Each week we get an email from our HR department outlining current travel-ban states. The purpose of this exercise is to prevent families from inviting those out-of-state guests from services on-premise. Right now, the list is at 34 states and holding steady. So, one can pretty safely assume that we have been trying to offer as many webcasting and streaming solutions as possible.
In my mad rush to reacquaint myself with various conferencing platforms, like Zoom, I have rediscovered some old tricks and learned new hacks, including keyboard shortcuts, optimized settings, and general video chat tips that I’d like to share with you all.
Since streaming services are the new normal for the foreseeable future, lets make the best out of current circumstances by investing a couple hours “under the hood” to ensure you’re getting the most out of your Zoom experience. Follow these ten steps, organized in a lights, camera, action trajectory, and you’ll have a tight, finessed send off to rival Obama’s 2016 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Part 1: Lights
1.) Quick Invites: Breeze through the invitation process in a snap. Type ⌘Cmd+I (PC: Alt+I) to open the Invite window. Copy the URL from within the Email tab, and send it down the invite list. Alternatively, click the Contacts tab to directly invite someone who is already on your contact list.
2.) Disable Waiting Room: Zoom activates almost all its security-related settings by default. One of which is the waiting room, which requires each guest to be admitted individually.
Turn this setting off under Settings>In Meeting (Advanced)>Waiting Room, and save yourself the stress of potentially leaving a late-comer behind, delaying the service, or missing out on important moments.
For even faster results, just use command CTRL+F and search “waiting room.”
3.) Display Names: Just because you invited everyone doesn’t mean that you actually know them. You’re grieving. I don’t expect you to discern Tom from The Bar™ from Dog-walker Tom by voice alone, and, frankly, neither should they! This time and face-saving tool ensures you never forget who is speaking.
Go to Settings >Video, Select “Always display participant’s name on their videos.”
4.) Enable In-Meeting File Share: Obviously, this feature has a lot of practical applications for engaging with attendees. You can share a program outlining the order of service for everyone to follow along or gift everyone that collection of prized recipes. If you allow others the ability to share, they might contribute treasured photos, written dedications, and other memorial items.
Part 2: Camera
5.) Touch Up Your Appearance: Definitely the most important hack! Webcam feed is not known for providing a flattering image. Weird shadows, a phantom double chin, and a washed out complexion do not a lasting impression make. Luckily, you don’t need to become a fully-fledged lighting designer to give good face. Zoom has a neat little trick that will soften the focus on your camera, theoretically minimizing any issues with your skin.
Simply do the following for a flawless face: In Settings > Video, check “Touch up my appearance.”
6.) Pick Out a Cute Virtual Background: Did your loved one have a favorite place they visited, show they endlessly binged, or favorite activity they enjoyed? Why not have attendees chose a virtual background to reflect those things? With folks spending more time at home than ever, the internet has developed an endless catalog of free, fun solutions to disguise whatever your living situation is from the rest of your Zoom audience.
Here are some fabulous options:
- The Golden Girls: Gather the girls and enjoy a slice of cheesecake in your loved one’s honor while picturing it: Sicily, 1922. Click here for the kitchen and a glimpse in to Blanche’s boudoir.
- Schitt’s Creek: In my estimation there’s never been a pop-culture reference more in tune with the vibe of a Zoom memorial service than the chaotic good of Schitt’s Creek. I call dibs on Moira’s wig wall!
- The Alleyway Behind SUR: For when you’ve merged the memorial with brunch and want to rehash old drama.
- Villanelle’s Paris Apartment: Slightly sociopathic, but undeniably classy in that asbestosy prewar kind of way.
- The Chart: For when you need to quickly explain to Aunt Kelly how “all you girls” met.
- Rupaul’s Drag Race Confessional: The pièce de résistance. Thank the queers of Reddit for officially opening the library for reading with this custom background generator!
Part 3: Action
7.) Share Screen: Share video, PowerPoint, slide shows, nudes, etc. with a swift key stroke.
- To start a screen share, type ⌘Cmd+Shift+S (PC: Alt+Shift+S).
- To pause/resume a screen share, type ⌘Cmd+Shift+T (PC: Alt+T).
8.) Audio Mute: Ambient or background noise is a constant struggle. As the host, hit ⌘Cmd+Ctrl+M (PC: Alt+M) to mute everyone on the call at once.
If your place is the problem, use ⌘Cmd+Shift+A (PC: Alt+A) to mute/unmute just your audio.
9.) Optimize Shared Video Clips in Full Screen: Nothing is worse than grainy, tinny cell phone videos as part of a polished memorial presentation. Follow this tutorial and save the found footage aesthetic for Big Foot!
10.) Record Your Service: Recording is a tremendously useful feature that is, weirdly enough, often overlooked.
- Just type ⌘Cmd+Shift+R (PC: Alt+R) to start recording any meeting.
- Type ⌘Cmd+Shift+P (PC: Alt+P) to pause/resume recording.
For an even more streamlined approach, try this tutorial for auto-recording your service.