Working with a DVR System

One tool that you have likely seen used by a variety of teams over the years is the DVR system. A digital video recorder (DVR) is an electronic device that records video in a digital format to a hard drive. These devices are often used by companies for security purposes and are great for monitoring large areas in which a visual record of any activity can be useful. Most systems are video only but it is possible to find systems that record audio and video.  My team currently owns 5 different DVR systems and regularly uses 1-2 of these systems for 2 day investigations. 

As with all things paranormal, different teams use devices in different ways. This applies to the DVR system also. There are typically 2 main ways that I have seen these systems utilized. 

1) Set up the cameras and let them run for the duration of an investigation with an intent to later review or spot check for activity. 

2) Set up the cameras and have someone monitor them throughout the investigation. 

While the first option allows everyone to actively participate in the “fun” parts of investigating throughout the night, it also leaves the DVR owner with the very large burden of reviewing up to 8 cameras that ran the duration of the investigation (for a 6 hour investigation, that would be 48 hours of video). As one of these poor souls, I can tell you that not everything gets reviewed and it definitely does not get reviewed thoroughly. 

Method 2 is my preferred method. I like to utilize a rotation schedule agreed on by the team at the start of the evening and utilize a form for watchers to log any activity. In addition to reviewing the video in-the-moment, watchers can alert the team to any activity that is happening and team members can quickly adapt to the situation to debunk or further investigate the activity. This method does require team members to be willing to watch cameras for at least an hour or two each night. I have found there are some members who really enjoy this part of the investigation and may want to cover multiple shifts throughout the night. Be sure to show your appreciation for anyone who signs up to cover a time period because this will be a blessing during the review process. You may also want to ask anyone monitoring the DVR system to make notes about where team members are at different times during the night. This will further assist with debunking during the final review process. 

As with anything in the paranormal field, this is my preferred method for utilizing DVR in an investigation and every team will have a different idea on what the most effective use of team time might be. I work with a large enough team that having people sit in command central to review cameras is almost always a possibility while other teams may feel they need the manpower elsewhere. Teams should discuss what works best for them and plan accordingly. 

Until next time, Happy Hunting!

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