Importance of Time Stamping & Digital Watermarking in Video Surveillance


Security cameras are used in many places to keep an eye out for what is happening around. They are a means for crime deterrence and detection. With use of these cameras; thefts, robberies and other events are caught on a tape. Camera footage has increased the chances of crime detection and catching the perpetrator. While using a security camera; it is imperative to take all precautionary measure so that it proves legitimate if you ever find yourself under such a situation.

You can avoid time stamping feature otherwise but it comes in handy when surveillance footage is used as evidence in a court of law. The evidence need to be accurate for to be present for legal use. Many a times videos are just thrown away because they did not show time and date.

Time Stamp Must Be in Sync with Other Sources

Time stamping is not something difficult. Most of the DVRs (digital video recorder) offer date and time stamps. You just need to go to the settings and enable the time stamp to get the time and date appeared on the live as well as recorded footage. For the court use; the time stamp must also be in sync with other sources, i.e.

Video Surveillance - DVR - Time Stamping, Digital Watermarking
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  • A cell phone or wall clock that appear in the recorded video
  • Another system that caught the event on tape
  • A POS system that has been incorporated into the surveillance system

When there is a harmony of the times shown on everything appeared in the video, it will ensure that the video is not tampered and act as lawful evidence and can stand up in court. The time displayed may vary in 1 or 2 minutes to the time stamp of the video footage to validate the evidence.

Daylight Savings and Time Setting

While considering a security camera system one should also pay attention to the daylight savings time feature. Similarly, correct time zone is another must-have thing for the video to be considered valid. An easy solution to do away with all these manual exercise is to connect the DVR to internet, where the DVR will automatically sync its time server, and you are free from doing manual time setting.

Why to Use Time Stamping?

Time stamping is essential to convict criminals in the following situations:

  • Residential break-ins
  • Retail shoplifting
  • Credit card theft
  • Physical assault

Digital Watermarking

The legal system works in its own terms. It is possible that judge might challenge the electronic data that you present in the court. They want to be sure that you did not tamper with your digital data. It is clear to the court authority that digital stamps can be modified with slight technical skills and they might ask you to prove the genuineness of the digital records.

So, how can someone prove him or herself genuine in front of court for their video recording?

Technology used in surveillance camera system has already sensed the need and presented ‘digital watermarking’ for an answer to such needs. However, digital watermarking is possible only with high-end DVRs and a few DVR capture cards. It is quite similar to paper watermarks but used for electronic data. It does not become obvious at the video and remain invisible. To reveal the watermark you need a specific reading program. A digital watermark is a guarantee that the image belong to the given DVR and not taken off from another source.

Contact dvrunlimited for more information on digital stamping, digital watermarking or for any video camera system need. We will be happy to help you with your security camera need.