Frequently Asked Questions
Q. The video re-buffers every few seconds. What can I do to fix this?
A. Frequent re-buffering (when the video starts and then stops suddently) usually indicates that your Internet connection is too slow to watch the video. The best resolution to this is to get a broadband Internet connection.
Q. Why isn’t the next predicted eruption time posted on the streaming video webcam image?
A. That functionality is not as easy to obtain with a live streaming video feed as it is with a static image webcam. Our other Old Faithful Webcam will continue to provide the next predicted eruption time whenever the visitor center is open. We recommend you consult that webcam to obtain information related to the next predicted eruption. That webcam is available at: http://www.nps.gov/yell/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm
Q. What is causing the camera image to shake or sway from time to time?
A. The camera is mounted to a lodgepole pine tree in front of the temporary Old Faithful Visitor Center. Strong winds can cause the tree to move back and forth. This movement is most noticeable when the camera is zoomed in to capture a distant image.
Q. Why don’t you have a live streaming webcam for people with slower Internet connections?
A. We initially planned to include a stream for dial-up users however the computer we are using could not support more than one simultaneous stream if one of them was to be 640 X 480 pixels. We decided that it was more important to provide a broadband stream at a reasonable size than it was to include a very small dial-up stream. The dial-up stream would have been extremely small and of poor quality. Streaming video simply cannot be delivered at a reasonable quality over dial-up connections at this time. We plan to maintain our other webcams for online visitors with dial-up connections.
Q. Why don’t you have a label that pops up to tell us the name of the geyser we’re watching?
A. Our current practice of aiming the camera through the Internet does not allow an easy means of providing this function. We do eventually plan on providing this service but cannot provide a date at this time.
Q. Why isn’t the video image sharper?
A. In order to compress the video image to a small enough stream to be delivered over a 300 kbps connection, it was necessary to use a compression setting that resulted in a somewhat soft video image.
Q. Why do I sometimes get an image that is almost all grey with very little detail?
A. There are a couple possibilities here. On many winter days the steam from the geysers is held near the surface causing a foggy condition that can block the view of the camera completely at times. The other possibility is that falling snow has been packed up against the glass in front of the camera lens.
Q. Who is controlling the aiming of the camera?
A. Park staff and volunteers are in charge of aiming the camera.
Q. How is the camera being aimed?
A. The camera is being aimed using a Canon camera server and the software provided to us by Canon to pan, tilt, and zoom the camera. That software allows remote control of the camera through the Internet.
Q. Are there plans to make the camera controls available to the general public?
A. There are no plans to make the camera controls available to the general public because this camera is far too popular to allow that. Only 25 people can be waiting in a que to control the camera and only one person at a time can actually operate the controls. We anticipate tens of thousands of simultaneous users for this camera and therefore do not anticipate ever being able to make the controls available to the general public.
Q. Why isn’t the default setting for Old Faithful Geyser focused in on the geyser? It currently shows visitors on the boardwalk in the foreground.
A. It is difficult to appreciate the size of Old Faithful Geyser without something in the image to use for scale. Also, a majority of online visitors who commented on the webcam framing preferred the visitors in the scene. The administrators in Yellowstone also requested that the visitors stay in the image.
Q. Will this camera be used to deliver live ranger programs over the Internet?
A. We have been and will continue to experiment with live ranger talks and will announce them on our website when they are next scheduled.
Q. Are you planning to install other live streaming video webcams around the park?
A. Not at this time.
Q. We want to wave to our family from Old Faithful when we visit but this camera is constantly moving from one scene to another. How can we wave to our family?
A. The live streaming video webcam will be moving from one scene to another much of the time. Waving to your family from that webcam is not a practical idea. Our other two camewras in the Upper Geyser are in a fixed in position and send out a still image every thirty seconds. If you want to wave to family and friends while visiting, we recommend you do it with those cameras.
Q. What camera is being used to deliver the streaming webcam images?
A. We are using a Canon NU701n camera in conjunction with a (Canon VB-150 Camera Server) to control the camera and Flash Media Encoder to deliver the stream across the Internet.