If you would like to find out how to use a GoPro as a webcam then continue reading this guide to know how to do it.
Many people need a webcam to make video calls but they only have a GoPro camera. This is not an issue since a GoPro can be used as a webcam with any video chat application.
Or some of you like myself, would like to get more usage of their GoPro cameras, plus who doesn’t like a full HD video quality?
In this tutorial, I will show you how you can use your GoPro as a webcam for Mac, Windows, and Linux computers.
Most webcams don’t have the high video quality and the different fields of view that a GoPro camera has.
Have you ever wondered about the possibility of using your GoPro as a webcam for Skype or for live streams?
This can be annoying especially if you do live streams because your viewers prefer a crisp high definition video over a bad quality one.
I had the same problem until I figured out a way to capture the GoPro video in real-time.
I also managed to do the same setup with my DSLR.
The thing with using a GoPro webcam is that you need additional hardware.
There is no other way around this method but in return, you will get the result you want and you’ll have the awesome GoPro video quality captured to your PC.
So can you use a GoPro action camera as a webcam? DEFINITELY!
The below setup is compatible with the below GoPro cameras and any other cameras that have an HDMI port:
The Hero 8 Black will need the GoPro Media Mod which adds an HDMI out and a 3.5mm audio ports.
Here’s What You Need
Make sure you have a USB 3.0 or USB-C ports on your PC or MAC.
For Windows, Mac OS X and Linux users:
- Your GoPro, I use a Hero5 Black.
- Micro HDMI to HDMI cable
- Mini USB to USB3.0 cable (For Hero3 and Hero4)
- USB-C to USB3.0 cable OR USB-C to USB-C (For Hero5, Hero6, Hero7, and Hero8)
- For the Hero 8 Black, you need the Media Mod from GoPro.
- Video capture card, I use
Capture device DIGITNOW
- OBS software (FREE)
- 2x Free USB ports on your computer (1 of the ports should be 3.0 or USB-C)
For MAC users who want to use the Thunderbolt port:
- HDMI to Micro HDMI cable
- Video Capture Card: Blackmagic Design UltraStudio Mini Recorder.
- Thunderbolt cable
- Mini USB to USB3.0 cable (For Hero3 and Hero4)
- USB-C to USB3.0 cable or USB-C to USB-C (For Hero5, Hero6, Hero7, and Hero8)
- OBS Software for macOS (FREE)
- 2x Free USB ports on your computer
Why Do You Need a Capture Card?
Let me just explain to you quickly about the video capture card and why you need to have one.
The video capture card converts the video signals generated by the GoPro into a digital format and then gives you the ability of storing these videos on your computer’s hard drive as well as streaming the video from GoPro to PC in real-time with no delays.
Capture devices can also be used with Playstation, XBOX, Video cameras, and other devices.
It captures the video and audio coming from the GoPro through an HDMI cable and transfers it to your computer through the USB port where you can either record it or use it for other applications like Skype, Facebook, Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, OBS, Twitch, Periscope, etc..
The DIGITNOW is an excellent quality video capture device and best seller in the capture cards market.
It is compatible with Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X and it can capture videos up to 1080p at 60fps with no delay.
This is one of the good capture devices that I found online at an acceptable price.
You can use capture devices from brands like Elgato, Mirabox, and Magewell in case you can’t find the DIGITNOW.
If you’re using an old MAC that doesn’t have a USB 3.0 port but has a Thunderbolt port then the only device that can be used is the Blackmagic Design UltraStudio Mini Recorder.
This one is plug and play so there’s no need to install any drivers on your PC.
It’s also compatible with Windows which makes it the best choice if you have more than one operating system. It can also capture videos up to 1080p.
If you have tried cheaper capture cards that work well, then please feel free to share it in the comments section below.
Let Me Show You How To Do It!
Step#1 – Setup the Connections
1- On you GoPro Hero5 or newer, go to “Preferences”, scroll down to find “Input/Output”, then select “HDMI Output” and choose “Live”. (This will prevent the GoPro screen from going black when plugging everything later).
2- Connect your GoPro’s USB cable to an external power source like a power bank or a 5V USB charger (this is used for power, relying on the battery life won’t get you more than 1.5 hours).
3- Connect the micro HDMI cable (audio/video data transfer) to the micro HDMI port on your GoPro to the HDMI port of your capture device.
4- Connect the USB cable from your capture device to the 3.0 USB port of your computer.
If you’re using the Blackmagic capture device then connect the thunderbolt cable between the Blackmagic and your Mac.
It’s mandatory to have a video capture card, normal HDMI ports on your computers do not capture videos, they only send OUT signals to external monitors or TVs.
Step#2 – Download and Install OBS
OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) is a free open source software used for video recording and live streaming. Go to this link to download OBS and then install it on your PC.
Step#3 – Set up Your GoPro
Ok so now you can power up your GoPro, Go to video settings and choose the full HD resolution (1080p at 30fps or 60fps), do not choose more than 1080 because the HDMI cable that we’re using doesn’t support the higher resolutions.
Once you’re done, go to setup/preferences and disable OSD (On Screen Display) because the HDMI output shows the time and date by default on your screen and you don’t want that to show.
To disable the OSD on a Hero5 or newer cameras, go to “Preferences”, find “OSD” then turn that off.
Step#4 – Set up GoPro to OBS
Open OBS, go down and right-click on “Sources” then Add -> Video Capture Device, You can put the device name “GoPro”.
A new window will open, select the device which is the video capture card, then under Video tick “Custom Resolution” and select 1920×1080 then for FPS select 30.
For audio, you also have to choose the capture card unless you’re using an external mic for your GoPro. Press OK and now you should be able to see the camera preview.
Step#5 – Webcam or live Stream?
For Mac computers, you don’t need to install any drivers. Skype will automatically detect the capture device once you connect everything and will use your GoPro as a webcam on your mac. Same thing for Zoom, Facebook video chat, FaceTime, Google Hangouts.
For Windows, now that everything is set up, you’re ready to use your GoPro as a webcam.
If you would like to use it with Skype, then go to Skype -> Setting-> Audio & Video -> Choose the video capture card.
Make sure to do the same in Audio settings unless you’re using an external microphone on your GoPro, then you need to choose your other audio source.
For live streaming or video recording to your PC, you would need to use OBS.
Open OBS, go down and click on “settings”, then on the left click on “Stream”, select the service you want, “live streaming” (for video streaming), Youtube, Facebook Live, Twitch, etc.. The list is long.
Now if you want, you can save your streamed video to your computer, just make sure to click on “Output” on the left menu and select your preferred location to save your videos.
I don’t know about you but I prefer to fix my GoPro on my desk using the Joby Tripod, it provides stability for my camera so I’m sure it won’t fall off during live broadcasts.
Another advice is to use a GoPro frame (below photo of the frame compatible with Hero5, 6, and 7), simply because it provides mounting legs.
Also, because using the waterproof housing will muffle the sound.
Hero8 cameras have folding fingers at the bottom so no frame is required.
You also might want to consider using a GoPro external mic for better sound quality as I find that the GoPro audio is not that great.
I’m sure many of you are excited to try this setup.
I personally have a GoPro Hero5 Black set up only for live streaming use, it’s always on my desk fixed on the tripod ready for capturing videos!
If you’re having trouble with the setup, watch this video by Gilly Gill:
How to Use a GoPro As A Webcam Without a Capture Card
Is it possible to use a GoPro as a webcam without a capture card? Yes, but ONLY with GoPro Hero 4 cameras.
And the end result is not what you really want: Low quality video.
I know some of you might be disappointed that you can’t use your new Hero cameras as a webcam.
That is the reason I mentioned at the beginning of this guide that the only way to get this working is by using a capture card.
If you have a Hero4 and still interested in trying this, then go to this guide, scroll down to the appropriate section and follow the steps.
If someone figures out how to use the new GoPro cameras as webcams without a capture card then it would be great if you can share the details and I will update this article for all the readers to see. 🙂
How to Use More Than One GoPro as Webcam
Some of my readers have asked me this question. They would like to use two or more GoPro cameras as webcams for Skype.
That is possible to do using the above setup. No need for another capture card, you only need one.
The only additional hardware is a simple HDMI switch that has 2 or more HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output, something like this one.
You can connect both your GoPro to the HDMI inputs then the HDMI output to the capture card.
You can then switch between the cameras using the HDMI switch, you can only capture video from one GoPro at a time.
So the additional hardware you need is an HDMI switch, an extra micro HDMI to HDMI cable for the second GoPro and 1 HDMI cable to connect the HDMI switch to the capture card.
This setup can be useful for people who are looking to show different video angles on Skype or other applications.
Note: If you notice that the video is mirrored on Skype then don’t worry, the video won’t be mirrored to the people you’re Skyping with.
Frequently Asked Questions
1- Question: is DIGITNOW capture card compatible with MAC OS?
Answer: Yes, DIGITNOW capture device is compatible with most operating systems like Mac OS, Windows, and Linux. You just need a 3.0 or 2.0 USB port on your PC or MAC.
2- Question: Why when I connect my GoPro to the capture card the GoPro screen goes black?
Answer: This doesn’t happen to everyone but if it happens to you then you would need to change the following on your GoPro: Go to “Preferences” then under “I/O”, select “HDMI Output”. Set it to “Live”. You also need to make sure that the GoPro is being powered by an external 5 Volt USB charger.
3- Question: How can I connect an external microphone while my GoPro Hero5/Hero6/Hero7 is hooked to power?
Answer: There is a USB-C port on the GoPro USB-C to 3.5mm adapter that you can use to power up the GoPro, and plug the external microphone at the same time.
4- Question: What capture devices other than DIGITNOW can I use?
Answer: I have personally tested the Magewell HDMI to USB Gen2 which is compatible with all operating systems. I have also used the Elgato HD60S and Mirabox.
5- Question: Is this setup compatible with GoPro Hero 4 Session?
Answer: No, since the 4 Session doesn’t have an HDMI output port.
There you Have it Folks!
I hope you enjoyed my tutorial on how to use a GoPro as a webcam.
If you have any questions or if you would like to tell me what you think about this setup then feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below 🙂