Great turnout today, for our first AFPFMA virtual coffee catch up. What a success! Thanks to all AFPFMA members who turned up, very enjoyable with lots of laughs, which is what it’s all about. We gas bagged for over an hour and was well worth it. Zoom extended the time which was terrific.

Join us for a coffee catch-up online via Zoom every Wednesday 10am (AEST). So grab a cuppa, turn on your web cam if you have one (not compulsory) and join in the fun. Just like sitting down with your mates for a brew and a yarn.

Zoom is a great way to have an on-line meeting and get together in these difficult times. It’s very important to look after our mental health, so reconnecting is a great way to do that.

We will be having a private weekly event for all AFPFMA members, as we are limited to 100 guests only. The Zoom Link will be provided to all AFPFMA members on our private Facebook page.

The event is open to AFPFMA members only to try and ease the boredom of self isolation for many. It’s important that we keep connected and maintain good mental health.


Online coffee catch-ups have now finished.

Here are our top 10 tips from Gizmodo to juice up that Zoom meeting.


1. Check your video feed in advance

Checking your video feed in advance means you can make sure you look presentable and avoid a scramble to get in the right position and at the right angle when a call actually starts. Most video apps will let you do this quite easily, but you can also use QuickTime Player on a Mac or the Camera app on Windows to see what your webcam is seeing.

2. Make sure your mic is working

You don’t want to waste the first five minutes of your video call asking if everyone can hear you OK. Fortunately, your video-calling software of choice should allow you to do this if you check the options. There are also testing tools built into macOS (Sound then Input in System Preferences) and Windows (System then Sound in Settings).

3. Think about lighting

You don’t need to have your home office lit like a movie set, but you should think about light. A sunny window or bright bulb behind you is going to put you in shadow, so place a light source in front of you so people can see your face. A lamp might be enough, rather than the usual overhead room light—modern-day webcams are often better at shooting darker scenes than you might have realised.

4. Pick the right angle

If you’re on a laptop, then you might have a webcam pointed up your nose. This is bad, so try and position the camera at eye level for the sake of everyone who has to look at you. Keep background clutter and distractions to a minimum, too—the video preview advice we’ve already talked about should be able to help you.

5. Use headphones and the mute button

Headphones are best for video conference calls, especially when you’re in a group with a lot of people, otherwise the audio from other feeds tends to loop back through your own device’s microphone. Make sure you know where the mute button is, too, and use it when needed, otherwise your sighing, coughing and fidgeting could be very distracting.

6. Update your software

This is something we talk about a lot, but make sure you’re running the latest version of your video calling app at all times. This is something you should check in advance, rather than during a call. It means you won’t cause any compatibility issues or break any features while you’re chatting to friends or colleagues because you’re using an out-of-date app.

7. Shut down other apps

Even if you’ve got a relatively speedy internet connection, it’s a good idea to limit the other demands on your web link while you’re making a video call—maybe don’t have YouTube streaming in the background, press pause on major app updates, and (if you’re at home) discourage your family members from starting an online gaming session at the same time.

8. Set up virtual backgrounds in Zoom

If Zoom is the video chat app you’re using, you can have a lot of fun with virtual backgrounds. Head to Video Settings on the desktop (click the arrow next to the video icon) or the More menu on mobile (tap the three dots). If you’ve got some creative ideas for backgrounds, there are so many places you can get gorgeous backgrounds. Unsplash is a free site where you can get royalty free or stock photos. Pixabay also has over 80,000 free background pictures and images. Lastly, Zoom has their own set of fun backgrounds to choose from. (Zoom recommends that these images have an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 px).

Or just Google “virtual background for zoom.” Here are some to get you started:

Enabling Virtual Background during a Meeting

You can turn it on during a meeting. When in Zoom during the meeting

  1. In a Zoom meeting click the ^ arrow next to Start/Stop Video.
  2. Click Choose a virtual background…

If prompted, click Download to download the package for virtual background without a green screen.

      3. Click the + icon to add your own image or video. That’s it.

Good idea to check the “Mirror my video” box.

9. Make sure you’re looking your best in Zoom

Zoom can also make sure you’re looking your best with a few discrete enhancements on top of your video feed (like smoothing your wrinkles). In the desktop app, you’ll find the Touch up my appearance option in the Video Settings panel (click the small arrow by the video icon on the toolbar). It’s in the general Settings screen on mobile.

10. Look at the camera

When you’re speaking to the group, it’s a good idea to be looking straight at the camera. Others will see you as if it was a conversation, rather than looking at the screen. The old “looking into your eyes” when speaking is always the best way to get the message across.

If you need more help, here is a link to get you connected to Zoom. CLICK HERE.