Of all the applications and computer tools that we have had during this coronavirus quarantine, the one that has been more successful than any other has been Zoom. This application for video calls has been placed among the most visited on the world scene thanks to its ease of use, especially among students. It only takes an email to register on the platform and that’s it. From that moment, anyone with the link can enter the session.
The tool has gained so much fame during this process that many people still do not know how to take advantage of it. Today we are going to tell you the best tricks for the Zoom app, as well as a small tutorial in case it is your first time with it.
What is Zoom and how it works
As we have already explained before, Zoom is an application that has video calls as the central axis of everything. However, its strong point is that it hardly needs installation. Simply enter the official website of the program, click on “register” and enter your email to start the process (you can also log in with your Gmail or Facebook account). From here, the program will ask you to download an executable. Do it, open it and let it be configured in your browser. It is done.
From that moment, Zoom is already available on your PC through the browser, although you can download a desktop client so that it is always as a program (something we recommend instead of using the web version, which can give more connection problems) .
You have more plans than the free one
Now that we have explained how Zoom works, it is time to go into detail about some tricks or recommendations of the program. The first of them, of course, has to do with the work plans that Zoom offers . If you have used it at any time, chances are you know the free one. This allows to host up to 100 participants simultaneously, with the exception that the conferences cannot exceed 40 minutes in length.
In case you want a little more, you need to roll over to the payment plans. This is where various versions come in. The first is the “ Pro ”, which allows meetings of up to 24 hours with user administration, video call recording of up to 1 GB and some more details for 13.99 euros per month. The second is ” Business “, which, as its name suggests, is designed for business thanks to the 300 participants it houses, transcription of recordings (all a success), personalized emails, exclusive domains, etc., for 18.99 euros a month. And the third and last is “Enterprise“, Which comes out at the same price as” Business “, but with up to 1,000 participants and small additional details. Now that you know all this, you choose which one you keep.
Like other services that take advantage of the benefits of video calls, Zoom also has the wonderful command “Share screen”. What is this in case you have never given up clicking there? Well, something simple. With ” Screen Sharing ” we can make everything that appears on our PC be seen by the other person. And we give you an easy example for you to understand.
Imagine that you need to explain how to install a program to a friend. Well, if you share a screen with your friend, the latter will see everything you do, that is, you will be doing a step-by-step guide with everything detailed. This option is the one that teachers use with students to explain certain class lessons, so a real pseudo blackboard would be recreated, but in a virtual tone. Of course, an important detail: if you miss a message of “Disabled screen sharing”, this happens because the options can be disabled by the manager of the call, so you do not panic …
We have already explained how to share screen, so now we go with another trick just as valid: that of recording screen. Although this option may seem trivial, it is more important than you think. Let’s go back to the example in the previous section. Your friend has explained to you how to install that program or how to make a movement in a certain program. You want to reproduce it later … and it turns out that you have forgotten a step. Well by recording the screen you avoid this .
Screen recording will capture absolutely everything that happens in the video call. And when we say “everything” is EVERYTHING (in fact, from the “Configuration” you can choose whether you want in batch or on tracks). You only have to be careful in two aspects: the first one has to do with the capacity of the file that is generated . Recording a video call is quite heavy, so assign it a good part of the hard disk so as not to take an unexpected scare (you can find where everything is recorded by clicking on “Settings” -> “Recording”). And the second aspect has to do with the privacy of the call. Many administrators will not allow such recording, so if you get a message of “Not enabled” again, it is not because you cannot record, but because they do not let you. The difference is visible to the naked eye.
Audio input, headache
If a video call is characterized by something, it is due to the number of problems that it can bring you at the audio and video level. How many times has it happened to you that you want to start contact with that other person, and that suddenly neither the audio nor the video has worked for you? For these cases, Zoom itself includes a small section called “ Enter the audio ”. Right there, click on ” Settings “.
Once this window is open, Zoom reveals all its internal settings so that we can tinker with it. In short, we are within the “agency” of the program. At the moment, the option that interests you is “Audio“, on the left. Right there, take a good look at the “Speaker” and “Microphone” sections. Our advice is that in the first of them, put the headphones you have connected as audio output. If you put the speakers as an audio output, chances are that the audio is picked up by the microphone, hence the importance of plugging in headphones.
And secondly, in ” Microphone ” you have to choose which microphone you want. If you have a webcam, Zoom will most likely activate this input by default, which is detrimental once you have a professional microphone. In this case, change it in a moment and calibrate both the volume of the ” Speaker ” and the “Microphone” so that both you and the receiver have a good sound.
Beyond these options, we are going to stay in this field to improve the audio in general. First of all, activate the option “Press and hold the SPACE key to reactivate your own microphone.” With this, what we are going to achieve is that every time you want to speak you have to press the “SPACE”. Likewise, it also enables ” Synchronize the buttons on headphones ” and “Mute my microphone when joining a meeting”.
To finish, if you press down fully on ” Advanced “, Zoom displays more audio options. These serve to suppress existing background noise or echo cancellation. You can check the option you want, but our advice is to leave it in “Automatic” (if you activate it in more “Severe” mode, you can risk that your sound will also be suppressed).
The video please
In Zoom, video is as important as audio. If you are making a video call, what you expect is to see the interlocutor well and that he does the same with you. For this reason, go to ” Video ” in the “Settings” section and observe the certain options that appear. We will explain them to you.
First of all, you have to take into account what is the resolution of your camera. You can make the image panoramic, but our recommendation is to leave everything in “Original size”. Also, try “Enable HD” (if your webcam allows it), click on “Reflect my video” and also “Retouch my appearance”.
On the other hand, the “Meetings” field will allow you to view different sections of importance for it. Here it is up to you, but you can make all the names of the participants of a video appear, the webcam is deactivated as soon as you enter a meeting or one of vital importance such as the video appears before entering the video call (for you see how you appear).
Ultimately, go back to “ Advanced ” and a tip: turn on all the options that appear (ALL, in capital letters). And as for the fields there are, leave everything in “Automatic” so that the software itself makes the necessary adjustments again.
Change the wallpaper
Now that we have already talked about audio and video, the two most essential sections of all, we go with other tricks that can help you to enhance the Zoom experience. The first is to put a background on your video call. Yes indeed. If you want the wall or what is behind you not to be seen, you can put your own virtual background.
To do this, again from ” Settings ” click on “Virtual background” and look at the options that appear. If you click on the “ + ” icon , Zoom lets you place an image or video as a background. Problem of this? Well, your image can be intertwined with the webcam, which creates a really unpleasant effect. To really take advantage of this option, you have no choice but to have a green chroma like the one used by many streamers, or to create a background that does not clash too much.
What is a program without its keyboard shortcuts? Thanks to these we get everything to go faster, so it is important to know them. To do this, go to ” Settings ” again and click on ” Keyboard shortcuts .”
From now on, the program lets you configure a wide combination of keys to make your life more accessible. You just have to activate those commands that adapt to what you demand and that’s it.
We are going to end this Zoom tutorial with the ” General ” section, which can be found within the “Settings” of the program. Here you will have many general options (never better said) so that the software adapts to what you are looking for.
For example, first of all, uncheck the “Start Zoom when Windows starts” option. The fewer programs that are started when running the operating system, the better for your PC, believe us, since it will suffer less when consuming system resources.
Once this is done, the rest is nothing more than enabling the options you want. For example, we have left checked the second box, which serves so that when minimizing Zoom, the screen appears at the top in tiny. Likewise, we have also enabled the ” Ask me for confirmation when leaving a meeting “, which is perfect for if you accidentally hit the close button, so that you get a message warning about this.
The rest is just looking at the different boxes and choosing the ones you want. For example, you can change the skin tone of the emoticons, in addition to configuring two monitors, copying the meeting link as soon as you access it, showing the connection time you have (this is quite curious), etc.
And so far this complete tutorial of the video conferencing program by antomomasia during this pandemic caused by the Covid-19. Hopefully you have learned the basics of this software, from how to enable local recording to how to change some default options that appear in the program. Remember that in the end you have the last decision when it comes to changing some aspects.