DVR FAQ

Choosing the right DVR (Digital Video Recorder) for your analog CCTV installation is important because the DVR forms the central hub of your surveillance system. Here are the answers to some of the common DVR questions we receive from clients. Please note that generally Trinity CCTV no longer supply DVR recorders as part of a new or upgraded installation (HDCVI recorders are used instead) but this page will still be useful for people researching existing systems.

If you can’t see the answer to your question here please send us an email or call 0508 11 00 22, we’d be pleased to help.

What is ‘record on motion’ or ‘motion recording’?

DVRs can record footage from the surveillance cameras in a number of different ways. The most popular is motion recording. This means when the DVR detects movement on a camera that camera’s footage will be recorded onto the hard drive of the DVR. The standard setting is to record from 10 seconds before, to 30 seconds after motion is detected. Motion recording tends to maximise hard drive storage space because the DVR is only recording when it detects activity.

security camera captures movement

In this example the person entering the room triggers recording. However if motion is being continuously detected the DVR will record continuously.

All settings on the DVRs can be changed easily in the programming functions. For example, the DVR can be changed to record continuously, or you may want to adjust the amount of footage it records either side of motion being detected.

Motion detection recording works well for a number of reasons:

  1. It is an efficient use of hard drive space as the DVR is only recording change so when nothing is happening it is not recording.
  2. The motion trigger area can be controlled (see example below)
  3. Having files created each time the security camera sees motion make it much easier to find what you are looking for. For example if you had a break in over the weekend but didn’t know when checking the DVR recordings is very easy if it is recording on motion as there will be a limited number of files created. If you were recording constantly you would have to sit through many hours of nothing happening to find the intruder.

 Motion detection areas

Often it is better to have specific areas within the picture configured to trigger recording rather than the entire image as there may be environmental factors which cause “false” movement such as trees or vehicles. In the example below we want to monitor the driveway on this busy street. We are not interested in recording vehicles driving past, we only want to record vehicles as they enter or leave the driveway.

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 4.11.06 PMThe red grid shows the motion detection area so cars driving past on the road won’t trigger the camera.

Setting up these areas is as simple as drawing boxes where you want a motion detection area. Trinity DVRs allow as many motion detection areas within the picture as you want. Motion detection sensitivity can also be adjusted.

Can the recording settings be changed?

Yes, all Trinity DVRs have a number of recording settings that can be changed in the programming functions. This includes motion recording (see above) settings, recording all cameras continuously or all cameras only at certain times of the day.

The settings can also be customised for each camera input. For example a camera in a workshop can be recorded continuously while a camera in reception can be set to record only on motion.

Options within the settings can also be adjusted such as changing the amount of time the DVR records for before and after detecting movement when set to motion recording.

Settings can be adjusted by your CCTV technician or by following the instructions in the user manual. If you have remote access set up we can often make these changes for you remotely saving on a technician call out.

How long is footage stored on the hard drive for?

Seagate HD smallDVRs record footage to a hard drive. Hard drives are available in a range of different capacities. The size of hard drive that can be fitted will depend on the model of DVR you choose.

We recommend aiming for a minimum of two to three weeks recording storage capacity on a hard drive.

All Trinity DVRs include a pre-installed and configured hard drive that is ready to record. Our standard hard drive sizes (500GB or 1TB) will store approx. two to three weeks of surveillance footage in a normal use environment (such as a shop open standard trading hours) when set to motion recording. This will vary depending on the amount of movement the camera sees. If you have specific needs, such as you travel for long periods so need several months recording we can recommend a hard drive capacity to suit.

A number of scenarios may mean the hard drive capacity should be increased to cope with higher footage volumes including:

  • A very busy environment running a higher number of cameras
  • Setting the DVR to record continuously
  • If the camera faces an area where there is nearly constant movement (such as a tree that gets moved by the wind or a street with lots of foot traffic)
All Trinity DVRs can be upgraded with larger hard drive sizes.

We recommend a weekly check of recorded footage to monitor what is being recorded and/or a back-up at the same time. If you think you may want to store more data simply choose a hard drive upgrade option for your DVR.

What happens to the recorded footage when the hard drive runs out of space?

usb stick smallTrinity DVRs will automatically begin overwriting the oldest data once the hard drive reaches capacity. All our digital video recorders also include options for back-up to USB drives or other technologies such as using a PC connected remotely to copy/back up files.

We recommend a weekly check of recorded footage to monitor what is being recorded and/or a back-up at the same time. If you think you may want to store more data simply choose a hard drive upgrade option for your DVR.

Will different types or brands of CCTV camera work with a Trinity DVR?

Yes, any type and combination of analogue digital Trinity security cameras will work with any Trinity DVR.

If you would like to connect another brand of CCTV camera to a Trinity DVR:

  • New surveillance cameras will generally be able to be mixed and matched without a problem.
  • For existing security systems, as a general rule of thumb, if it was installed no more than 18 months ago the cameras will likely be compatible.
  • If the system is older, or the brand of CCTV cameras is unknown, give us a call on 0508 11 00 22 to discuss.

What is involved with setting up remote view access to the cameras?

All Trinity DVRs include remote view software that allows the cameras to be viewed on virtually any internet connected device including iPad, iphone, PC, Apple Mac or android device. Live or pre-recorded video can be viewed and still snap shots can be taken from the footage.

For this to work you will need to ask for a static IP address from your ISP (Internet Service Provider). The DVR is then connected to the broadband router and the network settings configured to suit your network/modem. In order to connect to the DVR from outside the LAN (ie over the internet) port forwarding must be set up in your modem. This allows incoming traffic from the remote access software on your laptop or app on your phone to be directed to the DVR.

Remote view your cameras from any internet device

Can I play the DVR footage on my TV?

Yes, with a Trinity DVR you can view the cameras on your TV, or a dedicated monitor.

VGA lead into DVROur DVRs have a composite output which can plug straight into your TV as well as a VGA output and on some models a HDMI output. Using the composite output won’t give quite as good a picture as the VGA or HDMI but it is acceptable.

We can supply you with the correct plug for either connection.

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