Many people are curious whether they can use their GoPro camera as a webcam. While GoPro cameras were not designed for this purpose, they can be used as webcams with the right gear, settings, and tips.
There are two main methods for using a GoPro as a webcam: the GoPro Webcam App and setting up the camera as a webcam using a capture card.
- The GoPro Webcam App involves updating the camera’s firmware, downloading the app, and connecting the camera to the computer via USB 3.0.
- Setting up the camera as a webcam using a capture card requires specific gear and software and knowledge of the appropriate settings.
This article will provide a comprehensive guide to both methods and the pros and cons of using a GoPro as a webcam.
- Using a GoPro camera as a webcam with the right gear, settings, and tips is possible.
- There are two main methods for using a GoPro as a webcam: the GoPro Webcam App and setting up the camera as a webcam using a capture card.
- While using a GoPro as a webcam has its advantages, it also has limitations and may not be the best option for everyone.
Guide to Using GoPro as a Webcam
Should You Use Your GoPro as a Webcam?
While GoPro cameras weren’t initially designed to be used as webcams, many people use them. However, it’s worth noting that GoPro does not recommend this type of setup, and it’s not officially supported.
According to GoPro Admin, EJ (Aragon1006), in the Community Support Hub, they do not suggest using a GoPro as a webcam. This is not to say that it won’t work, but they don’t want to be held responsible for any customer support issues that may arise due to incorrect configuration.
If you’re determined to use your GoPro as a webcam, you should keep a few things in mind.
- First, you’ll need to ensure you have the right gear, software, and settings to make it work.
- Additionally, it’s important to understand that using your GoPro as a webcam may not provide the same level of quality as a dedicated webcam. However, it can still be useful if you already have a GoPro and don’t want to invest in a separate webcam.
Method 1: GoPro Webcam App (4 Steps)
For those with a GoPro camera, it can be used as a webcam without needing an external capture card, thanks to the GoPro Webcam App. Here are the steps to use it as a webcam on Windows and Mac.
Compatible GoPro Cameras
Before getting started, it is important to note that not all GoPro cameras are compatible.
The following GoPro cameras are required for this method:
- Hero11 Black
- Hero10 Black
- Hero9 Black
- Hero8 Black
Those who do not have one of these newer models can purchase a GoPro Hero11 Black on Amazon, B&H Photo, or Best Buy.
1. Update Your Camera’s Firmware
The first step is to connect the GoPro camera to GoPro Quik and update it to the latest firmware.
2. Download the GoPro Webcam App
Next, download the GoPro Webcam App for either Windows or Mac, depending on the operating system used.
Install the program, and it will display the GoPro icon in the status bar.
3. Connect Your GoPro via USB 3.0
Turn on the GoPro camera and connect it to the computer via USB 3.0 cable. Click on the GoPro icon (right-click in Windows) and select “Show Preview” to display what the camera sees, which will be broadcast as a webcam. The image can also be mirrored if desired.
4. Select GoPro as Your Video Source
Once the camera is connected and working, it can be set as the video source in the desired software. For example, in Zoom, select “Select a Camera” from the menu to choose the GoPro camera. Settings such as resolution and field of view can also be adjusted.
Here is a brief video demonstrating how to connect a GoPro camera as a webcam to a Mac:
Method 2: Capture Card to Use GoPro as a Webcam
You will need a few pieces of gear to set up your GoPro as a webcam without an internal capture card.
This section will provide a list of gear required, software needed, and settings to be configured.
Gear List for GoPro Webcam Setup
To set up your GoPro as a webcam, you will need the following gear:
- HDMI Cable: You will need an HDMI to Micro HDMI cable to connect your camera to the Cam Link dongle.
- Elgato Cam Link 4K: This tiny USB dongle will connect your GoPro to your PC or MAC.
- GoPro Camera: You can use any model from Hero4 (Black or Silver) to Hero7 Black, as long as it has a micro HDMI output jack.
- Small Tripod: You will need a tripod to keep your camera stable. The GoPro Shorty tripod is recommended as it extends to almost 9 inches in height.
- USB Cable: You must direct power your camera using a USB cable to avoid battery drain.
Please note that newer GoPro cameras from Hero11 Black back to Hero8 Black do not have an HDMI out port. You must purchase the Media Mod, which adds this feature to use the above system.
Software for GoPro Streaming
You will need the following software to stream your GoPro footage to your computer:
- Elgato Cam Link: Your computer will automatically identify the new piece of hardware and install what it needs to make the dongle work.
- Streamlabs OBS: This free, open-source software connects your camera to your computer.
Settings for GoPro Webcam Setup
To set up your GoPro as a webcam, follow these steps:
- Plug your Cam Link into your USB 3.0 port.
- Connect your micro HDMI cable to your GoPro and the other end of the HDMI cable to your Cam Link dongle.
- Connect your USB cable to your camera and the other end to a powered USB port on your computer.
- Turn on your GoPro.
- Open your webcam software (like Skype or OBS) and choose your GoPro as your source. It will often display as the name of your Cam Link dongle. For Skype, go to Settings > Audio & Video > Camera.
- Set for streaming: Go to Preferences > Input / Output > HDMI Output in the in-camera menu. Choose “Live.” This will keep your camera broadcasting the signal.
You can now use your GoPro as a webcam.
Which GoPro camera can I use as a webcam?
You can use any model with a micro HDMI output, including the Hero4 Black, Hero5 Black, Hero6 Black, and Hero7 Black.
Hero3 (Black and Silver) and Hero3+ (Black and Silver) should also work as a webcam since they have a micro HDMI port.
However, newer GoPro models from Hero8 Black to Hero11 Black do not have a micro HDMI output. You will need to purchase the Media Mod to use the above system.
Which GoPro models won’t work as webcams?
Any model without an HDMI output won’t work as a webcam. The incompatible models include:
- All GoPro Session Cameras: Session, Hero4 Session, Hero5 Session.
- All Unnumbered Hero Cameras: Hero 2014, Hero+LCD, Hero+.
- 360 Degree Cameras: Fusion and MAX 360.
- Hero8 Black is incompatible without the Media Mod.
- Hero7 Silver and White do not have an HDMI port.
Can I Stream GoPro 4K Via HDMI?
No, GoPro does not transmit 4K resolution via HDMI. GoPro will stream only up to 1080p at 60 frames per second via HDMI. This puts your GoPro webcam on par with a standard webcam regarding resolution.
However, image quality is much more than just resolution, and you’ll likely notice the quality difference between a standard webcam and your newer model GoPro.
Pros and Cons of Using GoPro as Webcam
Pro: No Need to Buy a Webcam
Using a GoPro as a webcam eliminates the need to purchase a separate one, saving you money.
Pro: Better Image Quality
Compared to most webcams, GoPro’s image sensor provides better-quality footage, particularly in daylight. The image quality is crisper, making it ideal for travel bloggers and content creators requiring high-quality video.
Con: Dongle Costs More than a Premium Webcam
The Cam Link dongle required to use a GoPro as a webcam costs more than a premium webcam, such as the Logitech C922. While the image quality is better, it may not be worth the extra cost for some users.
Setting up a GoPro as a webcam is more complicated than using a plug-and-play webcam. This may be a disadvantage for users who prefer a simple setup process.
Is GoPro the Best Webcam for Streaming?
For the average user, a GoPro may not be the best option for streaming. It is more expensive than a decent webcam, such as the Logitech C922x, which provides good video and audio quality and auto-installs. The port door must also remain open for HDMI and USB output, making the camera vulnerable to damage in wet, salty, or dusty environments.
However, using a GoPro as a webcam can benefit travel bloggers and content creators who require high-quality video. The Cam Link dongle also allows connection to other cameras, such as DSLRs and camcorders, for even better video quality.
Have you used a GoPro as a webcam before? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below.