mmhmm—A Tool to Improve Zoom
A new way to enhance live meetings
mmhmm doesn't replace Zoom. It makes it better.
Actually, it’s software that improves any live meeting service. And it’s terrific for teaching. I’ll be using it in my classes and remote presentations this fall.
mmhmm lets you creatively adjust how you appear on screen. It also lets you show visuals — slides, sites, images— in a simple new way that improves on the way screen sharing usually works in Zoom or Google Meet. I love having more flexibility and control over what others actually see on my shared screen.
How it works
Mmhmm acts as a camera for Zoom or other live meeting services. Within your meeting tool you pick mmhmm as your camera, rather than selecting your built-in or external webcam.
mmhmm uses your webcam or external camera and then layers on additional graphics, allowing you to show slides, browser tabs, photos or whatever else you want. Or you can just use mmhmm for its virtual backgrounds and to resize and reshape the image of you that shows up on video conferences.
Watch this short demo video I made to show what you can do with mmhmm:
Go big. Or small.
You can share full screen images, slides or sites, instead of sharing your face. Or you can share a small version of yourself next to whatever you're showing.
You can also show your face in front of a virtual background, as you might otherwise do in Zoom. The benefit here is that you can decide what to show at what size, just by dragging a slider. It's easy, intuitive and fun to use.
You can use mmhmm to record presentations, not just for live meetings. This is terrific for teachers or anyone else who creates reports, demos or instructional material. There's an ordinary recording mode, as well as an interactive mode.
The interactive mode lets your viewers decide whether the screen they’re looking at shows you, or just your slides, or both. If you're presenting slides, images or sites, your viewers can click on whichever image they're most interested in and start watching the presentation recording from there.
To create an interactive recording you just click record and then send people the link. (Interactive videos can’t be embedded because the special controls can’t be transported). To see how it works, watch this amusing interactive video from founder Phil Libin — former CEO of Evernote — explaining why he and his team chose such a peculiar name.
You can present with a colleague. This “Copilot” mode lets either of you advance slides remotely, while the other concentrates on the message. Or one of you can fade out to let the other take center stage. Here’s a new video from Libin and a colleague demonstrating the Copilot mode and some of its cool bells and whistles.
It’s still early days for mmhmm, so here are some bumpy bits to be aware of:
If your meeting partners use a grid view instead of speaker view, whatever you share may appear small and hard to read. You can ask people to use speaker view.
The virtual green screen that replaces your actual backdrop with a virtual one sometimes leaves a residual haze around speakers’ heads.
mmhmm doesn’t yet allow you to import PDFs or Keynote or PowerPoint decks. As an easy workaround for now, you can share any window on your computer, which I found to be a simple way to show Keynote slides.
There isn’t yet a Windows or mobile version available.
It can still be tricky juggling a browser, Zoom windows, slide software and mmhmm all at once, but that’s the nature of our strange new virtual work lives.
The bottom line
The best thing about mmhmm is that it gives you more creative control over how you appear in your virtual meetings. You can adjust things as you present much more nimbly and flexibly than you can with Zoom or Google Meet alone.
Try it yourself
mmhmm is still in beta, but you can get early access by using this link, which will fast-track your free invite as a subscriber to this newsletter.
You’re also invited to join me next Friday, August 28th at 2pm ET for a 20-minute free live session to see mmhmm in action. Try it out with me over a snack break as we chat about creative ways to use it. I’ll also share some of my other favorite live video tools. Register here to join.
If you create an mmhmm video, send me a link — I’d love to see it. Meanwhile, have a great weekend ahead. best, Jeremy
Here’s my video interview with mmhmm founder Phil Libin: