How I prerecorded myself in video meetings for a week

Using programs to create virtual cameras and microphones, I set out to prerecord myself in video meetings for an entire week without my colleagues noticing.

Jesse Orrall Senior Video Producer
Jesse Orrall (he/him/his) is a Senior Video Producer for CNET. He covers future tech, sustainability and the social impact of technology. He is co-host of CNET's "What The Future" series and Executive Producer of "Experts React." Aside from making videos, he's a certified SCUBA diver with a passion for music, films, history and ecology.
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Jesse Orrall
2 min read

Prerecording my presence in video calls didn't save me any time or stress that's for sure.

Jesse Orrall/CNET

Do you really need to be in your next Zoom meeting? It's quite tempting during the pandemic shutdown to see if there's a way to "be" in a meeting without actually being in it.

And I'm not just talking about having my camera off. I wanted to see if I could appear as a fully engaged employee without actually being in the meeting at all. So I set out on an experiment to see if I could automate my presence in video meetings for an entire week without my co-workers or supervisors noticing.

Watch this: How I automated my presence in video calls for a week (and nobody knew)

To start I must say that I am very grateful to have this job and I know that working from home is a privilege that not everybody enjoys. That said, since this is my situation, I decided to have some fun with it.

For my experiment, I used two programs: Ecamm Live, which allowed me to create a virtual camera and Loopback, which allowed me to create a virtual microphone.

Ecamm Live lets me prerecord various "Scenes" to play on demand. The audio and video from those scenes were routed through the virtual camera and microphone and into whatever video conferencing application we were using for a particular meeting (Zoom, Hangouts, etc.). Ideally, it would be a step up from the dummy and audio system used in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

For one whole week I used my prerecorded videos in video meetings instead of my live feed. To see how the experiment played out -- and whether I actually fooled all my co-workers -- check out my video I made detailing the experience.

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