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Confirming that it isn’t a gimmick. I have been working on distributed WFH Teams for the past 5 years now (long before COVID19) and this has been a consistent point of embarrassment and/or trouble with video conferencing. I can’t begin to tell you how many times we have had people that need extra time to prepare for a meeting because of the background. As a manager, I have had lots of personal conversations with employees who legitimately stress out about getting the computer into a place with a good background.

Zoom and GoToMeeting offer the option for for these backgrounds without needing to do a green screen or anything. Yes, the backgrounds are insanely silly. Like a stock photo of a beach, outer space, a meadow, etc.. I don’t know why one of these companies isn’t smart enough to just put a picture of an empty room as one of the backgrounds. Yes you can tell that the user is using a background still, and it occasionally clips the background wrong for a few seconds, especially during sudden subject movement, but it does largely protect employee’s embarrassment which is a legitimate reason to offer it.

The absolute best implimentation of this background thing is Microsoft Teams’ video chat platform. It does a “blur” background that actually looks pretty good. It is an extreme blur that makes it almost impossible to tell what is in the background, but it looks sort of like a high end camera with low depth of field. Obviously it isn’t going to fool anyone into actually thinking it is real, but it is the least-distracting and most appealing option I have seen yet. Kudos to Microsoft for that one.

Here is what the Microsoft Teams one looks like: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/blur-your-backgroun...

(I have no dog in this fight, just sharing experience. I don’t work for Microsoft. Use whatever you guys want. I am just offering my 5 years of experience fighting with employees about video conferencing. I have heard all the problems with it, but the embarrassment of their background is always the biggest and most common one. Other common ones include wardrobe malfunctions (from employees getting dressed really quickly before a meeting), Significant others saying or doing embarrassing things on camera unknowingly, employees saying embarrassing things while thinking they are on mute, and so on. But the most common complaint is the stupid backgrounds.

I installed jitsi yesterday, it now has a „blur background“ option that is in beta and works okayish.

Zoom refuses to allow virtual backgrounds without green screens, on non-Intel CPUs. I have a laptop with AMD Ryzen 7 3700U CPU supporting AVX2 I think, but Zoom won't allow me to turn that feature on. I mentioned this in a chat room and people speculated Zoom was paid off by Intel.


That blur looks great. Too bad I have literally never been able to successfully join a Teams call. Every single time we have to fall back to telephone.

That is odd. A large school I work with in the UK rolled out Teams as an emery year measure yesterday. Everyone was happily doing group video chats, no problem.

I think it works fine for people who have accounts set up. But if you get invited to a Teams (or Skype for Business) meeting, you are often required to log in with an account. This is very different from Zoom, which you can participate in without an account.

I have also been sent in infinite loops of download installer, install, now go download installer again.

>cheesy virtual backgrounds or blur real background

Seems like a stock slightly blurred image of a wall or bookshelf would be best option

The problem I have with the stock backgrounds is they impart a non-professional feel to the meeting....do i really want to show I’m mentally ‘sitting on the beach’ or ‘out in space’ while talking about who gets downsized?

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