How to Blur Background in Different Video Conference Platforms

Author: Gina Cunsolo

Yamaha UC conferencing audio call
How to Blur Background in Different Video Conference Platforms

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Anyone who’s been on a work-related video call has likely been painfully aware of the impression the room behind us can make. Some of us, of course, have a freshly painted, neatly decorated wall in the background. Others, though, have a messy shelf or a host of personal items we don’t want to share with others on the call.

And while it might be nice to win the company’s “Best Background” contest, it’s probably not so nice when participants whisper to each other about the disaster that is your home office, or (gasp!) gossip about the inappropriate item they spied on the bookshelf behind you. 

Luckily, for those who would prefer not to put their background up for public view and instead be the focus of the call, there are alternatives. Most of the popular video conferencing platforms include features that allow users to blur their background while in a video conference. There’s even a term in photography, “bokeh,” that refers to the quality of the out-of-focus regions of an image. The word originates from the Japanese word “boke,” meaning “blur.” If you come across a website offering stock Zoom bokeh backgrounds, the site likely offers artistic blurry backgrounds you can incorporate.

Here’s how to blur the background in some of the popular video conference platforms

Zoom

Zoom was one of the big winners in the COVID-19 pandemic, growing from 10 million daily meeting participants in December 2019 to more than 350 million at the beginning of 2022. When it comes to figuring out how to blur the background in Zoom, there are several ways to accomplish it, like googling "how to blur bg in zoom", but overall, the task is relatively easy. Simply log on to a meeting, and before you clock Start Video, right-click anywhere in the meeting space. One of the options will be Blur My Background. Click on that, and then click Start Video. Voilà! Your background is now blurred - you can even teach the subject, " how to blur bg in zoom".

If there’s no blurred background option in Zoom, make sure you have the latest version installed on your computer or mobile device.

If you’re using the Zoom mobile app, tap More in the controls while in a Zoom meeting. Tap “Virtual Background” if you’re using an Android device or “Background and Filters” if you’re using an iPhone. Tap the Blur option, and your background will become blurred. Zoom also features a “green screen” feature that allows users to upload any image they desire and uses that as their background.

Microsoft Teams

If your company uses the Microsoft Office 365 suite of products, there’s a good chance Microsoft Teams is your designated conferencing platform. Microsoft Teams reached 270 million users in 2022, up from the 145 million it reported in 2021. More than a million organizations use Teams as their default communications platform, Microsoft says.

Figuring out how to blur the background in Microsoft Teams is easy. Once you’re logged on, click on the More Actions tab in the upper right of the screen, identified by three dots (…). A dropdown menu will appear, with one of the choices being “Apply background effects.” Click on that, and one of the options you’ll be presented with is Blur. Choose that and click on the Apply button at the bottom of the menu. You’ll also have the option of choosing one of the included images as a background, or you can upload one of your own by clicking Add New. You can also preview your choice of background before others see it.conference call yamaha UC

Webex

Figuring out how to blur the background in Webex is relatively simple. If you want to blur your background before joining a meeting, go to your profile picture, select Settings, then Video, then Change Virtual Background. To blur your background, click Blur, then click Save. You can also set a virtual background by clicking the one you want. To use your own image, animated GIF, or video file for the virtual background, click the + icon and select the background you want to use.

To blur the background during a meeting, click your self-view video, and then choose Blur or Change Virtual Background. Virtual background files can be .jpg, .jpe, .jpeg, .png, .gif, .mov, and .mp4. Webex recommends the files be 480 × 360 pixels in size or larger. Files can't be larger than 1920 × 1080.

Google Meet

Google Meet (formerly known as Hangouts Meet) is a video conferencing service developed by Google, one of two apps along with Google Chat that replaced Google Hangouts. Here’s how to blur the background in Google Meet:

If you are not logged into a Google account when you join a meeting, or you need to knock to get admitted, you can only change their background or use visual effects once in the meeting. If this doesn’t apply and you want to blur your background before a meeting, you’ll need to have hardware acceleration enabled in your browser settings. To blur your background, go to Google Meet and then select a meeting. At the bottom of your self-view, click More Options then Apply Visual Effects. To completely blur your background, click Blur your Background. To slightly blur your background, click Slightly Blur your Background. To select a preloaded background, click that background. To upload your own image, click Upload a Background Image, then Add photo.

Take your video conference quality further

Blurring the background or choosing one of your own can be a great way to enhance a presentation and keep the focus on you as the speaker, but it’s only one part of what makes a great video conferencing solution. There are a host of other factors to be considered.

A headset microphone, for example, can give the appearance that participants are working Mission Control at NASA. For a more natural appearance, Yamaha Unified Communications offers a variety of conference phones and microphone systems that may be a better choice. If there are several participants, using a wide-angle webcam can help capture the entire team. For huddle rooms or small conference rooms, a Webcam for TV combined with Yamaha UC’s ESB-1090 Enterprise Sound Bar can help create a personalized experience. And when it comes to large conference rooms, Yamaha UC’s ADECIA family of products includes microphones and speaker systems that ensure everyone’s message comes across clearly.

If you’re seeking advice about the products that can help create an outstanding video conferencing solution, reach out to the experts at Yamaha UC.