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Exporting Footage From A VMAX DVR

How to Export Footage From A VMAX DVR


Affected Roles:  Administrator

Related Digital Watchdog VMS Apps:  Pivot CMS (Windows OS)

Complexity:  Low to Medium

Last Edit:  March 9, 2020


Video Export

The VMAX recorder series is comprised of standalone analog devices that record camera video to internally installed hard drives. 

As the amount of data storage is limited, depending on the hard drive capacity, select recorded camera video may need to be exported from the DVR, also known as “creating a backup”.

This article will explain how to create a footage backup file directly from a VMAX Series DVR with a USB stick.

Note:  The USB stick should be formatted to FAT32 format and is recommended to have a storage capacity no greater than 32 GB.  Use of Kingston or SanDisk brand USBs have been known to experience issues with exporting footage.

Note:  It is recommended to export specific sections of video footage, rather than the entire video archive from the DVR.  This saves the user time and leads to a higher success rate for exported video.

Supported/Affected Devices

  • VMAX 960H Series
  • VMAX Flex Series
  • VMAX A1 Series (2.1 MP)

How to Export Footage

Exporting footage is a multi-step process and will require a USB stick, USB powered mouse, and a display monitor.

To create a video Export file directly from a VMAX DVR:

  1. A display monitor and a USB powered mouse will need to be connected directly to the DVR.  Please consult your User Manual if you are unsure if the DVR supports either an HDMI or VGA monitor connection.

To connect the USB powered mouse, you may use either of the USB ports of the DVR.  Depending on the DVR model, there will be a USB port on the front and a USB port at the back of the unit.

  1. Using the connected mouse (to control the DVR) and the connected display monitor (to view the DVR display), log in as the system Admin or as a User with export permission settings enabled.
  1. Right-click with the mouse and select Export or Backup (model dependent).  Alternatively, you can open the Setup Menu and select Export or Backup (model dependent).

  1. The Export menu will display.  Apply the following settings for the Export file.
  • Select the channels (cameras) that you intend to include in the video backup.  Any channels that are not selected will not be saved to the backup file. 

Note:  If you are only exporting footage for one camera, or the length of footage will be less than five minutes, it is recommended to include multiple channels when setting up the video export.  This increases the success rate of the video backup.

  • Select the Start Time and End Time of the video footage that you are exporting.  Click the Calendar Icon to select the date.  Time selection will be in military time (24 hour) format.  For example, 14:31:20 would be 2:31:20 PM.
  • The Export file will be created in .PSF format, a proprietary file type that is only viewable using a Digital Watchdog viewing application.  If you would like to include a Backup Viewer with the Export file, click on Add Backup Viewer.  A checkmark will signify that you have enabled this setting.
  • Click the Calculate button.  The DVR will determine the estimated file size of the Export file.  The File Size should be between 5MB – 32GB.

  1. If you have not already done so, insert a blank USB stick (also known as a “USB thumb drive”) into the second USB port of the DVR (port in the front, port in the back).  Click Scan to have the DVR detect the USB stick.  If the USB stick is not detected and the Device box remains blank,

Note:  The USB stick must be in FAT or FAT32 format for the DVR to read the USB stick.

  1. Name the file.  For File Name, click the edit button (pencil icon) and enter a name for the Export file.  The File Name that you select is how the .PSF file will be labeled for computers that will access the footage.

  1. Under Backup Start, click Start to begin the Export.  A progress bar will display (appearance varies by model).

  1. Once the video Backup/Export is complete, you may remove the USB stick from the DVR and insert it into a Windows computer.

Open the USB stick to display:

  • The Player folder
  • The Export file (ends in “.psf”)
  • The Backup Viewer (appears as Player_Launcher.exe)

Viewing An Exported Video File

To view an Export file, a Digital Watchdog viewing application will need to be used. 

  1. If you did not include a Backup Viewer when Exporting the footage from the DVR, you can use the Pivot_Player program to view the .PSF file from a Windows computer.  Download Pivot CMS here and install Pivot CMS to the computer.

Note:  The Pivot CMS installer will install three programs to your computer desktop (Pivot, Pivot_Player, Backup_Player).

  1. If you are using a Backup Viewer that was included when exporting footage, launch Player_Launcher.exe.

If you are using Pivot CMS, launch Pivot_Player.

  1. Click the Open icon (folder symbol).

  1. Locate and select the Export file (.psf) that you want to view.  Click the Open button to confirm your selection.

  1. The selected Export file will begin to play.  Use the Timeline bar at the bottom of the player window to control the footage.  If you would like to view another Export file, to save an image, or to save a short clip (.mp4), use the toolbar at the top of the player window.

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  • 23-Apr-2020