GoPro Live Streaming: The Definitive Guide for 2023

Gaston Garcia
Gaston Garcia
January 5, 2023
GoPro Live Streaming: The Definitive Guide for 2023

You have a GoPro. You’re ready to go live and share some amazing video with the world, or even your family and friends (that’s ok too).

Live streaming with an action camera isn’t the best thing in the world, but they do serve a purpose, and I want to teach you everything you can do with yours.

Here's the index of what you can find in this article:

Let’s start by talking about your particular GoPro model. Can it go live?

Which GoPro Models can Live Stream

GoPro added the live stream feature in 2018 with the HERO7 Black. Since then, every GoPro, including the GoPro MAX (which is now long overdue for an update) has kept the feature alive.

I purposely use the word “alive” here, as the GoPro team never made meaningful updates to the live stream capabilities of the cameras in the past few years. It feels like we’re beta-testing an unfinished product.

You can go live with a GoPro 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11.

gopro models that can live stream

After the HERO7, they removed the HDMI port for the 8, 9, 10, and 11 models, which brings us to the next question:

Which GoPro Models are best for Live Streaming?

The easy answer is the one you’re expecting: The GoPro 11 is the best at the time of writing this article. But that’s not the complete answer.

Unless you’re live streaming using your phone as a hotspot, the GoPro 8, 9, 10, and 11 must use the MediaMod to be able to connect to any encoder, such as OBS or ATEM Mini.

The problem arises when you realized that the MediaMod isn’t the bang for your buck. It costs about 80 USD, and every time I looked into buying one, I was discouraged by the mixed reviews and the lack of decent audio quality coming from it.

mediamod to connect gopro to hdmi cable

If you’re buying a used model just for live streaming, the GoPro HERO7 is the only model that comes with an integrated HDMI Output. If you have one laying around, it’s your lucky day.

Do you absolutely need the MediaMod to live stream?

Not really. You can go live from your GoPro using your smartphone and for most uses, it’s ok. Far from great, but it works.

There are some limitations to this:

  • not being able to add overlays to your live stream
  • can't go live from multiple cameras
  • can't walk away from the camera by holding your phone
  • can't modify the image using OBS
  • many more!

Can I stream with a GoPro and a smartphone?

Yes. First, you will need the GoPro Quik app, which honestly works surprisingly well.

You can download it for free on Android or iOS and pair your camera within a minute.

gopro quik app for ios or android

After installing the app, you must Enable Pairing Mode on your GoPro:

  1. Power On your camera
  2. Go to Preferences (GoPro 11) or Connections (GoPro 10)
  3. Tap on Wireless Connections, then Connect Device
  4. Choose GoPro Quik App
pairing gopro with quik app

On your smartphone, open the App:

  1. Go to the last tab at the bottom: GoPro
  2. Tap “Connect a GoPro”
  3. When the app detects your camera, tap “Connect Camera”
  4. Wait for the pairing process, and choose a name for your GoPro
  5. Press “Let’s Go”. Done!

After pairing your camera to your smartphone, you have to choose which platform you will be streaming to.

Which platforms can you live stream to with a GoPro?

With the Quik app, you can choose from multiple destinations, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, or any other platform that supports RTMP, such as EventLive.

If you have a GoPro subscription, you can also create a private live stream directly to the GoPro website. Since I would never renew my subscription (which came for free with my camera), I didn’t have a chance to test the private live stream this time.

After a few searches, I couldn’t find people using it either… so I can assume it isn’t as polished as I’d like it to be for my paid events. Otherwise, it would be a promoted feature but it’s almost hidden (like everything related to live streaming with a GoPro).

live streaming from the gopro quik app

I almost exclusively use EventLive and my iPhone to live stream my events (I’ll explain more about this down below), but if you wanted to go live directly to any of these platforms, you only have to authenticate your account and set up the live stream.

Here’s a step-by-step for each one of them:

How to go live from a GoPro to EventLive (RTMP)

Unlike Facebook or YouTube, EventLive won’t block your live stream for random reasons while it’s live, it won’t limit the number of viewers if you have under 1000 subscribers, and it will allow you to pause the live stream and continue anytime to the same link.

eventlive app for live streaming

It’s a much better alternative for live streaming events, but it’s also a paid option. If you’re running a paid gig or live streaming an important event (such as a wedding or funeral, where things can’t go wrong), then EventLive is your best option.

  • Download the EventLive app (free) and Create an Account
  • Schedule your event and customize it
scheduling a virtual event
rtmp settings for live event
  • Open the Quik app
  • Go to the GoPro tab (bottom right)
  • Press the “Live Stream” button
  • Choose “RTMP” from the list of platforms
  • Enter your RTMP URL when prompted (the one you’ve copied from EventLive)
setting up rtmp live stream on gopro quik app
  • Choose a resolution
  • Choose whether to save a backup to the local SD card or not. As EventLive stores an online backup, this is optional.
  • Press “Set Up Live Stream”

How to go live from a GoPro to Facebook

You can go live with a GoPro + a Smartphone directly to Facebook.

  1. Open the Quik app
  2. Go to the GoPro tab (bottom right)
  3. Power on your camera
  4. Press the “Live Stream” button
  5. Choose “Facebook” from the list of platforms
  6. Authenticate your Facebook account
  7. Connect to a WiFi network to live stream in 1080p or choose 720p from the list
  8. Choose who will be able to see the live stream: Public, Friends.
  9. Choose whether to save a backup to the local SD card or not. As Facebook heavily compresses live streams, I’d recommend you do so.
  10. Press “Set Up Live Stream”
setting up facebook live stream from gopro

How to go live from a GoPro to YouTube

To go live directly to YouTube, you will need to activate live streaming on your YouTube channel. In case you haven’t done this before, I have to warn you: You will need at least 50 subscribers, a verified channel, and to wait 24 hours after activation is requested.

Your live stream will also be limited if you have under 1000 subscribers, so be prepared to deal with this or choose a better live streaming platform.

  1. Open the Quik app
  2. Go to the GoPro tab
  3. Power on your camera
  4. Press the “Live Stream” button
  5. Choose “YouTube” from the list of platforms
  6. Authenticate your Google account and grant GoPro access to manage your YouTube channel
  7. Connect to a WiFi network to live stream in 1080p or choose 720p from the list
  8. Choose who will be able to see the live stream
  9. Choose whether to save a backup to the local SD card or not.
  10. Press “Set Up Live Stream”

How to go live from a GoPro to Twitch

As Twitch is mostly used for gaming channels, I’d avoid live streaming important events to the platform. That being said, the steps are similar to other free social media platforms:

  1. Open the Quik app
  2. Go to the GoPro tab
  3. Power on your camera
  4. Press the “Live Stream” button
  5. Choose “Twitch” from the list of platforms
  6. Authenticate your Twitch account and grant GoPro access to manage your channel
  7. Connect to a WiFi network to live stream in 1080p or choose 720p from the list
  8. Choose who will be able to see the live stream
  9. Choose whether to save a backup to the local SD card or not.
  10. Press “Set Up Live Stream”

Can you live stream directly from GoPro to Instagram?

No. You cannot use a GoPro to go live directly to Instagram.

There are workarounds, but if your intent is to go live on IG, your phone is a much better option.

There are two ways to do this. With an ongoing subscription, or a one-time payment on a private live streaming platform.

The first one involves paying a GoPro Subscription. If you’re the kind of person that renews the GoPro model every year, or somehow managed to destroy multiple GoPro cameras in under 12 months, the subscription might work for you. Besides offering camera replacements and discounts on new models, the subscription allows you to create a private live stream for friends.

The offer is so ambiguous that GoPro themselves don’t offer enough information about this feature. If you’re willing to give it a shot, here’s the link you need to sign up for a yearly contract (hint: I wouldn’t).

The second way involves using a private live streaming platform. As I mentioned above, EventLive is my go-to app for everything related to live streaming events.

In this case, you have to schedule your event on the platform of your choice, and enter the RTMP settings on the GoPro Quik app. Here’s the link on how to do it.

Can you use a GoPro as a Webcam?

Yes, you can… and I’d say that this is arguably the only good reason to use a GoPro as a second camera for live streaming. For everything else, I’d swap to my go-to combo: iPhone + EventLive app.

First, you need to install the GoPro Webcam software. This is the download link for Windows and this is the one for Mac.

In order to make this work, you must update your GoPro firmware to the latest version using the Quik App. If you haven’t done so already, you should do that now.

using gopro webcam software

After installing the GoPro Webcam software and the latest firmware on your camera, restart your computer and make sure that the GoPro Webcam software is running.

Connect your GoPro to your computer using a USB-C cable.

Click on the GoPro Webcam icon (on the taskbar), and see a preview of the camera feed directly from it by pressing “Show Preview”.

At the moment of writing this post, GoPro acknowledges that there’s a bug causing the camera not to be detected by the computer. The easy way to solve this is to go to Connections and do a Connections Reset (last button on the menu).

Can you use a GoPro with OBS for live streaming?

To use your GoPro camera as a video source on OBS you must follow the previous steps written just above this (set up your GoPro as a webcam first).

Once you have the GoPro Webcam working, it’s time to add it to OBS.

  • Download and Install OBS latest version
  • Inside the “Sources” dock, press right-click on your mouse and press “Add”
setting up gopro in obs for live streaming

  • Choose “Video Capture Device” from the list
  • A small window will pop up, allowing you to choose a name for the device. Type “GoPro” and press Ok
  • You will find a dropdown menu on the Device selector. Choose “GoPro Webcam” from the list and press Ok
setting up gopro in obs for live streaming

Please be aware that live streaming from OBS requires extensive configuration and an understanding of basic video and streaming concepts.

If you don’t know how to get started, here’s a quick guide on how to get it done. And here's one that we wrote about fixing common problems with OBS.

How much data does a GoPro live stream consume?

You can expect to use about 2GB of data consumption for every hour of live streaming.

Since this metric is most important for using your phone as a Hotspot, It’s really important that you understand how your data plan works.

Most carriers will put a cap on data consumption, and limit the speed after a certain bandwidth has been used. For this reason, make sure that your data plan is unlimited and that it allows being used as a hotspot before live streaming an important event.

This is just one more reason why using your smartphone might be a better alternative to your GoPro, unless you need to drop it from a parachute or something like that.

Can you charge a GoPro while Live Streaming?

I own a GoPro 10, fully updated with the latest firmware.

I tried charging it while live streaming and it didn’t work on every single occasion. I tried different cables, including the one provided with my camera, wall chargers, and battery banks, and neither of them worked for me.

No, you cannot charge a GoPro while live streaming an event.

What you should know, is that you can plug your GoPro to power and remove the internal battery. This allows for uninterrupted streaming. Just be careful when you remove the cable, as it will automatically shut down if you don’t place a battery inside first.

Can you use manual exposure while live streaming with a GoPro?

I’ve tried several settings on my GoPro 10, and I could never find a way to adjust the exposure settings during a live stream. I can modify them before or after, but never during the actual live event. In fact, this is all you see when going live:

gopro live preview doesnt work during live stream

For this reason amongst a few others, GoPro cameras aren’t very reliable when it comes to live streaming. It’s hard to get the image just right most of the time.

Note: I did find some users stating that you can modify exposure after deactivating ProTune from the settings, but the latest firmware doesn’t even allow you to do that.

Maybe this could be done by using the MediaMod and an HDMI cable, but then you need to find workarounds to get clean HDMI output and makes the whole experience even more complex. I don't see a single reason to use a GoPro in this case when a live streaming app does this better in every way, with less complications and similar (if not better) image quality.

How's the image quality of GoPro cameras for a live stream?

As a professional photographer, I prefer any iPhone to my GoPro any day. It is better in low light, in contrasty scenes, and in mixed-lighting situations.

The GoPro does have an edge when it comes to image stabilization, but it introduces delay during a live stream (hint: Deactivating HyperZoom helps with this).

Instead of talking, I'll share some screenshots of GoPro vs Smartphone comparisons:

gopro vs iphone comparison
Comparison by Ben Schmanke from AuthenTech

gopro 11 vs iphone 14 comparison
Comparison by Ben Shmanke from AuthenTech

gopro hero 11 vs iphone 14 pro comparison
Comparison by DC Rainmaker

Can you zoom in on a GoPro while live streaming?

No, your GoPro won’t allow you to tweak pretty much anything during a live stream. If you need to zoom in, you can either use OBS and enlarge the view of the screen (which is not recommended but can be done) or replace the GoPro with a more suitable streaming device, such as your smartphone.

Is your GoPro the best tool for a live stream?

Considering that you already own a smartphone, I can’t think of any reason why you’d prefer your GoPro instead for a live event. It may work for home streamers or gaming channels, but for anything outdoors, which is the main attraction of action cameras, it sucks.

gopro quik app failed to connect during live stream

The GoPro 11 requires buying add-ons, the battery doesn’t last as much as a smartphone, it cannot be charged while going live. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, it forces you to connect your phone to it if you don’t have the MediaMod, an HDMI cable and a computer attached to it.

While using a GoPro as a second camera to include a wide angle on a multi-cam live stream looks like a good idea, you have to remember that this is an action camera. It doesn’t allow you to use basic tools such as exposure dials or zooming in, which can be annoying during a live stream in which things need to flow smoothly.

Simply put, GoPros are unreliable for live streaming.

gopro quik app after live stream ends

Do I sound too negative here? Probably, because you can live stream in a much more efficient way without spending money on a camera.

What is a better alternative to GoPro live streaming?

Honestly, 95% of the phones in the market make up for a much better alternative when it comes to live streaming. Even Mevo, which was designed just for live streaming, is a better alternative.

Smartphones are far more reliable than any GoPro has ever been at going live. Perfectly equipped with antennas to provide a good signal, the cameras do a much better job at low light, they allow you to fine-tune the exposure, recharge the battery while broadcasting, zoom in or out, and even connect a wireless microphone without buying poorly-designed accessories.

Once you pair a modern phone with a live streaming app, you’ll never find a compelling reason to use a GoPro as a main live streaming camera again.

android ios app
Gaston Garcia
Gaston Garcia

Live Streaming enthusiast, in-house Marketer at EventLive, Wedding Photographer. Interested in all-things technology.

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