How I automated my presence in video calls for a week (and nobody knew)
I'm gonna try and automate my presence in video calls for one week and see what happens.
And to my boss, please don't fire me.
Before we get started, let me just say that I'm very grateful to have this job.
I understand that working from home is a privilege that not everybody enjoys.
But since this is my situation, I figured I might as well have some fun with it.
With that being said, I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels a little unproductive spending hours a week in meetings where I contribute little to nothing to the conversation.
So I designed a little experiment In a world where digital avatars and artificial humans seem to be on the verge of becoming a part of our new normal, I wanted to see if it was possible to replace my live camera feed with a pre recorded digital presence without my co workers or supervisors noticing.
To start, I needed software that would let me create a virtual camera.
I went with a program called Ecamm Live but there's lots of other options out there.
Just make sure whatever software you choose is compatible with your computer.
For Audio I used a program called loopback, which allowed me to send the audio from ECAM live to a virtual microphone that these video conference apps can recognize and connect with.
This first meeting is about an hour long, rather than record myself staring for an hour which wouldn't save me any time.
I recorded a five minute loop of myself staring at my computer and then looped it backwards and forwards.
Here's the loop in ECAM I can set it as my output with a simple click.
Now I just have to choose this virtual camera when the meeting begins.
blinking and the sip of coffee that I take during the loop look a bit weird in reverse.
Hopefully no one says anything about it.
For the first test, I chose a meeting with a lot of people where I usually am not asked to speak The meeting went flawlessly.
I wasn't called upon for the whole hour.
I just peacefully stared into my camera.
Even when I awkwardly took a sip of coffee in reverse.
No one suspected a thing.
Now it's time to take it up a notch.
Tomorrow morning, I know I'm gonna have to say what I'm working on for the day, which means I'm gonna have to pre record a lot more than just me staring at my computer.
He can live has a scenes feature which I'm gonna use to preload clips and play them on demand.
I can keep working on it, developing it a little more.
Figure out an angle.
That sounds good.
Yeah, we can we can chat more about it offline if we have to.
I think my internet connection is bugging a little bit today.
I'm having a hard time hearing you guys.
I'm not sure why it's, it's breaking up a little bit for me and let me let me try slacking.
You Even though I feel pretty good about the clips I prepared, it wasn't enough to stop existential dread from creeping up in the final hour.
I am getting nervous.
It's a lot more involved than the last meeting that I did.
I hope my co workers end up seeing this as like the fun experiment.
It's supposed to be and not like some Creepy weird thing that I shouldn't have done.
Don't remember me for this video please remember me for the 30 meter telescope video or the Mars rover video.
Those were better.
To make matters worse, I just realized my one hour quiet stare loop includes a dip to black every five minutes that I forgot to clip off.
There's not enough time to fix it before the meeting, so we'll just have to roll with it.
Luckily the dips to black seem to go unnoticed.
Now let's see what happens when pre recorded Jesse says his first words.>> Jesse.
gonna shoot the bricklaying robot today and start the Edit for that should be ready by Wednesday or Thursday and we're going to be working on developing.
The new series with Logan and Ashley as well.
Cool, Trevor, you and I have some one on one time.
All right, well, now it is down to the hardest part of the experiment, which is the video pitch meeting where I not only have to pitch a video idea that I want to make, I have to potentially answer any follow up questions about that idea.
Wish me luck,>> Jesse.>> Yeah, for the deep fakes video.
I think it's definitely an important thing to cover, especially with the elections coming up.
And just in general not being sure if you can trust that the video that you're seeing is as a real person or not.>> I can love this.
I think the idea can you guys spot the fake the fake ones?>> Yeah, that's a great idea.>> It literally could be like our editors on camera.
Looking at a video and saying can you spot the fake ones and then you can reveal which ones are the real ones.
Thinking the dialogue was over I triggered my sounds good reaction, only to realize that my coworker Trevor still had something to add.
I think all three of you are crazy, but go for.
Sorry, Chase, I didn't mean to talk over you.
In order to smooth over the crosstalk and respond to Trevor, I triggered my happy reaction which ended up looking a little awkward but it seems to have done the trick.
That was close.
The hard part is over experiments successful I was able to automate my video calls for an entire week without anybody catching on.
But maybe the hardest part is still ahead of me.
I still have to confess.
What's up everybody I have pre recorded my confession for today.
I told my boss that I need a little bit of time it started the meeting to make a little announcement.
He probably thinks that I'm doing something normal like getting married or having a kid.
No such luck.
Now Jesse asked to speak first Jesse had something to share very mysterious, but I don't know what it's about.
What's up Jesse?
I don't want to take up too much time.
I just wanted to let everybody know that For the past week, been working on this series with Logan and Ashley called automate my life.
And the pilot episode is going to be about trying to automate your presence in video calls.
So for the past week, all of my responses and my presence in these video meetings has been pre recorded, including this message right here.
Hear so That's **** brilliant.
I love it.
You probably can't put in **** brilliance in the video though.
I feel so betrayed Jessie.
I feel so betrayed.
Yeah, it was pretty challenging.
I was definitely worried I was gonna get found out Throughout the week, but nobody was really able to tell that I was recording including now this is also the recording.
So I'm sorry I had to
��wait a second
But this technique of automating your video calls definitely isn't for everybody.
It's probably best for people who have to be present in video meetings without actually participating in them.
I definitely didn't save myself any time or stress pre recording my answers and setting up this experiment.
Most of the responses that I recorded, never even got used, and I still had to pay close attention in the meetings in case somebody call them Most of all, it just didn't feel good pranking my co workers.
These video meetings are the only Face to Face Time I Get with them in these strange times.
The biggest lesson that I learned from all this is that when I'm there, I actually want to be there.
That being said, it was pretty cool seeing my co workers joke about it during our WWDC coverage.
I did the thing where I just left this nice talking face.
But I pre-recorded it.
As always, thanks so much for watching, I'm your host Jessy Oral, stay safe out there everybody.
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