Using GoPro as a Webcam
Chances are, you already know that GoPro cameras can be used to stream live to multiple platforms and social media. and we hope that you have already fully mastered this skill. But if you want to unleash the potential of this action camera even further, here are some tips for using your GoPro as a webcam.
To begin with, let’s talk about the important difference between GoPro and many cameras, flooding the market: it is a universal tool that can be used for action filming, for full-fledged creativity (for example, for filming), vlogging and broadcasting on social networks, as a video recorder in a car and, finally, webcams. But users who purchase GoPro mainly for webinars often choose THESE devices for one simple but weighty reason: the picture quality of these cameras is noticeably higher, and the color rendition. incomparably better than standard webcams.
If you are a longtime fan of the brand, then you probably remember that in the HERO5 Black model it was quite simple to set up and use a GoPro as a webcam: you had to connect your computer to the camera’s access point, enter a special IP in the browser, and the image from the device was already on your PC. further, only simple manipulations with the software were required, and voila. you are on air!
For models starting from HERO5 Black, the scheme of actions has changed somewhat, but in general, it remains the same simple. Below we have listed a list of additional accessories that you will need to create a broadcast, as well as detailed settings for connecting GoPro with popular video conferencing services such as Zoom, WebEx and Skype.
Note: The HERO8 Black can only be used as a webcam in tandem with the media module. MAX, Fusion and Session series models that have a built-in MicroHDMI port cannot be used as a webcam.
Prepare the necessary equipment
- Gopro with MicroHDMI output for signal output;
- MicroHDMI-HDMI cable;
- HDMI to USB video converter.
Pro tip: You can choose any video capture device you are used to working with, but we recommend Magewell and ELGato Cam Link 4K. With the help of them, you can broadcast video in 1080p60 and higher quality, and with a minimum video signal delay.
This adapter is the key device that converts the image from the camera into the signal of the webcam.
- USB Type-C cable for charging GoPro power supply;
- Mount for easy camera attachment. We will consider the options below.
Choose a shooting angle and mount for your GoPro
The choice of mount for mounting an action camera will largely depend on your shooting angle. As a standard solution, we recommend choosing the Shorty monopod or the more convenient Trippler monopod with a pivoting head from PolarPro. If you prefer more creative options (after all, this is a GoPro, not a regular webcam!), We recommend that you opt for one of the following options:
- Clothespin Jaws Flex Clamp. This versatile mount will come in handy if you need unusual angles, or if you are conducting training or education, and it is important for you to see what is happening on the camera screen. Due to the fact that the mount can be bent at various angles and cling to many surfaces (table, monitor, table lamp), “jaws” are very common in the arsenal of accessories for fans of webcasts. In short, a must-have.
- Magnetic Swivel Clip or SP Magnet Mount. thanks to its ability to hold GoPro on metal surfaces, it is renowned in motorists and service professionals. Do you want to broadcast the process of repairing your engine by attaching a camera to the inside of the hood? Then the magnetic mounts. exactly your choice!
- Suction Cup Suction Cup. another universal mount that can be trailer on any flat surface, including vertical, for example, on window glass. In this case, the angle of inclination of the camera can be adjusted, as well as the mount. rotate.
- Gooseneck flexible swivel mount. combine it in unlimited quantities with all of the aforementioned fasteners for the longest, most flexible and multifunctional fastener for which there will be no hard-to-reach places.
Select a service to broadcast
You can use your GoPro as a webcam on video conferencing services that allow you to choose a broadcast tool. in your case, an action camera. Here are just a few of these services: Webex, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Meetings, OBS, and Wirecast.
Set up your GoPro
- Turn on your GoPro;
- Swipe down from the top edge of the screen and select “Options”;
- Scroll to the “Input / Output” item and select it;
- Select “HDMI Output” and then “Ether”.
- Choose a shooting angle and mount your GoPro;
- Open the side cover on the camera and connect the microHDMI cable;
- Connect the other end of the cable to your video capture device;
- Insert the video capture device into the USB port of your computer. If your computer has a USB 3.0 or higher port. it will be preferred;
- Connect your GoPro to a power source.
Option 1: Configuring Video Conferencing Software.
- Skype: go to “Settings” “SoundVideo” “Camera“;
- Webex: select the video icon “video calling” in the drop-down menu, click “Select camera”;
- Zoom: select the arrow next to Start / Stop Video Video Settings Select Camera;
- You can switch between two active GoPro cameras right during the broadcast by choosing the one you need from the drop-down menu when you click “Select Camera”.
Option 2: Setting up OBS or Similar Live Streaming Programs.
- Open StreamLabs OBS or another OBS and follow the instructions to add a video source;
- In case of OBS, press “” in the video source menu;
- Click “Video Capture Device”;
- Click “New” and name your video source;
- Select your hardware from the dropdown menu (eg ELGato Cam Link 4K) and Click “OK”;
- The GoPro image should appear on your monitor.
Pro tip: GoPro is capable of streaming up to 1080p60 quality over HDMI, however most services are limited to 1080p30. Still, for the best image quality Take care of good lighting in the scene.
You are now ready to use your GoPro as a webcam!
How to use your GoPro as a webcam
Photo by Thomas Gran from GoPro Community
As you know, GoPro can be used for live streaming, and we hope you have already mastered this skill. But what if you want to spice up your video calls? Below are the guidelines for using your GoPro as a webcam.
Using the action camera as a webcam opens up a whole world of interesting possibilities in terms of shooting angle: you can mount the camera on the ceiling, wall, fan and anywhere else, take advantage of the digital lens and the advantages of the “proprietary” wide viewing angle and, most importantly, the quality that GoPro offers! The resolution and color quality of all your GoPro broadcasts will be immeasurably higher than that provided by standard external webcams. And finally, when you use your GoPro as a webcam, you have a reliable action camera that is not only suitable for home office use, but can also accompany you on your future adventures.
Setting up and using your GoPro as a webcam is simple and easy. The following are the accessories you need, along with instructions for setting up your GoPro to work with some of the popular video conferencing services such as Zoom, WebEx, and Skype. Happy hangouts!
GoPro camera with Micro-HDMI port for HDMI signal output
HDMI to Micro HDMI cable
HDMI to USB video converter
ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS. We recommend using Magewell or ELGato Cam Link 4k as they support 1080p 60fps broadcasts and provide low latency for low latency live video.
The use of this adapter is mandatory as it converts the HDMI input to a webcam signal.
USB charging cable power supply
Installation tool, and here we go to step 2.
Of course, you can use a mount such as a magnetic swivel clip to mount your GoPro on a monitor, or a Shorty tripod to take advantage of standard webcam angles. But this is a GoPro, so use it like a GoPro! Get creative, have fun, and experiment. Here are some of the options we recommend:
Jaws: flexible clamp. This flexible clip-on mount can be used for over-the-shoulder shooting during training sessions where viewing your screen may be helpful.
Magnetic swivel clamp. thanks to the magnetic part, this mount is ideal for those looking to get creative with shooting. Want to broadcast while digging under the hood of your car? Or hang out with your family while you cook? This magnet will securely attach to your cooker hood and any other metal surface.
Suction mount. As with the two mounts above, the GoPro’s Suction Mount can be attached to surfaces such as a window or rack to provide an angle not available with other webcams. We recommend using a top-down view, which allows you to show the entire workplace.
Gooseneck. Use your Gooseneck with any of the mounts listed above (or any GoPro mount with a quick release base) for an extra-long, ultra-flexible extendable monopod that lets you shoot from any position. No hard-to-reach place is left out of reach!
Choosing a broadcast medium
You can connect your GoPro as a webcam to any video conferencing tool that allows you to select a camera to broadcast. These include Webex, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Meetings, OBS, and Wirecast.
Setting up your GoPro as a webcam
- Turn on your GoPro camera.
- Swipe down and select Preferences.
- Scroll down and select Input / Output.
- Select HDMI Output and Change the value to (Live).
ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS. With HERO8 Black Media Module, default audio will be output to HDMI when HDMI cable is connected.
- Mount your GoPro (see above for recommended mounts).
- Open the side cover of the GoPro and insert the Micro-HDMI connector into the port.
- Connect the HDMI connector to the video recorder.
- Connect the HDMI to USB converter and connect it to your computer.
- Connect your GoPro to a power source.
Configuring Video Conferencing Software
- Skype: Go to Settings Audio Video Camera.
- Webex: Select the Video Connection icon, open the dropdown select your camera.
- Zoom: Select the arrow next to Start / Stop Video Video Settings Change camera selection.
- If there are more than two cameras available in the Zoom Room, you can dynamically switch the active camera by tapping the Switch Camera option and Selecting a camera from the list.
OBS setup or similar application
- Open Streamlabs OBS or another OBS app and follow the instructions to add a video source.
- When using OBS, press “” in the video source menu.
- Select video recorder.
- Select New and name the video source.
- Select your device from the drop-down menu (e.g. Cam Link 4k) then click OK.
- The display will show the GoPro camera configured as a webcam.
ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS. The GoPro camera is capable of streaming up to 1080p @ 60fps via HDMI. However, the maximum resolution supported by most streaming services is 1080p at 30 frames per second. However, good lighting is required to ensure high quality and clarity during streaming.
You can now use your GoPro as a webcam.
As a reminder, GoPro cameras with a Micro-HDMI port, including the flagship HERO8 Black with a media module, are best suited for use as a webcam. GoPro cameras without HDMI outputs (such as 360 MAX and Fusion cameras or ultra-compact Session cameras) cannot be used as webcams.
Full list of GoPro cameras that can be used as webcams:
- HERO8 Black with Media Module
- HERO7 Black
- HERO6 Black
- HERO5 Black
- HERO4 Black
If you’d like to learn more about using an action camera for live streaming, check out this step-by-step guide to setting up a live stream with your GoPro camera.
How to use your camera as a webcam?
Mobile phone cameras DO NOT stop competing with each other in terms of megapixels. What about laptops and tablets? They also have a camera for video communication, only its indicators are modest and do not get better from year to year.
Laptop manufacturers are reluctant to talk about their devices’ webcam performance. The fact is that most of THESE cameras leave much to be desired: they have Tiny matrices and cheap lenses. For basic conference calling, they are good, but for something more, there is no longer.
Video chat. not the only way to use the built-in camera of a laptop or tablet. There are also streaming activities such as blogging and online lessons, and they are very demanding on the quality of the material.
If the capabilities of the built-in camera are too little, you can connect external optics to your computer via USB. For this purpose, both a DSLR and a mirrorless camera are suitable. True, you will have to do a few manipulations to make the computer recognize this type of device as a WEB-camera. It’s worth tinkering, because in the end you will get high resolution, excellent detail in low light conditions and artistic background effects.
In order for the external camera and computer to work in conjunction, additional equipment and special software will be required. The very process of connecting and configuring is NOT very complicated. To make things easier, the major camera manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Olympus, and GoPro) have recently added webcam mode to their software. Chances are high that you can quickly and painlessly convert your camera into a webcam.
Most computers are NOT capable of recognizing images from an external camera via HDMI by default. If the computer itself has HDMI, it is most likely an output port. Although the cameras have USB connectors, they usually DO NOT send pure video through them.
For this reason, you need an HDMI to USB converter. If present, the computer will be able to recognize the connected optics as a webcam. The advantage of this approach is that any HDMI source can be converted to input, from a camera to a game console or a second computer. And the output can be used for any purpose, from conferencing to live streaming or recording to hard drive.
The quality of the video received by the computer depends entirely on the technical capabilities of the converter. If the camera writes 4K, and the USB adapter only supports 1080p, then the maximum recording resolution will be 1080p. Since most live broadcasts and video conferencing are limited to 1080p (or even 720p), this is probably not a big deal, but it’s worth keeping in mind.
What are the video capture cards?
One of the following devices can be used as a video capture adapter:
- Elgato Cam Link 4K.
- Mirabox Capture Card.
- Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini.
As for the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini, this four-input HDMI switcher is the most feature-rich board on offer. It allows you to connect multiple cameras and choose from which one to display the image on a computer, shoot from different angles, configure windows, set up screen sharing, save still images. Of course, such a rich arsenal is NOT required for standard Zoom communication, but the ATEM Mini is much more flexible than a simple HDMI to USB adapter.
The adapter is connected. What to do next?
Now you need to get a clean video signal from the camera. Otherwise, the broadcast will show everything on the unit’s display, including user interface overlays, focus and setting indicators. Here you need to be aware that the function to output a pure HDMI signal is NOT present in all cameras: it can be found in the mid-range and advanced models. Since each camera has its own menu organization, the user manual will help you find the desired setting.
Let’s move on to setting focus. If the camera has focusing with face recognition (and best of all, eye autofocus), then the automatic will do everything for you. If available, standard continuous autofocus C-AF should be used. You can adjust the focus manually, but this mode is only suitable for those cases when you will not move in the frame.
And then you need to go to the video chat settings and switch from the built-in webcam to the external.
There are applications that can capture a video stream from a camera connected directly to USB without HDMI. These solutions are less flexible than video capture adapters, but are convenient in that they eliminate the expense of additional accessories. As telecommuting has become more relevant in 2020, many camera manufacturers have launched their own software solutions. In Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Olympus and GoPro, the webcam function is a standard tool. Most often it is represented by the beta version. There is also third-party software with a similar option.
What programs can be used for video capture?
Canon is offering a public beta version of its new EOS Webcam Utility app, which allows you to use your camera / camcorder as a USB webcam. Initially, the program was only available for Windows, but recently the functionality has been ported to macOS.
Nikon recently released the Nikon Webcam Utility. This is a beta version for Windows 10. The Mac version is expected to be announced later. The app is compatible with Nikon Z series cameras as well as the latest D6, D850, D780, D500, D7500 and D5600 DSLRs.
Here Fujifilm is available Fujifilm X Webcam for Windows and macOS. Utility works with Multiple premium Fujifilm mirrorless cameras including X-T2, X-T3 and X-T4, as well as all GFX models in the mid-range category.
Also in June, Fujifilm released a firmware update for the entry-level X-A7 and X-T200, which allows you to turn mirrorless cameras into USB webcams without special software. With the latest software, these cameras are recognized in any video calling application on macOS and Windows. However, by default, most settings, including exposures, are locked. You can use the Forced Exposure Tool to adjust the lighting.
Panasonic Lumix Tether, beta streaming software, is compatible with select Panasonic Lumix mirrorless cameras in Windows environment. It is similar to the earlier snapping program, but differs in that it removes overlays from the video stream (focus frames, indicators and other interface elements displayed on the camera display).
The webcam option is also present in the OM-D Webcam from Olympus. So far, there is only compatibility with Windows 10 and five advanced devices: E-M1X, E-M1, E-M1 Mark II, E-M1 Mark III or E-M5 Mark II. After installing the software and connecting, the device becomes available as a webcam in the video chat software.
An action camera does not provide cinematic effects like a DSLR or mirrorless camera, but you can use it as a webcam. The Gopro HERO8 Black delivers a wide-angle 1080p picture. To convert your action camera to the web, HERO8 needs to be updated to the latest beta firmware. Then the companion program must be installed on the computer and set up a USB connection to the camera. The software is compatible with macOS, a Windows version is still in development.
All of the Above Programs are compatible with their respective brands. over, support for the desired function is usually not available for older and budget models. But the demand for video communication is growing, and it is possible that economy-class models will appear in the lists of supported devices. Other manufacturers will soon be presenting their own solutions, Sony plans to introduce webcast support for the ZV-1 blogging model.
Of the third-party solutions, first of all I would like to mention SparkoCam for Windows, developed for DSLRs from Nikon and Canon. The program is mostly free, but you will have to pay 50 to remove the watermark. Mac version does not exist yet.
Ecamm Live. An advanced option for experienced video editors with Mac computers. There is support for cameras from different brands and a wide arsenal of tools, including working with Multiple cameras, picture-in-picture mode, screen sharing with a Mac or iPhone. After finishing streaming, the program can save the video file to the hard drive.
The program is selected. What then?
It doesn’t matter which junk you choose, you will need the included USB cable from the camera anyway.
As a rule, cameras have poor battery life, so you need to make sure that the battery is fully charged. Longer broadcasts will require uninterrupted power via an AC adapter.
Unlike HDMI, USB does not provide access to the camera microphone, so you have to think about where the audio will be recorded from. from the built-in microphone of the computer or from an external one (connected to the computer, not to the camera).
The camera must be positioned so that it does not move during operation. It is best to use a stable tripod for this purpose.
Lighting and external microphone. attributes are optional, but with them the quality of the material will be much better.
Further manipulations depend on the selected video capture program. Before starting work, you need to turn on the camera, connect it to the computer via USB, launch the application for capturing the image, perform the required actions in it. Then it will launch the application through which the broadcast itself will go, and specify an external camera instead of the built-in default.
The design of the camera does not allow you to fix it directly on the computer monitor, and not blocking the screen, so you need a tripod for work. A compact desktop like the Joby GorillaPod or Manfrotto Pixi is best.
Don’t forget about audio quality as this is an important factor for a commercially successful material. An external USB microphone will improve the perception of your voice.
Action camera or DVR: 10 advantages and disadvantages of using both devices
Both the action camera and the video recorder will 100% cope with the option of recording what is happening on the way. But can one device successfully replace another? Can the action camera be used as a video recorder? What are the “pitfalls” of the operation of both devices, what do they know how to do and in whose favor to make a choice? The article will help to understand all this.
Its main task. Fix video info with date and time. A camera (e.g. AT 180) records clips of a certain length and stores the data on a memory card.
Features of the device:
- New data is automatically written instead of old data when the space on the flash drive runs out;
- The viewing angle of the devices is approximately 100 to 360 degrees;
- The device starts and ends when the cigarette lighter is turned on / off;
- Various types of devices can shoot video in different resolutions: from the usual HD to Full HD and even higher.
The units have very compact dimensions (for example, the dimensions of the F117 are 99x49x37 mm).
Useful options for these fixtures:
Just like the previous unit, the action camera is distinguished by its compact dimensions (for example, the dimensions of the HERO5 Black are only 33x62x45 mm). They can be installed Not only on the windshield of a car, but also on a helmet, bicycle handlebars or even on your hand. This is one of the points, how the action camera differs from the DVR, which is fixed either on ZM adhesive tape or on a suction cup.
Features of such devices:
- Manufacturing material. Usually, the units are made of aluminum and reinforced plastic, so that the units are lightweight and durable.
- Dust and moisture protection. Devices withstand any test, they are not afraid of moisture ingress: for example, HERO6 successfully transfers immersion up to 10 meters under water.
- Shooting quality. The device shoots everything that happens in formats up to Ultra HD.
- Frame frequency. Here, the rates vary from 24 to 240 fps in different instances. Frequencies of 60 or more fps allow smooth video playback even in slow motion.
Some units boast a remote control (for example, FDR-X3000), which are included in the kit.
Depending on the model, electronic devices may have other features, for example, the ability to edit small videos using the built-in editor. Shooting in extreme conditions remains the main thing here.
Can the action camera be used as a video recorder?
Both devices are compact in size and have the ability to record video. But can an extreme camera (for example, CHDHZ-201) replace a recorder for a car?
Pros of using it:
- High definition video recording;
- Wide viewing angles allow you not to “crop” the picture;
- Impact resistance will be useful in case of accidents en route;
- The ability to shoot at a speed of 60 fps can also come in handy to see the smallest details in the event of an accident.
- The cost of devices is higher than that of registrars;
- There is a possibility that there will be no mounts for the car;
- Each time you have to turn it on manually.
Pros of using a car recorder:
- It is included in the work itself from the moment the motor starts;
- Ease of assembly and disassembly;
- There are additional modules (G-sensor, anti-sleep, motion detector).
The disadvantages include significantly less functionality than in extreme cameras, but all functions are focused directly on traffic safety and video recording on the way. Also, in some copies of the recorders, the viewing angle is “lame”, but the problem is solved very simply. buying a more modern model.
Video recorder or action camera: what to choose in the end? You can further explore the parameters of each device.
Can I use a GoPro, Sony or second brand camera as a dash cam? If you go on an extreme tour of the mountains and steppes, then, of course, you can. For trips around the city, an ordinary vehicle recorder is quite suitable, the cost of which is several times less than in extreme cameras. over, the latter. more protected and “sophisticated” devices, which are perfect for use in difficult conditions.