Can I use my GoPro as a webcam? Yes. But your GoPro wasn’t really made for this. But if you want to give it a go, here are two methods to use GoPro as a webcam. I include gear, settings, and tips.
When I first wrote this guide, GoPro didn’t recommend using their camera as a webcam. But there was a great way, and we taught it in this post. They’ve since come around and even made a desktop utility that converts the newer models into webcams without the need for a capture card.
Guide to Using GoPro as a Webcam
I understand the attraction. Why not get double duty from your GoPro? It isn’t cheap – and it has outstanding video capture. Lots of people are using their GoPro as a dashcam – with seemingly good results.
It’s not a bad idea and it can be easily done. In this post, you’ll learn the gear, software, and settings to make a webcam out of your GoPro.
Should I Use My GoPro as a Webcam?
First, GoPro didn’t make their camera to be used as a webcam. It’s all sort of an afterthought. And they don’t even recommend it.
Over in the Community Support Hub, GoPro Admin, EJ (Aragon1006) advises that “we do not suggest this type of setup”. This doesn’t mean it won’t work. Or that it will hurt the camera. They just don’t want to have to answer customer support issues when someone can’t configure this correctly.
But if you have your heart set on using your action camera as a webcam, this post will give you everything you need.
Method 1: GoPro Webcam App (4 Steps)
During the pandemic, the demand for webcams was exponentially greater than the supply. So GoPro developed an app to convert their camera into a webcam. And this was without the need for an external capture card (see method 2).
Compatible GoPro Cameras
Not all GoPro cameras are compatible. You’ll need one of the following GoPro cameras for this method.
- Hero12 Black
- Hero11 Black
- Hero10 Black
- Hero9 Black
- Hero8 Black
Here’s how to use your GoPro as a webcam on Windows and Mac.
1. Update Your Camera’s Firmware
Connect your GoPro to GoPro Quik and update to the newest firmware.
2. Download the GoPro Webcam App
Next, you’ll download the GoPro webcam utility for your computer. There is a unique one for Windows and another one for Mac.
Install the program. It will display the GoPro icon in the status bar.
3. Connect Your GoPro via USB 3.0
Turn on your GoPro and connect it to your computer via USB 3.0 cable.
Click on the GoPro icon (right-click in Windows) and select Show Preview. This will display what the camera sees and will broadcast as a webcam. You can also mirror the image, as preferred.
Here’s more about GoPro cables.
4. Select GoPro as Your Video Source
Now that it’s working, you can set your GoPro as the video source in your software. Zoom has a menu that indicates “Select a Camera”.
Like with any webcam, you can tweak settings, like resolution and the field of view.
Here’s a brief video showing how to connect GoPro as webcam to a Mac.
Method 2: Capture Card (Setting Up GoPro as a Webcam)
To set up your GoPro as a webcam, you’ll need a couple of pieces of gear. One you might have kicking around (HDMI ) and the other one you’ll probably have to pick up.
Here’s how to use GoPro as webcam without an internal capture card.
Gear List for GoPro Webcam Setup
- HDMI Cable: Not just any HDMI cable – you’ll want an HDMI to Micro HDMI cable. This will connect your camera to the Cam Link dongle (see next item).
- Elgato Cam Link 4K: This tiny USB dongle will connect your GoPro (also most DSLR and camcorders) to your PC or MAC.
- GoPro Camera: From Hero4 (Black or Silver) to the Hero7 Black. For this system to work, make sure that your GoPro has a micro HDMI output jack.
- Small Tripod: Basically any tripod will work, but you’ll need something to get it up and stable. Otherwise, your camera will just be sitting on your desk at a weird angle. And it will wobble because of the two cables feeding into it. I think that the GoPro Shorty tripod would work best for a webcam. It extends to almost 9 inches in height.
- USB Cable: You’ll want to direct power your camera. Otherwise, your battery will konk out after an hour or so – probably less than ideal for a webcam setup. I’m sure you have one – it’s the same cable you use to offload your image and to recharge your battery inside the camera. Here’s more about GoPro battery life.
Please note: Newer GoPro cameras (From Hero11 Black back to the Hero8 Black) don’t come with an HDMI out port. To use the above system, you’ll need to purchase the Media Mod – which adds this feature.
Software for GoPro Streaming
It doesn’t take much to make your GoPro feed correctly into your computer. Here are the two things you’ll need.
- Streamlabs OBS: Use this free, open-source software to connect your camera to your computer. Download OBS here.
- Elgato Cam Link: Your computer will probably auto-identify the new piece of hardware and install what it needs to make the dongle work. If not, just download it here.
Settings for GoPro Webcam Setup
- Plug your Cam Link into your USB 3.0 port.
- Connect your micro HDMI cable to your GoPro. And connect 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: In the in-camera menu, go to Preferences > Input / Output > HDMI Output. Choose “Live”. This will keep your camera broadcasting the signal. And some users have mentioned that this keeps the camera from going to sleep during recording.
You can now use your GoPro as a webcam.
Here’s a video summary of the process:
Which GoPro camera can I use as a webcam?
Basically, any model with a micro HDMI output. These include the numbered Hero Black models: Hero4 Black through Hero7 Black.
- Hero4 Black
- Hero5 Black
- Hero6 Black
- Hero7 Black
- Hero8 Black to Hero12 Black: Please note that the new GoPro models don’t come with a micro HDMI output. For this function, you’ll need to purchase the Media Mod.
Hero3 and Hero3+: What about Hero3 (Black and Silver) and Hero3+ (Black and Silver)? Because the requirement is a micro HDMI port, both of these should work as a webcam.
Which GoPro models won’t work as webcams?
Basically, 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. None of these Session models have HDMI outputs.
- All Unnumbered Hero Cameras: These include Hero 2014, Hero+LCD, Hero+. None of these low-end cameras have HDMI outputs.
- 360 Degree Cameras: Fusion and MAX 360. These 360-degree cameras don’t come with HDMI output. Although if they did, they would make the coolest webcam ever.
- Hero8 Black is incompatible without the Media Mod (an add-on housing).
- Hero7 Silver and White: These entry-level cameras don’t have an HDMI port – which means this method won’t work.
Can I Stream GoPro 4K Via HDMI?
No. Despite the capability to capture 4K (and 2.7K) video, GoPro doesn’t transmit this resolution via HDMI. Currently, GoPro will only stream up to 1080p at 60 frames per second via HDMI.
This puts your GoPro webcam on par with a standard webcam – as far as resolution goes. Of course, it’s likely that this will change in the future. I expect that GoPro will improve the resolution settings that can be output via micro HDMI cable.
But image quality is much more than just resolution. Without question, you’ll notice the quality difference between a standard webcam and your new(er) model GoPro.
More Reading: How to View GoPro Videos
4 Pros / Cons of Using GoPro as Webcam
- Pro: Better Image Quality. I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that a GoPro has a better image sensor than a webcam. And while GoPro only transmits video via HDMI at just 1080p – equal to most webcams, the quality of that footage is going to be much crisper. And GoPro is famous for excelling in daylight – webcams … not so much.
- Pro: No need to buy a webcam. I guess this one is obvious.
- Con: Dongle costs more than a premium webcam. You can pick up the Logitech C922 for less than the price of the dongle. Is the image quality as good? No.
- Con: Setup. The GoPro setup is a little more complicated than a plug-and-play webcam.
Is GoPro the Best Webcam for Streaming?
For the average user, probably not. First of all, it costs more than just buying a decent webcam. For almost every user, a camera like the Logitech C922x will do more than they need. It has good video and audio – and it auto-installs.
And because you need to have the port door open for HDMI and USB output, you lose the benefit of the camera being waterproof. You can’t use it as a webcam in a wet, salty or dusty environment – because your camera is exposed – and so will your computer.
I can see applications for travel bloggers and other content creators. The Cam Link dongle allows the connection to other cameras (not just GoPro cameras).
That means that with the same setup as above, you can connect your DSLR or camcorder as a webcam – creating some outstanding video quality for live streaming.
If you want to do this just because it’s possible, I get that. And no one is disputing the quality of the GoPro image sensor.
Learn more about setting up a GoPro Live Stream in our Creator’s Guide.
Learn more about choosing the best GoPro microphone for your setup.
You might also enjoy: How to use your DSLR as a Webcam
Have you setup your GoPro as a webcam? Have a tip or question? Let me know below. I would love to hear from you.
- About the Author
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Hey, I’m Bryan! I’m a content creator and co-founder of Storyteller Tech.
Experienced GoPro Videographer: I’ve been shooting with GoPro cameras for over 11 years. My first GoPro was the Hero3 Silver, bought for a Galapagos work trip in 2012. Today I own 20+ action cameras, including GoPro, DJI, and Insta360 cameras.
Professional Creator: Dena and I have developed video and content marketing plans for numerous international travel brands. And we also run several content businesses.