How to Connect an Outdoor Surveillance Camcorder to a Computer

The cost of analog video cameras nowadays has fallen to that level when almost everyone can buy them without especially straining their budget.
But for the organization of a video surveillance system, one video camera is not enough, you need to connect it somewhere else. You can directly to a monitor or TV, but it is still desirable to have a recording device that could save video from the surveillance camera in the archive. Your computer can act as such a DVR. But here the question arises. how to connect the camcorder to a computer?

If we are talking about digital IP cameras. everything is much simpler. They are connected via Ethernet through a switch, router or directly to the network input of the LAN PC. Next, you need to find out the IP address of the camera, credentials. login and password, which are usually indicated in the instructions for the IP camera, and access it using a regular browser or the software that came with the camcorder.

Things are somewhat more complicated with analog camcorders. How to connect a regular camcorder to a computer? After all, he does not have a video input.

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Here you can go in two ways and even three. The first is to purchase a video capture card and install it in the PCI or PCI-e slot of your computer. As a rule, such boards designed for analog (although analog are purely arbitrary, since capture, encoding and archiving is already at the digital level) video surveillance systems have from 4 to 16 video inputs. It is quite enough to organize a video surveillance system both in a private house or apartment, and to create professional distributed integrated security systems. Video capture cards usually come with software that allows you to organize such functions of a CCTV system as recording by motion detector, or according to a schedule, recording an archive on a loop, remote access to a video surveillance system over a local network or the Internet, etc. This method is good for everyone, except for one. it does not allow you to connect the camcorder to a laptop.

Video: How to Connect an Outdoor Surveillance Camcorder to a Computer


The second way to connect the camcorder to a computer is to use a video server, a device that converts the analog PAL video signal to digital, i.e. turns an ordinary camcorder into an IP camera. It has a BNC input and a LAN output, from which we send a signal to our computer network, and then everything is similar to an IP camera. An ordinary 4-channel video recorder can act as a video server, they all now have a built-in cloud service, which allows you to organize a video surveillance system via the Internet without a static IP address. Such a solution may even be cheaper than using a special video server. Now you can find a registrar cheaper than 3000 rubles. We already wrote about this in an article about wireless video surveillance. You just need to find a video recorder that allows you to organize a video archive on a remote PC. Although this is not necessary, because the archive can be stored on the hard drive of the recorder, and view it over the network from a computer.

The third way to solve the task in the title of the article is to use USB converters. Such devices are similar to video servers, they only form a digital signal for the computer’s USB input. Perhaps this will be the cheapest way, but we have never come across similar devices with acceptable digital image quality and having more or less normal software in their kit. Therefore, we would not recommend going this way.

How to Connect an Outdoor Surveillance Camcorder to a Computer

The second and third methods allow you to connect an analog video camera to a laptop. But still for a digital device it is better to use the same digital. And we recommend using digital IP cameras to organize a laptop-based video surveillance system.