Constant vs. Event Based Recording

red and black ford mustang

This post is part of a series describing the different aspects to consider when choosing a security camera system.

Does the system record every now and then, or all of the time? Why choose one over the other?

Event Based recording only records when something triggers an event. This usually begins with something tripped the motion sensor. Most of these motion sensors are Infrared (IR) detectors, especially on battery powered cameras. They have limited range, around 30ft. or less. These are the same sensors used in motion lights. The recording ends a short time after the motion is no longer detected. If the motion detector was not triggered, no video is recorded.

Constant recording records the video from a camera 24/7. This is important because the view of the camera is much larger than the range of the motion detector. Things happen outside of the detection range, and motion detectors don’t catch everything that is within their range.

Because I have constant recording of my personal cameras, I was able to put together this video of a ghost getting mad a my deck chair. (The wind blew it off of the deck). With Event based recording, the video on the right might have been recorded, the one on the left definitely would not have been.


Both can mark events and send push notifications based on specific events. Nearly every camera system today has some type of “Smart Detection” where it can recognize the presence of vehicles and people (some include animals, etc.) within the video and mark the event with the type of detection.

Additional posts in this series:

Cloud vs. Local Recording
* Constant vs. Event Based Recording
Wireless vs. Cellular vs. Wired
Battery Powered vs. Powered vs. POE
System Ease of Use