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How to Know If Your CCTV Is Recording

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Muhammad Baballe Ahmad, Mehmet Cavas, Sudhir Chitnis, and Zhen-ya Liu.

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How to know if your CCTV is recording? This is a question we get a lot. Here’s a quick guide on how to tell if your security cameras are recording or not.

Check the Recording Status

Checking the recording status of your CCTV system is an important step in making sure that your home or business is properly protected. There are several ways to determine the recording status of your CCTV system, including checking for indicators such as motion lights, visual cues, and sound. We will discuss these methods more in depth in this article and we will also discuss what you can do if you find out that your CCTV system is not recording.

Check the DVR/NVR status

The most reliable way to check if your CCTV setup is recording as it should is to access its recording device directly, such as the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) or Network Video Recorder (NVR). Referring to the manufacturer’s instructions, you can use your laptop or computer’s internet browser to connect directly to the DVR/NVR.

Once logged in, you can check its status by locating the Record Status tab. This will show you whether recording for each camera is enabled and functioning correctly. You can also check that date and time settings are accurate, which could help rule out any playback issues due to incorrect timestamps appearing on footage. For additional detail on your CCTV set up, may need to consult with a specialist in this field to ascertain precisely what software and hardware configuration was used when installing security cameras on your premises.

Check the camera status

One of the easiest ways to know if your CCTV camera is recording is to check the status indicator light which should always be illuminated when a camera is recording. This indicates that everything is running smoothly and all motion detection settings have been correctly configured. If you do not have an LED status indicator light then you can use a monitor or network video recorder (NVR) to check the live video feed.

If you’re using an analog system and all of your cameras are connected to their DVRs, you can click “View” on the DVR to see if they’re recording or not. The cameras will display as streaming in real-time and should provide an indication as to whether they’re currently capturing footage or not.

Alternatively, if you’re using IP cameras or WiFi security cameras, they can be checked with a laptop or computer running Windows or Mac software. With this option, you can also have access to more detailed logs as to when motion occurred and what areas were in motion for longer durations.

Knowing whether your CCTV system is recording gives you peace of mind that it’s keeping watch on your home or business at all times – provided that it’s set up correctly – and gives you confirmation that footage will exist in the event something unusual occurs on your premises.

Check the Recording Quality

When it comes to checking if your CCTV system is recording, the first step is to check the quality of the recordings. You’ll want to ensure that the recording is clear and captures all of the details that you need, as this is vital for evidence gathering. You can review your recordings manually or use analytics software to evaluate the quality. In this section, we’ll discuss the best methods for checking the quality of your CCTV recordings.

Check the recording resolution

The recording resolution of a CCTV camera refers to the image quality the camera captures, normally measured in pixels. When determining if your CCTV is recording, it is vital to ensure that it is set to the right resolution. The higher the resolution, the more detailed your footage will be and the larger file size you’ll have. Typical resolutions include D1 (704 x 480 pixels), HD720P (1280 x 720 pixels) and HD1080P (1920 x 1080 pixels). Make sure your camera is set up for optimal recording by adjusting its settings appropriately. If you are unable to determine the recording resolution of your CCTV, consider contacting your provider for advice or searching online for tutorials.

Check the recording frame rate

To ensure that your CCTV is recording well, you should check the recording frame rate to make sure it is meeting your needs.

Recording frame rate determines how many frames are captured per second. Higher frame rates result in smoother and higher-quality recordings, allowing you to better analyze videos for threats and other information. The standard frame rate for CCTV recordings is 30 frames per second, but this can vary depending on the type of footage you are targeting.

For example, if you are hoping to capture a highly detailed image of a person’s face or license plate from a distance, then a higher frame rate will be necessary for accurate identification. However, lower frame rates may be sufficient for less-detailed surveillance recordings that only require rough analysis of activity for overall threat assessment. Your camera supplier should be able to advise on which recording frequencies are right for your system and application.

Check the Storage Space

Checking the storage space of the CCTV is one of the easiest ways to determine if the CCTV is recording. If the storage drive of the CCTV has full or close to full space, then there is a high chance that the CCTV is recording. Conversely, if the CCTV storage drive is almost empty or has only a few minutes of storage space, then there is a chance that the CCTV is not recording.

Check the hard drive space

The first step in making sure your CCTV is recording is to check the storage space on the hard drive. This can usually be easily done by looking at the amount of free hard drive space available. The amount of storage space will vary depending on how often it records, the length of time that each recording uses, as well as other factors. It’s important to make sure you have adequate storage so that recordings won’t be overwritten and missed.

If your system relies on a traditional HDD (hard disk drive), you should be able to check its capacity by logging into its interface screen or checking the hard disk status menu item on the main system page. If you’re using an NVR (network video recorder) or cloud-based system, you can usually access usage information through its web portal or mobile app (sometimes referred to as a “dashboard”).

Once you know how much space your surveillance solution requires for normal operation, it’s advisable to invest in an appropriately-sized backup storage device that can support temporary expansion when needed. Depending on your needs and budget, this could range from another HDD or NVR unit with similar specs to a portable external USB hard drive with adequate read/write rates and lasting durability.

Check the storage capacity

If you’d like to make sure your CCTV camera is recording correctly, one of the first steps is to check the storage capacity of your system. Different CCTV cameras are designed with different storage capacities. Knowing this can help you make sure that you have enough space for all of your surveillance footage recordings.

The size of the storage capacity will depend on the type of CCTV system that you have purchased and installed. The most popular systems usually have up to 64 GB or 128 GB of internal memory, but if you require even more space, there may be other options available. It’s also important to note that many systems are designed for use with an external hard drive, so be sure to check if this is an option for your camera before investing in extra memory cards.

When determining how much storage space you need, calculate how long each video clip will be stored on the device according to your surveillance needs. This will give you an idea as to how much storage space should be allocated for each day’s recordings or events. Consider upgrading if necessary, or perhaps look into a cloud storage service in order to save videos over longer periods of time without having to constantly upgrade hardware or replace memory cards or hard drives.

Check the Playback Quality

One of the easiest ways to tell if your CCTV system is recording is to check the playback quality. If the picture is clear, then the system is likely recording. If the picture is distorted or choppy, then it is likely not recording. Additionally, the playback quality can be used to identify any problems with the image quality or recording.

Check the playback resolution

The resolution of a footage will determine its quality. To check the playback resolution of your CCTV footage, open up a media player and then load the recorded video file. You can check the resolution of the video by looking at the size of the window playing the footage – if it is lower than 960×480, it will be severely degraded in quality so you’ll need to adjust your CCTV settings or upgrade your cameras to higher quality models.
Alternatively, you can also open up your CCTV’s settings menu and navigate to ‘Display’ options. If you find an option labelled ‘Resolution’ then this will tell you what playback resolution you should be expecting from each camera’s recordings. This is important because if your setting is too low then it won’t capture enough detail to provide useful evidence when needed. Ideally, recording in at least 720p would be recommended for most security systems as this will capture images with sufficient clarity for recognition purposes.

Check the playback frame rate

In order to check that your CCTV system is properly recording, you will need to play back some of the footage from a camera to see how it looks. To begin, look at the footage captured by each camera at different times of day and night. To accurately judge the quality of playback, make sure you take into account the environment in which the camera is placed. Generally, detailed analysis requires viewing frames side-by-side in order to distinguish any differences.

When playing back footage, one key factor to look out for is the frame rate. You need to make sure that your system is able to record at least 15 frames per second (FPS). This figure generally represents a smooth motion and should be sufficient for most applications. Anything less than this can result in choppy video playback where it appears as though some frames have been skipped over during normal operation. If this frame rate is not met, then your system may require calibration or reconfiguration in order for it to work correctly.


When it comes to troubleshooting your CCTV system, it can be difficult to know if your CCTV is recording or not. Depending on your system, there may be several different ways to tell if your CCTV is recording. In this section, we will cover different ways to determine if your CCTV is recording.

Check the power supply

Checking the power supply is often the first step in troubleshooting any CCTV system. In order for your camera to be able to record and save footage, it must be getting the correct power. It’s important to check your power supply and make sure it is up to date and functioning properly. If you have recently changed or upgraded your system, make sure the new, higher wattage of power supply is installed before attempting any further troubleshooting steps.

If you are having difficulty determining if the power supply is working correctly, try checking for diagnostic lights on the back of the device or contact your provider for assistance. If you find that your power supply isn’t working correctly, try replacing it with a new one before continuing on with other steps.

Check the cables

One of the most common causes of a CCTV not recording can be the cables. Disconnect the cables and make sure they are securely connected, both at the DVR end, and at the camera end. Consult your user manual for more information about correctly connecting your cables, as different DVRs may need additional configuration steps.

Many DVRs also support wireless connections – if this is an option for your system, try setting up a wireless connection and see if the issue resolves itself. If wireless doesn’t work either, it is likely to be something else instead of a cable issue.

On some systems, you may need an RJ45 crimping tool to ensure that your connection is secure. There are two separate cable ends that you need to crimp securely: one at either end of the cable connecting each camera to its own place on the Network Video Recorder (NVR). You can also use special tester tools or continuity testers to check each connection point is working correctly before applying power to the cameras. Make sure that you have connected all cables securely and firmly so you won’t have any misfires or shorts when running power through them.

Check the settings

The first step in troubleshooting a CCTV system is to check if the settings have been changed. Many of the features on a CCTV system can be customized to user specifications, and any changes or updates can affect its performance. You should check the settings to confirm that all of the parameters are still active, such as motion detection, recording mode, recording schedule, resolution level and so on. You may also need to check if any manual recording has been enabled since inadvertently or intentionally disabling it will cause your CCTV camera not to record. Additionally, make sure that your device is properly powered – if it isn’t plugged in or connected correctly to a power source then it obviously won’t turn on and start recording.
Finally, make sure you’ve set up the correct viewing angle for your camera – off-angle viewings can prevent capturing certain objects within its field-of-view.

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