I’ve been asked what cameras can record without the need for an NVR or a PC running NVR software. In the past I’ve recommended Mobotix which has solid in-camera NVR capabilities but sometimes the price of these cameras and complexity have been a barrier to many.
Hikvision cameras also have this capability and is probably one of the best implementations I’ve seen once it’s setup, but there isn’t good documentation on how to do this, so I put together this tutorial.
Let me first show you how it works so you get an idea if it’s the right solution for you.
When video is recorded by the camera to a NAS, you can play the video by logging into the camera via your browser. I tested it with Internet Explorer 10 and Firefox 22.
You click on the Playback tab across the top and you’ll see a screen like this
Across the bottom are the play/pause button, stop button, and speed control buttons on the left and buttons to take snapshot and download recorded events on the right.
Double clicking on the video will bring it up in full screen mode. Double click or hit escape to get back. With e-PTZ enabled (the magnifying glass), when in full screen mode, you can highlight and area of the screen with your mouse and it magnifies the area, clicking on the screen returns to the full display.
The timeline below the buttons is where you find recorded video. You basically drag the timeline under the yellow line and click play. It plays from clip to clip until you hit stop or pause. You can expand the timeline period to get finer control by clicking the plus/minus signs on the right.
This all works smoothly and as well as most NVR’s out there. You can select another date from the calendar and select a start time below that.
To download a video recording, you can click on the download button and it will present a list of all recordings and you can select them and click start and it will download the video from the NAS to your computer
So now that you know how it works, I’ll go into the nitty gritty. The first step is to make sure you have the latest firmware version. I had trouble getting this to work until I upgraded to V5 firmware for this camera.
The next step is setting up your NAS for NFS. To clarify, NAS means Network Attached Storage and means the disk is connected via your network. NFS is a file sharing protocol, Network File System. Most cheap NAS devices are setup for Windows/Mac only and use CIFS share or FTP protocols. This will not work with either, it has to support NFS. I first tried it with a WD MyBook Live which has NFS secretly installed on some models, but it did not work. I used Synology Diskstation and that worked. You can probably use FreeNFS software on Windows and for those with a MAC, you OSX has NFS built in, just have to set it up.
Log into the camera via a browser and click on Configuration, Advanced Configuration, Storage and click on the NAS tab. Then type in the IP address of the NAS and then the directory name of the NAS directory (this directory is created when you setup NFS).
When you click Save, it will ask you for a reboot, wait about a minute and the camera logs you back in automatically at the same point. Then click on the Storage Management tab.
If all went well with the last step, you’ll see your NAS drive with it’s capacity. Click the checkbox next to it and click the Format button. This is a misnomer as it does not really format your disk. If you have data on there, it will not erase it. All it does it builds some sort of metadata on the volume that doesn’t really take up much space.
As a warning, depending on the size of your drive, the speed of your NAS, this can take a while, maybe 30 minutes. It will provide it’s progress on the right in terms of percentage done and when it’s done, the Status should show normal and you should see Free space. I would reboot the camera because this is where my WD Mybook failed, it said Normal but changed to “uninitialized” after rebooting the camera. With the Synology it stayed Normal.
Now click on the Record Schedule tab
Here you have to click the Edit button and enter in your recording schedule for motion detection. If you do it correctly and you want to be able to always record, the schedule will be all green. The easiest way is to put in 00:00 to 24:00 and click Select All, click Copy and OK.
Now the NAS portion has been setup. If you did not make it this far, it could be your camera firmware or NAS is not correct.
Under Configuration, Advanced Configuration, Events, select the Motion Detection tab and check the checkboxes circled in yellow and the click the button circled in yellow to set motion detect area and the schedule (same screen as above).
If you did everything correctly, it should be set to record on the next motion detection. So stand in front of the camera and “wave our hands in the air like you just don’t care” as the song goes and click on the Playback tab, scroll the timeline to the current time and see if there’s a recording. You can also log into the NAS and see if there are any recordings.
Kudos to Hikvision for putting all this functionality in an affordable camera. For Hikvision to make this perfect, they would need to support CIFS as that’s more common and is password protected where NFS is not. This would allow most people to buy a cheap off the shelf $100 NAS and start using it to record.
This makes sense if you have a small amount of cameras like 1 or 2 and buying an NVR is not practical. Once you have a more significant amount of cameras, logging on to each camera to view recordings may be tedious and may be time to get an NVR or NVR software.
Where To Buy Hikvision Cameras
www.WrightwoodSurveillance.com not carries these cameras for great prices and free shipping.