The Zoom platform has released a video background feature called Immersive View, which can make video calls look like office meetings. The platform announced the feature last year, and it is now available for free and paid accounts that attend meetings and webinars with up to 25 participants.
Immersive View builds on Zoom's default background features but focuses on placing meeting attendees in a photorealistic setting, rather than simply swapping out a flat background.
Meeting hosts can enable Immersive View from the same menu where you can find Speaker View and Gallery View. Zoom automatically places attendees in a variety of built-in virtual scenes, such as a boardroom or auditorium, or a meeting host can place them manually.
Zoom says: Hosts can resize attendees and move them around the scene, and upload their own scenes if they get bored with the Zoom options.
In theory, any image can be used as the background for the immersive viewing feature, but Zoom explains that matching the file type, aspect ratio, and resolution recommendations it provides for the default backgrounds yields the best results.
Immersive View also has some notable limitations, and for calls of more than 25 people, the remaining participants are shown in a strip of video thumbnails above the scene.
And for anyone not running the latest version of Zoom via desktop or mobile, the default wallpaper remains the same as it was before you turned on Immersive View.
Zoom became the preferred video calling service during the pandemic, but Microsoft Teams and Skype outperformed it in background options.
Microsoft updated Microsoft Teams and Skype in 2020 with a feature called Together Mode, which relied on artificial intelligence and computer vision to put attendees in the same virtual scene together by cutting the face and shoulders to make it easier to place in a virtual scene.