Saturday, June 27, 2020

Zoom, Teams and Green Screens



It is hard to believe that six months ago was the first time I heard of Zoom, my office announced that we were replacing our conference call service with it.  Reading into the details, I realized that it was not only conference calls but also video conferencing.  Jay and I used Google video for a decade until he retired for a daily virtual visits when he was teaching.  Back in March, while I was traveling in Ireland I received an office email saying that the office was deploying Microsoft Teams - I had no idea what that was.  The reaction from my boss, is we are not going to use it until they tell us what it is.  Teams combines video conferencing, calendar, instant messaging and a bunch of other crap into one clunky interface.  Charlie was right, without training it is confusing to use, but we are using it.  

Today I organize Zoom meetings, as easily as I send an email message (there is a plug in on my office email for Zoom that I have not tried to use yet.) It is the quickest, easiest way for me to meet with anyone, nearly anywhere.  Last Friday I has a planning call with a collaborator in Hawaii, we just needed to find a time that was not before breakfast for her, and not after bedtime for me.  

My desk at home is in my bedroom.  Which is also my studio, and my archive.  It is a little disorganized - just the way I like it, but not necessarily pretty.  Hence the green screens.  Both Zoom and Teams have a virtual green screen option, that allows you to appear in virtually any location.  They offer some standard ones, but there is also a "+" sign where you can upload your personal backgrounds.  I uploaded the library at Trinity College in Dublin.  About the third weekly staff meeting, Charlie remarked that I likely had other fun places I could appear in.  So I started changing the location weekly.  A couple of weeks ago I was in the middle of the colosseum in Rome brining multiple remarks about not being eaten by the lions.  On the call with Jody in Hawaii, she showed me how to improve the green screen effect, by clamping a "green screen" to the back of desk chair.  The screen is on order. 

Perhaps I should go to the shore next week. 

Where would you go?  

15 comments:

  1. I don't know where I would go. But I would enjoy being a meeting participant to see where you go. That's a great idea... and a great gimmick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was in the Yorkshire Dales this week, with sheep over my shoulders.

      Delete
  2. release the lions! you could have lots of fun with all your photos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Might as well have fun while we are doing it this way

      Delete
  3. I would go to a restaurant. It's the thing I have missed most for the last three months. White table cloths, fresh flowers on the table, sparkling glasses and all the right cutlery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a wonderful photo from lunch in Normandy, in a little place we stumbled across, one of the best

      Delete
  4. We have a Zoom meeting with our sisters and their families on Sunday. Where would I go? Anywhere but there! Everybody talking at once. Nobody listening to anybody. Long silences. How many times do I need to pretend I have to pee? This probably isn't what you're looking for, huh?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A friend of mine teaches middle school art. One if her students took a screenshot and posted it as a virtual background and wandered away to do other things while the virtual class was going on. When he eventually got caught, he said, "with 30 faces on the screen, I figured it would be a few days before you noticed mine wasn't moving."

      Delete
    2. This made me laugh. Thank you.

      Delete
  5. My step-daughter talked about have a Zoom dinner/TV watching session with the two of them and also the other step-daughter, her hubby, and their two kids--our grandkids. This hasn't happened yet, and the thought of it makes me shudder. I like being with them all, but to coordinate dinner and TV viewing is unbelievably hair-raising. We eat at 5:30ish every night. Usually they start preparing food at 7:00, etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For years we had a standing 7:00 PM video call when J was teaching. Not to get together to eat, just to talk about life and our days.

      Delete
    2. That would be a better option for us.

      Delete
  6. So far I've managed to avoid Zoom but I will probably use it for our building's Owners' Corporation AGM. I'd better take a crash course in Zoom before then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It’s easy, I should do a zoom webinar on how to use zoom

      Delete
  7. /May I suggest Discworld? The plums are especially good.

    ReplyDelete