Pivot CMS Setup Guide - DVRCMS.Com

Pivot CMS Setup Guide

Pivot CMS , The Pivot CMS program allows users to easily access and camera video from the comfort of a personal .  Acting as an extension of the recording unit, Pivot CMS provides some of the same functions of a DVR or such as:

Pivot CMS Functions

Using Pivot CMS

The Pivot CMS program allows users to easily access and monitor camera video from the comfort of a personal computer.  Acting as an extension of the recording unit, Pivot CMS provides some of the same functions of a DVR or NVR such as:

  • Live Monitoring
  • Video Playback/Search
  • Footage Export/Backup
  • Firmware Upgrade

This article will outline how to use these functions in Pivot CMS.



  • VMAX Series (Legacy)
  • VMAX Flex Series
  • VMAX 480 Series
  • VMAX 960H Series
  • VMAX A1 Series (2.1 MP)
  • VMAX IP Plus Series


Site Setup

Sites contain the network connection that Pivot CMS uses to communicate with your recording unit.  To use the viewing functions of Pivot CMS, each recording unit must have their own Site created.

If you still must create a Site for your recording unit in Pivot CMS, please read Adding and Removing Sites in Pivot CMS.


Live Monitoring & Searching Video

There are three ways to access live streams or playback through Pivot CMS:

  • Live/Search
  • Drag and Drop
  • Site List Context Menu


Live/Search Connect

  1. To view live video, select your Site from the Site List, then click the Live Connect button.

Note:  The yellow highlight that appears around the viewing channels in Pivot CMS represents which channel will display Channel-1 from the DVR/NVR at the time of connection.

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  1. To view playback video, select your Site from the Site List, then click the Search Connect button.

Note:  When searching video through Pivot CMS, video will only display for cameras that have recorded video for the point in time that you are viewing.  Use the Search Calendar and Timeline at the bottom of the window to search through the video archives.

Text overlay will appear in a red color while searching video.

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Drag and Drop

  1. Drag and drop your Site from the Site List, into a viewing channel of your choice.

Note:  The Site will list the cameras that are connected to the DVR/NVR.  If you drag/drop the entire Site, then all of the cameras will be prompted to display in Pivot CMS.  However, if you only drag/drop a single camera over, then only that camera will be prompted to display video.

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  1. Two icons will display in the channel.

Select the icon without the magnifying glass to prompt the Live Monitoring function.

Select the icon with the magnifying glass to prompt the Search function

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Site List Context Menu

  1. Right-click on your Site to prompt the Site List context menu.

Select Live from the context menu to prompt the Live Monitoring function.

Select Search to prompt the Search function.

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Backup/Export Footage

Pivot CMS allows users to remotely backup select video footage from their DVR/NVR, without having to be directly in front of the recording unit.

Note:  The Remote Backup feature will export footage in .PSF format.  Use the Pivot_Player program to view .PSF format files.

Pivot_Player is included with the installation of Pivot CMS, by default.

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To backup footage using Pivot CMS:

  1. Before beginning the backup process, confirm that the footage that you will be exporting can be searched and viewed.


  1. Right-click on your Site to prompt the Site List context menu.

Select Remote Backup from the context menu.

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  1. The Remote Backup window will display.

The System Connection Info will already be filled out, based on your Site settings.  Click the Connect button.

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  1. Click the Create Directory button.

Select the Directory where the .PSF footage file will save.

Enter a File Name to label the footage file.

Click the Save button to confirm the Directory settings.

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  1. Select the Start and End times of the footage that you will be exporting.

Select the Channels that you want to export video from.


Note:  Video will not export if there is no available for the selected cameras at the designated Start time.  It is recommended to include multiple channels when up the video export.

If you must export footage that covers a large period of time, it is recommended to break up the footage into separate files.

This increases the success rate of the video backup.

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  1. Click the Start Backup button to begin the remote backup.

The overall file size and progress will display in the Backup Progress area.

Depending on the size of the footage file, this process may take several minutes.

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  1. Pivot CMS will notify you once the backup has completed.

Use the Pivot_Player program to play the .PSF footage file.

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Firmware Upgrade

Upgrading firmware for a DVR or NVR through Pivot CMS is performed from the comfort of your computer, rather than having to be directly in front of the recording unit.

Obtaining Firmware

If you do not yet have a copy of the firmware update file:

  1. Open a web browser and visit https://digital-watchdog.com to obtain the firmware update file.


  1. Enter the Model Number of your DVR or NVR into the search box.  This information is located on the sticker, physically on top of the recording unit.

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  1. Scroll down the product page and locate the Software tab.

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  1. Make sure that you download the correct Version of firmware for your recording unit.

You can determine which Version to use by the first three letters of the unit's serial number (S/N), located on the sticker, physically on top of the recording unit.

Alternatively, you can compare the currently installed Firmware version of the recording unit, located in the System Information menu of the unit.

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Upgrading Firmware

To upgrade firmware using Pivot CMS:

  1. Right-click on your Site to prompt the Site List context menu.

Select Firmware Upgrade from the context menu.

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  1. The Firmware Upgrade window will display.

The Device information will already be filled out, based on your Site settings.  Click the Connect button.

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  1. Click the Open button, under Firmware File Directory.

Locate and select the firmware upgrade file.

Click the Open button to use the selected firmware file.

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  1. Click the Start Upgrade button to begin the remote upgrade.

Pivot CMS will notify you once the upgrade has been completed.


Note:  During this process, Pivot CMS will upload the firmware upgrade to the recording unit before installing the update.  Do not unplug the unit before the upgrade has completed.

The DVR or NVR will reboot once the upgrade is complete.

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Adding and Removing Sites in Pivot CMS

Pivot CMS Sites

When using Pivot CMS, each connection to your recording device requires the network and login information to stream video from the recorder.  Users will need to create Sites to enable the ability to connect and monitor devices from a personal computer.  Once a connection is established through a Site, depending on their assigned permissions, users may monitor live camera video, playback previously recorded footage, export footage, and upgrade firmware (depending on the recorder model) through Pivot CMS.

This article will outline how to create or to delete a new Site in the Pivot CMS application.


Note:  Pivot CMS is only compatible with Windows operating systems.  If you have yet to install the Pivot CMS application, please read the installation section of Clean Reinstalling Pivot CMS (Windows).


Supported/Affected Devices

  • VMAX Series (Legacy)
  • VMAX Flex Series
  • VMAX 480 Series
  • VMAX 960H Series
  • VMAX A1 Series (2.1 MP)
  • VMAX IP Plus Series


Adding A Site

When creating a new Site in Pivot CMS, the connection with the recording unit will rely on network communication between your computer and the DVR/NVR.  If you have yet to set up the network configuration for your standalone recording unit, take the time to do so now.

If needed, you may read the following support articles for guidance:

  1. LTS Sapphire Password Reset Guide
  2. How to Setup Dahua Toolbox
  3. DW Spectrum Quick User Guide

To add a new Site to Pivot CMS:

  1. Launch the Pivot application, then log in as the Administrator.

The login for the Pivot CMS program is created when launching Pivot CMS for the first time, after installation.

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  1. Right-click in the Sites List, then select Add Site.

Alternatively, you can click the Setup tab, then click CMS Setup.  Click the Add button.

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  1. The Registration window will display.

Enter a Name for the Site.

Select the correct Model of your recording unit.


Note:  For this guide, we will use the VMAX A1 Demo as an example.

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  1. Enter the IP Address or URL of the recording unit.

Enter the TCP/IP Port and Web Port of the recording unit.  This information can be found in the Network menu of the DVR/NVR.


Note:  The VMAX A1 and VMAX 960H Core only use a single port (Network Port) to communicate.  Pivot CMS will automatically disable the Web Port box upon selecting one of these two models.

Note:  The VMAX Series (Legacy) uses three ports.  Use its TCP/IP Port and Web Port settings for use with Pivot CMS.

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  1. Enter the ID and Password of the DVR/NVR.  This is the login information that you use to access the recording unit.
  • Default User ID:  admin
  • Default Password:  — (blank)

Enter the Channels that you will be viewing.  For example, for a 16-channel DVR, use 1-16 to view channels one through sixteen.

Click the OK button to proceed.

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  1. The Site will now display in the Sites List.

To use the Site, you may either use the connection options in the toolbar under the Main tab.  Alternatively, you may right-click on the Site and select your connection option.


Note:  If you must adjust a setting for the Site, use Edit Site to reopen the Registration window.

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Removing A Site

To delete a Site from Pivot CMS:

  1. Click the Setup tab, then click CMS Setup.


  1. Click in the Checkbox next to the Site that you are deleting.

Click the Remove button to delete the selected Site.

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Clean Reinstalling Pivot CMS (Windows)

Clean Reinstallation

By completely uninstalling, then reinstalling the Pivot Central Monitoring Software (CMS) to a computer, users can resolve most -side issues and reset the Administrator login for the Pivot CMS program.

This article will outline how to uninstall Pivot CMS, as well as how to reinstall the Pivot CMS software.

Note:  Please be aware that by completing a clean uninstallation of the Pivot CMS software, loss of connection information will occur.  If you do not know the IP address or port numbers of your recording unit, you can find this information in the Network settings of the recording unit.

Supported/Affected Devices

  • VMAX Analog Series (960H)
  • VMAX A1 Series (2.1 MP)
  • VMAX IP Plus Series

Clean Uninstalling Pivot CMS

When normally uninstalling programs from a computer, there is often data left behind regarding user preferences, settings, and other database information.  This section will outline how to completely remove Pivot CMS and its database files from a Windows computer for a clean uninstallation.

Uninstalling Pivot CMS

  1. Prompt the uninstallation of Pivot CMS by opening the Windows Control Panel, then navigating to the Program and Features menu.

Select Pivot from the program list, then select Uninstall.

  1. Select Yes for the removal of the configuration files.

Removing Pivot CMS Database

  1. Open the Windows File Explorer program.

Navigate to Local Disk (C:) > Program Files (x86).

  1. Locate and delete the PivotPrograms folder.

  1. After uninstalling the Pivot CMS program and deleting the PivotPrograms folder, Pivot CMS has been completely removed from the system.

You may reinstall the Pivot CMS program to complete the clean reinstallation.

Installing Pivot CMS

This section will outline how to install the Pivot Central Monitoring Software (CMS) for the first time or after performing a clean uninstallation of the application.

  1. To download the installation file for the Pivot CMS software, open a web browser and go to the Pivot CMS product page, located on the Digital Watchdog website.

Scroll down and click on the Software tab.

Click the Download icon to acquire the installation file for Pivot CMS.

  1. Run the Pivot CMS installation file.

This file is likely located in the Downloads folder of your computer.

  1. By default, the Destination Location for the configuration files is C:\Program_Files (x86)\PivotPrograms.

Accept the file location or select Browse to select another location.

Click Next to proceed.

  1. The Select Start Menu Folder screen will display.

Click Next to accept the shortcut location or click Browse to select another location.

Click Next to proceed.

  1. In the Select Additional Task window, leave the default selections as they are and click Next >.

  1. The Ready to Install window will display the summary of the installation settings.

Click the Install button to prompt the installation of Pivot CMS.

The installation wizard will inform you once the installation is complete.  Click Finish to complete the installation process.

Applying Administrator Password

If you would like to add an Administrator password for the Pivot CMS login, please read Adding User Passwords In Pivot CMS.

Password Protection

Implementing password protection for the Pivot Central Monitoring Software (CMS) program is optional, but is recommended when multiple users will be utilizing the same workstation computer to monitor camera streams through the Pivot CMS program.


Note:  This will not affect the login credentials of any recording units that are connected to the workstation computer through the network.


Note:  If you have already applied an Administrator password for Pivot CMS and have forgotten the password, the Pivot CMS program must be completely clean reinstalled to reset the login credentials.

If you must perform a clean reinstallation, please read Clean Reinstalling Pivot CMS (Windows).


Supported/Affected Devices

  • Workstation computer


Changing the Password

To change the Administrator password for Pivot CMS:

  1. Launch the Pivot application on the computer.


  1. Log in to Pivot CMS.

By default, the login for Pivot CMS is:

    • User Name:  Administrator
    • Password:  — (blank)

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  1. Click on the Setup tab, then click on the CMS Setup button.

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  1. In the CMS Setup window, click on the User tab.

Click on Administrator, then click the Edit button.


Note:  If you are editing the password for another user, you will select that username.

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  1. Enter the new password for the Administrator.

The password may use up to 16 characters, use special characters (!, @, #, $, %, etc.), and include spaces.

Click OK to apply the password change.

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Converting .SSF to .AVI Using BackupViewer

Video Format

Upon exporting video from the VMAX IP Plus, footage files are saved in .SSF format.  This type of video file may be considered as proprietary and will require the use of a compatible to review the footage, such as Digital Watchdog's Multi-Backup Viewer program (included with Pivot CMS).

The Multi-Backup Viewer allows users to open and view .SSF footage files, also featuring an .AVI export function.  This may be beneficial to users that must share backed up video from the VMAX IP Plus, but the recipient of the footage is unable to view the .SSF footage.

This article will outline how to convert .SSF format footage to .AVI format using the Multi-Backup Viewer.


Note:  Pivot CMS is compatible with Windows OS only.

If you still need to install Pivot CMS, please read Clean Reinstalling Pivot CMS (Windows).


Supported/Affected Devices

  • VMAX IP Plus Series


Converting the Footage

After exporting footage from the VMAX IP Plus, converting the .SSF file to .AVI will allow the footage to be viewed using more commonly used viewing applications.

To convert .SSF footage to .AVI format, using Multi-Backup Viewer:

  1. If you have not already done so, copy the .SSF footage to the computer.


  1. Launch MultiBackup Viewer.

Unless otherwise specified, this application is included with the installation of Pivot CMS by default.

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  1. Click the Single CH tab, then click the Search Icon (magnifying glass).

Locate and select the folder containing your .SSF footage.

Click the OK button to upload the footage.

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  1. The .SSF file list from your selected directory will display.

Click on the .SSF footage file that you want to use, then click the Pause button on the toolbar.  This will enable the use of the .AVI Export Function.

Click on the .AVI Export icon on the toolbar.

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  1. The AVI Export window will display.

Confirm that the AVI Save Time matches the Recording Info. (Time) settings.

You may also enable the optional options for:

    • Including Audio Data – audio data will be converted for the .AVI file copy.
    • Execute real-time playback – video will continue to play, even when there is no recorded section to the footage (may result in ‘blank spots' within the .AVI footage file.
    • Insert OSD (image information) into AVI file – the .AVI copy will include the on-screen information of the footage.


Click the OK button to proceed.

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  1. Select the directory where the .AVI file will be saved.

Name the file, then press the Save button to convert the footage.

The duration of this process will vary depending on the video quality, length of the footage, and if you chose to include additional export options (include audio, OSD, etc).

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  1. Once the conversion has been completed, click the OK button.

The footage should now be saved as an .AVI file in the directory that you selected.


Note:  If you do not have a compatible video player that can open .AVI format files, you may use VLC Media Player as a free viewing option.

Playing Backed Up Video in Backup Viewer

Playing Backed Up Video

Backup Viewer is one of three bundled applications that install with the Pivot CMS program.  The Backup Viewer application allows users to view .SSF format footage, exported from the VMAX IP Plus recorder series.

This article will outline how to locate and open the .SSF footage for viewing with Backup Viewer.


Note:  Pivot CMS and its included applications are compatible with Windows OS only.  If you have yet to install the program to your Windows computer, please read Clean Reinstalling Pivot CMS.


Supported/Affected Devices

  • VMAX IP Plus Series


Using Backup Viewer

To play exported .SSF video with Backup Viewer:

  1. Launch the Backup_Viewer application.

If you allowed the Pivot CMS installation wizard to add a desktop icon, double-click on the Backup_Viewer icon to launch the application.

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  1. From the Single CH tab, click the Search Icon (magnifying glass).

Locate the directory folder where the .SSF footage is saved, then click the OK button.

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  1. The exported .SSF footage will be listed under the Single CH tab.

To play the footage, double-click on the desired footage.

Backup Viewer will index the file and begin to play.

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  1. If video does not start automatically, click the play button on the toolbar.

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