Well-known as an action camera for capturing on-the-go video, the GoPro is popular with those involved in sports, underwater activities, capturing vacation footage, and a host of other use cases. However, the GoPro Hero11 Black (Figure 1) can also serve as a high-quality webcam for meetings or online conferences using web applications like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and GoTo Meeting, and it can be deployed in production streaming workflows for YouTubers and video podcasters.
Figure 1. The GoPro Hero11 Black
This review will explore the GoPro Hero11 Black’s live-streaming and webcam features and provide some tips on configuring settings and using the GoPro with major streaming platforms.
Before we jump into the setup of the GoPro Hero11 Black as a webcam, let’s discuss some basics.
If you’re using the GoPro Hero11 Black for the first time as a webcam, you’ll need to do the following:
- Make sure your GoPro Hero11 Black is already configured with the GoPro Quik app (available for download from the Apple App Store or Google Play), and install the latest firmware update.
- Download and install the GoPro Webcam app (available for MacOS and Windows), and launch it if it doesn’t launch by itself.
- Connect your GoPro USB-C cable from the GoPro Hero11 Black to your computer’s USB port, and turn on
your camera. “USB connected” should appear on the GoPro’s display.
Notice the blue circle displayed on the camera icon for the GoPro Webcam app in the upper-left corner of Figure 2. If it’s blue, the camera is ready to use. If it’s red, your camera most likely still needs to be connected or turned on. Once you see the blue circle, you’re ready to start using the GoPro Hero11 Black with your web application for your meeting or live production.
Figure 2. The circular blue dot means the GoPro is ready to use as a webcam.
You can quickly check to see how your video looks by clicking the Show Preview option on the GoPro Webcam app’s drop-down menu. When the preview appears, you can adjust the view to Flip or Mirror (Figure 3) based on your preference.
Figure 3. Preview showing in Mirror mode
Now, let’s walk through configuring your videoconferencing app with GoPro Hero11 Black. In this case, we’ll use Zoom. In Zoom, under video options, select GoPro Webcam (Figure 4) and your desired option for audio. You should then see your GoPro Hero11 Black displayed as the camera in the Zoom interface.
Figure 4. Choosing the GoPro as your webcam in Zoom
With the GoPro selected, you can adjust your camera to the desired size display in the Digital Lens pull-down by choosing Wide, Narrow, or Linear Lens. Under Preferences, you can adjust the resolution by selecting either 1080p or 720p. Note that if you adjust the camera resolution, you’ll need to quit and relaunch the GoPro Webcam app.
Videoconferencing and chat apps that support the GoPro Webcam app on Windows include Zoom, Webex, Slack, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, GoTo Meeting, Facebook Rooms, and Discord. On the Mac, your options include Zoom, Webex, Slack, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Twitch, BlueJeans, GoTo Meeting, Facebook Rooms, Discord, and Snap Camera.
You can find additional info on app support and access firmware updates and more at go2sm.com/gopro.
Streaming Platform Setup
Before we get into evaluating the GoPro’s webcam features working in different web applications, let’s quickly discuss the different streaming platforms available and the configuration process.
The GoPro Hero11 Black supports live streaming to the following platforms and options: GoPro.com, Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, and “Other/RTMP.” To access the streaming options using your camera, you’ll need to use the GoPro Quik app.
Under the options at the bottom of the GoPro Quik app, click on GoPro. Next, select Control Your GoPro (Figure 5).
Figure 5. Selecting Control Your GoPro in the Quik app
In the dialog that opens, choose Enable Preview to see your GoPro camera output. Next, choose the Live option and then Set Up Live.
The next dialog that opens will show you a list of available live-streaming platform options (Figure 6). Choose Other/RTMP to enter a custom URL.
Figure 6. Choosing a streaming platform
After you make your platform choice, a screen will appear like the one in Figure 7, where you can choose stream configuration options that are specific to the platform you selected. First, choose the Wi-Fi network to connect to. For RTMP/Other, you’ll need to enter the RTMP URL for your specific streaming platform, and, finally, you’ll select the resolution. If desired, you can adjust the Lens settings like the Digital Lens settings mentioned earlier.
Figure 7. Configuring your stream
Testing the GoPro Hero11 Black
Here’s how I tested the GoPro Hero11 Black. First, I was interested in assessing how well it worked as a webcam and whether users would notice a difference in quality over the built-in webcam on their computer. Second, I was curious if the camera was easy enough for users to set up for regular meetings with a videoconferencing web application. Third, I wanted to learn if YouTubers, podcasters, and other producers could use the GoPro Hero11 Black in a production workflow as a camera for guests, hosts, and producers. Lastly, I wanted to determine whether the camera could deliver a high-quality feed to different platforms.
I tested the GoPro Hero11 Black’s webcam feature using the following web applications: Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, and YouTube Live.
Setting up the GoPro Hero11 Black as a webcam works great and delivers on the promise of being able to use it for videoconferencing and online meetings. It’s even easy enough for novices to be able to use it regularly. Once you complete the tasks mentioned earlier in the setup section, you should find it straightforward to use from there.
Figure 8 shows what it looks like to configure the GoPro in Google Meet. You just select the GoPro Webcam as your source, and you’re ready to go, with adjustments available for lighting and resolutions as you prefer. Configuration was just as easy in my testing with Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and GoToMeeting.
Figure 8. Configuring the GoPro as your Google Meet webcam
I want to point out one issue I noticed in testing the GoPro Hero11 Black as a webcam in YouTube Live. After I attempted to choose the GoPro as my webcam, I saw a black screen with the message “To start streaming, allow access to your camera and microphone.” It appears this was an issue with YouTube and not the GoPro. After clicking around and trying to figure it out, I noticed the small camera icon with a red “X,” as shown in Figure 9. Once I clicked it, I could select my GoPro as the webcam.
Figure 9. Enabling the GoPro for use with YouTube Live
Testing With Streaming Platforms
I tested the streaming capabilities of GoPro Hero11 Black using the following streaming platforms and options within the GoPro Quik app: GoPro.com, Other/RTMP, and Twitch. The GoPro.com option requires a subscription fee and allows users to deliver live streams using the manufacturer’s own streaming platform.
When streaming to GoPro.com, after you input the necessary configuration information (which is very similar to the configuration options shown for Other/RTMP in Figure 7, except for entering the URL) and advance to the next page, you’ll get an image that displays the streaming health of your live stream as a well as a link to share the live stream (Figure 10).
Figure 10. Here you can get a read on the robustness of your GoPro.com live stream, share your stream link, and view the stream.
It would be great if I could say every live stream I configured worked reliably, but it didn’t. Repeatedly, I saw the “Can’t Connect” error message shown in Figure 11, and I was frustrated because I couldn’t determine what the error meant. I couldn’t tell if it was a networking problem, an issue with the GoPro or the Wi-Fi on the GoPro, or something else.
Figure 11. The “Can’t Connect” error message I saw all too often when testing the GoPro
What’s missing in the GoPro Quik app is an interface that provides feedback to the user on the strength of the internet connection or some other comparable solution. This was the major issue I experienced with the app. What’s also missing is an option to see real-time updates when selecting Linear, Wide, and SuperWide for the Lens. I would like to see the image change to confirm that it’s configured correctly.
I was also able to deliver live streams using Mux with the Other/RTMP streaming option (Figure 12). For example, I could easily configure a live stream using Mux by adding the Mux RTMP streaming URL along with the stream key.
Figure 12. Delivering live streams using Mux
However, one element that’s missing in the settings to configure a live stream within the GoPro Quik app is an option for where users can add their stream key. This would make it easy for users to add the stream key information from their preferred streaming platform without having to guess where to put it.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t test YouTube Live under streaming platforms, as users are required to have at least 50 subscribers before they can use YouTube Live with the GoPro Quik app. I received a “Can’t Stream to YouTube” message when I selected the YouTube Live streaming option.
Setting up the live stream using Twitch was probably the easiest streaming platform to configure. That’s likely because when you log in to Twitch with your account in the GoPro Quik app, it shows what’s required by the labels provided, and if users add the wrong information, they get feedback in the error message.
For this review, I wanted to learn how well the GoPro Hero11 Black worked as a webcam and whether users would notice a difference in quality over the built-in webcam on their computer.
As a webcam, the GoPro Hero11 Black works extremely well, and the quality is outstanding. In every meeting I’ve used it in and with each web application I’ve tested, it has produced high quality and has been reliable. It’s extremely easy to use regularly in online meetings with various videoconferencing applications. You should have no issues using it for that purpose.
Now, on the question of whether podcasters and other producers could use the GoPro Hero11 Black in a production workflow as a camera for guests, hosts, and producers, I’m less convinced. GoPro’s live-streaming platform integrations proved hit and miss in my testing. Personally, I would need to see some improvements before committing to using it in a production. I noticed some annoying issues that make me hesitate to deploy it in a production workflow even though the camera does deliver high-quality video with source streams at 720p or 1080p using the live-streaming platforms. Instead, I recommend using the GoPro as a webcam video source with other tools with successful streaming integrations, such as OBS Studio, Wirecast, vMix, EdgeCaster EZ, Pearl Nano, and others.
Overall, the product is promising, and if GoPro were to put the same great work into the streaming platform side of things that it obviously devoted to making the product excellent as a webcam, it would be a solid addition to many live-streaming production workflows.