With more people working from home, video conference calls have become a new normal. But video calls still aren’t the same as an in-person meeting, and Zoom hopes to bridge some of that gap with a new Immersive Mode. It changes the call to make everyone appear to be in the same room.
Immersive Mode works somewhat like Microsoft Team’s “Together Mode” by cutting out people at the head and shoulder level and grouping them in a shared virtual background. Unlike standard virtual backgrounds where everyone picks their own backdrop, Immersive Mode tries to make it seem like you’re all in the same conference room or classroom.
Zoom took things a step further than Microsoft and made a few options for the shared virtual background. While the class and conference room settings are the predictable option, there’s an art gallery view if you want a “classy” look. That mode retains some of the participant’s actual background to achieve the “painting” look. And you can create your own Immersive Mode backgrounds, though Zoom says you’ll want to use the same file type, aspect ratio, and resolution recommendations it has for virtual backgrounds.
Zoom says both free and pro users can take advantage of Immersive Mode, you’ll just need to update to the latest version of Zoom on desktop and mobile. Anyone without the update will see generic backgrounds instead. If the call has more than 25 people, the extras will go into a thumbnail strip view at the top of the screen.
Immersive Mode is rolling out right now, and hosts can turn it on and adjust and resize participants today.