5 tips for improving Zoom backgrounds and an appeal to celebrities

5 tips for improving Zoom backgrounds and an appeal to celebrities

Someone has to say it. With all the celebrities broadcasting from home whether it be the late night “Jimmies” or the early morning Sunny, Kelli and Ryans: “S’up with your backgrounds?”

I’m sorry but I don’t need to see your remote control tray Sunny. Ryan, why are you filming in your kitchen? Yes there’s some nice lighting in there but you have a scatasquillion dollars.

I need a little MTV Cribs where celebrity homes are unattainable over the top examples of excess mixed with some good old fashioned “trying to prove oneself” spirit. Where’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” when you need it?

Yes there are many more pressing issues right now but I know I’m not the only one who has thought this. There’s even a new Twitter account that comments on the sprout of makeshift studio settings. Room Rater or @ratemyskyperoom humorously judges backgrounds and provides suggestions for improvement.

The account has 85.5k Followers. The creator Claude Taylor hopes to raise awareness to a “charity initiative from Mad Dog Production that is raising funds to provide urgently needed supplies to U.S. hospitals”

I was in isolation from my family for 12 days with Covid 19 so I leaned on talk shows for a hit of connection, familiarity and real time interaction. Celebrities are “just like us” but I still kinda want them not to be.

Some celebrities still know how to show out. In the awesome docuseries “The Last Dance” Michael Jordan sits in the middle of a vast white room full of white furniture with what appears to be palms trees outside his floor length windows. A small table placed next to his chair hosts a glass of Scotch and a cigar.

Is he at home? A vacation residence? Heaven on earth? Who knows. Of course this wasn’t filmed during the pandemic but I bet Michael would have figured out something just as posh if it was.

It appears as though we will be watching on air personalities filming from their homes for quite some time.

Here are 5 suggestions for backgrounds that will help on air personalities and virtual meeting participants maintain some mystique:

  1. Bookshelves: This is a popular and satisfying backdrop though it can be distracting. If the person filming places space between their chair and the shelves people are less likely to focus on their literary tastes vs. what they are saying.
  2. Virtual Backgrounds: A beach in Hawaii backdrop is a great equalizer. Outer space has inspirational components. These backgrounds provide some levity and are fairly judgment proof. (Not recommended for serious broadcasters. Remember there’s always good old fashioned solid color backgrounds.)
  3. Out of focus: Comedienne Whitney Cummings was a guest on Kelli and Ryan last week. (These are three people I wouldn’t normally watch but hey…pandemic.) Her entire background was aspirational (white with visible lighting equipment). Plus it was out of focus. Brilliant.
  4. Tight shots: Put yourself in the center of the frame without much space around you because eyes wander easily. Plus you won’t have to tidy up. (Take that Marie Kondo)
  5. Art: A painting behind you is an automatic upgrade which makes you look intellectual depending on the piece you choose. (Maybe dogs playing poker is not the right choice right now. Or is it?)

Johnny Depp joined social media this week and provided so much mystique people are wondering if he lives in a cave. Oh Johnny, thank you for the knowable unknowable that you provide.

What’s been your go to setting for virtual calls? Are there any backgrounds you admire? Please share in the comments below.

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