As I’ve noted in past technical posts, I’m not very enamored of GoPro as a company because their support is not great, and they have not been very forward thinking in terms of camera configuration – particularly when it comes to using GoPros as webcams. Never willing to just give up on a technical challenge, I came back to this topic after a few months. Once the dust settled, it appeared that some new tools became available, thus this blog post and update.
Should you use a GoPro as a webcam?
Even if you get over the configuration hurdles, you should know that GoPros tend to run extremely hot when used for any length of time. This is especially true when used as webcams where they are constantly streaming data. USB power is a must, otherwise the battery rapidly depletes. Like many have observed, it’s probably just better to use a “traditional” webcam. USB web cams are lower cost, just as good quality, and don’t get nearly as hot!
But, if you are hellbent on getting every ounce out of your GoPro investment, and your camera meets the requirements, read on…
Live Streamer for GoPros (on MacOS High Sierra)
First, you’ll need to download Live Streamer for GoPros by Harald Meyer. The program costs about $11 US, but for what it does it’s worth it. However, there are some additional configuration tweaks to be aware of to get the most out of it. First, let’s take a look at how I got it working…
1. Connect the GoPro as a webcam.
2. Use camera signal in OBS, and combine with other content as needed
3. Ensure that OBS is still using Ethernet (not WIFI) for the most stable broadcast quality.
1. Be sure you have both WIFI enabled and an Ethernet connection plugged in to your computer.
2. Turn off the screen saver on the camera, and be sure the camera is powered via USB. Otherwise, the screen saver may interfere with connection.
3. Follow the setup and requirements posted on Harald’s page. As he notes, the camera must connect via WIFI. For this to work, you’ll also need an RTMP server. If you don’t already have one, try Local RTMP Streaming Server on GitHub. This worked fine for me.
4. In MacOS Preferences, set the priority of your networks to be Ethernet first, followed by WIFI. Note the IP address of your Ethernet connection.
5. In OBS, create a scene with your GoPro as a Media Source. You’ll be using the RTMP address supplied by the instructions you followed above in the Live Streamer setup.
6. Under OBS Settings / Advanced / Network, set OBS to bind to IP, referencing the IP of the Ethernet connection.
7. Validate that your setup by broadcasting to the destination of your choice. Then, pull out your Ethernet cable. The camera signal should continue to stream to OBS. That is because it’s connected to the computer via WIFI. However, the OBS stream should stop. This verifies that you are using Ethernet to send the signal out to the world, and not WIFI!
When the Ethernet is plugged back in, it may not recover well. That’s OK. This was just for testing. Obviously, you would normally leave your Ethernet connected!
I’ve only tested this on MacOS 10.13.6 High Sierra, but other OS options are available. If you have multiple cameras, this method can also be used. See Harald’s great video on this.
Like many, I really wish the direct USB connection of the GoPro Hero 8 Black and the “official” webcam feature was more stable, but the solution above is workable if you don’t mind having some WIFI lag on the camera before things go out on the stream.