Delete Video Of Criminal Activity - Help

We are reviewing stories where users are being accused of tampering with video, specifically deleting / removing it.

In my experience, VMSes almost never allow a user to delete video manually (i.e., pick a time frame / camera and delete it). Video obviously can be cycled over and cameras might be set to longer or shorter recording durations. Additionally, someone could go and find the directories on the recorder where video files are being stored and delete it there (assuming they can access that).

Does anyone know of any other techniques to delete recorded video? Does anyone know any VMSes that allow it as a 'feature'?


Very interesting point, im looking for the same VMS for that exact reason.

Except in my case, it is a suggestion by one of the hotels, to delete the video of VVIP guests and their activities.

Nidal, very interesting feedback! I am curious what we will learn here. My impression is that most VMSes do not want to assume the risk / liability that video was accidentally or maliciously deleted. I am not sure if they would actually get sued but at the very least it could cause a major ill will with customers.

Let's see what VMS / recorders support this.

I only know of the "find the directory and delete the file" method, thought I don't personally know anyone who has done that, or been accused of such. I have no experience trying to do this with a VMS, but I know with some older PC Based DVR software it was a little difficult to tell which file was for which date as it wasn't very obvious. Seemed like a bunch of random number not referencing a date or anything.

Daniel, good point.

Appliances often lock down those directories making it tough to even access.

On the other hand, some VMSes make it really easy to see, categorizing it be day / hour / camera name :)

I know that you could cut the file out from the storage folder to a video editing software that would allow you to clip out specific scenes. And, then replace the file back to the folder.

But that is manual task, im not aware of any VMS that allows for that function. It kind of defies the purpose of a VMS .

EZWatch Pro 4.0 will allow this

Tyler, thanks. One question - who is EZWatch? They look like an online retailer/OEM. yes/no?

Yes, they are an online retailer. I built a DVR using their capture card and software several years ago because it was readily available to the consumer. It's still going strong.

We did a test of their kit a long time ago. At that time, they were OEMing NUUO. Who knows who they are OEMing now.

Sound like a reason not to use a VMS that uses the operating file system technique for storage and indexing (creating folders and subfolders and "chunks" of video clips) if that is a real concern. Rather, a VMS that uses proprietray of other types of actual database container files that cannot be tampered with easily or not make it obvious it was.

To be clear, this is to keep someone like a system user or maybe an administrator from "selectively" deleting a portion of the database (and maybe claiming it was a temporary glitch or system fault and avoiding the activity being logged). Theoretically though anyone with administrative or even physical access to the system could delete all of the database file(s) if they knew what they were. And even for systems that store video in proprietray container database files, I know that some will mark those portions of the database that have video from a particular camera will mark it as free space when that camera is deleted. Maybe that video could be retrived or not if that happened.

I guess this conversation underscores the need for good physical security of the recording system.

Do most systems place a time stamp on the stored video? Either thru the Camera or the VMS?

In my experience, time stamps on recorders are kept as metadata and can be displayed based on a user option. You could also have a watermark timestamp on the video feed generated by the camera though, in my experience, that is less often done.