Working From Everywhere

How to make your co-workers think you’re working from Mordor

An elderly man in varying degrees of distress Sarasota, Florida

For the past year and a half, I’ve been working remotely for Coda. Fortunately, this has worked well since the company was already distributed with offices in California and Washington State.

Coda relies heavily on video conferencing, we use Zoom which has a virtual background feature that lets you choose a custom image as your backdrop, absolutely fooling all your co-workers into thinking that you’re not actually working from home (assuming your co-workers are as gullible as mine).

Zoom uses chroma key compositing to add a virtual background, which works best with a green backdrop since it doesn’t match non-Martian skin tones. I don’t like doing things halfway, so I decided to go all out and spend about $70 to buy a green screen and stand in order to add to make the most realistic virtual scene possible.

The set up is relatively painless and can be done in a couple of minutes, as shown here by a handsome anonymous model:

Every once in a while, I remember to take screen captures of the backgrounds I’ve used. I’ve collected a few here (I’ll try to update these, but no promises):

Dogs and Cats live together at the US Open before the Benfica match in a Black Hole within the White House Sauna which arrived via NYC subway to the Indy 500
English countryside in Bellevue / West Village with Winterfell’s armies supporting Wreck-It Ralph in the Spider-Verse in Bliss on Mars in King’s Landing.
King’s Landing gets Hamilton with source code in a doctor’s office on the NYSE candle-lit floor inside an airplane hosting the Democratic debates with E.T. in the background.
Tennis and Cricket in the Matrix, Paw Patrol goes for graffiti while Coda’s band eats sushi in the everglades before floods.
Greenlandic Hong Kong protestors visit the Sahara via TWA after a stop at the NYSE maze, followed by the G7 meeting before returning to a Floridian hurricane.
Hurricane Dorian goes to Vermont with a lion cub at the Paris Fashion Week with Democratic candidates in a submarine on a Tel Aviv rooftop party full of bugs from Dinoco.
The Coda team together in Lisbon via ancient boat that got upgraded in the SF Bay before the launch party on Halloween which also happened to be voting day for revolutionary war veterans.
Abbey road intersects with Penny Lane in the Antarctic glaciers during Thanksgiving aftermath in a library near the airport with the royal family and Jumanji.

Have suggestions for an upcoming background? Let me know on Twitter!