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CIT can broadcast your seminar, conference or meeting live to a world-wide audience over the Internet as a real-time streaming video. The event can be recorded and made available for viewers to watch at their convenience as an on-demand video or a downloadable podcast. CIT can also broadcast NIH-only or HHS-only content.

Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ
Creating a VideoCast FAQ

What is NIH VideoCast?

The Center for Information Technology (CIT) makes special NIH events, seminars, and lectures available to viewers on the VideoCast web site. VideoCasting is the method of electronically streaming digitally encoded video and audio data from a server to a client. Streaming files are not downloaded, but rather are broadcast in a manner similar to television broadcasts . The videos are processed by a compression program into a streaming format and delivered in a staggered fashion to minimize impact upon the network and maximize the experience of the content for the viewer. When users request a streaming file they will receive an initial burst of data after a short delay (file latency). While content is being viewed, the streaming server machine and software continues to "stream" data in such a manner that the viewer experiences no break in the content.

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Who do I call if there is a problem?

If you have tested the video player by watching a past event but can't view a live VideoCast, call the NIH IT Service Desk at (301) 496-4357, toll free (866) 319-4357 or use NIH IT Service Desk.

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How do I know if my device can play a VideoCast?

Test video, plug-in, browser, java, firewall and bandwidth before watching a live presentation. If there are problems, call the NIH IT Service Desk at (301) 496-4357, toll free (866) 319-4357 or send email to NIH IT Service Desk.

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Video quality is degraded

Video quality can degrade on a wireless connection or when playing video at full-screen. To improve performance, switch to a wired LAN connection. Switch from full screen to normal. Select a specific bit rate such as 740K, 512K or 225K depending on your actual network speed. If necessary, re-boot your computer and try again. If you are experiencing poor video performance on a wired LAN connection, it may be helpful to include a screen shot of the computer's Task Manager, Networking tab, save it as an image in the Paint accessory program, and attach it to your email message. Also, include your IP address along with a screen shot of the VideoCast Test results.

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I'm not getting sound

Check your speaker volume and mixer settings. Make sure sound is not set to mute speakers or see if audio levels need adjusting. Check to see if the VideoCast is on a break and wait for the event to resume.  If you have tested and verified your computer system audio by watching another VideoCast with good audio but do not get sound for a live event, call the NIH IT Service Desk at (301) 496-4357, toll free (866) 319-4357 or contact them at NIH IT Service Desk.

 Image of the Volume Mixer in Windows

Figure 1. Image shows Windows mixer set to mute speakers.

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The event has started but I don't get a link

Live VideoCast events will automatically generate a "Click to Watch" link a few minutes before the actual start time. Please wait until the actual start time and if necessary, refresh your web browser to get the link.

Click to Watch button

Figure 1. Refresh browser if you do not get "Click to Watch" video link.
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I can't see NIH-only or HHS-only events - Do I need VPN for telework?


All VideoCasts are world-accessible except for NIH-only and HHS-only events. Individual event coordinators determine the access level. VideoCasts marked NIH-only and HHS-only can only be seen from computers on NIH and HHS networks or with VPN software. More information is at http://cit.nih.gov/ServiceCatalog/Services.htm?Service=NIHnet+Remote+Access+Service or staff can call the NIH IT Service Desk at (301) 496-4357.

Image of VPN software for NIH teleworkers

Figure 1. NIH VPN software is the only supported solution for teleworkers to watch NIH-only and HHS-only VideoCasts from a home network

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Does my network firewall block NIH VideoCasts?

Flash Player uses RTMP at ports 80 and 1935 (UDP and TCP). These ports must be allowed through your firewall to connect to our events. NIH VideoCast IP host address and subnet are 128.231.124.000 255.255.254.000. The VideoCast Test page will check your firewall port settings.

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Where can I download Adobe Flash and fix player errors?

Download Free Adobe Flash Player

Un-check "Enable hardware acceleration" - Go to http://www.adobe.com/software/flash/about and right-click the Flash Banner or Logo at the top, go to Settings then un-check Enable hardware acceleration.

Image showing how to disable hardware acceleration in Adobe Flash player

Figure 1. Un-check Enable Hardware acceleration.
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Where can I get copies of the slides used in the VideoCast?

CIT can attach supplementary material to special events or lecture series. Side-by-side slides are an option for many VideoCasts.

VideoCast player showing slides

Figure 1. Image shows side-by-side slides with a VideoCast

Slides, agendas, and supplemental materials can be added to both live and on-demand VideoCasts. And because the images are converted to an Adobe SWF file, there is no helper program or plug-in required for users to install. Images look great and work seamlessly with the video program already installed on Windows and Mac computers. Animations and transitions however, are not supported. If slides are not available on the VideoCast page, go to the event web page to see if supplementary material is available.

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Can I download a VideoCast or a transcript??

All world accessible video files can be saved to disk. All Podcast video and audio files are available for download. You cannot download NIH-only or HHS-only VideoCasts. CIT attaches caption text to VideoCasts for download. If caption downloads are not available for a particular VideoCast, contact the NIH IT Service Desk.

Image shows users can click &quote;Download&quote; button to save video.

Figure 1. Image shows users can click to download video, caption text and Podcast files.

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Are all videos added to the archive and how quickly are they added?

All VideoCasts are posted in the past events section usually a few days after the event. New VideoCasts are added as quickly as possible, usually within a few days after the broadcast. All-day conferences take longer. On occasion the archive copies are made from backup tapes, which will delay this process. All VideoCasts are archived for on-demand playback. Video archives are not removed unless requested by the event coordinator.

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Can I add, share or embed a VideoCast past event to my web site, blog or profile?

Yes. In the video player menu at top left, select share video to send email or copy syntax to your site, blog or profile.

The sharing tab in the VideoCast player

Figure 1.  Image shows menu option to share or embed a VideoCast.

Each Videocast has a permanent link assigned to it. You may place this link on your webpage if you desire. The permanent link for an event can be found at the "more info" page for the event. You can use the permanent link if you need to future-proof the URL. 

The permanent link data

Figure 2.  The Permanent link at the bottom of the description can be used if you want a long-term URL.

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Does VideoCast have RSS feeds?

There are RSS 2.0 feeds for Upcoming Events, Past Events, individual past event categories and Podcasts. For more information, go the RSS help page.

RSS Feed

Figure 1.  RSS feeds publish frequently updated content and Podcasts.

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Are Podcasts available for my portable media player?

Video and audio Podcast files are available for download so you can access content whenever you want from your portable media player. We recommend using iTunes to subscribe to the Podcasts, as well as viewing the files and synching them to your media device. The Podcasts can also be downloaded directly from our website and viewed in QuickTime. For more information, go the Podcast FAQ. If there is a lecture series you would like to petition for Podcasting, contact the NIH IT Service Desk and we will forward your request to the event coordinator.

Image of a podcast player

Figure 1.  Take videos to go with Podcasting.

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How do I show VideoCasts "cinema style" in a conference room with a projector?

The Flash Player video size is 640x480 or 640x360. This format works best to stream content over the Internet. The best way to show NIH videos in a "cinema-session" would be to lower the computer's screen resolution to its lowest 640x480 or 800x600. To avoid degraded video, do not play in full screen. AV staff can contact the NIH IT Service Desk in advance to get the video link for an upcoming VideoCast so they can test the room 30 minutes prior to the actual start time.

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Can I get CME credits watching a VideoCast?

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is the accredited provider for NIH CME activities. For more information, please visit http://www.hopkinscme.edu/Resources/NIH.aspx and contact CME tech support directly from this page.

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Do I need to register in advance of an upcoming VideoCast?

Registration is not required for VideoCasts. On the actual date and start time of the event there will be an orange "Click to Watch" button to access the video.

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How do I know if an upcoming VideoCast is open to a World-Wide audience?

All VideoCasts are world accessible except certain events restricted to staff with (NIH only) or (HHS only) in the title.

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Can I add an Upcoming Event to my calendar?

Yes. In the summary page for an Upcoming Event, click on the "iCalendar" iCalendar button button to add the event to your calendar.

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How do I setup a VideoCast?

NIH clients schedule events using their CIT account at http://videocast.nih.gov/info
Provide event details such as the title, description, date, time and access control options below:
World Accessible  (Video will stream live with an on-demand archive and file download to any computer on any network throughout the world which includes the NIH and HHS networks)
NIH Only (Video will stream live with an on-demand archive only to computers on the NIH network including satellite campuses in Baltimore, Frederick, Raleigh-Durham, and Hamilton, Montana)
HHS Only (Video will stream live with an on-demand archive only to computers on the HHS network including ACF, AoA, AHRQ, ATSDR, CDC, CMS, FDA, HHS, HRSA, IHS, NIH, PSC, and SAMHSA)

HHS clients ask ORS staff to schedule events with an ORS CIT account at http://videocast.nih.gov/info
Provide event details such as the title, description, date, time and access control options below:
World Accessible (Video will stream live with an on-demand archive and file download to any computer on any network throughout the world which includes the NIH and HHS networks)
HHS Only (Video will stream live with an on-demand archive only to computers on the HHS network including ACF, AoA, AHRQ, ATSDR, CDC, CMS, FDA, HHS, HRSA, IHS, NIH, PSC, and SAMHSA

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How do I contact ORS and CIT?

ORS - Contact NIH Events Management (301-496-4700) for an estimate and work order number so they can provide room support and send CIT live video and captioning for the VideoCast.

CIT - Contact CIT Video Services (301-496-4357) for streaming and Podcast services. Please try to contact us at least two weeks in advance of the VideoCast.

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Is there a fee to have my event VideoCast?

You need to make arrangements in advance with CIT to pay for streaming services and with ORS to pay for camera work, captioning and room support.

ORS - Camera and caption rates are at http://www.ors.od.nih.gov/pes/dma/events/multimedia/Pages/Multimedia-Services.aspx.
Please call 301-496-4700 for an estimate and work order number so ORS can send CIT live video and captioning for the VideoCast.

CIT - Live VideoCast encoding and archiving is $201 per hour. Podcasting is optional at $137.27 per hour.

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How do I get a CIT Account Code?

A CIT Account Code is required for all billable accounts. A CIT account code is tied to a CAN, but centralizes account management with the CIT Financial Management Office. A CIT account takes the form of 3 letters, or 3 letters and a number (e.g. ABC or ABC1). If you do not know your CIT Account Code, contact the person responsible for CANs in your office, possibly your Administrative Officer.If you need a new CIT Account Code set up, please fill out the attached form and return it to the NIH/CIT/Financial Mgmt Office as indicated on the form.

CIT Account Code Request Form: Download the CIT Account Request Form (PDF, 158 kb)

  • Requesting Institute/Center (IC) - IC requesting the new account.
  • Primary/Alternate Sponsor - The Sponsors are federal employees. The Primary/Alternate Sponsors are responsible for the management of the account being issued and for the proper professional use of their account and users. They will add and remove users, change sponsors, titles and CANs when necessary. The sponsors and deregistration officials are assigned by the IC at their discretion. Since the account officials can be responsible for budgetary and financial issues, the appointed person many not be a contractor.
  • Deregistration Officials - Government employee designated to be responsible for the accuracy of computer access information.
  • Account Information: Account/Project Title - Means of identifying the account or what it's being used for. Common Account # (CAN) - Every IC at NIH uses CANs as the mechanism to pay for services. Each CIT account number that is opened for NIH customers has one CAN associated with it for billing of services provided by CIT.
  • Authorization - Sponsor's signature
  • The form may be digitally signed and emailed to CITBilling@mail.nih.gov
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Can viewers send comments during a live VideoCast?

CIT has developed a live event feedback form that can forward requests to a specified email address. Messages can be retrieved in real time at your event with your notebook or wireless handheld.

Image of Live Feedback form

Figure 1. A sample live event with a link to the live-feedback form.

Image of Live Feedback form

Figure 2. A sample live event feedback form sends comments to a specified email address.

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I'm using slides. Will they show up clearly on the VideoCast?

Slides can be very hard to read on a VideoCast screen. Some ways of alleviating the problem are to:

  • Set your font as large as possible.
  • Use 24pt type or larger for bulleted items and any additional text on the slide, with 30pt type or larger for headings.
  • Have plenty of white space between groupings of text.
  • Avoid more than three bulleted items on a single slide.
  • Make graphics as large as possible, but try to keep your slides uncluttered.

Image of a good slide

Figure 1. A white background with large dark text limited to a few words on three or less bullets looks best.

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Do I need captions?

VideoCasts require captions for Section 508 compliance.

ยง 1194.24 Video and multimedia products.

All training and informational video and multimedia productions which support the agency's mission, regardless of format, that contain speech or other audio information necessary for the comprehension of the content, shall be open or closed captioned.

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Can I get statistics for my VideoCast?

If you need to know how many connections your VideoCast had, you can view the numbers on the [More Info] page for the event. If the event was prior to October 2011, contact the NIH IT Service Desk.

Image of Extended Statistics

Figure 1. Image shows live and archive stats.

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How do I decide to use VideoCast, Web Collaboration or Video Conferencing for my event?

Answer a few questions and the Decision Tool will recommend a service for your event.

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Can I request a Podcast?

CIT can make your event available for download so viewers can access content whenever they want from portable media players. The service includes video and audio files, an RSS feed for programs such as iTunes and a Podcast web portal directly linked to the NIH VideoCast page. For more information, go the Podcast FAQ. CIT's standard Podcast fee is $137.27 per hour.

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