Tools that record or stream live from your webcam focus mostly on video quality and for good reason. A video calling app can have all the bells and whistles you can imagine but if the call quality is poor, no one will use it. While call quality is important, it’s not the only tool that you need. Skype has recently begun to pay attention to what once made it a great calling app by adding features that actually make the call experience better. It recently added live subtitles to calls and a new feature now lets you blur the background on Skype when you’re in a call.
Blur the background on Skype
This is a new feature so make sure you’re running the latest version of the Skype app. According to the Skype team, this feature is only available on desktops at present and most desktops will be able to support it. This suggests that the feature relies to some extend on the hardware other than the webcam that you use. There is no list of hardware requirements available so you’re going to have to manually check if the feature works for you or not.
To blur the background on Skype, open the app and start a video call. Once the video call is live, you need to access Skype’s settings. On the Settings’ window, go to the Audio Video tab. Under the Camera preview, there will be a button called ‘Blur my background.’ Turn it on, and return to your call.
The background will now be blurred enough that you cannot make it out. You will still be in focus but everything else will no longer be visible. While we can’t say for sure what the hardware requirements for this feature might be, we can guess that a good, HD webcam isn’t one of them.
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The blur background option appears to come and go at present so perhaps Skype is alpha/beta testing it. During testing, we were able to blur the background for a call but the option later disappeared from the Settings which is why we recommend enabling it only after your call is live.
The blurred background is great for privacy or if you just have a messy room that you don’t want anyone to see. The blur itself is great. It deals really well with movement and doesn’t accidentally unblur the background or blur the main subject i.e., you. Given how good the feature is, Skype could add a tool to completely remove the video background too if it wanted.