So you got in an accident, or you suspect someone vandalized your car and you need to review dash cam footage. There are several methods that will work, but some methods are inefficient. It really depends on what you are hoping to see out of the footage. It might seem rudimentary, but if your goal is to quickly scrub through the footage and show police officers recent footage, you don’t want to be stumbling and figuring it out on the spot.
In this article, we will talk about how to pull up footage in different scenarios and for different purposes. This will be a quick read, but I’m sure you’ll learn a thing or two about your dash cam. Sometimes you may even forget that there are some cool, unused features in your dash cam!
Every dash cam will have a microSD card attachment. This is the place where you can insert removable storage. This card will carry all of your footage. Often, the dash cam will come with a default memory card. These won’t have much storage, we recommend purchasing a larger one as it is cheap and more reliable.
Another benefit of buying a large SD card is to hold more video files for longer periods of time. Dash cams have a loop recording feature where once the SD card is full, it will delete older footage to make room for the new footage. You may think, why do I need a large SD card then?
While loop recording is great in principle, you don’t want to have a small capacity memory card because you may want to review older footage. If your card is erasing video files from 1 or 2 days ago, you can’t review any footage from before that. Often times, I’ll notice a dent in my paint days after and I’m praying that I captured it.
Removing a card from the dash cam is as simple as using your fingernail to release it from the device.
Since these cards are removable, you can use them in any computer that has a microSD card slot. Typically most computers will have a SD slot, which is just the big brother of a microSD. You’ll need to get an adapter if you only have a SD slot. If your computer doesn’t have a SD slot, you’ll need to get another adapter, typically a USB SD card adapter.
Yes, that’s a lot of adapters. See below for a better way to review footage.
Once inserted, it should show up on your computer where you can watch your footage on your computer monitor.
Most likely once you navigate into the disk drive, there will be 2 folders. One folder contains all footage. The other folder contains video files from “incidents”, like accidents or when the Parking Mode was activated.
If YouTube is your final destination, you can upload footage from the SD card to YouTube. You can also use video editing software to edit your footage. Some free ones include iMovie or Windows MovieMaker.
Dash Cam Screen
Most dash cams will have their own screens to do basic functions like change settings, position the camera, and review footage. Don’t expect to get crystal clear clarity on a 2 to 3 inch screen. In addition, don’t expect any audio to be super crisp either.
But if you need to replay something for the cops that doesn’t require reading license plates, then using your dash cam screen in a pinch will work.
Ensure that the dash cam is powered on. There should be a physical Menu button or a touch screen option. One there, you should be able to scroll between displaying the live view, which is the road in front of you, a review mode, where you can review saved footage.
Use WiFi to connect to dash cam
Probably the easiest way to view dash cam footage is using WiFi. This feature doesn’t come on all dash cams, but we have a list of WiFi dash cams that will work for you. WiFi on a dash cam allows you to use your smart phone to view, and even share footage. If your camera allows you to connect wirelessly to review footage, it will also allow you to change camera settings.
Your dash cam manufacturer will have an app that you will install. Often times, a search of the manufacturer name in the App Store will yield the correct result. If not, refer to the manual for the exact app title.
Once the app is downloaded and opened, turn on the WiFi feature in your dash cam. Then disconnect from any existing WiFi connections you have and look in the available networks for your dash cam’s. Your dash cam’s network will not have WiFi so you will have to bypass any errors in order to connect.
If successfully connected, the app will have menu options to view recorded footage, view the live camera, share footage on social media, download footage and more.
This is our most preferred way to view dash cam footage. If you need to show cops the footage immediately, this is way better as viewing footage on a smart phone is preferable to a dash cam screen.
Cloud Capabilities for Remote View
This is more of an extension from the WiFi method, but I still think it deserves its own call out as more dash cams move towards this direction.
There are a select number of dash cams that can connect to the cloud and can broadcast both live and recorded footage to anyone in the world.
The setup process is similar to the WiFi, but now a SIM card is typically involved as its used to transfer data. You will also need a way to consistently power on the dash cam while you are away from the vehicle. This will involve hard wiring.
Once those two aspects are taken care of, you can remotely view the footage from your smartphone at any point.
You should also be able to view the location of the dash cam with the GPS functionality.