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Comparison: How to hide clutter in a home office?  Filters will help before embarrassment

Comparison: How to hide clutter in a home office? Filters will help before embarrassment

“Yes, I’m hanging a bra here, I’m sorry!” I found her colleague looking at her picture during the video conference. Probably everyone who has had to spend the last year in online meetings encountered similar problems. Usually it’s more fun to go ahead. But not everyone wants to give colleagues insight into privacy.

“I know it seems useless, but I can tell myself that in almost every conference there is someone behind it a mess. Or people apologize for not being able to join because they have to clean their apartment,” as one of his experiences in March 2020 described Programming forum. “It’s a legitimate feature to me, because it sounds funny, but it prevents a lot of embarrassment.”

Photo: Pavel Kasik, news listing

Choose the default background in MS Teams.

These are the “background replacement” or “background blur” functions. A year ago, these two features were only introduced by Microsoft Teams and the open source Jitsi tool. It’s gradually included in all popular video conferencing tools. The newest of them Added Zoom, which has been providing blur since March 2021. We compared how the gadget works in individual programs.


Do you use blur or change the background in video conferencing?

Yes, I always change the wallpaper

Yes, I always blur the background

Tried but not used

I have no experience with that, I’ll try

I am not interested in trying it

A total of 481 readers voted.

Google is dead

Google Meet is a platform for video calling on the web. It offers several pre-set wallpapers, most of them are quite noticeable, but you can also find a less annoying option. From our perspective, the best thing is background blurring, which is less annoying and at the same time it does its job. As one of the few, Google offers two different degrees of camouflage.

Photo: Pavel Kasik, news listing

Google Meet lets you choose from several pre-defined background filters, including two levels of opacity.

Filtering takes place directly in the user’s browser using the open source MediaPipe framework from Google’s workshop and uses items trained by machine learning. But most of the users Technical Specifications Unresolved, they are more concerned with how the job handles common situations.

When it comes to privacy, that’s a good thing. Only you, your face and your torso will really see. Google Meet has trouble blurring the rough background blending in color with the face or hair. Therefore, you will achieve the best results if you need a solid wall behind you. Other classic problems include blurring of single hair. But definitely don’t count on anyone really being fooled by the filter. After all, this is usually not the case, the goal is to hide clutter in the background, or entertain a virtual room.

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How to enable blurring and replace background in Google Meet

During a conference, the background filter change is hidden under the three-dot menu at the bottom right.

Jitsi is dead

Open source video conferencing platform Jitsi It is not a well-known tool, although it has been in existence since 2003. However, you may have used its technology under a different name, as it can be implemented in different projects thanks to a very free license. a tool Jitsi is dead For those who don’t want to use the big players’ tools or need to organize a video conference entirely according to their ideas. It offers end-to-end encryption, and up to 100 videoconferencing participants, and more, can share their screen simultaneously. In addition, no one needs to register anywhere to attend the meeting.

Photo: Pavel Kasik, news listing

JitsiMet works without registration and installation, you just need to open the submitted URL.

Jitsi’s background function – or the blurred background – worked a little worse than the one we tested, but it’s still usable. If more people participate in a video conference and you only see everyone in a small rectangle, the errors are not so obvious. If you are looking at a specific person, the incomplete background filter is a bit annoying. Especially when it comes to hand gestures.

How to activate opacity and replace background in Jitsi Mitt

The Background Filter option is hidden in the three-dot menu at the bottom right, and the option is called Select Background.

Darkening is a little better, but expect it to be more of an emergency function. Good lighting will help a little. But if you can invest in special video conferencing lighting, you can probably invest a few minutes in cleaning.

User experience

We asked On Twitter Users experience with background blur filter:

I sometimes use blackout, like when calling from the bedroom.

– I use it, because in the home office I have to close in the room where things are stored due to noise …

– I turn on the webcam at least, so in one percent of cases. But when I turn it on, I blur the background.

– I tried, it was cute, I don’t need it.

– There are so many tools, I’m really tired of solving what they can do and how. In the background I am very proud of the background, I am the cleanest at home.

– It just doesn’t look good, I’m annoyed with bad front trimming and splinters, I’d rather plug in a classic camera.

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– Replacing the background gets distracting unnecessarily. Background blur is decent when I don’t have a white back wall, but a chalkboard or home environment.

– Very annoying in internet hours. Recently, the teacher accidentally turned it on (she was left after the previous lesson) and when she showed the kids things to name it in English, it didn’t really work out.

– I use blur. During the meeting, I am not alone nor do I want to share with others, and I consider my apartment my privacy, as no one has anything.

Microsoft Teams

The relatively new Microsoft Teams tool has been in operation since 2017, but it did not become a widely used tool until 2020, due of course to the global pandemic that has forced many companies to search for alternative ways to meet. Video conferencing is just one of the things that Teams offers, which on the one hand adds competitiveness compared to Slack platforms, on the other hand, makes Teams less visible to users. It is definitely not a tool that you will understand once you sit down with it.

Photo: Pavel Kasik, news listing

Microsoft Teams lets users define filters before starting the transfer.

Teams, as tools are generally called, have a well-tuned video conference from the start. While you might not be entirely sure of what your photo and voice will look like when you call, here you’ll try both before entering. But for some, it might be counterintuitive, because you need to explicitly choose the audio and video you want. But this will avoid the usual confusion during a video call.

How to enable blur and replace background in Microsoft Teams

Before entering the video conference room, you can choose from background filters by clicking the button below the video preview. During a video conference, the option is hidden in the three-dot menu.

Microsoft has also made sure to include some less brilliant variants among the default backgrounds on offer. So here we find an empty room, an empty office or a white wall, that is, options that are neutral and do not attract attention. Additionally, you can choose to blur the background here. This option works well in good lighting conditions.

Zoom in

Alphabetically, the last zoom is definitely not the last in Usage Charts. On the contrary, in 2020 he rose to the position of market leader, although he did not offer such different jobs. For example, background blur has been added newly. However, he managed to replace the background with the selected photo or video for a long time.

Photo: Pavel Kasik, news listing

Choose background and blur background in video conferencing zoom.

Background blur works well in Zoom. The blur is very intense and definitely enough to mask the clutter. But if the filter fails and blurs for a while nothing happens, then that is much more evident. Zooming in / out doesn’t affect your head when blurring the background, but it does sometimes add a bit of background to it. The more consistent the background behind you, the better. The problem is the interaction of the hair color with the background object.

The worse the lighting, the lower the success rate, then Zoom reduces resolution and increases blurring so that the result does not hit the eyes too often. If you sit still, Zoom wallpaper is filtered almost flawlessly, even around tousled hair. But once you start sewing a lot, the classic artifacts will appear.

Zoom also provides users with a trial version of other plugins used to customize the look. You can pin different types of eyebrows to your face, try some beards, or apply a virtual lipstick. The effects are surprisingly believable when set up well. But beware of sharp movements.

Photo: Pavel Kasik, news listing

The possibility of virtual make-up.

In another part of the settings (video settings), you can then apply the so-called “touch-up” filter, which should smooth out wrinkles and hide skin imperfections, practically blurring the face, and with an intensity that can adapt. Zoom appears to be responding to the request, as some people have a certain mindset of constantly looking at their faces during video calls.

Being the only one to be tested, Zoom has the opportunity to directly use a professional or improvised green screen. At this point, he will stop trying to guess what your face is and what isn’t your face, and instead look at anything with a specific color as a background for filtering. So, if you want a really good result and a reliable “almost” result for an alternate wallpaper, try this feature.

How to enable blur and replace background in Zoom

During a video conference, filters can be activated via settings. You can use the up arrow next to the camera on / off icon.

The trend of video conferencing came as a shock to many at the start of the pandemic. Even after a year, it’s something a little out of the ordinary. But videoconferencing will practically be with us even after the coronavirus pandemic subsides. So it pays to get used to the new tools. They blur the line between a private apartment and an office. In many cases, a filter trained in background blurring can be the only curtain between your home and the outside world.