streamyard, virtual backgrounds, and room dividers

I live in a studio apartment. That means quite a bit of stuff is visible from my computer camera. As you might imagine, I’m a bit fan of virtual backgrounds. For work, it is easier. It’s not a problem if my co-workers see my work stuff, I don’t care if they see my mess and seeing a place that isn’t ideal for work just shares the message that I’m not enjoying my working from home full time here.

For non-work, it’s even harder. I have a nice spot for my personal machine/desk. I didn’t have a good spot for my work machine/documents. I wound up using the “empty” path that is right behind my personal computer. (Empty is in quotes because I used to do physical projects, store things there, dump them as I walked in, etc)

This means that the camera on my personal machine has a great view of all my work stuff. For JChampions Conf, I’m moderating a few sessions. Streamyard doesn’t have virtual backgrounds (unless you have an actual green or blue screen.) I don’t know how much I’ll be on camera if at all. But I won’t know until the day of. This leaves me with some inconvenient choices.

  1. Put away my work stuff. That’s problematic as some of the sessions I’m moderating are adjacent too or in between work hours.
  2. Move my personal laptop elsewhere. That’s awkward because I have two monitors, a proper keyboard, etc at my personal desk. Moving to the couch or my bed is not going to be comfortable.
  3. Turn off my video and be audio only. The default image is a blank circle. That looks terrible. (I don’t know how to upload a photo instead. And it’s a shared account so I wouldn’t even if i could.)
  4. Use a physical barrier. I own a room divider so I dragged it behind me. It’s annoying to set it up and leaves a crack of orange (the wall). But it does hide the stuff. I actually thought about using it to block off my work area so I wouldn’t see it constantly. But it comes with a limitation. I have a width of 14 inches to get to my personal computer and a width of 13 inches to get to my work machine when it is setup. Which means I’m not leaving it up and will need to set it up each of the four days. (The width of a human shoulder to shoulder is typically larger than 13-14 inches so I have to turn sideways to move around my apartment when this is setup.

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