A lot of today’s DVR and NVR recorders save footage in the H.264 format. H.264 is a modern video compression that allows you to store loads more footage than was previously possible, however not everyone’s PC will have software capable of playing it back, but we have a couple of quick and easy solutions.
Playing back the footage.
The first thing you need to do is download the footage, either on to a USB stick via your recorders USB port, or via the web console if it’s configured for remote access. Details on how to do this can be found in your user manual which is normally in the format of a PDF document on the CD that came with your recorder.
The next step is to download the H264 Player Software. Once downloaded, run the application, and keep clicking ‘Next’ until the software is installed. Once completed, this will have installed a program called ‘Player’ which should have added a shortcut to your desktop, so go ahead and double-click to launch it.
Once you’ve opened the software, you’ll have something that looks like this:
Now it’s just a case of clicking the ‘Play’ button which will launch a file browsers window. From here select the video you wish to play and click the ‘Open’ button. Your video should now be playing back.
This is great, but what if you have a large file you want to cut down to something shorter? or stitch multiple bits of footage into one single video? Or want to have a file that doesn’t need a special player to playback? This involves converting the H264 video file to a more compatible file such as AVI. It’s a pretty straightforward process and we’ll go through that now.
Converting to AVI
Once you’ve got your footage the first step is to download the H264 to AVI Converter Software.
Now you’ve downloaded the file containing the software you have to extract the contents so you can run them. The easiest way to do this is to right-click on the downloaded file and select ‘Extract All…’. You will then get an option to Browse and choose where you want to put the program, so either change this or leave it as the default, then make sure the box next to ‘Show extracted files when complete’ is ticked and click the ‘Extract’ button.
Once the extraction is complete Windows will open a new folder to show you the files. Double click on the ‘H264 to AVI’ folder and then double click ‘VideoConver’ to open the software.
Now in the software, click the ‘Open’ button and browse to your H264 file, and then click the ‘Open’ button. You can do this multiple times to convert multiple files at the same time.
Once you’ve opened all the files you wish to convert click the ‘Conver’ button and the conversion process will begin.
The conversion process can take a long time, depending on the size of the files being converted and the speed of your PC, so please be patient. The Progress bar isn’t always accurate so don’t rely on it as an indication of the estimated completion time.
The progress will show as ‘Success’ once the conversion has finished, and your AVI files are ready for playback or editing.