I recommend the DVR I have linked above. It’s super cheap but it does faithfully record the surveillance of our building and their tech support is for a lifetime and they are available 24 hours a day so you really can’t beat that. The application they supply to monitor the cameras on a Mac leaves a little to be desired but I recommend this DVR for the cost to quality factor–you get a lot of DVR for ~$120 and it almost certainly will work with your existing cameras. We upgraded from a 4-camera system to this 8-camera system and simply purchased this DVR and 4 more cameras.
We recently had a theft at our office and I needed to get a copy of the surveillance video of the crime. In the past I have used the NightOwl Mac application but it is really unstable. I figured out an easy way to do it directly from the DVR. Here’s how to do it:
How to Export Video From a NightOwl 8 Channel PE 960H Series DVR
- Night Owl Security PE-DVR8 8-Channel DVR System with HDMI Output and 960H Recording (Black)
- USB Drive
Step 1: Left-Click on the START icon at the bottom left corner of the screen of the DVR.
|NightOwl monitoring (main) screen|
This will bring up the login screen if you have your DVR password protected (which is a good idea):
|NightOwl DVR login window|
Step 2: Enter the administrator password (if password protected).
Click in the PASSWORD box to bring up the on-screen keyboard. Enter the password. Note: the password is caps sensitive.
|On-screen keyboard for entering your admin password|
Click anywhere in the black LOGIN window to make the keyboard disappear and reveal the LOGIN button. Click the LOGIN Button.
|NightOwl DVR Login Window|
Step 3: Search for the video clip.
Click on the search icon at the top of the administration window (circled in red below).
|Click on the Record Search icon|
I’m not going to cover how to search in this post. You need to figure out which camera number the coverage is on and then figure out the date and exact time of the event you want to back up. I write that stuff down when I am watching the video so I can use it later to back up the clip.
|Record Search window of NightOwl DVR|
Step 4: Insert a USB stick or external hard drive.
I don’t have any experience using an external hard drive but I suppose it will work. I used a Windows formatted USB stick. You must have enough room to store the videos. Insert it in the available usb jack on the back. There are two USB ports and one will be occupied by the mouse.
|Location of USB port on back of DVR (see red arrow)|
Step 5: Click on the check box beside the video clip you wish to back up.
You can select multiple videos.
|Select the clips you wish to export|
Step 6: Click on the “Backup Button” at the bottom of the screen.
If the USB drive is not formatted correctly you will get an error like this:
|Error you’ll get if there is no USB stick connected or if the NightOwl cannot read the drive|
If you have a compatible USB drive with plenty of space you will see a window pop up saying “Searching…” (for your USB stick) when you click on the “Backup” button:
|NightOwl DVR searching for connected storage devices|
Then you will see the NightOwl DVR copying the file(s):
|Backup status bar|
If all goes well you will get the message below, “Backup Successful!”
Step 7: Copy the files to your Computer.
The NightOwl DVR will create a folder on the USB drive called “RecordFiles.” They will be in .avi format. I used a free video conversion tool called SmartConvertor to change them to .mov files to watch on my mac or use the “More” menu to pick a Windows file type.
|Location of Video Surveillance backup files– Folder “RecordFiles”|
This is the application I use to convert the video files to different types, Smart Convertor:
|Smart Convertor Main window|