Zoom settings - 5 hidden gems

Zoom bubbles

We love Zoom. It’s been very reliable for us and the gallery and spotlighting work great, from small groups up to hundreds of people. There are also plenty of useful account-level management tools but, above all, it’s simple enough for everyone to enjoy. Buried, there are some Zoom hidden gems, with a handful laid bare here. Enjoy.

Quick intro - the logic of the Zoom website and app

Zoom.us – the Zoom website where you log in and access all sorts of default settings for your meetings, video and audio etc.

Zoom Client – the app, the Zoom application you have probably downloaded onto your laptop. You might also use Zoom without the app via your web browser and you can find the same settings there.

App settings can be found either from the Audio or Video icons when you have a meeting open, or from the Zoom app preferences (Mac).

OK, that's enough, here are 5 Zoom hidden gems, some you know, maybe some you don’t…


1. Make yourself look awesome

In at number 1: It’s early, you are feeling a little tired, maybe you just bumped your forehead on a cupboard door. There’s a magic switch for that!

Zoom app > Settings > Video > Touch up my appearance
Zoom - touch up my appearance
There’s even a slider! Go from just-a-little to loads… of what exactly? No idea! It promises to smooth your appearance. The bump on my forehead is still there – but you look great! 


2. Hide blank screens in the gallery

I love big Zoom sessions and I cannot lie. And everyone should have their video on – because it’s an important part of how we connect. But, for whatever reason, if there are people with the video off, let's hide them from the wall of faces.

Zoom app > Settings > Video > Hide non-video participants

Scroll down a bit and check that box. Bingo!


3. Add a background image or video

You know about this but maybe you haven’t done it yet. And you don’t need to, but here you go…

Zoom app > Settings > Background & Filters > Click on a background

You can also find this from the Video/Start Video icon in the Zoom call window. If it’s your first time, Zoom will ask you to download a little add-on package. It’s quick and painless.

Wait, what, you want a cool background?

We really don’t care what your background is. The most important thing is that you are there, on video, so people can see you and feel you, as well as hear you. Alright then...

In Background & Filters look for the little “+” button and select an image.

Zoom - add a virtual background

Ah, you want to make something fun?

OK, stick something in a circle here

Make a flickering neon sign here

Find a horribly tacky industry themed Zoom background website and download something that a hundred thousand other people have, like this


4. Make your Zoom recordings editable

You record your workshops and conferences because you are going to make some highlights reels and wow your public. Cool. You remember to hit the record button... but what happens next?

There are a couple of things from Zoom support that you should know about here.

You're smart and have already enabled group HD video:

Zoom.us > Settings > In meeting (advanced) > Activate higher quality video for host and participants

…but this doesn’t get you high quality recording.

In fact, currently (start of 2021) Zoom will probably give you medium-to-low res recordings that are OK for YouTube. You might get a high res recording, or your meeting might be split into different recordings, some higher, some lower res. Zoom used to have a “request HD recording” option via support but that’s not available right now.

Still, we can help our friends in the cold and dark edit suite by making sure the audio and video format is friendly, even if the resolution is not ready for the cinema:

Zoom.us > Settings > Recording > Cloud Recording > Optimize the recording for 3rd party video editor

Requires paid plan. Because recording requires a paid plan. That was a new one though, right?

You can also change this setting via the app but go and do it now on your account so you never have to do it again ;)

You’ve saved yourself or your video squad hours and hours of pre-rendering time. Well done!


5. Turn off that ping sound when someone joins/leaves

That notification noise always pling plang plongs just as you are making an important point to your legions of fans! Let’s kill that!

Zoom.us > Settings > Meetings > In Meeting (Basic) > Sound notification when someone joins or leaves


So much win here, so much…


That winning feeling with Zoom hidden gems


Next time we’ll look at a checklist of mission critical items for running massive Zoom conferences (probably).


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