Frequently Asked Questions

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These are Seattle Community Media's hours of business.  SCM is typically closed on all national holidays and SCM usually closes for two weeks at the end of August and end of December.  At all times the website is available for upload of programming and scheduling of programming.

Our hours of operation are....

Community Room

1:00PM (Gear return/phone support)

Tuesday Closed  
Wednesday 1:00PM 7:30PM
Thursday 1:00PM 7:30PM
Monday No-Help Only  
Tuesday closed closed
Wednesday 1:30PM 7:30PM
Thursday 1:30PM 7:30PM








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We will address station issues as soon as we are aware of the problem.  We do receive automatic notification when the station goes down.  But if you notice something that may be affecting the channel, call us and email us.  See the contact information below.   Please note we will deal with technical issues with individual shows as soon as possible during work hours.   If we notice issues with your show files, we will let you know as soon as possible.

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Phone:  For information on Seattle Community Media, please call our main number 206-934-3937.
Email:  If you have a general question, please email it to   If you have a technical issue, please email it to
If the station is not broadcast or you note some other major issue, please call 206-934-3937 and email us at

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It launched in mid-January and you are using it right now.  This website IS the platform.  Many thanks to Denver Open Media and Erin, our Developer and, of course, Creepy Kitty, her advisor.

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Yes, you are in control.  You will be in control of most aspects of getting your Series/Episodes produced and on the air.   You will upload your episodes via FTP to our server.  You will be in charge of the quality control, checking your episodes via to be sure the episode looks alright and the audio is good.  And finally, you will schedule your episode.  Once the episode has been encoded, or “derived,” you will receive an email letting you know you can schedule your episode.   After you quality-check the program and you’ve determined it is ready for air, you will schedule your episode.  If you have a regular time slot and fail to schedule your episode for the upcoming broadcast, the system will place another of your episodes into the slot.

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We have asked that you produce your shows to be 28:00 minutes for the half hour program slots and 58:00 minutes for hour program slots, same as the prior operators.  One significant difference is that if you run slightly over or under, within a minute, we will still run your program.  You will not get demerits or anything like that.

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All shows should have a title at the beginning of the program and end with credits and contact information.  It only makes sense if you want your viewers to know what they watched and if you want them to be able to contact you or order a copy of the show.  We do get callers asking us for information about show guests but they never saw a show title and have no idea what they were watching.  We try to guess, but providing this information would make it much easier for your audience to connect with you.  Then again, we probably won’t prevent your show from airing if it does not have these vital bits of information.

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We still get reports of no audio on some programs.  Please let us know if you see a program with no audio and let us know what part of town you are in.  Generally, if the video file is playing and you see video, the audio available on the file must be playing too. 

As you may be aware, the former operators historically had an issue of broadcasting only one channel of audio.  We were able to get to the bottom of this and Comcast fixed the issue and SCM now broadcast in stereo.  But many show files produced prior to our involvement have only one channel of audio.  In fact, we understand that any show produced live in the large studio at SCAN was recorded and broadcast only with right channel audio, and at a low volume level.

We have just heard that a particular show, a rerun, aired with no audio.  We checked the show file and the show, which was a live show done in the large studio, has audio and only in the right channel.   
What does all this mean?  A couple things…

  • If you are uploading an older show for broadcast, be sure there is audio in both channels.  If the audio is only in a single channel and you can remix to mono and upload the new file, you’ll solve the issue.  If you aren’t sure what to do, call or email us. 
  • A viewer not hearing audio on this particular program could also mean that the fix Comcast made may have only fixed the stereo issue for some viewers and not all.  
  • It is possible the viewer had his television set up to only hear only one of the audio channels and it happened to be the one with no audio for this particular program.
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We are here to facilitate getting your show on the air.  If you feel you can improve the audio, the lighting, the camerawork or anything else about your production and want feedback from us, please ask.  We are happy to help.  At the same time, you, as producer of your show, you may be happy with your show’s production qualities, qualities others might think need improving.  As the operators, we are not in the position to judge.  We will let you know if we feel the program is unwatchable or if elements of your program have the capability of damaging our broadcast gear.   We will not broadcast programs that have the capability of damaging gear.

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We ask that Producers using the studio load the footage for a program just prior to the production time and that it be removed when the production completes.

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Yes.  There are three forms of storage available with Seattle Community Media. 

  1. All members can create a user account with Seattle Community Media.  This account comes with 50GB storage on our servers.  This space is for SCM related use only.  You will receive a warning as you approach your limit.  This usually happens when you reach approximately 85% capacity.  Once you hit capacity you will not have the ability to store anything more.
  2. You can check out a portable hard drive for storage use in the Community Room. 
  3. When you upload your episodes to Seattle Community Media, will also retain your program at their website, effectively storing a copy on their servers.
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While other public access stations want to receive producer’s programs on DVD, Seattle Community Media places the task of uploading episodes in your hands.  You are also responsible for checking the uploaded file (by visiting and you are responsible for scheduling your episodes.  You are in control.

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You do not need to make a DVD.  You may want to, if that makes it easier for you to go through the upload process.  Since you will be uploading a digital file, the same one you’d make your DVD from, making a DVD is an extra step you may not need to take.

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Yes, if it fits on a thumb drive.  Keep in mind that most thumb drives and many portable hard drives are formatted as “FAT 32” file system.  FAT stands for ‘file allocation table.’  FAT 32 formatted drives have a 2GB file size limit.   While we’ve never had success with larger files on devices formatted this way, some web sources say the file size limit is 4GB.  There are other ways to format the drive, NTFS being one, that allow for much larger files.

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4GB is the maximum file size the system will accept.  Half hour episodes should target a file size between 1GB and 2GB.  Hour episodes should target a file size of between 2GB and 4GB.  Plus, the smaller your file, the quicker you’ll be able to upload it via FTP too!

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One of the first things you should do when you become a member is to create a Series for your programs.  As you go about uploading episodes, you’ll first upload an episode via FTP, you will then need to “attach” this video file to the page you’ve created for the episode.   You will then “submit” your episode.   Your file is then uploaded to and “derived” into different files.  Among these is the broadcast file.  Another is the on-demand streaming file. 

Once the broadcast file returns to us it is considered “derived.”  This process of deriving will take about 24-hours.  But it could take much more time, depending on all the variables involved when dealing with the internet.  We’ve seen an hour show take a little over 48-hours to be derived due to issues out of our control.   So, we are recommending, if you can, get your show in a week prior to broadcasting to avoid running into any issues that might arise during the deriving process.  

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There are potentially unlimited variables that could cause this.  Here are the two top possibilities this might happen:

  • One reason may be the browser you are using.  Some browsers, like Firefox, Internet Explorer and Netscape, won’t let you upload files larger than 2GB to any site.  We recommend you use Chrome when interfacing with SCM.
  • Another reason may be that you are using a wifi card to upload.  While you may have high speed internet available to you, using a wifi card or other wifi device to connect to your high speed connection will limit you to the speed of the card.  Imagine an hourglass, your computer is one end, your internet connection is the other end and your wifi card is the narrow little part in the middle. Some wifi cards will automatically shut down at an appointed time, say an hour.  If your upload is still in progress, your wifi card will cut it off at an hour.  Connect your internet directly into your computer ur internet on to remove these limitations. 
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If you and another member are both the creators of your show and want to have the same access to the Series, one of you will need to create the Series and then add the other producer as part of your Series team.   In fact, all producers have the option of adding other Members to their project.  To do this, click “My Series” in the My Member Tools box on the right.  Open the Series that you want to add a user to and click on the “Manage Shows” button.  Here you’ll be able to add a user, using their user name, to your Series.  This will allow that user to have all of the same access to the Series you’re you do with the exception of being ultimately in control of the Series profile.

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There are a number of guides and tips available on our website under the drop-down menu item "How To."  The two file types that you can use for upload into the SCM system are MPEG-2 and MP4.  If you have a DVD of your video, you can easily pull an MPEG-2 out of it following the steps listed in this tutorial... 

When you export either an MPEG-2 or MP4, your files size should be roughly 2-3GBs for a half hour show, 3-4GB for an hour long show.  You can change bitrates and things to maximize your video quality, but you should keep you finished files to those sizes. 

Keep in mind downloading on your computer at home is much faster than uploading.  You already know this if you upload video to YouTube, etc.  Uploading a show will likely take several hours.  Many people start an upload just before going to sleep at night.                  

The video submission process is essentially a two step process.  First, you need to get your video to the SCM server.  This is done by using the FTP for remote upload, or by coming into the SCM Community Room and loading it directly onto the server.  The reason for the FTP is the large size of these video files.   The second step is when you use the SCM website to create a new episode for your series.  Always starting with a new "New Episode" page, you fill out all the data pertaining to your video, then link to your video file and submit.  Be sure to change your video file extension if needed by following the directions on the page. 

If you realize you made a mistake after submitting, do not delete the old file!  Change the video file's title by at least one character, then make a new "New Episode' page with a slightly different title from the title of the first attempt.  Fill out the data, link to the video file and submit.  If you want something deleted, let us know and we will delete it.  But keep in mind, no two "items" can have the same title.  The system cannot make a choice between to same-named items.  Even when things are deleted there are little references to the files that were added that remain.

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Seattle Community Media is public access available only to people who live in Seattle and King County.  The only way your program will broadcast on SCM is if you find a person who lives in Seattle/King County who is willing to become a member-producer and sponsor your program.  We do not assist in finding program sponsors.  If you do find a sponsor for you program, our communications will be with them, not you.  They are the member.   

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If you live in Seattle/King County you can become a member-producer, follow the steps to uploading programming and schedule your programs yourself.  

If you live outside of Seattle/King County, you must find a sponsor who DOES live in Seattle/King County who will do all of these things with your cool YouTube videos for you. 

SCM is public access provided for the people of Seattle and King County.  If you live outside Seattle/King County and do not have a sponsor we will NOT broadcast your cool YouTube videos or any other videos you have produced.  

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You must live in Seattle or King County to become a member of Seattle Community Media.

If you live outside of Seattle/King County you must find someone who DOES live in Seattle/King County to become a member and then sponsor your program.  

SCM does not help in arranging sponsors for programs. 

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If you want contributors to see your Wiki content, they will need to be part of your group. 

  1. Have your contributors sign up to be members of the website.  They don't have to be producers, just sign up on the website. 
  2. Add them as members to your Series by going to your series so that you get the Series Toolbox and then click on the link that says 'X members'.
  3. On the List of Members page, click on the Add members tab
  4. Enter the user name of the people that you want to have in your group.  This needs to be the name that they used to sign up for the website.

When your Series members log in, they will have the My Series box on the right, and all of the series that they are members of will be listed. They will then also be able to see all of the series content - blog, reservations, events, and wiki.

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Transferring Video at SCM

Seattle Community Media has many edit stations that allow for the capture of video.  All of the edit stations allow for video capture. 

Our main edit platform is Final Cut Pro, a Mac based, edit program.  We recently added to PC-based edit stations, one of which is already connected to a VHS deck.  One PC-based edit station has Adobe Premiere Elements 10 loaded onto it.  The other PC-based edit station has Sony Movie Studio HD (Sony Vegas) loaded onto it.  Both of these programs are similar to Final Cut Pro, one of the video industry standards.  All members are welcome to come in and use the SCM edit stations to capture your footage. 

Transferring Video Away from SCM

If you are interested in editing on your home computer, or other non-SCM computer, there are dozens of software programs available to help you capture these programs on a computer.  If you are going to invest in software, know that there are generally "light" versions of most "pro" editing software that will be a little (or a lot) easier on the pocketbook.  Also know that some programs will work on Mac only or PC only, while some work with both platforms.  

Mac or PC

Final Cut Pro can be is a fairly pricey, if you are working on a Mac.  iMovie is a very capable program though, and most Macs should have that already loaded. 

If you are editing on PC, you may have Windows Move Maker on your computer already.  If not, it is available for free and may be an option for you in capturing video from your VHS tapes.  Both Premiere and Vegas, mentioned above, come in Pro versions, which are more expensive, and "light" versions are relatively inexpensive.  You can test drive these options at SCM first, if you'd like to get a feel for how they are set up and work. 

These represent just a small number of the dozens of software programs available.  Either search online or see what your local tech store might carry to see what options are available.  And remember that a great source of inexpensive capture and edit software are stores like Half Price Books.  In the past some of our staff have had great success locating popular edit software for under $10.

Free Programs

There are also a number of other potential software solutions for use on your own computer.   Many are free.  Although we have not tested all the programs listed below, they are a representation of what is available. 

A search of the web turns up many free video capturing software solutions, among them are Debut Video Capturing Software, NCH Golden Videos converter, WinAVI Video Capture, Free DVD Ripper and many more. is a great resource for software and offers a list of free video capture software, which includes AVS Video Recorder. is a website dedicated to free or inexpensive software.  Placing the words “video capture” in their search engine provides many free options for video capture, among them is the program “Univision Video Capture.”

Capture Device

If you do not have a higher end video card on your computer, you may need a capture device between your tape deck and your computer to allow you to record your video. 

If your camera is your tape deck and it can connect to your computer, the camera is your capture device.  If you are transferring VHS tapes and that camera has audio and video inputs, the camera can act as a capture device.  

If you don’t have a camera that can act as the intermediary, you’ll need a USB Video Capture device.  They generally run between $17 and $50 (or more). 

Let Us Know

If you need help figuring out what you need to do, let us know.  If you've had success with any of these suggestions, let us know.  If you discovered something better, let us know.  If you've discovered one of these suggestions isn't as described and we should not suggest it, let us know. 

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The Seattle Community Media policy 5.9 Series Programming states:

New producers who submit occasional programs will have the ability to have their programs air, but are not automatically given a   regular time slot.  New producers seeking to have a regular time slot must submit a new episode, at least twice a month, for a period of three months, to receive a regular time slot.

Before handing out time slots to any producer who promises lots of Episodes to fill lots of broadcast time, we want to know that they will deliver.  Our policy is in place to add a little assurance that Episodes will actually get scheduled when we give out a time slot.  If we gave out time slots to everyone who made that promise, we would have made lots of time unavailable to the other producers.  We'd also have to spend a lot of our own time filling those vacant time slots. 

We are looking for consistency here.  We want you to upload and schedule two Episodes, each month for three months.  This demonstrates you are truly interested in providing programs.  

Let's say it's March 7th and I really want a regular time slot.  Can you provide six episodes, all uploaded on March 7th and get your time slot?  The answer is "No."  You need to provide at least two Episodes in March, two Episodes in April and two Episodes in May.  Then let us know that you've met this goal.  We'll check to be sure you did and then we'll discuss what sort of time slot you'd like. 

There are no forms to fill out, just let us know.  If we notice you've met the demand before you let us know, we will likely approach you first.

As a result of this discussion you will get a single, guaranteed time slot.  We will offer you some repeat time slots as well.  At the time of this posting, there is enough time open in the schedule to allow for this.  Once we have enough producers providing content to fill much more time, the repeat slots may disappear.  

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Yes you can, with one exception.  That option is available by clicking the 'full screen' icon at the end of each progress bar.  Click on those little arrows on the live stream, screen and on the little rectangle with corner marks on the individual show pages. 

There is always an exception...  The individual page enlarge does not work if you are browsing in Firefox, but does work just fine in Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer.  If you use Firefox, click on the “” symbol.  You can go full screen with the version of the video.   

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You can name your Episodes anything you'd like.  BUT - you should consider using titles that will help you find them quickly.  If you name all shows with the same title, good luck when you go to schedule repeats.  Also, if there is a problem with a particular Episode and you would like our help, how would you direct us to the correct file if they all have the same name. 

It is helpful to have your Series name in your title.  Also helpful is the Episode's name or first air date.  

We suggest you use the following naming convention for the title of your file: “program_title_year_month_day.mpg”. For example, if the first airing of your program is to be on August 15, 2011, the file name would be: “title_11_08_15.mpg”. Replace spaces with underscores.   Not only will it be easy to find your Episodes, they will line up nicely in your personal folders.

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We use an automatic scheduling system to fill any times in the schedule that have not been filled. Producers can mark their episodes to not be selected in the autoscheduler at all or can select a date after which they do not want episodes to be selected. This date can be deleted at a later time if a producer wants to have the episode back in the rotation. Those episodes will still be available for on-demand streaming. Producers can select any of their own programs to schedule at any time.

The autoscheduler runs every 15 minutes and looks at the schedule for the next 24 hours.  If it finds holes in the schedule, it will fill them.

Rules the AutoScheduler Follows

Regular series timeslots:

    Do not select anything that has been marked "Do not Autoschedule"
    Do not select anything after the "Do not show after" date
    If it is between 6AM and 1, do not select anything that has been marked "Mature"
    Find last episode that has aired for the series.
    If there isn't an episode that has aired (or if all of the episodes are marked with "Do not Autoschedule", find a random show matching the theme of the series that has aired within the last month.

Theme timeslots:

    Do not select anything that has been marked "Do not Autoschedule"
    Do not select anything after the "Do not show after" date
    If it is between 6AM and 1, do not select anything that has been marked "Mature"
    Find a random episode that has been shown in the last month that matches the theme

If a producer has not scheduled a show and has marked all of their shows with "Do not autoschedule", there is a possibility that their show will not show during their timeslot, and a completely different show will be scheduled by the autoscheduler.

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Great question!   You may have a Series with it's own Episodes and then have other projects that are single shows. 

Let's say your Series is called "The Coolest Buildings in Seattle" and you have a regular time slot or slots during which that Series broadcasts.  And now you have created a number of programs that are not in the "The Coolest Buildings in Seattle" Series.  Two of these new programs are called "Walking in the Tulips" and "How to Make the Best Paper Airplane."  What do you do?

When you upload these new programs, you'll need to pick a Series title.  Since they are one-off programs, you can title the Series and Episode with the same title.  If you create a lot of one-off programs it might be inconvenient for you to have 20 different Series for your 20 one-off shows, so you may decide to call the Series "My One-Off Shows" and make each show an Episode of this Series.  It's up to you. 

So, keep in mind, in case you weren't sure how you were going to use your programs when you first uploaded them, you do not need to re-upload in order to rearrange them.  If you decide to take a bunch of one-off shows, loaded as separate Series and want, for organizational reasons, to make them part of a Series, all you have to do is change the Series name of all those programs to your new Series title and they will all collect themselves in this new Series when you refresh your page. 

Once the individual Episodes are derived, you will receive an email that they are ready to be scheduled.  When you go to schedule them you'll see several time slots, based on theme, available for your program.  Choose when it airs and tell your friends and fans.  Keep in mind that the system may also choose to air your program at other times if it needs a program in your theme... Bonus!

This Series title change is a handy feature for other reasons.  Let's say you are going on vacation and want to schedule your "Coolest Buildings" Series out a couple weeks but don't have anything new and want to show your "Tulips" and "Paper Airplanes" shows instead?  You go to schedule those programs but they don't seem to be available to the "Coolest Buildings" time slots.  Just change the Series titles for both "Tulips" and "Paper Airplanes" to "Coolest Buildings" and they will now appear as part of the Series and can now be scheduled (as long as the show lengths are the same and it fits) as episodes of "Coolest Buildings."

You can change the Series titles for these Episodes back to "My One-Off Shows" when you get back from vacation.  Why would this matter?  Remember that if you forget to schedule an upcoming time slot for "Coolest Buildings", the system will pick from whatever shows you have in the Series.  If "Tulips" and "Paper Airplanes are still sitting there, the system might pick one of them over a true Episode of "Coolest Buildings."  But maybe that's alright.  If so, it's all cool.