One thing that's been in short supply during the pandemic are webcams; as people have rushed to set up home offices, they've cleared the shelves of the best webcams, a necessary tool for communicating with coworkers and colleagues via Zoom, Skype, and other video chat apps.
Fortunately, there are myriad ways to use both your smartphone and your camera as a webcam (you can even use the Wyze home security camera), and now, there's yet another option: GoPro released a utility that lets you use a GoPro Hero8 Black—our top pick for the best action cameras—as a webcam. Here's how to set it up.
Two caveats: For now, the app only works with the GoPro Hero8 Black, and only works on Macs. GoPro said it's working on a Windows version, but doesn't appear that it will make the software compatible with older GoPros.
What you'll need to use your GoPro as a webcam
- GoPro Hero8 Black
- MicroSD card, microSD card reader
- USB cable
- Mac laptop or desktop
Don't have a GoPro? You can also use a smartphone or a camera as a webcam. Here are our guides for both.
How to update your GoPro Hero8 to use it as a webcam
1. Download the GoPro Webcam Beta firmware to your Mac.
2. Insert the microSD card into your Mac.
3. Copy the file to the microSD card.
4. Double-click the .zip file to expand it.
5. Eject the microSD card from your Mac, and insert it into your GoPro.
6. Turn your GoPro on. It should automatically start installing the update. The camera might beep and turn on and off a few times during this process. If the firmware is successfully updated, you should see a green check mark on the GoPro's screen.
How to use your GoPro Hero8 as a webcam with your Mac
Once you've updated the firmware on your GoPro, you will then have to install the utility on your Mac.
1. Download and install the GoPro Webcam beta utility. If it installed correctly, you should see a small GoPro icon in the status bar at the top of your screen.
2. Turn on the GoPro, and connect it to your Mac via USB. GoPro says that a USB 3.0 port will provide enough power to the GoPro.
3. If the connection is successful, you should see a small green dot on top of the GoPro icon in the status bar.
4. Click on the icon, and select Show Preview to properly align the GoPro. We also suggest investing in one of the best iPhone tripods to ensure your GoPro remains stable on your desk. You might also want to check out the best GoPro accessories for filters, clamps, and other add-ons to enhance your chat.
5. Adjust the resolution of your GoPro. If you have bandwidth issues, you can switch between 1080p (default) and 720p in the Preferences menu. At the moment, though, you can't adjust the field of view, which is pretty wide.
Video chat apps that work with the GoPro
GoPro says that its Webcam utility should work with the following programs, many of which are on our list of the best video chat apps.
- Zoom (v 5.0.5 and newer) and Zoom Chrome Extension
- YouTube Live (Using Chrome)
- Webex (Using Chrome)
- Google Meet
- Microsoft Teams
- Twitch via OBS
- GoTo Meeting
- Snap Camera
- Facebook Rooms
New to Zoom? Check out our guides to one of the most popular video chat services.