Zoom is a video-conferencing platform that allows you to video chat with many people simultaneously. You can use Zoom on any device that connects to the internet - a computer, tablet or smartphone. Zoom uses a large amount of bandwidth, so try to use the best internet connection available. If you don’t have a quiet place to join the Zoom meeting, use headphones so that you will be able to hear better and avoid ambient noise.
Start by downloading the Zoom application here - for a laptop you’ll want to use the very first download link on that page. For a phone or tablet scroll down to “Zoom mobile apps.” It’s helpful to have Zoom already downloaded before you head to attend a Zoom event, because the download will take a couple of minutes.
When you click a link to join a Zoom event, you will be prompted to open the Zoom app. When you do, you might be asked to enter the meeting ID, which can be found with your link, and your name. The name you enter here will appear next to your video and can be seen by everyone else in the Zoom call (performers and audience members). If you’re not happy with the name that is displayed, just right click it and select “rename,” then type whatever you’d like to be seen as.
When you join a Zoom event, the first thing you will see will probably be a waiting room, or a window with text saying something like “Please wait, the meeting host will let you in soon.” Don’t worry! All Zoom performances will have team members specifically dedicated to monitoring the waiting room, so you will not get stuck on this screen forever.
When the host lets you into the meeting, a pop-up will prompt you to “Join with computer audio.” If your computer doesn’t have speakers or a microphone, there will also be an option to join with your phone’s audio by calling a phone number, which will be listed on that pop-up window.
When you’ve joined the meeting you might see many small boxes on your screen containing the video streams of other participants, or you might see one big box containing a performer, and some small boxes to the side. Sometimes, a performer will share their screen, so you will see something that is happening on their computer. If you want to change your view to see more or less people, you can switch between gallery view and speaker view in the top right corner. Gallery view will show you small boxes of everyone in the call, and speaker view will show you a large box of whoever is speaking. If you always want to see a large view of one specific participant, you can right click their video box, and select “pin video.”
When you’ve joined a meeting you will want to mute yourself by clicking the microphone icon labeled “mute” in the bottom left corner of your screen. This is important so that ambient noise from wherever you are watching does not interfere with the performance. If the performance is interactive and you would like to speak, you can unmute yourself by clicking the same button, or you can press and hold your space bar while you speak. At some performances, artists may be able to mute and unmute you, but at other performances you will need to do it yourself. You can also turn your video on and off with the camera icon next to the mute button.
There are a couple functions you may want to use during a performance. The chat function allows you to send a message to everyone participating in the call. To see the chat, select the speech bubble icon labeled “chat” in the bottom of your screen. A chat window will pop up, and you can read messages or send them by typing into the field at the bottom. If you don’t want to see the chat window anymore, you can close it at any time. The chat function will mostly be used for interactive performances. Another function is reactions. If you select the smiley face icon at the bottom of your screen, you can choose either a thumbs up or an emoji of clapping hands. If you click these pictures, they will appear on top of your video. They are a way to show reactions without speaking.
When you’re ready to leave a Zoom meeting, select the red “leave” button in the bottom right of your screen. You will be prompted to click “leave meeting” one or two more times, and then the meeting will end.
If you’d like to learn more about Zoom, they offer many video tutorials as well as daily live training webinars. You can also join a test meeting to get a sense of what the meeting will look like and check your audio connection.