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What is the Best Background for Video Conferencing?

Robert Strobl
July 20, 2022

More people are working remotely than ever before. Video conferencing has become a huge part of people’s work lives. The massive increase in online meetings makes it hard to stand out from the crowd. A great background is a simple way to establish a professional image.

Table of contents

  1. Why is your background important in online meetings?
  2. The benefits of a good background
  3. Different types of backdrop
  4. Virtual background
  5. Home office background
  6. How to create the best desktop background
  7. Colour
  8. Lighting
  9. Camera position
  10. Things to avoid
  11. What background should I use at my meeting?
  12. Green Screen
  13. Final thought

Because of video conferencing and working from home, people pay less attention to how they present themselves. Smart/office casual used to be the go-to for most office workers. 

What is the best background for video conferencing? digital samba video conferencing software

It’s common to see people turn up to video meetings in casual outfits with a messy or inappropriate backdrop. You shouldn't take this approach if you want to maximize the effectiveness of your videoconferences. 

So, what is the best video conference background, and what are the benefits of a good backdrop? Today we will be exploring these important questions.

Why is your background important in online meetings? 

First impressions are crucial, even in the world of video conferencing. Maintaining a polished and professional image is key to being taken seriously and presenting yourself in the best light. Your video background has a big impact on your presentation.

We’ve all seen people with bad backgrounds. Whether it’s an untidy bedroom, a messy bookshelf, or an unmade bed, whether we like it or not, it can subconsciously impact how we view people. Choosing an appropriate background is a great way to improve your presentation and avoid bad impressions. 

The benefits of a good background 

Professional - Choosing the best background for conference calls helps create a professional image. Did you ever notice that most CEOs and high-achievers have crisp, professional backgrounds? 

They know that even in virtual meetings, a high-quality background is important. Don’t let yourself come across as an amateur with a poorly selected backdrop. 

  • Privacy - In a video call, people can see everything behind you. You will be giving colleagues unrestricted access to your workspace and private life. A virtual background should be a top priority if privacy is a big concern. A video background stops people from seeing your workspace, people walking past, children, pets, etc. 
high-quality background

  • No distractions - Don’t let your backdrop become a distraction for your colleagues. Messy, cluttered, or strange settings naturally draw the eye away from the speaker. A crisp and professional setup guarantees you will be the centre of attention, not the cat walking on your bed behind you. 
  • Be yourself - Choosing a video conference background gives you the chance to express yourself. You could choose a nice temperate forest backdrop if you love the outdoors. If you love the beach, a seaside setting might be perfect. The possibilities are endless if you follow the basic rules of choosing an appropriate background. 
  • Branding - Still not sure what virtual silhouette is best for you? Personal or company branding is a great option. Your clients will have no trouble remembering your company name and logo if you include them in a slick, professional background. You could make a branded background or ask someone with decent editing skills to help you. 
  • Confidence - Having a professional video meeting background will increase your confidence. It works the same way as wearing a suit to a big interview. Confidence is key when it comes to presenting yourself in the best light. You wouldn’t turn up to a job interview in sweat pants, so why would you turn up to a video meeting with a messy background?

Different types of backdrop

We know how important a good call background is and the benefits. But we still don’t know what the best backdrop is? Like many things in life, it depends. The biggest factor in selecting your video meeting background is the type of meeting you’re attending.

You probably wouldn’t have the same virtual backdrop in a team meeting as in a job interview. The scenario is key. Pay close attention to the occasion before making your choice. Certain backgrounds are suitable for all video calls. 

There are two main types of background:

Virtual background

Virtual backdrops are the most practical and customizable. They are extremely accessible and easy to set up. Most web conferencing platforms come with a wide range of virtual backgrounds. For example, users can upload up to 16 different virtual backgrounds to their Digital Samba account.

Virtual background settings Digital Samba meeting software

Home office background

A home office background is a real set-up in your own office. Keeping it clean and neutral is the key to a home office video conference background. Loud colours and patterns will distract people. Home office setups require daily maintenance and aren’t as customizable as virtual backgrounds. Their benefit is that they look realistic and polished when done correctly. 

How to create the best desktop background

Colour

Colour is a key consideration. You should avoid complex and busy patterns like stripes, polka dots, etc. Bright colours like orange, yellow and red can distract other call attendees.

The best colours are neutral colours like cream, light blue, and light grey. They are easy to look at and keep you at the centre of attention. 

Lighting

You could easily write a whole article just about lighting! We have already done this and written a dedicated article about the best lighting for video conferencing.

Here are a few top tips to get your lighting right:

  • Avoid backlighting. Backlighting covers your face in shadow and makes your background the focal point of the frame. 
  • Three-point lighting is the best. Three-point lighting involves a fill light, a key light, and a backlight. Check out our full guide for more information.
  • Two-point lighting is almost as good as three-point and is easier to set up. You can achieve two-point lighting with general room light and a desk lamp. 
  • You should invest in an LED ring/panel light for the best results. They are relatively affordable and give you a crisp executive look. 

Camera position

Too many of us have had the pleasure of looking up someone's nose in a video call before? Bad camera positioning is super distracting and can undermine your presentation. 

The optimal location for a camera is eye level or just above. For most people, this means connecting your webcam to the top of your monitor. Laptop users will benefit from propping their laptop up on a pile of books or laptop stands. If you need to use your phone camera in a meeting, put it in front of you.

No one looks good when using a phone camera from a low angle!

The optimal location for a camera is eye level or just above. For most people, this means connecting your webcam to the top of your monitor. Laptop users will benefit from propping their laptop up on a pile of books or laptop stands. If you need to use your phone camera in a meeting, put it in front of you.

Things to avoid

Now you know how to create a striking, professional virtual background. There are some common errors people make when choosing their video background.

Here are a few:

video background


  • Messy backgrounds - Keep it tidy. It sounds harsh, but people will subconsciously judge you if they have an untidy background, like a messy bedroom. Try and keep your background clear and tidy. Use a virtual video background if you can’t.
  • Keep it appropriate - Your virtual background should match the scenario. We will delve into more detail below. With some common sense and a range of virtual backgrounds, you can’t go wrong.
  • Weird backgrounds - Much like a messy setting, a weird or complex video backdrop will distract listeners. A weird background could be brightly coloured polka dot wallpaper, a distracting image, or a TV. Keep it clean and simple.
  • Avoid inappropriate attire - In many ways, your outfit is an extension of your background. You could have the perfect background, but what will people be looking at if you are wearing a Koala onesie?

    Always dress for the occasion and try to compliment your background for bonus points.

What background should I use at my meeting?

The best virtual background for a video interview probably wouldn’t be the best choice for a casual team meeting. Your video backdrop should always match the meeting. Here are some tips for which background to use in different scenarios.

Online Interview

The online job interview is one of the most formal types of video meeting. Because of this, you should choose a formal background. 

Examples of formal settings include plain walls, neutral colours, and simple virtual backgrounds. Hopefully, we don’t need to tell you not to use an animal print background for an interview!

Team meeting

Team meetings vary in formality. Generally speaking, they are quite informal. An informal team meeting is a great opportunity to have fun with your background. Using your background to get a laugh from the team is a great way to lift everyone's spirits after a long day.

Client calls

You need a neat and professional image for a client call. A nicely curated home office background or a custom virtual background that shows your company branding are good choices. 

Presenting an online course

When presenting a course, you should generally choose a formal background. Depending on the nature of the course, you may have some room to explore. We recommend a custom branded virtual background for formal courses. 

Green Screen 

If you plan on using a virtual background and you want to look your absolute best, you should look into using a green screen. A green screen is what it says, a backdrop made of green material. So why would you bother going to the effort and expense of using a green screen in your video calls?

Green Screen 

Did you ever notice that fuzzy line around people using a virtual background? It is caused by the camera struggling to differentiate the subject from the background. A green screen allows your camera to easily distinguish between the subject and background.

A green screen removes visual glitches and makes it hard to notice that you are using a virtual background. If you want to get the most out of a virtual background and appear as professional as possible, you should use a green screen

Here is a handy guide explaining the dos and don’ts of using a greenscreen

Final thought

In an age where more people than ever before work from home, you need to find new ways to stand out. Choosing an effective video conferencing background can help you to achieve that sought-after executive look.

A high-quality background in virtual meetings increases your confidence, creates a positive image, and removes distractions. You have nothing to lose from sharpening up your virtual background game. 

Hopefully, after reading our guide to virtual backdrops, you will know how to use them, when, and how to get the most out of them. Surprise your colleagues at your next video call by turning up with a slick virtual background. 

With Digital Samba’s meeting software, you can upload up to 16 virtual backgrounds.

Contact us to learn more about the Digital Samba video conferencing solution and its visual backgrounds feature.

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