Why your Security Cameras Must Show Accurate Times to Be Usable in Court? Leave a comment

Security cameras have become a part of our day to day lives. Most businesses and even households worldwide use security cameras to ensure the safety of their house or their business. One thing to keep in mind when using a security camera system to catch criminals is that the system must always show the correct time. If your system does not show the correct time, any recording or footage that you want to use might be considered inadmissible in a court of law. This article will help you make sure that your system is using the proper time and it will also teach you the correct tricks to avoid such issues in the future.

Why having the correct time on the recording is so important

You might wonder why setting up the time in your security system is so important. The simple reason is that if you do not set up your time properly when you initially get the system, it might lead to a lot of complications in the future. the first reason being security camera footage has to show the proper time for them to be usable in a court of law. If your security camera does not show the correct time, then you will lose any credibility that your footage might provide. That will essentially result in the money you spend in your surveillance system to be nullified due to a simple issue that could have been solved easily.

Another main reason to make sure that your camera is showing the proper time is that it makes playing back previously recorded footage way easier. Most modern security cameras have the capability to sort footage by date and time. As a result, playing them back later is not a hassle. However, if your system does not have the proper time and date, you can not take advantage of that, and playing back an old video might be very annoying for you.

The final reason it is so important to have the proper timestamp is that without it, your camera might overwrite previously saved footage. You might wonder if this really even happens. Well, it does. Security cameras save data based on date and time. If your time system is crooked and they do not show the time properly, it is possible that you might record footage for the same date twice and you might lose valuable data.

How do security cameras keep time?

Now that you know why it is so important to make sure that your security cameras show the proper time and date, you might wonder how security cameras keep time, to begin with. Well, there are a lot of ways security cameras keep time. Analog or HD cameras that use coaxial cables usually rely on the DVR they are attached to keep time and overlay the correct timestamp. For IP cameras, the time settings might be synced with the recorder that is being used or left for each camera individually. Most IP security cameras that can be purchased these days usually come with a random date. That is why the first thing you should do after getting your camera is to set the proper date in the settings. Most IP cameras allow browser access to log in and configure settings. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Syncing the camera to your PC: You can click on the “sync with pc” button on your camera and the system will automatically set the time to the time in your PC. The one thing you have to keep in mind is that the time in your camera might become too fast or too slow after a while if you do this. So, it is important to check every now and then to make sure that your camera does not stray from the real-time.
  • Reaching out to the internet for the correct time: Alternatively, you can set your camera to get the time by using a service known as Network time protocol or NTP. It is considered the most reliable way for security cameras to keep time. An NTP server is a designated device that uses atomic clocks so that it can track time accurately. The camera can connect to an NTP server by using a local area network (LAN) or the internet.

Where to set the time for your security camera

Setting the correct date for your security camera really depends on what kind of system you have and what kind of camera your system is using.

DVR camera systems:

These systems usually have security cameras that have BNC connectors. One such example would be HD security cameras over coax. These cameras rely on the DVR to overlay the correct timestamp.

NVR camera systems:

For NVR systems, it is crucial to make sure that the date and time are correct both on the recorder and on the individual cameras. The timestamp overlay is done by the cameras in systems like this unlike how the NVR does it in IP systems. If the cameras in your system do not have their time synched, you will face issues while trying to play previously recorded footage. In an NVR system, you would set the correct time on the NVR and then have the cameras sync at that time.

Standalone IP security cameras

IP cameras that are used by themselves without an NVR require that the time be kept by the cameras themselves. Often it will be required to synchronize the camera over the internet with an NTP server to make sure that the time being tracked by your camera is accurate.


Setting up the correct time in your security camera is a crucial part of having a surveillance system. You are investing so much money to ensure that your property remains safe. If it is inadmissible in the court of law, then it loses its entire purpose. So, be proactive and always make sure that your system is using the correct time. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us.

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