Can I make a partial/transparent virtual background for Zoom?
April 9, 2020 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to make virtual background for Zoom that blends with my real background?

I tried a png with an object and a transparent background, but the background shows up black.

I've got all sorts of tools that can create images in different formats, but I was disappointed to find out transparent mapped to black, at least with a png. Has anyone done this? How?

Context - I want a matzah to appear in the air in tonight's seder when we are supposed to hold it up.
posted by AMyNameIs to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe you can use Snapcamera to make your own custom lens that will definitely show as transparent against your real background. And if that doesn’t work out, they’ve already got TWO matzah filters you can try. One floats little matzahs across your face and the other is a pandemic matzah mask.
posted by oxisos at 9:42 AM on April 9, 2020

Best answer: One semi-low tech approach: Tape a large green square behind you. Set Zoom to use the green screen background feature. When it’s time, set your background to an image of matzah.
posted by zamboni at 9:51 AM on April 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Can you take a picture from your web cam and then edit that photo to have the matzah where you want it? Then on the call just turn on the background so your virtual background is the same as your real background plus the matzah.
posted by Uncle at 12:38 PM on April 9, 2020

I think zoom cuts you out and puts the result over the background. I don't think it has any internal mechanism for layering the camera input or anything else "behind" a transparent background.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:20 PM on April 9, 2020

But I think Uncle's idea would be your best bet.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:22 PM on April 9, 2020

Set Zoom to use the green screen background feature. When it’s time, set your background to an image of matzah.

Sorry, forgot the step in the middle where you set your background to the color of the wall behind the green square.
posted by zamboni at 1:39 PM on April 9, 2020

Not exactly the same as what you're asking, but I've been wearing a shirt distinct enough from my background to manually set the shirts color as 'my background's in Zooms features. Them zoom fills in my shirt with any of the images I've added. I can also set it to recognize any other bright colored object usually, for example I had a towel wrapped around my head that I set to a fruit basket image. Silly things like that. I think you could probably do the matzah the same way for your purposes. Find a piece of fabric that doesn't match anything on your screen, find an image of a matzah, and then hold up the object to where the matzah is in the zoom frame at the right time.
posted by ajarbaday at 6:14 PM on April 9, 2020

Response by poster: I like the green screen idea. However, since getting hold of something green today was impossible (no leaving the apartment which didn’t matter as no craft/office supply stores are open anyway), I’ll have to save it up for another occasion.

The Seder was lovely and fun even without my optical illusion.

Thank you all for your suggestions.
posted by AMyNameIs at 7:30 PM on April 9, 2020

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