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How To Set Up Your DVR For Recording

Keep in mind that all DVR’s have different configurations and terminology. I will explain how to properly set up the Elite, Elite-Mini-HD, and Ultimate DVR’s for recording while conserving  maximum storage. Most DVR’s will not have as many options for recording configuration, but this should cover just about every setting you will find.

In the Elite, Ultimate and Elite-Mini-HD series DVR, every camera has its own configuration. Unlike most DVR’s, you can set each camera differently, or they can be all the same. Most other DVR’s have only one setting that applies to all the cameras at once. Let’s discuss each setting individually.


I recommend setting overview cameras to CIF recording (360×240). Set any cameras that need extra detail to D1 (704×480) recording. This would apply to cameras that are used for license plate capture, cash register drawer capture or facial capture at entrances or exits.

Frame Rate:

I would set up the overview cameras to 15fps. You will notice very little difference between 15fps and 30fps. Since these are overview cameras, there is really no need for 30fps. I would set detail capture cameras to 30fps.

Quality level:

Set all cameras to the highest quality level.

Bit Rate:

Set the Bit Rate to match the available bandwidth. I recommend using no more that 40% of the bandwidth so if you know you have 2 mbps up bandwidth available, and you have 8 cameras, I would set the bit rate to 100kbps. Also, set the bit rate to VBR rather than CBR. VBR allows for variable bit rate which gives the DVR the ability to throttle the rate according to available bandwidth. CBR is for constant bit rate.


Set the DVR to record motion only.

Pre and Post Recording:

Set the prerecording to 10 seconds and the post recording to 10 seconds. This will provide you with recordings that have 10 seconds before and 10 seconds after the motion event.


This will need to be set individually on a per camera basis. Set the sensitivity so that the DVR is only triggered to record by objects you want to trigger. For example, you may not want a bird, dog or cat to set of the recording, but you may want a person to trigger recording. This is done using the sensitivity level.


Make sure to mask out any areas of motion that you do not want to trigger recording. For example, you probably would not want a flag on a pole or a moving tree to trigger the motion recording. Just mask those areas out on a per camera basis.

If you configure everything as stated above, you should be able to maximize the storage ability of your hard drive. Keep in mind that these are only suggestions. There can be many deviations from these suggestions depending on your preferences and needs. Also, if you have bandwidth issues to deal with and do not have a sub stream available, then you may need to lower some of these settings.

The Elite-Mini-HD and the Ultimate Series DVRs both have sub streams available, so you can leave the recording settings to optimal.


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