Home alone this Christmas? Use our top tech hacks to make virtual celebrations a success

Published: 22 December 2021
Published: 22 December 2021

With the Omicron COVID-19 variant wreaking havoc, it seems that it could be a case of ‘here we go again’ this Christmas, with more of us likely to spend time with our loved ones virtually over the festive period, for another year running.

Whilst virtual celebrations are far from ideal, it is still possible to keep the festive spirit alive online this year.

Here we share some tips to help you make the most of your virtual festivities.

Picture perfect

Whilst you would have thought we’d all have become more technologically savvy since the start of the pandemic (almost a staggering 2 years ago), we all know that this is not the case.

From bad Wi-Fi connections to being stuck on mute, it seems some of us will never get used to operating in a virtual world.

Whilst you might not be able to solve all of these problems, investing in a good webcam can help alleviate some of these issues.

When looking for a good webcam, whether for your laptop or PC, look out for the following features:

  • 1080p resolution
  • Tilt adjustment
  • Auto-focus
  • Automatic noise reduction
  • Low light correction
  • Built-in stereo or array microphone

Refine your Zoom game

Zoom is not just useful for the office environment – it also has some useful features of which you can make the most whether you’re hosting a virtual party, a Christmas quiz (something we hoped we had left behind in 2020…), or a festive games night!

The following features may come in handy:

Changing your background

If you feel like adding a festive touch to your screen, go to Settings > Virtual Background, where you can then select a provided image or upload your own.

The Zoom immersive view feature lets you put yourself in the same virtual background as your fellow video chat participants. So, if you all want to feel as though you’re in the same room together, click Immersive View (in the top right corner), and choose from one of Zoom’s provided scenes or upload your own.

Using breakout rooms

If you are playing a team game or quiz where you need teams to confer privately, use breakout rooms to split participants into separate sessions. The meeting host can group everyone into these separate sessions automatically or manually, and they can then switch between sessions at any time.

Keyboard shortcuts – Use the space bar to mute and unmute

We’re all familiar with the desperate scramble to click the microphone button and mute ourselves when there’s an unexpected development in the background of our video call, right? But did you know you can actually press and hold the spacebar to quickly mute and unmute your mic?

So, if you are having a virtual Christmas dinner this year and find you need to mute yourself quickly, remember this spacebar trick and save yourself some embarrassment!

Use Gallery view to see everyone in the call at once

If there are quite a number of you trying to get involved, you may want to be able to see everyone at once, rather than just the person speaking. To do this you need to turn on Gallery view (in the top right corner), where you’ll then see the screens of all participants displayed on one page.

Use the ‘Touch Up My Appearance’ filter

The ‘Touch Up My Appearance’ filter may be handy for those that have decided not to put too much effort in whilst staying at home. This filter does what it says on the tin, enhancing your digital appearance and giving your picture display a softer focus.

To turn it on, click the ‘up’ arrow next to Start Video. Click Video Settings and, under My Video, check the box for Touch Up My Appearance.

 

Whilst we hope these tips will help enhance any virtual celebrations you may have this festive season, we hope that, by next year, they will be a thing of the past!

However you may be celebrating the festive season, all of us here at Infuse wish you a joyous Christmas and a fantastic New Year!

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