Storage calculation is very important for any CCTV project. Everyone needs to know how long his CCTV system will be able to record: one week, two weeks or two months? All recording will be stored in the hard drive, the bigger your hard drive(s), the more available space to store videos.
However, there are other factors that can determine how long your security cameras will record such as: continuous recording or motion recording, the bandwidth, the frame rate, the bitrate, the resolution, the number of the cameras, the type of your security cameras etc. In this article, you will learn a more precise CCTV storage calculation formula as well as the storage saving tips to maximize your CCTV camera storage capacity.
How many days of the recording is the norm?
The answer depends on the kind of CCTV project. Usually one month of recordings is enough. If anything happens you can save the footage. Many businesses go for 3 months of recording, for end users (houses) 2 to 4 weeks is recommended. Banks usually require one year of recordings. As you can imagine, the more space available to record, the more expensive the CCTV system will be. You can adjust the configuration of your CCTV system to record longer, which we will talk about in this article.
CCTV storage calculation formula
Here’s a simple method to calculate the storage for your CCTV project: you need to know how much bandwidth your security camera is using. If you are planning to use your camera with HD resolution a 1024 Kbps bitrate will be okay, for Full HD resolution use 2048 Kbps as your bitrate. With that information you can use a formula or a storage calculator to input the bitrate, the number of days for recording and the number of cameras.
Storage = amount of space in GB (Gigabytes)
CB = Camera bandwidth
8 = to convert from bits to Bytes
3600 = to convert from seconds do hour
24 = to convert from hour to day
Qty_cam = Total number of cameras
Qty_days =Total number of days
1G = Divide by 1 Gig (1,000,000,000) to convert from KB to GB
• Example: 1 camera with bitrate of 1024 Kbps recording for 1 day
Storage = ( (1,024.000/8) * 3600 * 24 * 1 * 1) / 1,000,000,000
Storage = 11 GB
• Example: 10 cameras with bitrate of 2048 Kbps recording for 30 day
Storage = ( (2,048.000/8) * 3600 * 24 * 10 * 30) / 1,000,000,000
Storage = 6,635GB (or 6.35 TB)
What affects the CCTV storage
The higher the camera resolution, the greater the need for bandwidth and storage space, some common IP camera resolutions are: QCIF, CIF, 2CIF, 4CIF, VGA, SVGA, HD, Full HD and 4K. If you have a high end IP camera, you need a lot of storage in order to store high quality footage.
2. Frame rate
30 FPS is considered real-time motion and shows smooth movement on the recorded video, but if you set up your camera with such frame rate, the use of bandwidth and storage will increase a lot. So for most CCTV projects 15 FPS is enough. If you go lower than that, the footage may look choppy.
3. Compression algorithm
The choice of the codec dramatically influences the amount of hard disk used for recording, so using modern algorithms like H.264, H.264+ and H.265 can save more recording space when compared to the old CODEC such as MJPEG or MPEG-4 for example. Make sure your CCTV system supports such codecs. We recommend to go for the latest one H.265(+), it will provide more lossless compression and thus more space to store CCTV footage.
4. Scene activity
If the scene where the camera is installed is very complex, meaning there is a lot of movement of people and objects, the need for more bandwidth and storage space will increase. The more active a scene, the more bandwidth will be used.
5. Continuous or event recording
When you set up a CCTV recorder, you can choose whether videos will be continuously stored even when there are no events in place, or whether the recording will start only when there is an event such as motion detection. Consult this article for more detailed information: Motion detection vs. continuous recording – Pros and Cons.
Tips to Maximize CCTV Storage Capacity
Now that you have grasped the CCTV storage calculation tool, the next question is how to maximize your CCTV storage capacity. These following practical storage-saving tips can do the trick to serve your purpose.
1. Choose H.264 or H.265 IP cameras
H.264 or H.265 video format can greatly affect the CCTV storage calculation. Without compromising the image quality, H.264 format can reduce the size of a video by more than 80% compared with MJPEG format and 50% with the MPEG-4 format, thus optimizing the CCTV camera storage capacity. And the new compression codec H.265 can reduce the footage size by 60% compared with H.264 codec mode.
2. Go for PTZ security cameras
Instead of using two security cameras with relatively narrow fields of view, why not simply employ one PTZ security camera? It not only covers wider monitoring areas, but also allows you to zoom in to identify more details. Keep in mind that PTZ cameras are quite expensive.
3. Adjust the camera resolution
In order to optimize the CCTV camera storage capacity, you may adjust the camera resolution based on the places you are going to monitor. For the critical entrances with high traffic, higher resolution is required to record clear videos. While in the places of less importance, you can record at a comparatively low resolution. You can increase the storage capacity by optimizing the cameras’ resolution depending on their location.
4. Set up proper recording modes
Since the recording mode is also a vital determinant of CCTV storage calculation, it is always best to set up the recording modes based on your needs. For example, when you are at home, you can switch the camera recording mode to the motion-triggered recording instead of continuous recording. Or you can also choose to record only during the selected time.
5. Utilize external HDDs
What if the built-in hard disk drive of your DVR/NVR fails to meet your storage needs as per the CCTV hard disk storage calculator? The way is simple: Expand your DVR/NVR storage with an external HDD. Now many DVRs and NVRs on the market allow you to install an external HDD for more CCTV storage space.
6. Disable audio recording if not necessary
In places such as parking lots, recording videos with audio is not a necessity. You can disable the audio recording in order to save the CCTV camera storage space.
7. Place security cameras in low-traffic areas
Too many false alarms and unwanted motion-triggered videos will take up much security camera storage space. To take full advantage of the CCTV storage capacity, avoid placing your security cameras in the crowded areas. Also, you may disable the security camera motion detection when it is not needed to CCTV camera recording capacity.