Video archive of the US Congress

Help:Usage Quickstart

Hello, and welcome to Metavid. This is a guide to get you through the basics of searching and navigating through our extensive archive of legislative proceedings.


Let's start with the search window:


Metavid's search window is pretty smart, it will autocomplete names of Representatives and Congresspeople by first or last names and attempt to find speeches by that person. Clicking in the box below the search bar will get you started.


It will also match bills, to find debate about that bill.



You can also do a video search by what is said on the floor (this is what the 'video search' button will take you to). Searching for: peanut butter will match both peanut and butter. Searching for "peanut butter" will only match the whole literal string. You can use booleans, too, like "pork AND iraq".


You can also perform advanced searches, that string together 'Spoken by', 'Spoken text', 'Category', 'Date Range' or 'Bill' to create your own custom searches. Keep hitting "add filter" until it's as specific as you want. In this case we're finding every time Obama or McCain said the word iraq.


Now, let's look at what you get when you've performed a search:


A typical search will return several results like the above. The title, which is a link to the stream view (more on that in a bit), tells you which chamber and on which day the result occurred. To the right of that are the timestamps within transcript in which the search result, in this case 'pineapple' (shown in red), occurred: 1 hr 23 mins 14 seconds to 1 hr 23 minutes 27 seconds. The speaker name (Rep. Frank) follows. Clicking his name will take you to his person page and give you a list of all his speeches. Instead of that, let's click the title link and go to the stream page.


Above is a scaled down version of the stream view page. By default Metavid will return about 30 seconds around whatever it was you searched for. See the pink bar at the top? This describes which part of the stream you are viewing, in this case, a small portion less than a minute long of a larger 3 1/2 hr stream. The blue arrows above will let you naviate backwards and forwards. Also, clicking on the timestamps will make them editable -- you can pick your own in and out points.

The green bar above lets you navigate by speeches. In this case, the "Barney Frank" in the green bar corresponds with the grey box with the red outline, which is an 'annotation layer' describing this whole speech. You can either click the name in the green box or the play button in the annotation layer to get the entire speech.

Keep in mind that as you move your mouse over a transcript or annotation box, the in and out points of the video player box will update to correspond with the contents of that layer.

Playing, Video Options

Metavid offers its videos in a variety of formats, both for streaming/embedding and downloading for reuse. We have provided some tools to help you pick which format plays, as well as direct links to video and embed code.


This is the bar at the bottom of the video player. You can click and drag the playhead to move it through the portion of video you have selected. Remember that it doesn't play an entire proceeding all at once, see the navigation section above for how to make stream selections.

To access the video options, click the icon to the right side of the play bar (shown above with a dotted outline above it). The menu will appear as a popup menu.


Here is a quick summary of what these different menus are for:


Stream Selection lets you pick which video format you see when streaming Metavid content. Depending on which browser and addons you have, your list may look different from what you see above.


Download will provide the above menu with direct links to media files for you to download for archival purposes, for reuse, or whathaveyou. Some of these files are served from Metavid servers, others are served from Be aware that the MPEG2 files are *very* large and are intended for video production purposes.


Share or Embed will provide you with some javascript you can copy and paste into your weblog or site to embed the clip you have selected. It's as simple as that!

If you've made it this far, you should have a pretty good idea of how to use Metavid. If you have any questions, check out our Faq!

Also, if you're curious about what all those 'edit' buttons are for, and want to help us expand the archive, check out our Participation Guide

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The C-SPAN logo and other servicemarks that may be found in video content are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of these trademark holders are affiliated with Metavid