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How to turn your GoPro into a webcam with this simple trick

Modern problems require modern solutions.

gopro hero8 camera
Image: KnowTechie

If you’re one of the throngs of office workers now working from home, you’ll know just how hard it is to find a passable webcam at a reasonable price. Since the scalpers want $300 for a basic webcam, why not spend that cash on a far better camera that can do dual-duty between your Zoom meetings and your “taken at 4am to avoid people” daily jogs?

That camera is the GoPro Hero8, which you can get for $350 as long as it’s not being scalped by the same unscrupulous vendors that are inflating webcam prices. A simple software update can turn it into a worthy webcam for Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or pretty much any other video chat service.

Oh, and if you don’t have a GoPro Hero8 or don’t want to shell out, you can turn your phone into a janky webcam. Honestly though, at that point, just use the mobile apps…

What you need to turn your GoPro into a webcam

You’ll need a GoPro Hero8, which is the latest version of the well-regarded action cam. You will also need a USB-C cable (which will be in the camera box if you’re buying it new), and a computer. Oh, you’ll need a microSD card and a reader so you can plug that into your computer as well. Wait, there’s one more thing. You’ll need a Mac. This trick doesn’t work on Windows computers yet, although a version is in the works.

Then you’ll need some quality of life accessories, like this Neweer kit which has multiple mounting options for wherever your home office is set up. It’s also worth getting this Ulanzi Battery cover, as it lets you use the USB port without worrying about the battery sliding out mid-call. You might want some additional lighting as well, so pick up a LitraTorch 2.0.

How to turn your action cam into a very expensive webcam

GoPro recently came out with a beta firmware for the GoPro Hero8 that’ll let you use its latest action camera as a webcam. It’s pretty simple to set up, as long as you have a Mac… You’ll first update your GoPro, then set it up with your computer, then we’ll show you how to get the best out of your new action webcam.

Update your camera

  1. Go grab the GoPro Webcam Beta Firmware file, and save it to your Mac (somewhere easy for you to find)
  2. Transfer the update folder to your camera’s microSD card by unzipping the UPDATE.zip file from the step before, then dragging that folder onto your microSD card
  3. Look on the left menubar of Finder and eject your microSD card (it’ll be in Devices)
  4. Update your camera: Make sure it’s turned off, insert the microSD card, turn on the camera. It’ll start updating if you put the folder onto the microSD properly, and you’ll get a big checkmark on the screen once it’s finished. (if you get a message saying it failed, remove the battery, put it back in, and try again)

Prepare your Mac

  1. Download the GoPro Webcam Desktop Utility and install it on your Mac. You’ll see a GoPro icon in the top menubar if it worked
  2. Power your Hero8 on, and connect it to your Mac via USB.
  3. If it’s connected properly, the GoPro icon will get a blue dot, and the GoPro will show an image of a USB cable on its screen
  4. Click on the GoPro icon on the Status bar, and then on Show Preview. This will give you a preview of your feed, so you can position your camera properly

Camera, Lights, Action(cam)!

  1. Now that your GoPro is set up, open the video conferencing tool of choice. You can use it with Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Twitch, BlueJeans, GoTo Meeting, Snap Camera and Facebook Rooms. If you use Google Chrome, you can also use it with YouTube Live and Webex.
  2. Select GoPro as your preferred camera. Some let you choose this on launch, while others will require you to dive into Settings to set this
  3. You can change the resolution by clicking on the GoPro icon in the Status bar, and then Preferences. It’s set to 1080p by default, or you can change to 720p
  4. You can also change the field of view using the Digital Lens selection between Wide, Narrow, or Linear
  5. Oh, and set up a light behind the camera and off to one side, preferably higher up. That’ll give you the best lighting for your calls

Now your webcam is worthy of any video call. Sorry, we can’t do anything about your Zoom Fatigue.

What do you think? Plan on using your GoPro Hero8 as a webcam? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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