Zoom’s latest update comes with the long-awaited ability to use video as a virtual backgrounds, and we couldn’t be more excited to have another weapon in the battle against Zoom fatigue.
The dynamic nature of video has a knack for capturing attention and engaging audiences, even when it’s not front and center. So, how do you make your own video background for Zoom?
In this guide, we’ll cover:
You can add a virtual background to your Zoom calls with just a few clicks, whether you’re using a desktop or phone. Unfortunately, video backgrounds may not quite work on all mobile devices.
Another key difference with using a desktop app is that you are able to load your backgrounds in advance, no matter if you’re using the Zoom app or another client (like their white label RingCentral app). If you’re using a mobile device, though, you’ll have to add your virtual background while your meeting is in progress.
Another thing to note: virtual backgrounds don’t tend to carry over across all your devices, even if you’re logged in to the same Zoom account. You may need to load your background onto each device you use.
Here are step-by-step instructions for setting up a virtual background video for Zoom on a desktop:
- Make sure you have the latest version of Zoom installed.
- Have a copy of your background video saved on your device.
- Open Preferences > Virtual Background.
- Click the + icon under the bottom-right corner of your webcam preview.
- Click Add video and upload your video file.
- Click on the video background you want to use.
While having a green screen isn’t necessary, it certainly enhances the quality of the effect! Make sure you have mirroring on and decent lighting for optimal results.
If you’re using a smart phone, you’ll need to configure your virtual background while a meeting is in session:
- Download the latest version of the Zoom app.
- Have a copy of your background saved on your device.
- Start or join a meeting.
- Hit the … icon for More options in the lower right corner.
- Scroll down through the options to Background and Filters at the bottom.
- Tap the + icon to add a background.
- If prompted, give Zoom permission to access your photos.
- Select the background image or video, and then hit Done.
As a reminder; you may not be able to use an animated background just yet on your mobile devices, but you can use an image as a virtual background.
To make your own Zoom background video, you’ll want to use a platform like Vyond Studio that allows you to build your own animated backdrop. While you can certainly use live-action footage as a virtual background, animation tends to have a better contrast to your webcam footage. Vyond lets you build an animated background from scratch or customize a pre-loaded template.
Short videos tend to work best for fitting within the 2MB max size allowed by Zoom. The smaller the file size, the less likely the video background will interfere with your meeting quality.
To make your background move more smoothly, you may want to think about looping. A looping video is one that continuously plays, infinitely restarting from the beginning of the clip once the video is over. Zoom automatically loops your virtual background video, so it’s wise to match up the first and last frames of your video to create a seamless transition. Because the video loops endlessly, you can get away with a shorter video, which helps with the 2MB limit.
Finally, create your Zoom background thoughtfully to avoid distracting from your conversations. Subtle, slow movements work better than fast ones. Rapid flashing (more than two flashes per second) should be avoided, especially for the sake of accessibility. Consider using mid-tone colors instead of extremely light or dark ones to make your background look more natural.
One of Zoom’s pre-loaded virtual background images is a photograph of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, which inspired the trend of using cityscapes as a background. It not only is a fun way to show some local pride, but it quickly helps meeting participants see where you’re located in the world. By creating an animated cityscape in Vyond, you can add ambient movement and delightful elements, color it to suit your brand, and create alternate versions for different times of day.
Vyond customers can use this San Francisco Zoom background as a template to create their own virtual background video.
2. Add Fun to Zoom Meetings
Virtual backgrounds have an uncanny way of breaking the ice. Whether you’re bonding with your closest teammates or forging meaningful new connections, a little fun can go a long way. In this background video, “Tina the Tortoise” crawls across a stylish desert scene. Where will Tina go next?
Bring Tina with you to your next Zoom meeting by importing this video into any existing Vyond account.
Celebrate milestones, birthdays, and holidays from a distance with festive virtual backgrounds. The birthday background above is a great example using Vyond to customize your background with touches like the guest of honor’s name and favorite colors.
Take a step further by adding a custom character that looks like your friends and teammates, like in the video below!
As long as you have an existing Vyond account, you can borrow either of these birthday background templates using the buttons above.
With more events going virtual, companies need to get clever about how they can incorporate branding. Using a virtual background video is a great way to display your logo in a way that is seamlessly incorporated with the platform.
In the example above, we used a pre-made background in Vyond Studio to give the video subtle depth and dynamism. With ambient movement and occasional pops of motion—achieved with Vyond’s enhanced motion path features—the branding is memorable without being distracting.
You can customize this branded background video template with a Vyond account!
Even without a logo, you can use ambient movement to take your Zoom calls to the next level. Slow, looping animations—even with abstract shapes—can help captivate meeting participants and retain their interest. Ambient movement is, by design, engaging without being distracting.
Whether you use your favorite color or brand colors, non-literal backgrounds like these can have a meaningful impact on the quality of your meetings. A subtle touch of dynamism and vibrance can go a long way!
If you’re already making videos with Vyond, you can use these examples as templates by clicking the buttons below each video.
6. Minimize Distractions Using Depth of Field
Depth of field is a concept video makers use to direct the viewer’s eyes to elements in the foreground or background. It comes from the world of photography and videography, where the distance between camera lenses can be subtly adjusted to pull focus to objects a certain distance away.
When creating animated videos, we can borrow from this idea to help audiences focus on what matters using layering, opacity, coloring, and blur effects.
As we’ve already mentioned in this post; when using virtual backgrounds on Zoom, it’s really important to not distract from the conversation at hand. We got tips from Vyond video producer Prakriti Rai to create the above background video of the US Capitol Building to bring focus to the speaker in the foreground. In this example, we played with layers and opacity to create a fog-like effect, but you can also use blurred exit effects to stand out from your Zoom background.
To see how we did it or customize this Washington D.C. scene, import this video as a template into any existing Vyond account.
7. Create Your Own Zoom Video Filters
While it isn’t technically the same as a Zoom video filter, this is a great example of using virtual backgrounds to bring fantastic flair to your calls. Create a virtual background with wings, hats, halos, and hair using Vyond’s vast library of pre-built props.
A Vyond account is all you need to use this video as a customizable video template.
1. Vyond Studio
Vyond Studio is the best tool out there for creating Zoom background videos like the above examples. Because Vyond is an animation platform, you can create both real-world and imaginary settings with total creative control. Vyond makes it easy to collaborate and share branded videos across your team, and even build up a library of videos and characters.
Kapwing is one of the more decent free solutions available for creating your own Zoom background. While it doesn’t have quite as many advanced features as some of the others on this list, its ease-of-use and template selection work great if you don’t have anything specific in mind.
3. Vimeo Create
Vimeo Create is the hosting platform’s solution for quick, pro-quality social media videos. Because it’s designed for platforms like Instagram and Twitter, it comes with everything you need to create a background video quickly, particularly if you’re looking to create something that’s text-based.
Like Vyond, Canva: Online Design Made Easy is a fantastic drag-and-drop design studio specializing in static imagery and graphics. They’re a great fit for anybody looking to create virtual background images for Zoom. Canva users are able to similarly create custom videos, albeit with less creative control as in an animation studio like Vyond.
Storyblocks is a good way to create Zoom background videos if you want your background to include live-action footage. As with any high-definition video, you’ll need to keep an eye on your file size to ensure it works well on Zoom.
Make your own videos with Vyond.
From Zoom video backgrounds to animated GIFs, Vyond lets your creativity soar. Our best-in-class online animation studio puts you in the director’s chair, enabling anyone to make media that moves. With the power of rich, dynamic media, you can communicate in a more engaging way. Try Vyond free for 14 days and create your first animated video.