Are GoPros good for streaming a wedding?

Mark Sergienko
Mark Sergienko
November 9, 2021
Are GoPros good for streaming a wedding?

So you’re planning to live stream a wedding, and maybe it is your wedding (if so, congratulations!) and you happen to have a GoPro. Or you’re thinking how easy it is to use a GoPro for this purpose? We’ve tested it on location and we’re presenting our conclusion and top alternatives in this post!

Can GoPro cameras stream live?

Latest GoPro models have added a live streaming feature. How good is it, and is it good enough for the wedding? Let’s find out!

Which GoPro is best for live streaming?

GoPro Hero7, 8, 9, 10 and MAX have the live streaming feature. You can go Live using the Quik app that pairs with your GoPro. Hero7 only supports streaming with up to 720p resolution.

What about older GoPros? It is technically possible to go live with older GoPros, with Live4 app (Paid subscription to Live4 or restream required at $5+/mo or $19+/mo) however it’s quite a bit more complicated.


What do you need to go live with GoPro

  • GoPro Hero 7, 8, 9, 10 or MAX
  • Smartphone
  • Quik app installed 
  • Destination for your live stream (You can copy RTMP details from EventLive app) 
  • Hotspot (recommended)
  • Tripod mount (recommended)
gopro live streaming kit


What internet connection can you use to go Live with GoPro?

You can live stream using WiFi or your phone’s cellular connection. IMPORTANT: Remember that in the first case you must stay close to the WiFi source, and can’t wander around, and in the second case your phone must stay close to the GoPro. It’s best to use a wireless hotspot and keep next to your GoPro, to free up your phone.


How easy is it to go live with GoPro?

Here is the process:

  1. Turn on GoPro, Open the Quik app 
  2. Have your RTMP URL ready (You can find it in the EventLive app)
  3. Choose “Control Your GoPro”
  4. Choose “Set Up Live”
  5. Copy paste the RTMP URL
  6. Choose “Save a Copy”

Note, that if for some reason the connection breaks, you would have to enter the app and repeat these steps all over again. Unfortunately, the Quik app does not save the stream settings in the current version that we’ve tested.

Why would you want to use GoPro for live streaming?

Here are the most common reasons:

  • You already own one
  • You think it provides better quality video than a phone
  • You don't want to use your phone for streaming, since you will need it for something else

What are the advantages for live streaming a wedding with GoPro?

  • It can be quite discrete, so you can hide it in the gazebo or behind the bouquet without anyone noticing 
  • It stores the 4K footage to the SD card while streaming (when this option is turned on). 
  • It is waterproof, so if your wedding is under heavy rain, or underwater, that is the way to go! 
  • You will have a backup recording, even if the stream disconnects
gopro 7 camera


How reliable is live streaming with GoPro?

Live streaming isn’t GoPro’s primary function, it’s an action camera after all. It works well when your connection is strong (which it usually is, at home nearby your WiFi router). When the connection is sub-optimal (or you go too far away from the internet source), it may disconnect but it would not reconnect automatically. It would take minutes for you to find out if it did disconnect, and it can be too late.

The live streaming with GoPro is not a polished feature, and it is quite Beta and limited. You don’t get a preview while streaming on your phone. The only thing shown is the “stream health” indicator.

GoPro is trying to solve some of these problems in GoPro Labs, an experimental firmware for models 8, 9, 10. Labs allows you to save stream information on a QR code that the camera can quickly scan to go live. This is unreleased and requires a firmware update, so I won’t go into the details.

How to control GoPro while live streaming?

GoPro controls are very limited during the live streaming. It doesn’t let you control how bright the picture is, doesn’t let you zoom in, or practically control anything during the stream.

You see however the LIVE indicator on the camera, and blinking red light, as well as live duration and battery indicator. In our tests, at one point, “LIVE” was showing for a few minutes after the stream actually disconnected.

gopro camera for live streaming events

Issues with streaming directly from GoPros

Battery Life

GoPros last no more than 2 hours while live streaming and recording video. They could be powered during the stream if you use a power bank and a USB-C cable. The battery compartment door would need to be open.

Audio Quality

The audio quality of GoPros internal microphones is notoriously low. It has been optimized for motorcycle rides and surfing, rather than events. In order to add a microphone to it, you would have to either use a mic adapter ($50) or Media Mod ($80). The Media mods are available for GoPro Hero 8, 9, and 10. They also include a microphone with a wind muff and the ability to plug in an external microphone, plus an easier way to access USB and HDMI ports.  

Connectivity 

Your GoPro needs to stay close to the internet source, and if it is your phone’s hotspot you must remember not to walk away from it. If you are connecting to the venue's internet it can be hard to tell if the signal is good at all, and if it has actually disconnected. Worse, there’s no automatic reconnect if the signal was lost, so you would have to go back to the app, pair to GoPro, re-enter the RTMP details again, and that’s really stressful to do in the middle of the ceremony.

Video Quality

The quality of streaming GoPro allows is 720p or 480p. 1080p is only supported on HERO 8, 9, 10, and MAX. You cannot change the angle of the view, so it stays the same throughout the stream. It’s also not so great in low-light conditions such as dances, speeches, or ceremonies in churches. Dynamic range is poor, so some dark areas may be too dark. 

This camera wouldn't look very good for weddings taking place on a dark church. It's small sensor will cause a pretty grainy video.

Overheating

GoPro is an extreme sports lover's camera, it can fly to space and drop down on earth, it can be mounted on an eagle, go deep underwater, but it can easily overheat if left live streaming in the sun. Beware. Move it to shade, and keep an eye on the battery life. 

Placing it

You need an additional tripod mount adapter to be able to place a GoPro on a tripod or on top of your camera (if you’re a videographer). You can also use a different mount and get creative with different placements.

gopro mounted on a tripod

YouTube Limitations

To go live directly to YouTube, you'd need 1000 subscribers. If you're not a thriving YouTuber, this might be a big problem.

Social Media Streaming

When broadcasting copyrighted music during the ceremony, your stream might be blocked or muted by Facebook Live or YouTube.

The best way to fix this is to use an alternative live streaming platform, or using Royalty Free music at the event.


Connecting a GoPro to a computer for live streaming

HDMI out 

We’ve tested GoPro HDMI out and unfortunately found it too unreliable. 

In our tests with HERO7 using it as an HDMI camera wasn’t very reliable. Any touch on a screen would disable the HDMI out mode and we had to re-connect the cable. Some of these issues may be fixed in newer models, and when you’re using the Media Mod.

Some users reported Audio and video out of sync when using an external microphone.

Using it as a webcam

GoPro now has Webcam software that you can use on Mac and Windows to turn your GoPro plugged into USB as a webcam. That way you can add it as a source to your stream with OBS software, or use it on video calls. It’s only available for HERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, or HERO 8 Black.


Alternatives to GoPro for live streaming

If you can survive without your phone for the duration of the ceremony, using the phone is the best solution. Usually, phones have amazing cameras, WiFi, and LTE. EventLive app optimizes your stream quality based on your connection, so you don’t have to worry about the lags. It will reconnect automatically if the connection drops.

EventLive supports external microphones and Full HD backup recording to your phone.

The video quality of newer iPhones is comparable if not better than GoPro’s video quality. 

If you absolutely can’t use the phone, consider using a tablet. 

Tablets using EventLive will automatically reconnect for you and will keep recording even if the connection is lost.

If you are planning to do streams regularly as a professional (officiant, organizer, venue), consider using Mevo Start rather than GoPro. It can zoom in and out around the frame, it has a built-in jack to add an external microphone, and overall has much better image quality for events. If you have access to ethernet you can connect Mevo Start directly to improve your internet connection. The battery life is quite a bit better too, at 6+ hours.

If you're a professional videographer or photographer, look into DSLR or Mirrorless options or just use a phone with the EventLive app.


What else could you do with a GoPro at a wedding?

Conclusion

It might be tempting to use a GoPro that you already have for a wedding but beware of the most common problems that can interrupt the stream and disappoint your viewers. If you decide to use it nonetheless, make absolutely sure that it stays within a few feet from a strong internet source, in the shade, and with a well-charged battery (or plugged into the USB-C power source).

You can still use the GoPro for some extra footage of your event! It can later be edited with your stream back-up to add a second angle.

Use the EventLive app on a smartphone or tablet for a simpler and safer all-in-one way to go live. 

Mark Sergienko
Mark Sergienko

Full Stack Developer, AWS Certified Solutions Architect, Entrepreneur. Live streaming & Wedding / Event Photography / Industry professional.

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