If there’s one type of camera that’s synonymous with an outdoorsy and adventurous lifestyle, it’s the one with the word "GoPro" written on it. GoPro cameras are responsible for countless photos and hours of amazing footage of activities ranging from underwater diving to skydiving, and from small activities to the biggest public events.
But even though the company has managed to move 30 million units in their ten years of doing business, it is always looking to broaden its horizons and find new ways to win the market. That means new services and products, like the subscription-based cloud storage service. Now you can also use GoPro to live stream footage from your activities or events you attend.
GoPro streaming: the good and the bad
GoPro makes action cameras, and they excel at what they do. However, a GoPro camera can’t stream on its own, which is why you need to pair it with a smartphone that has the GoPro app installed or MacOS. So, for mobile device users, a full GoPro streaming setup would include the camera as the source, the app as the encoder, and the smartphone as the processing computer.
The highlights of using a GoPro for streaming include:
- Great image quality. If you want to shoot outside in the bright light, GoPro will provide great footage with an awesome color balance.
- It’s small and highly portable. GoPros are smaller and lighter than regular cameras; you can easily carry one in your pocket.
- It’s rugged and waterproof. Your phone can’t take a beating like a GoPro camera can. Plus, you can use the action camera near (and in some cases under) the water.
- The wide angle. It captures a larger field of view and offers that action-cam esthetic people have grown to expect.
- Endless wearability and mountability options. You can wear a GoPro camera for point-of-view shooting or mount it on your bike, a tripod, or anywhere else.
Pretty much what you’d expect from an action camera, right? Still, using live streaming with a GoPro camera has its drawbacks, too:
- Limited device support. Currently, the GoPro app only supports live streaming on the HERO7 Black and later.
- Limited platform support. The app comes with native support for YouTube and Facebook, and RTMP support for select platforms including Twitch and Douyu, but it lacks support for some obvious platforms such as Instagram.
- Poor low-light performance. The cameras weren’t really designed for capturing low-light footage, so live streaming at night and from some indoor events might be an issue.
Clearly, live streaming with a GoPro has its limitations. But while you can’t do much about the low-light performance, there are ways to bypass other limitations, including those concerning device and platform support.
But before we get to them, let’s see how you can use your GoPro and its smartphone app to start streaming action footage right away.
How to live stream with the GoPro app
Before you start setting up your stream, you need to perform some preparations. The GoPro app is available for iOS and Android, and you need to install it. You also need to connect your HERO7 Black camera (or later) to a Wi-Fi network.
If you don’t have a Wi-Fi network, you need to create a personal hotspot with your smartphone and connect your camera to it. It goes without saying that your camera should be paired with the app.
When that’s taken care off, follow these steps:
- Pick the platform. Open the app and scroll the options all the way to the right, past video and photo, until you get a “set up live” button. You’ll see a platform icon in the lower right-hand corner — click on it to choose between Facebook Live and YouTube.
- Set up the live stream. You will need to log into your account and give the GoPro app access, connect to Wi-Fi or a personal hotspot, set visibility, write a description, and choose the resolution and whether you want to save your stream to an SD card.
- Go live!
If you want to live stream to a platform other than Facebook Live or YouTube, you will need to:
- Find and copy the platform’s RTMP URL. You’ll usually find them in the streaming options on your platform of choice.
- Paste the RTMP URL into the GoPro app. From the app, select RTMP instead of Facebook Live or YouTube. You’ll see a field for entering the URL and the stream key. Make sure the URL ends with a “/” after you’ve pasted it
- Copy the stream key. You’ll find it at the same place on your platform as the RTMP URL.
- Paste the stream key into the GoPro app. Paste it right after the “/” following the URL, no spaces needed.
By the end of it, you should have the URL and the key in a single line. And that’s all there is to it — you’re ready to stream to the website of your choice. If the GoPro app supports it, that is.
Using your GoPro as a webcam
The newest GoPro cam HERO8 Black supports direct live streaming for MacOS users. Unfortunately, the Windows support is in development. All you need to start live streaming is your cam, a microSD card reader, a USB-C cable (usually comes with the camera), and your computer. Let’s dive into the quick tutorial:
- Set up your point of view with the GoPro mounts. By the way, did you know that every existing GoPro mount is compatible with GoPro cameras? This allows you to get creative and come up with new interesting angles.
- Download and install the latest firmware and software for your HERO8 Black. You can learn how to do it in the official guide. After the installation is completed, a GoPro icon should appear right in the status bar.
- Connect your GoPro cam via the USB-C cable. A blue dot should appear on the GoPro icon, confirming it is successfully connected and set to Webcam Mode.
- Select your GoPro as your default camera for live streaming. Go to the GoPro app and choose the Show Preview option to check if everything’s working properly.
How to live stream using the Live4 app
People who have an earlier model of the GoPro camera can’t benefit from the new live streaming feature of the GoPro app and HERO7 Black. Even the company’s best-selling camera, the HERO5 Black, doesn’t have native live streaming support, thus requiring third-party applications.
The Live4 app aims to rectify this. It supports GoPro cameras all the way back to HERO3 White, except for HERO 2014, which doesn’t have Wi-Fi, and Fusion, which isn’t supported yet.
To live stream from GoPro to Facebook Live using the Live4 app, you need to:
- Log into your Facebook account from the Live4 app.
- Turn your camera’s Wi-Fi on and connect your smartphone to it.
- Go back to the Live4 app and tap the “let’s get started” button.
With that, you’ll be all set to start broadcasting. You’ll see a preview of the camera and a big red button you have to press when you want to start streaming. Just be careful that your cell plan supports your streaming habit — much like when creating a personal hotspot, this way of live streaming with a GoPro will use your cellular data.
As of August 2019, the app only supports streaming to Facebook Live, but Live4 and Restream have partnered up to let you multistream with your GoPro. So not only will you be able to stream to several websites, you’ll be able to do it at the same time. Thanks to multistreaming, you can always be on the platforms your audiences like to use.
GoPro cameras have a lot to offer for people who want to showcase their outdoorsy lifestyle. The addition of live streaming to GoPro’s offerings was very welcome. The drawback is that only one model supports it, but that’s something the Live4 app can help with. Thanks to the collaboration with Restream, you will also be able to live stream from your GoPro camera to many other websites, simultaneously. That’s when you really start seeing the benefits of live streaming.