Posts Tagged ‘ reviewing footage ’

Smart PSS Features

Written By:
Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Many software developers strive to make improvements to their software to accomplish improved performance, security and even a complete revamp of its interface. In our industry the changes to these type of things happen quite fast, from software management to Web Interface of the recorders and cameras. Today I will be showing you some of the main features of our DVR CMS software called Smart PSS (AKA new Pro Surveillance System)

SmartPSS login

This complete software has been quite redesigned and its interface is fresh and easy to navigate. First I will explain some of the main icons and some features I find the most important in this software from connecting the CCTV recorder, creating groups, and scheduling tasks to navigating through some of the tabs.

Main Interface

There are 3 main sections in the software. They are divided as follows:

BASIC: In this section of the software you will find 4 icons: these are Live View, Playback, Alarm and Log.

ADVANCE: In this section of the software you will find 3 icons: Video Wall, E-Map and Display

SETTINGS:  In this last section you will see options such as Devices, Device SFG, Alarm CFG, PC NVR, Video Wall, Account and General.

The Live View basically is where you will stream and view your live video. In here you can stream one or multiple cameras. This section also provides different Layouts in which you can select as your main layout to view your cameras.


In the layout section you can configure a multitude of camera views from 1 view window to 64 View window. Also you can make your own layouts. Beside the layouts, you can configure the aspect ratio of the windows, from Original, to 4:3, 16:9 or 9:64.

The next option will be to make the live preview Full Screen so no menus show up. To bring the program and features back, simply right click with your mouse, or simply click the Esc button in your keyboard.

This first section also provides playback footage functionality. In here you can view previous recordings, Fast Forward, pause, and also download footage to your PC.


To play back files you will need to add a recorder to the software first. Go to the Devices tab and you could click Add or Manual Add. For this demonstration I will click on Manual Add and the following page will pop-up:

Manual Add

In this picture it will show some of the info you will need to have handy to add your security recorder. First, type an intuitive name for the connection between the software and recorder. Often you will name it something like Home security cameras.

Second, type the IP or DDNS name of your recorder. The Internal default IP address is If your network is within that range then you can use that, if not you might need to arrange that according to your network scheme. Follow this link to learn more about how to configure your DVR for remote access.

Third, If you have your security recorder as default, the port, username and password should be as shown in the above picture. After you have input all the settings, you can click on Get info. This will fill the rest of the empty fields such as Device SN, Video Input, Video Output, etc. At this point you can click on Save and Continue.

NOTE: By default the connection name will be added to the Default Group. If you want to group your connection, simply go to Live view and on the right hand side clock on New Group, then drag the connection name to the new group.

Now that we have added the security recorder to the software, we can now playback files. Click on the Playback icon and the playback window will appear.

From the left hand side you can locate the Group and Security Recorder you recently add to the software, Click on the “+” sign to expand the group and unveil the recorder channels.

Select the channel you want to play footage by selecting the channel and selecting the box next to it.

Default Group

On the bottom of the page click the from and to to select the time frame you want to search for.

From - to

After that you can click on search and and the Time Line will display the recording files. There will be either green or yellow depending of how your schedule is setup. Green indicates that Continuous recording is setup in place and Yellow Indicates Motion detection.

Time line

If you click on any of those colors the video will start to play back right away. Noticed that each stripe represents the channel, so if the first green stripe is clicked then that will be the first channel you have selected in your search box and so on. Here is a sample of the playback:


If playing a single line then you could just cut a time frame you like. Noticed when clicking a stripe in the time line, a scissor icon shows up. If clicked once that will put a mark in the file as your beginning time then if clicked again it will marked that the file as the end time. After that, a window labeled Export Setup will open showing you where to save the file. You can change the the export format if you like. You can also check or uncheck the option to download the Smart Player to playback the file.

Export Setup

The Alarm icon will display any alarm notifications if you have your recorders displaying realtime alarm information.This setting can be set if you want to receive an alert in your computer screen when motion happens on a channel.

In the Log Icon we can see the recorders Log events based on different types. these types are System, Config, Storage, etc. You can select a time frame and pick a device you have in the software then you can select different types of events.

The lasts 2 sections will be will be more for configuring the security recorder itself.

Under Advance you will find Video Wall, E-map and Display. Unfortunately Video wall and Display will require a special hardware that we do not carry at the moment.

E-map is a cool way to identify your cameras based on your home or business layout. In the picture below I can simply click on the camera and a window will display the camera location. It is required to add a layout of your location where the cameras are installed then drag the cameras to where they are actually installed in that picture. Double click on the camera name and a window will start streaming live video of the camera in question.


The last section labeled settings will be primarily to configure the recorder settings, Add devices, Alarm configuration, Task, etc.

DEVICES: In this section you can add, delete and modify devices you add to the system.

DEVICE CONFIG: It allows you to configure the recorder’s Network settings, add cameras, disk management, manage accounts etc. This section is like accessing the recorder’s setting from the WEB SERVICE but with a better interface. Also If you have IP cameras connected to an NVR then you can access the cameras’ individual settings.

ALARM CONFIG: This is a cool feature that SmartPSS and even the older version of PSS offer. Here is a link that will explain the process using the old version of PSS. This feature allows you to setup alarm events when motion detection occurs, also when cameras lose connection (ANALOG DVRs ONLY). You can also receive alerts when the camera is covered by an object or spray painted. Basically you link an event to a channel of the recorder then you link an alarm to it. You can set the schedule when you want this alarm to pop up in the software then save the settings.

TOUR & TASK: This feature allows you to set and enable channel groups and layouts. This allows you to setup different windows on a particular layout or view then it can rotate on a fix format.

PC-NVR: When setting this feature, your computer becomes an NVR. This feature will allow you to record only 16 Channels and you can connect to IP cameras, DVRs and NVRs and have their channels stream and record to your PC. It is recommended to use the computer as the NVR and store machine only instead of using both the client and playback PC.

VIDEO WALL: Video wall allows you to connect and configure how the TV from the Video wall will interact and display video. This device is a standalone unit that its entire purpose is to stream video and display it in the monitor, just as a giant monitor. There are many layouts you can have on each of the monitors and each work independently.

ACCOUNT:  Allows you to configure the users that will operate the this software. This is not the users of the recorder, so if you create a new user here it will not sync to the recorder.

GENERAL: This section allows you to configure the basics of the software. You can set to start the software using the last video layout used before you closed the software, auto login PSS, setup the file path location for snapshots, recording etc.

The current version we have of this great software can be found below:



Best Ways To View Your Security Camera Recordings

Written By:
Monday, September 10th, 2012

Security Camera RecordingsWatching recordings

Security cameras are among the most effective ways to ensure the safety of one’s assets. Though much equipment is required to set up a surveillance system, which is accompanied by many expenses, it is usually well worth the protection that is provided by perpetual observation. The setup and implementing of security cameras is but one aspect of surveillance, as one must also be able to view recordings to assess danger and to observe trespassing or any other infractions.

Ever-improving technology and a huge array of tools allow one to view surveillance recordings in a number of different ways. Depending upon the recording medium used, recordings can be viewed in conventional ways and also via mobile devices. Mobile technology has vastly improved the surveillance industry, allowing close observation even when away from the premises being protected.

Conventional methods


When security footage is recorded on tapes, they can be easily viewed using a number of mediums. Televisions combined with VCRs are the most commonly used method of viewing surveillance footage recorded on VHS tapes, though there are a number of other devices that can play tapes. It may seem incredibly old technology but many of these devices can still be easily found, and more people use VHS for security than one may think.

TV/VCR combos are widely available, as are mobile, battery-operated VHS players. Because of the near non-existence of VCR players and VHS tapes today, these devices can sometimes prove somewhat difficult to find but they are almost always extremely inexpensive. Pawn shops, yard sales, flea markets, and online auction sites are among the best places to find old technology and blank tapes.


Recording security footage with VHS tapes is effective, but blank tapes can be expensive, especially over a long period of time and many recordings. DVDs are more cost-effective, allowing more footage per disc than would a VHS tape, and also can be viewed on many more types of devices. DVDs can, of course, be viewed using a DVD or Blu-ray player, but can also be uploaded to a computer with the right software. Mobile DVD players are also more practical and smaller than comparable VHS players, allowing for easier and more versatile on-the-go viewing.

Although the necessary equipment for DVD use is somewhat more expensive, most find it much easier to implement and well worth the convenience, especially when compared to the bulky and wire-heavy devices associated with VHS tapes. Cheap DVD equipment can still be easily procured, especially online. Used devices are generally far less expensive than their brand new counterparts, and almost always work just as well.

Virtual storage and mobile technology

Arguably the most practical and easiest way of recording, storing, and watching surveillance footage is via virtual technology. Using a computer to store surveillance footage in the form of .avi, .mp4, .wmv, etc. files costs nothing as there is no medium required. These files can then be transferred to nearly any other device, even mobile accessories like iPods and cell phones, or can simply be viewed on a computer.

With virtual technology also comes wireless capabilities. Fewer cables and cords equates to easier setup and seamless operation, reducing the occurrence of common mistakes like tape overwriting and complete loss of footage. To utilize virtual storage of surveillance recordings, only a single computer (desktop or laptop will work) is needed, unless mobile viewing is desired, in which case a capable device also must be purchased. Both computers and mobile devices can be found used and refurbished in online stores and auction sites.Best Ways To View Your Security Camera Recordings

Electronic recordings in the form of video files have an added bonus that can reduce frustration when attempting to transport footage or play a recording on multiple viewing mediums. Video files can be burned to blank DVDs, allowing playback on DVD and Blu-ray players and any other devices that accommodate this form of media. There is also now hardware that allows the burning of video files to blank VHS tapes, though this is a more expensive and time-consuming endeavor.

Video conversion

Many people who already have DVD or VHS equipment installed are unwilling or unable to replace their surveillance systems with newer technology. The benefits of virtual storage can still be had, however, with the conversion of VHS and DVD recordings to video files that can be easily stored and relocated via a computer. This can be a tedious process, especially when many recordings must be converted, but it eliminates the need for an entirely new set of security footage viewing equipment.

VHS conversion

Creating virtual video files from VHS recordings can be done with a simple piece of hardware that can be purchased online and in many electronics stores. Simply search for VHS conversion hardware online and many competitively priced options will be available to pick from. These kits also come with software that must be installed. It is probably impractical to convert a large number of VHS tapes unless one has a lot of spare time, as each tape must be played through for conversion to work. Once the virtual video files are available they can be played with nearly any device.

DVD conversion

It is a far easier process to convert DVDs into virtual files compared to VHS conversion. It is often the case that a copyable file is already available once a DVD has been read by a computer. If such a file isn’t present, there are many free programs readily available for download on the Internet that can rip video files from physical DVDs, leaving polished .wmv,.avi, or .mp4 video files that can be transferred to any number of devices.

Protecting recordings

Viewing devices and recording mediums are but one aspect of surveillance footage playback. One also must consider backup and security when handling security recordings, especially when crimes have been committed, making the protection of incriminating evidence of utmost importance. Methods of protection vary depending upon what recording medium is used.

Physical storage

For those who utilize DVDs or VHS tapes for recording security footage, multiple physical copies of recordings should be created. Important footage should have several copies which should be kept in a safe and lockable location to prevent tampering and theft. Safety deposit boxes and fireproof safes are common choices for storage of these important physical copies, though most elect to use a bank due to the expensiveness of decent safes and the unrivaled security provided by a safety deposit box.

Virtual storage

Storing and protecting virtual video files is far easier, requiring no physical receptacle and thus no extra costs. Video files can not only be stored on multiple computers, but also can be used with an array of external storage devices. External hard drives and USB memory sticks are common choices, especially when many files must be stored. Virtual storage also offers an added layer of protection, encryption, a process that can create as intricate of a lock as desired by the user.

Best Ways To View Your Security Camera Recordings Encryption entails the scrambling of data in a specific pattern that is readable only by the person or program that created the lock. An encrypted file is completely useless to someone unable to unlock it, but many are able to break through simple encryptions. Though top-level scrambling implemented by the government may not be necessary for most endeavors, it is usually a good idea to create somewhat of a decent encryption, especially for sensitive or incriminating data.

There are many computer programs available that will encrypt files and folders, but many are unaware of the fact that entire hard drives and flash drives can be locked with encryption. This ensures a great amount of protection and security and is sure to frustrate any who attempt to break into such a device to view files. All necessary equipment and software can be found for very little money, especially when the Internet is used to shop; software can even often be found for free.

Video playback and editing

When a crime has been committed and captured with a security camera, one must review the footage to isolate the valuable portion of the recording. With DVD and VHS footage this can prove a tedious task, requiring review of nearly an entire day’s worth of recordings, albeit fast-forwarded. Computer files can be much more easily skimmed through, allowing one to jump rapidly between different points.

Once an important portion of footage has been isolated it can be copied and looped, but only in the form of a video file. Because of this, many find it easier to first convert physical video before attempting to pick out specific portions of footage, though sometimes a small amount of video quality is lost in conversion. This may be a negligible loss of quality but facial recognition is difficult enough without this added obstacle. If this is of no consequence, conversion is definitely a wise idea.

Once a portion of footage has been isolated and copied to a new location on a computer, it can be further modified. Colors, hue, gamma, brightness, and other settings can be altered, sometimes making for clearer video and sharper details. Video clips can also be looped, allowing close scrutiny of particular portions of video and eliminating the need for constant and repetitive clicking.

The perfect setup

No matter which form of surveillance recording technology you choose to use, there is a plethora of playback methods available at your disposal. DVD, VHS, and virtual files all have their advantages and disadvantages, thus your decision must be largely based upon personal preference and individual needs. Viewing security camera recordings has never before been simpler and cheaper, and exponentially improving technology will produce newer, innovative devices with many capabilities in the near future. Regardless of the size of a security operation, playback, storage, transportation, and editing of footage can be easily accomplished by even the least electronically savvy.