We’ve embarked on a new era. This age is one where the traditional in-person meetings no longer exist. Physical distancing and our current climate have pushed us to adopt creative solutions that foster welcoming and inclusive interactions. Now, more than ever, the power and utility of video conferencing systems are completely essential!
Unlocking the Power of Video Conferences
Connecting remotely. Visual interest. Viewer attention. These are all things that you have to consider as you’re creating opportunities to engage socially in our current modern age. Engagement aside, there are some drawbacks to hanging out on video conferencing meetings all day, followed by an evening of mindless scrolling on Instagram and TikTok. The mental fatigue is real!
Video conferences have a creative silver lining though – many services allow you to upload custom backgrounds. While it might not completely offset your mental fatigue, it does let you take calls with a scenic ocean view, a serene forest, or even just a cute pup (one of our personal favorites) behind you. To help celebrate your new found creative background freedom, we’ve put together a collection of backgrounds for you to use in your calls. Everything in this collection is included with our video subscription plans. Click here to sign up and download your favorite for your next call.
The Advantages of Video Conferencing Backgrounds
Given that our team has gone fully remote, we’ve switched to video conferencing. As a result, we’ve been making good use of our own library of options. We checked in on our team, to see how they were adjusting to remote life, and to find out their favorite backgrounds to use on calls. Before digging in though, we had to ask them – why is it that people love using animated and visually driven backgrounds? Here are some of the key insights and themes we uncovered:
1. Backgrounds Minimize Distractions During Meetings
We’ve all been there. Messy rooms. Food wrappers. Screaming children. Not having the uniform structure of meeting with colleagues or business partners in a defined business-minded space can be distracting. Videos with a still camera that doesn’t pan aggressively or give off an overpowering light can provide color and energy to a typical meeting scene. Our resident SEO expert, Elaine Kuckertz, loved how backgrounds clean up clutter.
“Video conferencing backgrounds make things a little more professional. When you see someone’s personal home setting, you’re stuck sometimes with clutter in the background. A video background cleans things up!”
2. Backgrounds Create a Visually Appealing and Comforting Scene
As I’m sure you’re living and experiencing, we live in a bit of a chaotic world at the moment. To bring us a little ease and levity during this period, we can harness the power of video conferencing to bring some positive energy to our everyday lives and spaces. Whether it’s our last vacation spot, a destination from our childhood memories, or simply a place that brings us inner peace, there’s inherent value in setting the mood through this visual medium. Why not take a call while laying on the beach, relaxing at a park with a lake, or enjoying the calming sounds of a rainy backyard. You can check out all of these beautiful options (…and more!) in our Storyblocks collection of virtual meeting backgrounds!
3. Backgrounds Add Some Personality to Team Bonding Events
Here at Storyblocks, we work in a unified and collaborative community. Personality is celebrated, and what better way to show your true colors than picking a new background from our library? If we have to be dependent on these resources to collaborate, we might as well have a little fun along the way, right? Video conferencing backgrounds can be used to tap into cultural references, infuse humor into a happy hour, or spice up a lunch hangout with your coworkers. The possibilities are limitless!
Bonus Round! Create Your Own Dynamic Background
Our Associate Growth Product Manager and custom video enthusiast, Dillon Vita-Finzi took virtual backgrounds a step further, and used custom templates and visuals within our Storyblocks library to create his own custom background. Here’s a mini-tutorial on how to use elements from our library to create a glitch effect and invite a monster into your living room.
Step 1: Start with a Normal Background
Create a 15-20 second generic background video of your personal meeting space/work environment – just use a Media Player that has recording functionality such as Quicktime or VLC Media Player.
Step 2: Get to Glitching and Find a Monster
Go to Storyblocks.com and search our video library to find a glitch effect that you’d like to use within your creation, and the perfect green screen monster. The search terms we used were “glitch background” and “green screen monster”. We used this glitch effect and this monster in our example.
Step 3: Layer it Up
After we chose our favorite effects and footage, we moved the clips that we downloaded off of Storyblocks into an Adobe After Effects project file for additional editing. The project includes three layers. The first layer is your generic background video, the second layer is your glitch effect, and the third layer is your horrifying monster. This is your basic structure for the project.
Step 4: Key Out Nonessential Elements
Once you move the generic background video, glitch effect, and monster into your project file, you’ll want to key out the black version, and the primary colors of the glitch effect. You’ll also want to key out the green background of your monster.
Step 5: Refine and Clean Up Video Content Elements
Now that your project file contains three layers within After Effects’ timeline panel, play with the lengths and duration of each layer to amplify the effects of your new custom background!
Between soothing beach scenes, natural patterns and horrifying monster reveals, we hope that our free video conference background offerings are helpful for you as you ease into our new normal. What are your favorite video conference backgrounds? Tag Storyblocks on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to see your preferences and creations!