Since the lockdown started, many of us have been relying on video conferencing platforms to stay in touch with colleagues, friends and loved ones.
Whether video calls are for personal or business reasons, it’s easy to be aware of the background elements that appear on the camera when you call from your home.
You never know what people will think when they finally see your pile of dirty clothes or your messy living room at 9 a.m. And everyday home video calls are a bit boring. It’s not like having the luxury of meeting people in a scenic park or a rustic cafe when you get away from society.
But with popular video calling platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, you can actually change the background of your calls. Although there are options to purchase shares, you have the option to download your own. We have collected the 20 best free virtual backgrounds for personal and professional use.
(Image credit: BBC)
If you’re a fan of the BBC, you’ll be happy to hear that the broadcaster has its own video calling backgrounds. There are great photos of wildlife, including a cute sea turtle and 100 empty sets from the BBC archives. If you’re in the mood for a ride in the Tardis or a drink in Old Vic, you’re in luck.
(Image credit: Getty Images)
With an archive of over 200 million images, Getty is one of the largest visual media companies in the world. It also offers virtual backgrounds for remote workers. Picked by hand and meant to liven up your Zoom calls, they include Jurassic dinasours, the Eygptian pyramids and red carpet photographers. All backgrounds are completely free and can be downloaded directly to your device.
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(Image credit: Adobe)
Using Adobe Spark, you can access and resize a wide range of professional designs to use as virtual Zoom backgrounds. You can also create a custom background by adding photos, text, icons and logos, which only takes a few minutes. You can sign up via Gmail, Facebook, Apple ID, email, or Adobe account.
(Image credit: Pexels)
The Pexels Royalty Free Images website has over 500 attractive video conferencing backgrounds, which include everything from offices and colleagues working together to hanging out friends and people celebrating their birthday. They are free, high resolution and easy to download to any device.
(Image credit: Disney Pixar)
The BBC is not the only media giant to publish its own track record for video calls; Disney is looking to “brighten up your next video call” with a series of Pixar backgrounds. They include scenes from iconic movies like Toy Story, Finding Memo, Monsters Inc and The Incredibles. It’s like reliving your childhood!
(Image credit: Disney Parks)
DisneyLand wouldn’t be a bad place at the moment, but although locking makes that impossible, you can get there virtually because you can download the backgrounds of video calls from iconic Disney park locations worldwide.
(Image credit: Fox)
Fox “Animation Domination Zoom Backgrounds”
If you’re a fan of cartoons, it’s definitely worth checking out Fox’s Domination Zoom backgrounds. The American audiovisual giant offers a selection of backgrounds from shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy, and they are completely free. Simply save the backgrounds to your device and upload them directly to Zoom.
(Image credit: Marvel)
According to Marvel, video calls with your original background are “typical, trite and not at all dangerous”. So, with more people using their computers for work and pleasure, he has released cinematic photos from his most iconic locations. For example, you can download a high resolution background from Wakanda. Again, you don’t have to pay a penny.
(Image credit: Star Wars)
A little fanatic of Star Wars? Then you’ll be delighted to learn that you can download free high-resolution backgrounds from iconic movies. Whether your call is personal or professional, we have all dreamed of traveling the galaxies. History includes the Millennium Falcon, the Death Star, Cloud City and Jakku.
(Image credit: Microsoft)
Context of the teams
For anyone using Microsoft Teams, you can download over 300 selected custom backgrounds from this website. They were sorted in batches in areas such as graffiti, offices, buildings, nature and popular TV shows. You can download them on Windows PC and Mac.
(Image credit: Airbnb)
Despite the fact that we live in a closed neighborhood and can’t fly to a sunny place, that doesn’t mean that you can’t seem to be in a nice place during a video call. In fact, Airbnb aims to “transport you outside” through its virtual background collection. It’s full of breathtaking snapshots, including a Balian treehouse at a vintage house in Hollywood.
(Image credit: NASA)
Space lovers will rejoice that NASA allows people to download free galactic backgrounds to use for video calls, including launching a parachute on Mars, aerial shots of various parts of the world (including the Dnieper in Ukraine), a glimpse of Jupiter and other wonders of space.
(Image credit: virtual dates)
Since the lockdown, a lot of people have had virtual meetings and catch-ups. Of course, the background of your bedroom or living room is not as impressive as the great outdoors or a chic bar. But the Hinge dating app has its back with free backgrounds for “make your Zoom dates look a bit more like real dates,” which he posted on Twitter.
(Image credit: ITV)
ITV’s Coronation Street
Fancy a pint in the return of the Rover? It’s sort of possible with these free backgrounds from ITV’s Coronation Street. They present iconic scenes from the soap, such as The Kabin, Roy’s Rolls and various houses of the characters in the series.
(Image credit: Lego)
Lego is another high-profile company that has its own background images for video calling. Seeking to make video calls fun, he released high-resolution images of his toy characters traveling through galaxies, sailing on pirate ships, hanging around in the jungle, and more. They are perfect for anyone with children.
(Image credit: IKEA)
Walking around Ikea is really an adventure and sometimes gives the impression of being on a film set. You can now present his famous designs on your video calls. The furniture giant has a huge collection of video call backgrounds, including desks, celebrations, views, romantic dates and spaces.
(Image credit: Canva)
Canva, a graphic design platform, offers a range of free Zoom backgrounds and animations. Whether it’s a personalized business card, a classroom blackboard, swirling stars, city decor or cute dogs, there are many fun and professional designs to choose from. You can even create your own virtual background if you can’t find something for yourself and you feel creative.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)
Shutterstock is another popular graphics website offering free backgrounds to customize Zoom and Skype calls. There are 50 static backgrounds available as part of a downloadable pack, ranging from desktop photos for business calls to stunning geographic photos that make you feel like you’re in a distant destination rather than lounging in your pajamas at home.
(Image credit: Niio)
Like many others, the moving image platform Niio has released a collection of 40 free Zoom backgrounds in response to COVID-19. They include pieces by leading artists, such as the algorithmic paintings of Camouflage abstract landscapes by Quayola and Joe Hamilton’s. Cézanne Unfixed. According to Niio, his goal is to inspire people when they work from home.
(Image credit: Unsplash)
Unsplash is probably the best resource for low-cost premium stock images, covering everything from business to architecture. You can easily use them as a background for video calls and there are thousands of options available. If you don’t want to spend hours searching for the perfect image, it’s definitely worth browsing the Unsplash homework page.