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HIKVISION

Applications for the management and operation of CCTV systems based on Hikvision devices
List of applications:
1. SADP - utility for searching Hikvision IP cameras and Hikvision DVRs/NVRs in the local network. It can also be used for the change of passwords or recovery of default passwords


2. Local Playback - for playing back recordings from HDDs taken out of Hikvision DVRs/NVRs.


3. Disk Calculator - estimates the required hard disk capacity for a given recording time, calculates the data retention period.


4. VSPlayer – for playing back surveillance recordings from Hikvision devices, displaying watermark, creating snapshots.


5. Batch configuration - simultaneous configuration of multiple devices in the system.


6. Batch upgrade - simultaneous update of multiple devices in the system.


7. Remote backup tool - automatic or manual transfer of recordings to a computer.
SADP (Search Active Device Protocol) is a free and simple to use utility for searching Hikvision IP cameras and Hikvision DVRs/NVRs in the local network. The online device search tool can also be used for modification of network parameters of the Hikvision devices, including the change of passwords or recovery of default passwords (when the user lost/forgot a password). The utility has been described in the separate article.
The application is used for playing back recordings from HDDs taken out of Hikvision DVRs/NVRs. The surveillance video recordings cannot be directly played back by PCs running Widows systems. The reason is a proprietary format of the recorded data files. In order to play the recordings on a PC, the user has to employ the Local playback application.
A screenshot from the Local Playback app
Local playback identifies such HDD and can read its content. The program allows playback from up to 16 channels/cameras in two modes, synchronous and asynchronous. The recordings can be searched by date and time and filtered in terms of the type of recording, activation of an alarm input or VCA results. It is also possible to export any recordings to the HDD of the computer.
The utility allows the user to estimate the required hard disk capacity for a given recording time, or vice versa, to estimate the recording time depending on the hard disk capacity. The range of required parameters:
  • number of channels,
  • image resolution,
  • frame rate,
  • compression method,
  • bit rate,
  • number of recording hours per day.
Depending on the selected parameters, the program automatically recommends adequate bit rate. If cameras are to work with different settings, they should be added separately. After adding all the cameras, the user should enter the disk capacity available for video recording and specify the recording hours. The calculator calculates the recording retention period. Below there is a simulation of the retention periods with the same number of cameras but with the use of different compression methods.
Calculation in the case of 24/24 recording
and H.264 compression
Calculation in the case of 24/24 recording
and H.264+ compression
Playback of recordings
VSPlayer is dedicated for playing back surveillance recordings from Hikvision devices. The player supports H.264, H.264, H.264+, MPEG4 formats. There is portable version (no need for installation, can be run from a memory stick) and standard version that requires installation.

Main functions:
  • playback in full screen or screen division modes (4, 9 or 16 windows),
  • synchronous or asynchronous playback of recordings,
  • playback option from a particular frame or moment of time,
  • playback list with searching by name or time,
  • digital zoom,
  • reverse playback,
  • displaying of VCA information,
  • displaying of watermark,
  • support for recordings from fisheye cameras.
Displaying of watermark
A watermark is a kind of marker for digital video and audio files. It is usually used to encode copyright, authenticity and integrity information into the main data. The recordings of Hikvision DVRs/NVRs include the information in each frame. The watermark information can be displayed using VSPlayer software, the player dedicated for playing back recordings from Hikvision devices. With the player, the watermark explicitly certifies the authenticity of a recording from a specific DVR/NVR.
The watermark contains the following information:
  • MAC address,
  • serial number,
  • channel number,
  • date and time of the beginning of the recording,
  • information on the model and type of the device.
A watermark displayed with VSPlayer (within the red frame)
Snapshots from surveillance video
Sometimes the video recording(s) concerning an event must be supplemented by screenshots in the form of still shots. In the case of recordings from Hikvision CCTV recorders, they can be easily obtained with the use of the VSPlayer software. In addition to the playback of recordings, the software has other useful features. One of them is the functionality to create snapshots.
The snapshots can be made automatically, after specifying:
  • JPEG or BMP format,
  • the interval specified by time (in seconds) or by the number of video frames.
The Capture window is used for setting parameters of snapshots taken from video footage
Format converter – conversion of recordings
Hikvision DVRs/NVRs and IP cameras record video surveillance data in a proprietary format (Hikvision H.264). The advantage of the format is the ability to integrate watermark and other data in one file. If necessary, the users of the devices can convert the format to H.264 or MPEG4 form with the use of the tool available as a part of the VSPlayer application. The tool also enables the user to change:
  • image resolution,
  • frame rate,
  • bit rate,
  • audio codec.
View of the Format Converter window
FileMerge and FileClip - merging and clipping recordings
Along with VSPlayer, Hikvision supplies application for merging recordings - FileMerge, and for clipping them - FileClip. The first application is used when the required video coverage is contained in two recordings, the second when the needed portion of a recording is shorter than the entire video file. The applications have been designed for editing recordings performed by Hikvision devices, encoded in H.264 format, with mp4 extension. Operations carried out by the applications do not delete metadata such as watermark (it is allowed to combine recordings only from the same channel ) or information about motion.
Screenshots from the FileMerge and FileClip applications

In one location there are often several IP cameras and/or NVRs. Most of the settings of the devices within one group are similar or even identical. Hikvision NVRs can be quickly configured by exporting a file with configuration settings from one device to the rest of them in the system.
View of Batch Configuration window for exporting configuration file
The import/export operations can be performed:
  • locally via USB interface,
  • via the network:
    • using iVMS-4200 software or a web browser - especially useful in the case of distant locations of the NVRs,
    • using Batch Configuration utility (part of Hikvision Tools).
Manufacturers of devices for video surveillance systems often provide new versions of software to improve or increase the functionality of the equipment. Quite often there is a need to upgrade multiple cameras and NVRs deployed in the system.
View of Batch Upgrading menu
Hikvision provides Batch Upgrading application, contained in Hikvision Tools. The application saves time that the administrator would have to lose for individual logging on to each device, entering the menu, selecting update option. It searches the devices in the LAN, allows the administrator to add new devices to the list and/or import them from the iVMS-4200 software application. The devices can be added manually to the list by entering their IP addresses. Different groups of devices can be updated independently. The update file can be specified directly or through a catalog, which may include the update files for different devices. The compliance of the new software with each device is automatically checked before updating.
The tool is useful when the user wants to download recordings from a DVR/NVR or camera to a hard drive in a computer. The recordings can be download via a LAN. The download process can be initiated manually or automatically according to a specified schedule. This property allows for using the tool for automatic backups.
Main features of the program:
  • data backup from up to 32 channels,
  • adjustable data transfer rate,
  • built-in player.
A screenshot from the Remote Backup program
 
 
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