, click on it to be led to the source where you can download the image.