Is your room background making you dread having to take video calls while at home?
While the background of your home-office or study-space might not distract you from your work in the slightest, unexpected video calls happen to all of us.
When they do, the stress of having your boss or your teacher get a direct look into your potentially disorganized personal space immediately sets in. But how can you prevent said stress from occurring in the first place?
Thankfully, Skype offers its users an optimal and accessible solution to this issue in the form of the Blurred Background Effect. A video setting incorporated into the Desktop version of the app, allowing for surrounding privacy at the easy switch of a button.
Akin to its sister app, Microsoft Teams, Skype has added this feature to ensure that all users get to enjoy being the focal point of their video conferences, without having to worry about the little distractions in the background of their home office. Below we’ll take a look at how to enable the Blurred Video Background feature on Skype.
A key factor to keep in mind before we get started is that this background effect is currently available only for the Desktop version of the Skype app, so there will be no coverage of the mobile app on this guide.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
- Blurring Your Background During a Video Call
- Blurring Your Background for All Video Calls
- Fixing Any Version-Related Problems
1. Blurring Your Background During a Skype Video Call
If you only want to temporarily enable the Background Blur feature for a specific video call that you are on, or are about to be on, you can do so directly from the call screen, with little to no difficulty. Do the following:
- After you have answered the Skype Call, navigate to the section of the call window with the Camera button.
- On the window that pops up, select Choose Background Effect.
- From the available options, select Blur.
- Your camera’s background feed should now appear blurred, with your facial and bodily features remaining clear and fully visible.
This one-time solution is great for any surprise video calls that might sneak up on you when you least expect them. However, you might consider taking preventive precautions for any future Skype video calls you might have, so as to avoid the stress of being put on the spot.
2. Blurring Your Background for All Skype Video Calls
Should you prefer that your background stay blurred for all your future video calls, the process is similarly easy and accessible. Here’s what you need to do:
- Access the Settings tab from the user menu next to your profile name and picture.
- Under Audio & Video, select the Blur effect from the Choose Background Effect category.
- Going forward, your camera’s background feed will be blurred, and you will be able to observe that through the live Camera feed visible above the effect category.
An important factor to keep in mind, however, is that Microsoft has stated that the Blur Background effect isn’t infallible, and is still prone to sporadic partial obscurity or the inability to recognize an item as part of the background and not the foreground.
In the first scenario, the facial and motion capture recognition software sometimes has trouble discerning whether the person in front of the camera is part of the foreground or not. As you can probably imagine, this causes a fair amount of issues when multiple people in front of the same camera try to engage with this feature.
If, however, the setting isn’t properly obscuring the entirety of your camera’s background feed, and you are set on hiding a certain object from view, you should move it beforehand. Alternatively, if you’re using a laptop, leave your workspace for the duration of the call for a location with an empty background.
3. Fixing Any Version Related Problems
In the case that your version of Skype doesn’t give you the option of a blurred background in the first place, you needn’t fret, since the solution is quite simple. This just points to the fact that you need to update Skype to the latest version, which automatically encompasses the blurred background effect.
The main causer of the issue could be related to the fact that, if you haven’t used Skype in a decent period of time, then the automatic software updates will have stopped, and as such, you might be required to manually update the app yourself. To do just that, follow the steps below:
- (Only for Mac Users) From the Help menu, select Check for Updates.
- Download and Install the update, which will restart the app.
- (Only for Windows 10 Users) Access the Microsoft Store and search for Skype.
- Click it, then click the Update prompt.
- (Only for Windows 7&8 Users) Access Settings from the menu.
- Under Help & Feedback, check the current version of your Skype App.
- A Check for Updates Manually will be visible. Select it, and wait until the update process runs its course.
- (For All Users) If you see the tick mark message as shown above, then you will have updated to the version with the Blur Background Effect.
- Set it up by following the steps that we have mentioned above.
By now, you should be a blurred background master, knowing the ins and outs of the feature by heart.
To Sum Everything Up
Video conferencing has become a defining staple of the Digital Age. Equal parts necessity and reliable chatting tool, it can bring with it a multitude of quirky scenarios such as the Blurred Background one, which we have taken a thorough look at in this article.
Features such as this one provide a much needed form of soft-privacy, one that maybe we hadn’t thought of when we first started engaging with conferencing apps such as Skype, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams, but that certainly proves valuable with the advent of long-distance conferencing.
The main takeaway here is that every modern problem has the perfect modern solution to go along with it. You just have to do a little bit of outside-the-box thinking and you’ll figure it out in no time. If you have any further questions about how to enable blurred video background on Skype, please don’t hesitate to post them down in the comments.
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