How to set the time on your camera: 3 kinds of hardware + 2 ways

CCTV camera recording time is the most important detail when filming offenses. If the settings are wrong, the investigation process may end without even beginning, as there will be nothing to push back on. 

By following the tips in this article, you will be able to set the correct time in the security system. 

The importance of video camera settings

Incorrect settings of IP video cameras or analog equipment can only bring problems in the future. For example:

  • a recording with the wrong time will not be admissible in court for investigation;
  • finding the right file without reference to the time will also be difficult;
  • resolving internal disputes without involving security services will be problematic. 

As a result, video surveillance without time orientation will work, but at the most important moment, for which it was installed, will be useless. 

2 ways to set time

Often bought equipment from a store gives a random date when connected. You can set the time on the camera in 2 ways: 

  • Give the camera access to the internet. Then the setting will be automatic with the help of “network time protocol” service;
  • synchronize the device with the computer time. The option is suitable for those who use a PC in the surveillance system. 

Which cameras save time?

All surveillance cameras save time settings in different ways. For example, analog works through a coaxial cable, while IP devices synchronize with video recorders. 

Let’s take a closer look at each option. 

Analog technology

Analog systems work, as discussed above, through coaxial cable. Everything works thanks to a video recorder, through which time stamps are superimposed on the frames. 

IP (network) video recorders

Timestamping is done by the camera itself, not the recorder. Most often the cameras in the system are time synchronized, if this does not happen, you may have trouble playing back the files.

Standalone IP video cameras

Wi-Fi cameras record time over the Internet using an NTP service. Thanks to this, all material contains a time stamp. 

Advantage of cloud surveillance

Cloud video surveillance is the leading technology on today’s market for remote monitoring of facilities, where the focus is more on data storage methods. In a cloud system, information is stored on a remote server, which is accessed by the owner via the Internet. 

Read more in this article: “Cloud storage for video surveillance“. 

But the most important advantage of such a system is the automatic settings. As soon as the user connects the devices to the service, the date, time, and other important nuances are configured themselves. 

Hacking such a system is extremely difficult because the cloud is constantly updated to the latest versions of cybersecurity. Read more: “Cloud storage and the fear of being hacked. 6 possible system threats.” 


When installing security systems, it is important to consider all settings in advance. Because the user will not be able to predict when the time stamp will be needed. This is necessary even if viewing CCTV cameras in real-time. 

But sometimes it is extremely difficult to configure everything yourself, and in order not to call specialists, it is better to use cloud surveillance. Especially since it offers many advantages, not only automatic timing. 

Александр Вебер

Alexander Weber

Specialist in video surveillance, video analytics, cloud storage systems. Consultant on the integration of video surveillance systems and tools in various business sectors. Over 10 years of industry experience.

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