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How To Use My GoPro As A WebCam

by Lisa Hayden
How To Use My GoPro As A WebCam

How To Use My GoPro As A WebCam? (Simple Steps)

The GoPro range of cameras has really expanded the way in which we use visual technology programs is a variety of ways. With a GoPro camera, you have the ability to film all that is happening around you, whether that is shooting footage of your next bike ride or capturing imagery of a trip to the Zoo. There is virtually no lack of things that you can do with it.

Can I Use My GoPro As A Webcam?

As versatile as these are out and about a number of people are asking whether or not it is possible to use your GoPro as a webcam. Fortunately for you, the answer is a resounding yes. It is possible if you know how to actually use your GoPro as a webcam and in this guide, we will step you through the process that you will need to follow to make this work along with the additional hardware that you will require. Please note that the below was written while I worked on Windows computer but I have included Mac details which is not too different for you to follow.

What Are The Benefits Of Using My GoPro As A Webcam?

The benefit of repurposing your GoPro from your favourite drone for your computer allows you to firstly get more usage from your investment while it allows you the added benefit of being able to record in full High Definition and make use of the other features that come with it such as the ability to use the wider angle lens that is often compromised on most of the tradition webcams available on the market today.

As well the pixel and colour clarity on the GoPro range generally far exceed those found on general webcams


With the proper set up you can make a much more professional appearance and recording when using visual platforms such as Google Meetings, GoToMeeting, Skype and more. If you are someone that enjoys gaming and who wants to stream tier gaming onto the internet, this set up will have you looking like a professional presenter.

Firstly you will need to make sure that your GoPro is in a good condition and that it records well in other environments as it will need to work correctly for it to be repurposed for your webcam needs. For this example, I am using a Hero5 Black. The benefits of using this model are that you can make use of the Super Wide and Ultra Wide settings which may enhance your recordings depending on what you are using it for. These instructions will also work for the Hero6 and Hero4 range of cameras.

Considering that most home computers run at 1080p video standard and by using your GoPro you will be getting 120 frames per second on both the Hero4 and Hero5 Black models. 120 frames per second are going to give you a good clear crisp resolution as you would expect from using the GoPro normally. Lesser models will drop your frame rate per second and may not be of the high standard quality that you are seeking.

computer components

Components.

  1. Your GoPro camera
  2. A highspeed micro HDMI to HDMI cable, preferably longer than required for ease of installation. An HDMI cable is a High definition multi-interface cable. This particular one is to allow the camera to connect with the different sized connector, seeing as both hardware devices have different sized connectors.
  3. An HDMI dongle USB device such as this one. Although its our favourite, there are plenty of models out there.

Simple Step By Step Guide 

Some of this will come down to the reasons behind why you are wanting to go this road. For example, will be wanting the type of stability that will come from using a mini tripod to keep your camera at the right height and completely steady while you are recording. If so then a simple tripod will suffice. If you want to get really sophisticated you may want to buy a protective case for it. The benefits are the clean trail for your video and power cables so that they don't get too unruly and cluttered in anything else that you also may have connected. A solid aluminium case will also keep your camera safe, again keeping mind that I have no idea behind what you are going to be using this set up for.

The below is the easiest way that I am aware of doing this. Seeing as we are talking about computer componentry below, there are no doubt a number of ways to achieve the same goal, however, for the sake of this guide, I have gone with the easiest method which is as simple as it comes. You may be able to find other ways that may not require some of the below parts, but in saying this, I would expect that the actual process of computer programs that you will need would be a little more complex and will probably require downloading additional software such as OBS which is a free download used for streaming. 

Make sure that your camera is fully charged before connecting anything else. There is nothing worse than completing all of the steps only to wonder why things are not working. A flat battery will probably not be the first thing that you check if things are not working.

  1. Connect one end of the camera to the correct size HDMI end.
  2. Connect the USB HDMI dongle to your computer.
  3. Connect the open end of the HDMI cable into the USB dongle
  4. Make sure that everything is correct and are powered on, including your GoPro.
  5. Depending on what you are now wanting to do you may need to log into the video platforms that you want to use like Skype etc
  6. The USB dongle acts as a converter that changes the signal from the HDMI input and changes into a standard webcam signal. You will get all of the benefits of the GoPro, but your computer will now know that it should open up and use the webcam settings. We use this model all the time for all the broadcasts so let us know how you get on.  We always looked for a device that would enable us to treat  GoPro Hero4 (my personal favourite) Silver like a regular video camera using OBS. The GoPro  came up pretty much straight away as a video source with no configuration or driver installation necessary on my iMAC. OBS saw it without any hassles too. We hooked up DSLR that could be getting pressed into service as well and this convertor appears to be just what the doctor ordered.  
  7. Depending on the type and age of the computer you are using you may need to change the camera setting to the HDMI output or your USB, whichever the camera menu pulls up for you to choose.
  8.  Head over to the online platform that you will be using and start recording. I recommend doing some tests first by flipping your webcam on so that you can see exactly what it is recording. This is important to make sure that you are squarely in the centre of the frame, along with making a check on any items that appear in the background. You don't want your leftover dinner to be peeking out in a corner of the screen. This step will also allow you to change the focus, repoint the camera and do anything else to get the shot that you are going for. 

Now that you have your GoPro set up and are recording, there are some other things that you may want to consider to further enhance your viewers viewing experience. Try to put your self in their seat. Try to think about the background behind you. What enhancements could be made so that you are the main focal point that is in focus if that is your goal? 

The same would go for any background noises that could distract from your on-screen presentation. Can these be reduced or even removed? If they cannot be moved, you may want to play something over the top to disguise it such as a low soundtrack that again will not distract from your presentation. An example where this may be useful is if you happen to have the background noise of traffic consistently then a soundtrack should mask this out as well as adding some ambience.

Now that you are all set up you can do just about anything that you want as far as recording your self or your screen. There are also a number of free downloadable software items that will take your experience to the next level. There is also a range of apps that you may want to check out as well. If your recordings are up to it you could upload them to the GoPro channel along with a range of other sites if you are wanting to get your brand out there or to increase your social media following.

As mentioned earlier, there is probably a number of ways to attain the same result but I am unaware of any that are as easy to set up and that does not require the downloading of additional software to complete the process. This method is also the most professional meaning that you have the base of an actual studio. The only other requirements to take your set up to the next level would be to investigate how to record a better sound solution with a microphone kit as well as looking at what you can put in place to manage the lighting that is on you and your screen.

Components (Advanced- Windows).

  1. Your GoPro camera: If its a model like Hero 3 or 4, with Micro HDMI, you would need a Micro HDMI to HDMI cable converter
  2. Mini USB to USB 3.0 connector or cable.
  3. A high Quality Capture Card. Some people swear on MYPIN Capture card but honestly any card would do as long as its High Quality.
  4. Software: Download OBS. Its free for Windows but works like a treat

Components (Advanced- MAC).

  1. Your GoPro camera: If its a model like Hero 3 or 4, with Micro HDMI, a Micro HDMI to HDMI cable converter
  2. ThunderBolt Cable.
  3. Blackmagic Design UltraStudio Mini Recorder Capture Card. If you are using MAC, you probably would be better off spending a bit more on Blackmagic Recorder.
  4. Software: Download OBS. As with Windows, there is a MAC version which is also free

Advanced Step By Step Guide (Windows & MAC) To Use For Webcam & Streaming 

  1. Connect all your cables from GoPro (USB, MicroHDMI etc) and USB3.0 from capture card to your computer
  2. Stating the obvious: Install the downloaded OBS for your Windows/MAC 
  3. Remember to disable OSD on your GoPro as you would not want the default picture settings like time, date, picture quality and other settings to be transferred onto the video when you stream
  4. Launch the Open broadcaster Software and configure it to receive the video signal from GoPro. Sounds a bit jargony but in reality all you need to do is add the Capture Card as a video source on OBS. The menu is intuitive and can be configured using "Sources" tab and select "Add", "Video capture Device".
  5. Voila there you go. you will now have your GoPro capture on the screen, hopefully!

Can It Be Used on Skype, FaceTime & VideoChats?

Yes, in my experience, it works pretty seamlessly on MAC and Windows apps after the above steps but some users have complained that Skype for business and new version do not detect capture card as video source so you might have to manually select  it under Skype's "Video Settings".

Do I really need a Capture Card?

Yes and No,  yes as the output from GoPro is a plain video format that needs to be converted into binary or digtal code that computers understand, which can them be forwarded onto apps like Skype etc. You wouldn't need it if you use a HDMI USB dongle described in the simple steps.

I hope that you have found the above to be of use to you as well as suggesting some other ways that you can make your recordings more professional. To your success!

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33 comments

Bob June 29, 2019 - 4:03 am

Do you mind pointing to a source for the HDMI to USB dongle or cable? Have you tried the setup yourself? There are plenty of USB to HDMI dongles (adapters) but they are just graphics cards (display adapters) allowing attachment of external monitors in excess of any HDMI ports a computer may have. I do not believe they will work in other direction.

Reply
Lisa Hayden August 26, 2019 - 10:27 am

Hey Bob Check here

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JoggerJoel May 4, 2020 - 6:30 pm

What abou goPro v1 and goPro v2?

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Moritz Neumann July 1, 2019 - 5:16 pm

There is not a single reason to use 120fps when using your GoPro as a webcam, it wont make the image look crisper and has nothing to do with resolution as mentioned in the article. Additionally no videochat program will transmit more then a quarter of the frames, it will just use processing power…

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Alexander Hammerschmied July 23, 2019 - 6:47 am

Hi Lisa,
I stumbled upon your article while looking for a solution on how to use my gopro as a webcam.
Thank you very much for this straight forward and easy to use/understand tutorial.
It works like a charm!
All the best and thanks again. This saved my day!

Reply
Adam August 22, 2019 - 4:05 pm

Does this work with a GoPro Hero Session too? I’d love to try it but don’t want the upfront cost to only show it won’t work.

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Lisa Hayden September 1, 2019 - 9:06 am

Yes, no reason not to as we’ve tried it on Gopro 4 but I suggest you turn the OSD off to ensure it doesn’t get captured as well. Suggest you get it on Amazon so you have the backing of a refund if you don’t like it!

Lets u know how you get on!

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Anthony Mottola August 25, 2019 - 11:44 pm

where did you get the HDMI to USB dongle

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Lisa Hayden September 1, 2019 - 9:02 am

Hey Anthony, Check here

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Steven K September 16, 2019 - 5:59 pm

Hello,

I use a GoPro hero 3. Just to make sure, I would not need to press on “record” on the Gopro while it’s plugged into the capture device? OBS would see what the GoPro sees while on standby? Also, the sound actually works while everything is hooked up?
Might be duplicate message, sorry

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Lisa Hayden September 19, 2019 - 10:44 am

No, we didnt have to on the GoPro4 so would not expect it to be on GoPro 3 either as both function same output functions.

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Emma March 22, 2020 - 12:12 pm

Hi there, your article is so helpful. Sadly I don’t have the funds to buy the dongle you recommend. Is there a cheaper way to do it? I have a Hero 7 Go Pro and a Mac air. Thank you so much. Best wishes

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Lisa Hayden March 22, 2020 - 2:40 pm

Hi Emma, There are plenty of models down to 20$ including this one https://geni.us/jzB0 which is a bit dearer than 50$ but given that you have considerable investment already on mac air and gopro 7, this would be an investment for a long long time..

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David March 22, 2020 - 9:08 pm

Emma, anything video conferencing related has skyrocketed in price with the isolation orders. These things are sub $40 normally. I just saw one for $300. Give it some time.

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Lisa Hayden March 23, 2020 - 7:11 am

Thanks David-good point. Unprecedented times we live in.. Hope you all are safe!

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Emma March 23, 2020 - 9:12 pm

Thank you so much.

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Sary March 28, 2020 - 11:17 pm

Whats the difference if I get a cheaper hdmi to USB dongle ? I find a 50$ on amazon

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Lisa Hayden March 29, 2020 - 12:08 pm

Hi Sary,

Quite a lot, cheaper versions can’t do 1080p/4k if you like and more often than not, when you are starting, they are just ok but in our experience, you will grow out of it pretty quickly. The models on this article are the ones we use day in day out and my personal one has been running for 2 years without a glitch..

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J March 30, 2020 - 5:19 pm

in other words. NO YOU CANNOT unless you wanna spend as much as you did on your camera in the first place. waste of time article.

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Lisa Hayden March 30, 2020 - 9:24 pm

GoPro was never meant to be used as computer webcam when it was released and this article is to use the amazing product’s flexibility to also be used as a webcam and a testament. The argument is akin to not improvising a high end product like ferrari on a race track and buying a subaru cos’ its cheap and does the job-i’m afraid. Each to their own..

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J March 30, 2020 - 5:21 pm

this would be better advice: buy a cheap webcam.

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Lisa Hayden March 30, 2020 - 9:19 pm

You could try that but probably looking at wrong article. There is one on webcams for vlogging on the site here: https://thewiredshopper.com/best-webcams-for-vlogging-to-buy/

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D Babineaux March 30, 2020 - 6:04 pm

Can it be set up wirelessly in cases where you would have to walk away from you laptop?

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Lisa Hayden March 31, 2020 - 8:19 am

In my experience, unfortunately, not without compromising quality and lots of money. There really isn’t a wireless capture card out there that does it seamlessly. Even if it were to be manufactured, I’m unaware of any current models, if you’re looking for any kind of streaming quality, you would be hard-pressed for it and not to mention inevitable packet drops of wireless networks. You can buy very very expensive wireless video transceivers, you’ll still need a capture card to get that signal into your computer though and into OBS. Something like this would do the job that you’re looking to do, but it is a really expensive way of achieving your result

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Ahmed March 31, 2020 - 1:16 am

Hello Lisa,

Thanks for the great article really helped me a lot. My question here is , do I still need that dongle or can it be done with a Micro-Hdmi to Hdmi cable direct from camera to my new MacBook Pro? because in other threads they didn’t mention that dongle and they mentioned only that Micro Hdmi from the Camera Straight into the Mac. So I am waiting for that cable but i have this converter is where ill be plugging the cdmi then to my Mac.

https://www.amazon.es/gp/product/B07YQR7R7W/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Looking Forward for your feedback, would really appreciate it.

Thank you
Ahmed

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Lisa Hayden March 31, 2020 - 5:01 am

Hi Ahmed,

Glad you liked the article. If you just need transferring your footage or photos from GoPro to your MAC you can connect your HDMI directly to your MAC but, if you need your GoPro to act as a webcam for live streaming yourself onto Youtube or other gaming services, you will need the dongle. If you were to buy a dongle, one end of the HDMI will go into MAC and the other into the dongle. That product in the link is just a hub for connecting various types of cables and will not be suitable for live streaming or converting GoPro signals

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Ahmed March 31, 2020 - 4:44 pm

Hello Lisa ,

Thank you for the quick feedback. I have another question that would be very very nice of you if you can answer me in the next 2 hours before the push the delivery date if I buy this dongle.
Here is a Dongle I want to buy and its the only one that I will receive before 2 weeks.

https://www.amazon.es/dp/B082HZQNDN/ref=sspa_dk_detail_1?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B082HZQNDN&pd_rd_w=aEwvc&pf_rd_p=af12bbbd-c74b-4d8c-ad16-2ed2a7b363ab&pd_rd_wg=BlcrC&pf_rd_r=2RPE0H21K93EHNZCW1V9&pd_rd_r=81a72b3e-70b9-4949-a54e-3b5c9c19cb8a&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExREZUSExLNlMzWlEzJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMDk2MDg2MTNVWDhRRFA4RUZUUyZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNjAwMDk5SzdXUVdYM1RERldYJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfZGV0YWlsJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

Can you please tell me if it will work or not? it has 1080 but not 4k, would that be annoying? Also would you know of a dongle in the range of 60 – 75 euros.

Thank you
Ahmed

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Ahmed March 31, 2020 - 4:47 pm

Here is another one also I forgot to add in the last comment.

https://www.amazon.es/gp/product/B01N63NPAD/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=AQYHPY0BKWKJN&psc=1

I need to buy one of these in the next 2 hours to receive it before the weekend which is really important to me. if they both are very bad ill just postpone everything. let me know what you think please

Thank you very much for your help
Ahmed

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Vic May 4, 2020 - 12:58 am

I enjoyed your article and I have question that is off topic: what kind of keyboard is that in the photo of your computer gear? Thanks in advance, Vic

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Lisa Hayden May 4, 2020 - 4:22 pm

That’s the Apple one Vic

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Vic May 14, 2020 - 3:26 pm

Thanks!

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Gary Kimes May 17, 2020 - 3:00 pm

the Magewell USB Capture HDMI Gen2 – USB 3.0 HD Video Capture Dongle Model 32060 at $350 nixes any reason to go this route

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Lisa Hayden May 17, 2020 - 3:22 pm

Standard Magewell highlighted in article would do the job Gary, unless you would want 1920 x 1200 at 60fps

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