GoPro turns the Hero 8 Black into a $249 webcam

The GoPro Hero 8 action camera can now be used as a webcam thanks to a software utility. The software, which is still in beta, lets users connect a Hero 8 camera through USB and use it as a webcam. Without this utility, owners had to use a combination of dongles and HDMI cables to use the camera with their computers.

The GoPro app comes as most camera companies have released similar utilities for their latest DSLR cameras — Sony is the notable exception. TechCrunch has a running list right here.

With this new software from GoPro, owners can use their Hero 8 camera — and its handy wide-angle lens — in video chats with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Discord and many others. And if used through Chrome, the camera will work with Webex, Skype, Slack and others.

The work-from-home aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a shortage of webcams. As the global economy shifted to home offices, webcams from Logitech and Microsoft quickly sold out. The few HDMI adapters that allowed DLSRs to act as a webcam sold out, too. Camera companies suddenly started retooling their software to allow their cameras to work as a webcam through USB instead of HDMI.

This move from GoPro is smart. At a new low price of $249, the GoPro Hero 8 Black is one of the least expensive routes to use a real camera as a webcam. Right now, the software solution only works with Macs. GoPro says a Windows version is in the works. To use a Hero 8 as a webcam, download the latest firmware from GoPro and snag GoPro’s new Webcam Desktop Utility app.