Bring Your Zoom Chats to Life With Filters

You know you’re stuck in an endless loop of pandemic life when you can no longer get the enthusiasm to change your stupid Zoom virtual background. I’ve been abusing the default “spatial” Zoom image for a while, but imagine my surprise when I went to switch it the other day and found that the app now includes a few more virtual backgrounds and effects that everyone can try.

To access them, make sure you update Zoom to the latest version of the app. This should be clear on mobile devices. On the desktop, click your profile picture in the upper right corner of the main Zoom window and select Check for Updates from the menu.

(While there is no guarantee that you will get additional features after you update to the latest version of Zoom, keeping track of updates gives you the best chance. And it’s also great for keeping Zoom safe. Okay, back to the fun.)

Start the zoom call and invoke the virtual background function by clicking the arrow next to the video switcher in the lower left corner. Select “Choose virtual background” and you should now see a few new options – a beautiful animated beach, as well as a simpler “blur background” feature. I can’t decide which I like better.

But we’re not done yet. Click the little “Studio Effects” link in the lower right corner and you’ll get a pop-up sidebar that allows you to assign yourself new eyebrows, mustache and / or beard and lip color. Beautiful. Who doesn’t need a pair of Eugene Levy eyebrows ?

Make sure you uncheck the “Apply to all future appointments” box so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to adjust these effects when you switch from your weekend friends meeting to your next work chat.

When you’re done messing around with this, make sure you click the Zoom Video Filters option located to the right of Virtual Backgrounds. There, you’ll find a whole range of different filters that you can apply on top of an image, from filters that adjust its color to, well:

Don’t forget to turn off Mirror My Video if you find that some of the effects are reversed. How else will your friends and colleagues know that you are embarrassed by their presentation?

While you won’t find the aforementioned Studio effects or the lovely animated beach in the mobile versions of your Zoom app (at least at the time of this writing), you should still be able to access the filters from the virtual background menu.


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