Sunday, September 26, 2021

Stop Glasses Reflecting Screen During Video Conference

A problem for those of us who wear spectacles is reflections from the screen showing up in a video conference. Three ways I have found to reduce this are: a polarizing filter, custom spectacles, and a dark theme.

1. Polarizing Filter

An LCD screen uses polarized light to produce images. So a polarized filter over the web camera can block reflections from the screen. The clip-on lens kit I purchased has a polarizing filter, but this was not designed to be used in conjunction with the zoom lens. So I unscrewed the ring holding the polarizing filter in place and inserted it in under the zoom lens. This greatly reduces reflections. Those using DSLR cameras as web cameras will be able to purchase polarizing filters for these. 

2. Custom Spectacles

My optometrist (Andrew Watkins) is making me a custom pair of multi-focal spectacles for video conferences (computer glasses, or "Zoom-Specs"). The standard ones work reasonably well with a computer screen, but I have to tilt my head up slightly. This becomes uncomfortable, and increases the screen reflections.  It is also not an attractive look. The custom spectacles have the center section of the visual field set for my normal computer screen reading distance, and also an anti-reflective coating, to reduce screen reflections. Being multi-focal, there is still an area at the bottom for seeing close up, and at the top for seeing long distances. So these glasses can be worn around the office, or home, but are not suitable for driving.

3. Dark Theme

In addition, I have found that a dark theme on the computer desktop helps. This has a black background with white text, so the screen emits much less light. How this is set varies between operating systems, and browsers. 

Zoom will go to dark theme, when this is set in the Microsoft Windows, or Apple OS operating systems. However, this doesn't happen with Linux (which I use), or with Android. I have suggested Zoom fix this. It could be rectified by having Zoom follow the operating system theme, or if that is not possible, add a manual setting. Or, Zoom could simply decide to make a dark theme the default for the Android and Linux versions.

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