How to Become a Zoom Call Superstar in 15 Minutes. Part 2. Software

“Finally!” – I heard from several people when I said that the second part of the article about video in Zoom was ready. First part about the selection of a camera for shooting in Zoom caused a wild resonance. The holivar is still going on about what is better – a webcam for 20 thousand or an old DSLR (I think you know the answer) and what kind of lighting to buy for ten to look like a superstar even with a standard camera (it’s not so simple). In this part, we will talk about something that does not require any investment, but will definitely improve your video presentation – software.

Disclaimer: I had some material from the last time, and I no longer bother and follow the rule with the same background, clothes, time of day and hairstyle, so I have to torment and compare the modes somehow. It’s easier with the software, because you can poke the modes yourself at any time and choose the ones that you like best.

Since childhood, I love to poke around in electronics and connect everything with everything, so reading instructions for hardware or software in my free time is my hobby. As a product manager, it sometimes hurts me that important and complex functions are not used in the product, because people are too lazy to understand them or just spend 10 minutes researching (yes, good onboarding is also important). Therefore, I propose to first understand the program that many of you open every day – Zoom.


The first and most important tip is to check for updates. Even a quarter after important releases, I still see people with bugs from previous versions or without new functionality. Don’t do this – updates are simple and important! Look for them on the About tab – Check for Updates.

Next, go to the settings – the Video section.

Be sure to turn on (if you have not done so yet) the checkbox Original ratio… She is responsible for the correct display of the proportions of the camera (for example, if she shoots in 3: 2, not 16: 9).


Zoom’s HD is tricky. Turn on the HD checkbox if you have a paid plan, good camera and good internet. As I already wrote in the last article – do not chase megapixels: my Sony outputs a 1024×576 image via USB and still makes all expensive 4K webcams in terms of video quality. Enabling HD will allow you to display at least what Zoom can convey.

It’s funny that Zoom does not allow users to use all megapixels on a free plan. The same limitation works if there are more than two people on the call.

There are many more restrictions. 720p is turned on for paysites with good computers only when the window is opened in full screen, only in the active speaker layout mode, only when the setting is enabled (which for group meetings is not in this window, but on the web, I will show below), only with a stable stream not less than four megabytes per second and only if at least one more caller is looking at the entire screen. 1080p – only for Business and Enterprise and only upon additional request through support. With a virtual background, it is impossible to get a quality higher than 720p, and if the computer does not pull, then more than 360p. You can read in detail about the restrictions here

Well, ok, we got a little sad and drove on.

Other video settings

Mirror my video will be needed for software that does not reflect itself (if you want to be reflected without mirroring).

Here you can also enable several “uluchshayzers”.

Touch up my appearance will help smooth out the pain of contemplating your face. I advise you to enable this checkbox only if you have been drinking all night and want to hide it. Will smudge the entire screen and turn into a porcelain doll, especially with a bad camera. Even taking into account the adjustable effect size. After all, Zoom is not Snapchat, they haven’t learned to do well yet.

It was:


Adjust for low light allows you to lighten the image a little if there is darkness around and the camera does not give out a more or less tolerable exposure. I advise you to test it. I have a good camera, so I don’t tick this box.

The rest of the settings are at your request.

Next we go to Advanced… If you have a good camera with noise reduction – turn it off, if not – I advise you to leave it as it is. Hardware acceleration hasn’t hurt anyone yet, but if it crashes or slows down, turn it off.

Then you can go to the section Virtual Backgrounds and realize that there has long been a Blur filter that everyone loved in Skype, Meet and Teams. Works well, helps to hide the mess, even with a penny camera. Add backdrops here if you like. Any picture 1280×720 or 1920×1080 will do. You can download here, here and here:

Zoom followed the lead of the girls (and boys) and decided that if no one sees anyone live, then why not automatically substitute makeup and beard shaving (neural networks already do this for 3 kopecks). You can tweak your eyebrows, paint the perfect mustache and beard, and paint your lips. The funniest checkbox here – Apply to all future meetings (and then the person will be seen alive, haha). I am waiting for the following features – teeth whitening, changing the color of the eyes, the shape of the nose and ears, removing wrinkles, bruises under the eyes and acne. Innovation!

Further, again following the lead of schoolchildren and insta bloggers, Zoom added video filters. From filters for the whole image to masks, frames and effects. Well. Slightly diversifies calls with top managers and clients.

Now for more useful things.

Screen sharing

First, it is easy to see that it is quite diverse. True, 99% still use the first option (offensive).

From the interesting here you can choose Whiteboard (a rather primitive, but still a collective board for drawing, underlining, recording thoughts) and connecting an iPhone via cable or via AirPlay. Previously, you had to connect your iPhone to QuickTime or make a separate call from your phone client. Now this can be done much more conveniently. It is also useful sometimes to include audio from the computer in the broadcast, for example, if you are playing a video with audio. Then checkmark Share sound should also be selected.

If you want to record a broadcast, I advise you to select the checkbox Optimize for video clip… It allows you to stabilize the video stream to make it easier to save the video to a file.

We go to the advanced level – Advanced

Slides as virtual background – a feature that has appeared recently. Combines clipping you from the background and overlaying on slides so that you and the presentation are both visible. Minus – works without animation and only with downloaded ppt and key files. But practically a competitor to mmhmm, which I will discuss below.

Portion of Screen – This is a cut-out piece of the desktop with all the windows that went in there. Convenient for showing part of the screen when notes or additional windows are in another.

Computer Audio Is a good thing for streaming audio to broadcast. If you’re in a group but want to add background music for mood, this is it.

Video – a mode that allows everyone to watch the downloaded movie with sound together.

Content from 2nd Camera – convenient for changing angles: for example, if one camera is directed at you, and the other at a textbook with materials or a flipchart. But you cannot choose which cameras to use, and in the end you still have to go through everything (apparently, the feature was not finished and abandoned).

The third tab is a little strange – file translation. In fact, this is just opening the browser screen with an open file and a slightly more convenient selection, but in reality the usefulness is questionable.

Go ahead. Surprisingly, most of the client settings Zoom hid in the account on the web. For example, Full HD enable for group calls

Or enable the new Immersive View:

This is a rather interesting new feature-copy of Microsoft Teams, in which you and the interlocutor are on a virtual “stage”. A little diversifies group calls and 1-on-1, but the quality of video, lighting and background will be very important here.

This seems to be all for now. If you practice with the features today, you will be the coolest dude in Zoom the next working day.


OBS is the leader in the video streaming market and is also free and open source. If you need to stream to YouTube, Facebook, Twitch and others like them, mix videos from different sources (for example, slides and camera), switch between cameras, mix sound, encode all this in real time into a file, then this is your choice. one.

There is a carriage of settings and tutorials on the Internet (for example, behold), so I will not talk about something similar here.

Let me list what OBS can be useful for based on life experience:

  1. High quality video stream recording: Zoom clamps anyway.

  2. Broadcasts to all kinds of social networks in maximum quality without dancing with tambourines.

  3. Using multiple cameras and microphones.

  4. Switch between views: your face in full screen, you are shoulder-deep in the background of slides, just slides, a desktop or some screencast, a second camera, and so on.

  5. Improve video quality: brightness, contrast, sharpness, background removal, color correction, crop or enlarge only the central part of the video (if you have a wide-angle camera), and so on.

  6. Improving sound quality: volume, reverb, gain, noise removal, EQ tweak, and so on.

Displaying video from a camera on a desktop background
Displaying video from a camera on a desktop background

A real monster of real-time processing. I highly recommend it!

Sharpening filter
Sharpening filter


SnapStudio – SnapChat for webcam. Suitable for playing or surprising colleagues. You can either “tint” your face and smudge the background, or turn into a cucumber, a child or a Disney princess. For team building, that’s it. In one of the online quests that we participated in at Wrike, the organizers used SnapStudio to immerse themselves in the world of cyberpunk.

A few more examples under the spoiler


Mmhmm ​​is a mini-OBS for a distance from Phil Libin, the creator of Evernote.

Allows you to solve the very unpleasant feature of Zoom – if you fumble the screen, then the face moves off in a strip in the corner of the screen and is often ignored. Mmhmm ​​allows you to overlay the camera image cut from the background onto slides. And in the right place: for example, a circle with an image in the upper left corner. You can also use the pointer to focus attention, switch between different media sources (slides, videos, pictures, multiple cameras), apply different effects, and give another participant access to control your slides. All this is free for the first hour of the day. All the goodies are unlimited for $ 100 per year. Give it a try: this might be what you want.

I hope you enjoyed the review. So far I am saving up my strength for an overview of the world (the main thing is to make it before the white nights). So put your likes, write comments and wait for the third part. I would be glad if you share your best practices and tools that help make online calls better!

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