When using Google Meet in business, an office background will give you a more professional look than, say, a background of a beach or a forest.
In October of 2020, Google introduced the ability to replace your background in Google Meet. While Meet includes a number of stock backgrounds, you can upload one or more backgrounds of your choosing.
The ideal custom background image for Google Meet has a 16:9 aspect ratio, as this matches the dimensions of the participant video frame in Meet. With other aspect ratios, the vertical or horizontal sides of the image will be automatically cropped.
Video Quality When Using a Background
Before we discuss office backgrounds, first a note about video quality when using a background.
If you have used a Google Meet custom background, you may have noticed that your likeness can get distorted at the fringes. If you move too quickly, you may have seen even more distortion.
This is because a sharp foreground subject (you) relies on a consistent color behind the subject.
Enter the green screen.
Positioning a physical green screen behind you will improve your video quality when you use a virtual background image. The type of green screen that’s best for you depends on the configuration of your workspace, lighting and the position of your camera.
Because green is one of the least likely colors to be on you or on anything you’re wearing. Just make sure not to wear green clothing or jewelry—or that part of you will appear transparent on video.
When you use a green screen with Google Meet (or Zoom), you want the backdrop to completely fill your video frame so it looks like something this, absent any background image:
There’s more on green screen options below.
Adding an Office Background
There are both free and paid stock photo sources for office background images.
With a green screen in place, when you upload a custom background office image, such as this free one posted on Pexels by Marc Mueller, the edges around you will be sharper and the background will look more realistic.
Incidentally, most photos do not have a 16:9 aspect ratio—4:3 is typical. The above photograph of an office from Mark Mueller is 16:9.
Here is another example of background office wallpaper. This one was posted on Unsplash by Alesia Kazantceva. Like Pexels, Unsplash allows for free downoloads.
There are also premium photo site options such as ShutterStock and Adobe Stock. This office background—as you can see from the watermark—is from DepositPhotos.
Green Screen Options
What type of green screen should you use? Here are four options.
1. A collapsable green screen panel
A collapsable freestanding panel, such as this one from Elgato [ad], can be positioned anywhere in your workspace.
The downside to this panel is that it’s only 58.27 in / 148 cm across. Depending on your setup, this may not fill the Google Meet video panel horizontally.
2. A mountable green screen panel
The Elgato Green Screen MT [ad] is a better option in width at 78.74 in / 200 cm across. However, since this is typically mounted to a wall, your desk should be square to a wall. Your desk should not be too far from the wall so the green screen fills the video frame.
The Green Screen MT can be ceiling mounted, but tapping into a joist requires some precision.
3. A wall that’s painted with green screen equivalent paint
While it may not fit in with your home’s decor, another option is to paint the wall behind your desk chair with this green paint [ad].
A benefit to the painting option is that no space is taken up in the name of green. Also, the width of your “green screen” will be as wide as the wall that you paint.
4. A green muslin hanging from a stand
If you have a large workspace, using a stand and a green muslin like this [ad] will give you the most square footage. This setup gives you 10 horizontal feet of green screen.
With the right physical background and virtual office background, you can give yourself a more professional appearance while on a Google Meet.