The coronavirus pandemic has pretty much changed the way that we work. Instead of heading into the office, workers are now encouraged to work from home using Zoom. Put it simply, it’s a video conferencing service that allows you to talk with others online—either with or without video. If anything, its popularity has increased tremendously. For one thing, it’s not just for work; you can also use it to connect with friends and family. On top of that, it’s the program-of-choice for many schools. After all, it’s free. Plus, it can be used with various devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
History of Zoom
Zoom was released in 2012. At the time, it could only host conferences with up to 15 participants. And while it had a fair amount of users, it wasn’t until the start of the coronavirus pandemic that it exploded in popularity. By April 2020, there were over 300 million daily meeting participants.
More About Zoom
Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing platform. For example, you can use it to hold meetings. That is, you can have high-quality video conferencing interactions with your team online. As if that wasn’t convenient enough, it also allows for multiple screen airing, audience engagement, recording, transcripts, and more.
Not a fan of group video calls? You can always use the Zoom Chat feature instead, which allows you to stay connected with others via instant messaging. And for presentations, you can hold a Zoom Webinar. If you want, you can even stream it across different social media platforms. That way, you’ll gain a bigger audience.
Now you’re probably wondering—is Zoom free? The answer is, it depends. While they do offer a free plan, it does come with limits (e.g. 40 minute time limit for video calls with more than two people). And if you want the “Pro features”, you’ll have to pay for Zoom Business, which goes for $19.99/host per month.
What Do You Need to Use Zoom?
To use Zoom, you’ll need a computer (Windows or Apple), mobile device, or phone. In the case that your computer doesn’t have a microphone or webcam, you’ll need to purchase one separately (you can get a decent one for about $50).
Accessing the Zoom Filter
Not a fan of how you look through your webcam? You can always give yourself a touchup with the built-in Zoom filter. To access it, click on the gear icon on the top-right hand side and select the video tab.
Once you’ve done that, you should see yourself on the screen, and to the side, will be a “touch up my appearance” option. Select it and the filter will automatically even out your skin tone. That way, you’ll have a fresh look even if you just rolled out of bed.
Keep in mind, however, that the results do depend on the quality of your webcam. In some cases, the filter may even make you appear blurrier on the screen.
Using Snapchat Filters On Zoom
Want to do more than just even out your skin tone? There’s always the option of using Snapchat, which integrates fully with Zoom. That’s right, you can actually use the Snap camera with Zoom. If anything, that’s another reason why it’s so popular. You probably already know this if you use the app but there are so many filters and lenses that you can use on Snapchat and if you integrate it with Zoom, you’ll be able to use it with your video calls.
And all you have to do is download and install the Snap Camera app. By doing that, you’ll be able to use all the effects that the camera platform has to offer.
Snap Camera System Requirements
To use the snap camera, however, your device must meet the minimum system requirements. For one thing, you have to use either Windows 10 (64 bit) or MacOS (10.11+). Not only that, but you’ll need:
Hardware: A minimum of AMD Phenom II 2.6GHz (4GB of RAM recommended) or Intel Core i3 2.5 GHz plus at least a Nvidia GeForce 710, Intel HD Graphics 4000, or AMD Radeon HD 6450 GPU
And remember, you’ll have to run Zoom at the same time as Snap Camera. Given that, it’s probably best to have a 7th gen. Intel Core chip or newer.
Setting Up the Snap Camera
Once you’ve done that, the next step is to get it on Zoom. Make sure that there aren’t any other programs using your computer’s camera and open the Zoom app. Login with your details and go into Settings > Video > Camera. You should be able to select the Snapchat Camera from the dropdown menu. And that’s all there is to it! With that, you’ll be able to use it in the app for your video calls.
Note: You’ll have to restart your computer if you had Zoom open while installing the Snap Camera (it won’t show up in the dropdown menu otherwise).
How Do You Close the Snap Camera?
There are a few ways that you can close the Snap Camera. For example, you can use the keyboard shortcut, Command + Q. Alternatively, you can choose “Quit Snap Camera” from the top menu bar.
Using a Snap Filter On Zoom
Using a filter is easy once you’ve got Snap Camera installed. Go to your Zoom window and you should see yourself on the screen. And at the bottom, will be a list of effects that you can use (features ones will be at the top). Not interested in the ones that are shown? You can always search with the search bar on the upper right-hand side.
Or if you want, you can browse through the different categories (e.g. character, funny, gaming, cute, color effect) that are shown at the bottom. Once you’ve found a filter that you’re interested in, click on it and the effect will automatically activate (there will be a preview at the top). If you want, you can even share a filter with a friend. To do that, click on the three dots on the top right-hand corner and select “Copy lens link.” You can then share the URL with your friend.
Note: If the filters don’t work, try restarting your computer. If that doesn’t fix the issue, you may have to reinstall both Snap Camera and Zoom.
How Do You Change Filters During a Meeting?
You can change the snap filter anytime during a meeting by clicking a different filter in Snap Camera. As soon as you do that, the effect will change. To turn off the effects, click the selected filter.
Using Zoom With a Custom Background
Zoom has a variety of virtual backgrounds that you can choose from. To use them, click your profile in the top corner and select settings. On the left menu, you should see the option “Virtual Background.” Click on it and a few default options will come up including one of an outer space scene. Whatever you select will then appear as your background. If you want, you can also upload a photo to use as your background. To do that, click on the “+” icon where it says “Choose Virtual Background.” A pop up will come up, from which you can upload an image from your computer.
Changing Your Background on the Mobile App
Tap on the three dots at the bottom of the screen—that will open the “More” menu. From there, select “Virtual Background.” That will allow you to select one of the default options. Or if you want, you can upload your own from your camera roll.
Using a Snapchat Filter With a Zoom Background
If you try to layer a Snap filter on top of it, however, it won’t work. Don’t worry, though, there is a way to mix and match the effects. First things first, click on the video window that shows your Snap Camera lens. The background will go away entirely with one click and if you add a second click, it will add a green screen. With that, you should be able to layer a Snap filter on top of your custom Zoom background.
Helpful Tips When Using Zoom
Here are a few things that you might want to keep in mind when you’re using the Snap Camera on Zoom:
- The only way to change your Snap filter is with the Snap Camera app—you can’t do it within a Zoom meeting.
- The Snap Camera works with several other platforms including Skype, Twitch, and Google Hangouts.
- You can prevent Zoombombing (when uninvited users crash your meeting) by setting up a waiting room. That way, you can see who’s trying to join before you grant them access.
- You can record the Zoom meeting by going into your settings and selecting the “recording” option