How Long Do Security Cameras Keep Footage: Retention Period of Security Video

By Ryan Skidmore | April 24, 2019

Security cameras are an important aspect of keeping your home, business, or construction site safe. The footage recorded on a surveillance system can be valuable evidence in the case of a break-in or a work-related injury, or if you want to track patterns in a workflow. But all cameras have a certain capacity for storing video footage, and you won’t be able to access the footage forever.

So how long do security cameras keep footage? The answer depends on the type of camera you’re using. Read on to learn more about how long security cameras keep footage, and how to find the right solution for your security surveillance needs.

CCTV vs. IP Cameras

Before we dive into answering the question of how long security cameras keep footage, we need to differentiate between the types of security cameras. Each type of camera has varying factors to consider when determining how long they’ll keep footage.

CCTV Cameras

CCTV cameras are an older, analog technology that is still used in many industries. Analog cameras have more pixelated footage and are harder to use. IP-based video surveillance is a new, digital technology that is far more user-friendly.

IP Cameras

IP cameras record a much clearer picture and are even less expensive than analog cameras if you consider the cost of ownership over time. The system records to a server in a local network or cloud service, which eliminates the need for pricey onsite DVR systems.

Factors Influencing Storage Space

Now that you know the difference between CCTV and IP surveillance systems, you’ll more easily understand how to figure out how long a given camera keeps video footage.

There are many factors that influence the storage space of your surveillance. Some of these factors are irrelevant if you’re using an IP camera, but all factors are relevant for the CCTV footage retention period. Influencing factors include:

  • Resolution: Cameras with a higher resolution will have less storage capacity, while lower resolution cameras will be able to store video for longer.
  • Number of Cameras: If you’re using a CCTV camera, the more cameras you have on a site, the more storage space you’ll need. This reduces the length of time you’ll be able to store video footage. (This factor is less relevant if using an IP camera.)
  • Amount of Storage Space: Security cameras with more storage space will naturally be able to keep footage for longer than a camera with less storage space.
  • Compression: If a video size is compressed, it will take up less storage space and allow the camera to store footage for a longer period.
  • Bitrate: A higher bitrate on a CCTV camera will offer a lower recording period than a CCTV camera with a lower bitrate. (This is less of an issue to consider with IP systems.)

IP Camera Storage

As we discussed in the previous section, the type of camera you choose will determine how long video footage is stored. IP cameras are the better choice if you’re concerned about camera storage since the number of cameras you have and the bitrate will affect storage less.

Most homes and businesses choose the camera that offers the minimum amount of footage retention to meet their needs. For example, a retail store may need to keep footage for 30-90 days, depending on how long it might take to prosecute a shoplifter, or on other claims that may come up. They would then look for a camera with the resolution, storage space, compression, and bitrate to keep footage for that period of time, and no more. Buying a camera that holds footage for longer will be more costly.

Learn More About IP Cameras Today

Since CCTV cameras are an outdated technology that will cost you more money and effort in the long run, it’s best to invest in IP cameras for your security system. Pro-Vigil offers state of the art IP cameras to keep your business or property safe. Click here to learn more about IP cameras today. We’ll give you a free quote for your business within 24 hours. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and find the right solution for your business.