Video Chat Creates Background Bonanza

With everyone staying at home to avoid Covid-19, video conferencing and chat has exploded over the past two weeks as families and friends look for new ways to stay in touch. Not everyone lives in a house out of Homes and Gardens or Wallpaper, so many of the chat apps have the ability to put a virtual background in the picture to disguise the clutter and detritus of daily life.

To further alleviate the boredom, this has led to an explosion of fun backgrounds from big name companies. Pixar has released a bunch of them on Twitter, including scenes from ToyStory, Up, Finding Nemo and one of my personal favourites, Cars. Here’s a selection – head on over to Pixar’s Twitter feed for more and to download the fullsize images.

The backgrounds tend to work best with a green screen, which I admit, defeats the purpose of simply being able to cover up a messy view, but Zoom on the iPad does a surprisingly good job on the iPad without any kind of special setup.

It doesn’t take much detective work to find plenty of others, from the bridge of the Enterprise to the Simpson’s sofa, there’s something for everyone.

The virtual background feature is enabled via Zoom’s web portal, though the image is actually set from within the Zoom app itself. and there are full instructions here.

The feature is currently on available on PCs, Mac, Linux and iOS. Sorry Android folks.