How to Record Security Cameras to a PC

By Brenton Shields

Security camera technology has advanced significantly, making systems cheaper and easier to use in the home. Simultaneously, personal computers have become a center for all sorts of media, including movies and music, and provide excellent storage for such media. Therefore, it's only natural to wish to record images captured by a security camera onto a PC.

Things You'll Need

  • Security camera, wired or wireless
  • Video capture card
  • Video capture software
  • Composite video cable

Capturing Camera Images on a PC

Step 1

Insert the video capture card into your PC's card slot. If you're using a desktop PC that uses a computer tower, this will usually be located in the back of the tower. On laptops, the card slot can typically be found on the side of the keyboard, and will usually be labeled in your computer's manual as a PCMCIA slot. Some capture cards are external and connect via cable to the machine's USB port.

Step 2

Connect the wireless receiver (if you have a wireless camera) to the video capture card using the composite video cable. This can be done by placing one end of the cable in the "video out" jack of the receiver (or simply the camera, if it is not a wireless camera) and the other end into the "video in" jack of the video capture card.

Step 3

Install your video capture software. There are several of these programs, some free, that can be found using a routine Internet search, or start with the resource links below.

Step 4

Turn on the camera and the capture card, and run any software that may be required for the capture card. The camera's output should begin streaming to the computer.

Step 5

Use the record function of the video capture software to record the images on the screen.

Step 6

Once finished, you should be able to save the captured images as a movie file into a specified folder on your computer.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have already recorded images from a security camera or any other camera onto a tape or DVD, you can still insert them into the computer using the video capture card. Using a video cable, simply attach a VCR or DVD player, depending on the media used, to the video capture card. This can be done in the same way as the camera or wireless receiver; by connecting the recording device's "video out" jack to the capture card's "video in" jack. This will stream images onto your PC, images which can then be recorded with the video capture software.