valex13 I also have issues using Zoom. I'm now pretty sure my overall problem is flicker causing migraine. This first started with LED lights in the workplace, but now I'm more sensitive to other sources of flicker too. The Zoom video feed has flicker. Some of that is individual pixels in the videos noticeably flickering/dancing. This is more pronounced when the video is shot in a darker environment. There’s also obvious flicker that maybe has to do with framerate(?) of a person's camera and/or Zoom software - I sometimes see a ceiling fan in someone’s video that flashes in a stroboscopic way. Then sometimes someone will be lit by flickering LED and the flashes are picked up by their camera. There may be an issue with the overall Zoom software-I’m pretty sure the screen share video is also irritating, but I usually avoid looking at that when someone else is sharing.
I had left my old job after the school installed LED lights that caused new debilitating migraines. I got a new job with a science education outreach organization. I've needed to use Zoom for occasional teaching during the pandemic. Just a couple seconds of the Zoom video feed can start me on the way to a migraine.
For staff meetings I completely hide the Zoom video feed. I just get people to share documents with me later if they were important. Often I just dim my monitor to completely off and just listen while looking into the sunshine outside to give my head a monitor break.
Here's what I do when teaching to reduce the chance of getting a migraine or to reduce its intensity when it happens anyway:
- Brightly illuminate myself to reduce the dancing pixels in my own video.
- Shine a bright flicker-free light directly into my eyes so I perceive the screen flicker less. I have a flexible holder for my iPhone rigged up so I can use the phone camera for lab demonstrations. I have a bright light clipped onto that, so it’s only about 18 inches away from my eyes and shining directly in my eyes.
- Use gallery mode instead of speaker mode to avoid seeing a large video of an individual person.
- Make the Zoom video window big enough to see the max # of students, but not larger than that. It helps for each of their individual videos to be as small as possible. I’ve found I have less of an issue with larger classes because the individual videos are smaller.
- Hide the video gallery window when I don’t actually need to monitor student reactions. When possible, look at what I’m screen-sharing (it isn’t viewed through a Zoom filter) rather than at the student gallery.
- If I notice extreme flicker in a student's video (like flickering LED light), cover that video with another window or push it off the side of the monitor - don’t look at it.
- Make the slides, etc. that I intend to screen share easy on my eyes so I don’t exacerbate my problem. For me, this means slides with a dark background.
- When finished, alway take a long break from the screen, look into the sunshine, and eat something. Try to avoid doing things that also might provoke a migraine for as long as possible.
I don’t have the right kind of computer to support virtual backgrounds, so haven’t played around with that.
We teach classes from a lot of different schools and the classes where students have their videos on and are interacting are much more fun and better educationally. But I’m always secretly relieved when the students don’t listen when I encourage them to turn on their videos. Their videos being off is much easier on my head. I can’t wait to return to in-person teaching!
I have a Dasung Not eReader that I sometimes use as an external monitor. The flicker in Zoom is also obvious on the eInk monitor (dancing pixels, flashes, etc) and will also trigger my migraines just as quickly as with the normal monitor.