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How to use GoPro HERO as a webcam

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GoPro HERO8 Black is an action camera, it is one of the finest products the company has ever created. It is a versatile camera that offers 4K resolution, high frame rates, more aspect ratio and features like direct WiFi streaming. However, GoPro has continued to add new features to the HERO 8, which are also available at launch in its all-new HERO 9 Black camera.

A very cool skill shared by these two cameras is the wired webcam feature. That’s right, you can use your high-end GoPro action cameras as a webcam in Windows or macOS! Let’s go through what you need to know.

WHY USE A GOPRO AS A WEBCAM?

Why not just use a regular webcam? There is nothing wrong with simply using your laptop’s built-in webcam or a regular cheap USB webcam. That is, if you agree with the quality of their video output. Even high-end laptops only offer 720p webcams with tiny pinhole lenses. Proper 1080p HD USB webcams are pretty expensive too! As you can only use them for one purpose.

WHAT YOU NEED TO USE A GOPRO HERO AS A WEBCAM

It’s technically possible to use pre-HERO 8 GoPro cameras as a webcam, but only if you’re willing to buy several expensive third-party accessories as well. HERO 8 and 9 now support the webcam function as a native camera feature. To use it, you will need the following:

  • A GoPro Hero 8 or 9 Black
  • The latest firmware installed on the camera
  • A USB C cable suitable for connecting to your computer
  • The GoPro webcam utility for your operating system

That’s all! Let’s move on to the technical instructions.

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HOW TO SET UP A GOPRO HERO AS A WEBCAM IN WINDOWS

Before going any further as a Windows user, you should know that the GoPro webcam utility for Windows is still beta software. It may not yet be as stable or compatible as the macOS version. Here’s what to do:

  1. First, download the Windows GoPro webcam utility and install it.
  2. The wizard is simple, you shouldn’t change any options unless you want to.
  3. You will need to approve the installation of a virtual network card
  4. Finally, your PC will need to reboot to finalize the operation.

After returning to Windows, you will see a new webcam icon in the notification bar.

Turn on your GoPro and connect it to your computer. The icon should now display a small blue light. This means the camera is connected and working. You can now select it as a webcam option in applications such as Skype or Teams.

HOW TO SET UP A GOPRO HERO 8 AND 9 AS A WEBCAM IN MACOS

The webcam utility for macOS GoPro is already a definitive and stable software. So almost all users shouldn’t have any problems with it. Let’s go through the setup step by step.

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  1. First, download the GoPro webcam utility for macOS here and install it.
  2. The wizard is simple, you shouldn’t change any options unless you want to.
  3. You will need to provide TouchID or your admin password.
  4. Finally, you will need to restart your Mac to finalize the operation.

When you log back into macOS, you should see this GoPro webcam icon in the notification area. This will be the status indicator for camera operation.

All you need to do now is turn on your camera, connect it to your computer with a USB C cable and check if a blue light appears on the app icon. If it does, your GoPro is in webcam mode! That light will turn red when streaming or recording.

You should now have GoPro as an external webcam option in applications like Skype or Microsoft Teams!

IMPORTANT FUNCTIONS OF THE WEBCAM APP

On both Windows and macOS, if you right-click on the webcam app icon you can access some important features:

  • “Digital Lens” allows you to switch from a wide field of view to a narrow and a linear one.
  • “Show preview” opens a window to show what the camera view looks like.
  • Currently only the macOS version seems to allow the resolution change.

That’s it for the webcam app, which is no more complex than it should be at this point.

IT’S NOT PERFECT

While we think this new feature is brilliant, there are still some things we would like to see improved and some bugs to be aware of.

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First of all, although both the Heros 8 and 9 support live streaming, there is no wireless webcam functionality. We think this would be a killer feature, especially since it would allow the camera to work with the battery door closed. Allow shooting underwater or in difficult conditions.

We also weren’t able to get webcam mode to work without a battery in the GoPro. It’s unclear if this is normal behavior, but it’s better to keep the GoPro’s battery handy than not being able to use it as a webcam when you need it.

Sadly, there’s no option for 4K video quality either. While the fantastic optics and full 1080p image are still much better than the typical webcam, it seems a shame they don’t offer the 4K quality these cameras are capable of. We hope GoPro will make higher resolutions possible in the future.

FINAL TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR GOPRO WEBCAM

Using a GoPro as an external webcam gives you a number of interesting opportunities. We used a USB 2.0 C-to-C cable in our tests and had no problems transferring the 1080p image to the computer. USB 2.0 Type-C cables can be up to 4 meters long. We tested it with a 3-meter USB-C cable from the Oculus Quest and there were no issues.

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With such a long cable you can effectively place the camera anywhere. We always recommend the GoPro Jaws Flexible Clamp as the most versatile solution, but you can put your GoPro on a tripod or any other compatible mount. Simplify physical presentations, training demonstrations, and any other type of streaming that requires a wider view, a mobile camera, and space.

Take the time to experiment and you’ll find that using your GoPro as a webcam is a great alternative to standard USB webcams. Happy streaming!

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