If you’re looking for a way to stay in touch with family and friends, this GoPro as webcam hack will help. In this post, you’ll learn how to take your current GoPro camera and turn it into a high-quality webcam. It’s surprisingly easy.
How to Use Your GoPro as a Webcam
We don’t usually write about tech on this site. But after I discovered this little trick, I wanted to share it with you.
It’s surprisingly easy and it allows you to use a camera you already own. This setup is perfect for staying in touch with friends and family. But it’s also great for telecommuting and remote meetings.
If you’re finding yourself home more often these days, you’re not alone. Well, you might be alone, but you’re in good company.
What you’ll need to setup your GoPro webcam: To set this up, there are three simple steps.
- Collect the required gear: you probably have most of it already.
- Mount your camera for ideal composition and audio pickup.
- Configure your camera with these settings
1. Required Gear (5 Things)
Most of what you’ll need you probably already own. Aside from the camera, you’ll need two cables, a video converter, and a tripod.
Here are the details for your webcam setup:
- GoPro camera: Most recent models will work. Just make sure that it has a micro HDMI output port. See list of specific models at the end of post.
- HDMI to Micro HDMI cable (pictured below) This will connect your camera to the video converter (see next item).
- Video converter: This might be the one thing you don’t have. You can pick up a USB dongle, external or internal capture card. The Elgato Cam Link 4K is the most popular for this application.
- USB cable for power. The one that came with your GoPro will work fine. This will directly connect to a power supply to keep you filming for longer than the standard 60-70 minute battery life.
- Tripod (or another mount): This will put your camera at good height and in a stable position. See more on this in step 2.
Why do I need a video converter? The HDMI to USB video converter is the critical piece of the setup. This converts the HDMI output (from the camera) into a usable webcam input.
How to power your GoPro: For power, you can either plug your USB cable into a travel adapter or a power bank. You can also direct connect to the USB port on your computer. If you are going to make a quick call (under 1 hour) a fully charged battery should do the trick.
2. Mount Your Camera (POV)
This is simple and pretty important. Out of the box, GoPro cameras are just tiny rectangles. Because of their lightweight, they become pretty tippy once you add a couple of cables to the side.
This is easily fixed with a simple tripod or another mount. Here are my three favorite camera mounts for setting up the point of view:
- GorillaPod Magnetic Mini: This is just like the classic GorillaPod, but tiny and made for action cameras. Plus, it has magnetic feet so it can mount on filing cabinets, car hoods, and refrigerators.
- GoPro Jaws: This is one of the most flexible (yes, I know) mounts for a webcam. Mount it anywhere, and then easily adjust the angle and composition. Plus, you can use it in a hundred other settings.
- Fat Gecko Suction Cup Mount: Okay, so this one is overkill for a webcam. But why not get one that can do double duty? This works well for mounting to your car or house windows. And it is super stable.
The features you should look for in your mount include stability and flexibility. I really like buying POV mounts that work in multiple settings.
Here’s a shot of the Fat Gecko mount on the back windshield of my car. It is a rock-solid mount.
3. GoPro Webcam Settings / Streaming Tools
Here are the settings and specs needed to allow your GoPro to stream video and audio as a webcam.
A. Streaming Tools: First, decide on which streaming tool you’ll use. Popular ones include Zoom, Skype (and Microsoft Teams), YouTube, Facebook, Workplace by Facebook, Twitch, Vimeo, and OBS.
- Streamlabs OBS: This free software will 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.
B. Hardware Setup for GoPro Webcam: Now it’s time to connect all the wires.
- Mount your camera with tripod or mount of your choice.
- Plug your video converter into your computer USB port. Ideally, into a USB 3.0 port.
- Insert your microHDMI cable to your GoPro. And insert the other end into your video converter.
- Connect your USB cable to a power source (via travel adapter, USB port, or external power bank).
Don’t forget to remove the side door before installing the camera inside the skeleton housing (pictured below). This will allow access to the two ports (microHDMI and USB).
C. GoPro Webcam Settings: 3 Settings
Now it’s time to set the camera and computer settings:
- Set HDMI Output to “Live”: (In Camera) Navigate to Preferences > Input / Output > HDMI Output. Choose “Live”. This will continuously broadcast your camera signal. And this setting should keep your camera from going to sleep during recording.
- Select Camera Source in Streaming Tool: (In Computer) Open your streaming tool (like Skype, Zoom, or OBS) and choose your GoPro as your source. It will often display as the name of your video converter.
Which GoPro Cameras Work as a Webcam?
As mentioned, this setup requires a micro HDMI output port on the camera. Because of this, there are a few models that just won’t work.
- Hero8 Black: Please note that the Hero8 Black does not come with a micro HDMI output. For this function, you’ll need to purchase the Media Mod.
- Hero7 Black (but not the White or Silver models)
- Hero6 Black
- Hero5 Black
- Hero (2018)
- Hero4 Black and Silver
- Hero3 and Hero3+: Because the requirement is a micro HDMI port, both of these should work as a webcam. But I haven’t tried them or found anyone who has.
So which GoPro cameras won’t work as a webcam?
- All GoPro Session Cameras: None of the 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. The one exception is the Hero (2018), as referenced above.
- 360 Degree Cameras: Fusion and MAX 360.
- Hero8 Black is incompatible without the Media Mod add-on housing
- Hero7 Silver and White
Can GoPro stream 4K as a webcam?
Unfortunately, no. GoPro only streams 1080p (and up to 60 fps) via HDMI. This is the standard resolution with traditional webcams. But that probably isn’t a big deal. 4K resolution is overkill for this format anyway.
If the application requires that high of resolution (2.7K or 4K), you’ll have to record then broadcast the video.
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How did you make out? Have you connected your GoPro as a webcam? I would love to hear how it went for you. Have a question or maybe a tip? Join me below!