Castle Content Delivery Guidelines

v1.2 | Last Edited November 05, 2019

PDF Version of this document

Introducing Castle

This guide is designed to streamline the process of getting your content or livestream onto the Castle platform.

Castle is the home for faith-based, family friendly programs designed for people of all ages.

Thank you for partnering with us to bring premium content to our audience. 

Please feel free to direct any questions you have to our team: hello@intothecastle.com


Content Preparation Checklist

All content whether uploaded or live-streamed requires the following elements. See full details below.

  1. The video(s)
  2. The metadata for each video
  3. Formatted key art for the series + episodes 

Delivery

All content can be sent digitally via the cloud storage of your choice, or send hard drives to: 

Castle Team
℅ Crossroads Christian Communications Inc. 
1295 North Service Road
Suite 100
Burlington, Ontario Canada
L7P 4W1

Please note: Feel free to send your data early and it will be scheduled for automatic release on the agreed upon date. In the event that your video content and data arrives later than the agreed upon date, Castle reserves the right to extend the content expiration date by the same number of business days.


Video Specifications

  • Video is exported in a compatible format (see details below)
  • Video does not contain leaders, colour bars, tones, commercials, slates, watermarks, black-holes etc.
  • Please clearly indicate all important details in the file names - title/series, season, episode
  • Where appropriate we recommend sending a trailer for your content. This may be used not only on our platform, but our YouTube channel and social media as well. Trailers should not contain any calls to action (e.g. visiting a website) and should be “evergreen” (avoiding statements like “coming soon” etc)

Video Technical Requirements

  • Container: We support most standard containers such as MP4, MOV, AVI, etc.

  • Scan Type: Progressive - we convert all videos to progressive for playback. For best results, we recommend deinterlacing videos prior to upload

  • Resolution: Videos come in all shapes and sizes but the following are some of the most common formats. We recommend compressing your video with a pixel aspect ratio of 1:1, or square pixels.

    720p HD
    16:9 aspect ratio
    1280 × 720

    1080p HD
    16:9 aspect ratio
    1920 × 1080

    2K
    16:9 aspect ratio
    2560 × 1440

    4K UHD
    16:9 aspect ratio
    3840 × 2160
  • Codec: For best results we recommend H.264, Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), H.265 (HEVC)

  • Frame Rate: Please use one of the common frame rates; 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60

  • Bit rate:  If your video editing software gives you the option, choose a “variable” bit rate and select a value 10-20Mbps. If you have the ability to set the CRF (constant rate factor), we recommend setting it to 18 or below. For ProRes, follow the standard presets in your video editor to export your file. For example, ProRes HQ for 1080p at 29.97 fps has a target bit rate of 220 Mbps in Final Cut

  • Audio: An audio track is required in order to upload and transcode your video

    Codec: AAC
    Bit rate: 320 kbps
    Sample Rate: We accept most sample rates, but common ones for video are 44.1kHz & 48 kHz.
    Channels: Stereo - L & R (NOTE: If you want to upload Surround 5.1, please read this guide.

Downloadable Compression Presets

We have attached some settings presets below that you can download and import into Compressor, Adobe Media Encoder, & Sorenson Squeeze 9 to use to export your work to our specs


Metadata Specifications

  • Each respective video should have its own Metadata file (see template info below)
  • Send Metadata in a common file format (.docx, .PDF etc) rather than email
  • Make the Series / Episode name clear in the Metadata file
  • Closed Captions should also be included (more details below)

Closed Caption Specifications

  • Format: SRT or VTT
  • Timecode: MUST be in SRT format, like this: 00:00:07,751. Notice that it starts with "00". Other formats sometimes start with "01". This "01" will offset your timecode for SRT by 1 hour in our video player. You can use Jubler to fix this 01 issue by shifting the time. The subtitles need to reference the Media timecode and not the SMPTE timecode.
  • Framerate: Closed captions must match the frame rate of the corresponding video file
  • Encoding: Make sure the SRT is in UTF-8 format. That works best when displaying foreign characters.

Metadata Template

Copy/paste the contents of this spreadsheet into your word processor or spreadsheet editor to prepare copy/pastable metadata with your video.


Key Art Specifications

  • The Castle Platform uses distinct key art for a series and each respective episode. Single-video content (e.g. movie, event, documentary) may only need one image
  • The artwork must be family friendly
  • The Castle platform image ratio is 16:9 (4K - 3840x2160px preferred, or HD - 1920x1080px)
  • Send key art and any required fonts in layered .PSD (Photoshop) as well as a web optimized 72dpi .jpg
  • Series artwork must include title-artwork on the image. Refrain from including additional logos, cast, URLs etc.
  • We request the title-artwork be included on its own transparent PSD layer, or as a png
  • Castle may promote your content on social media in a square image ratio, feel free to include a 1:1 image ratio

Live-streaming

We can live-stream your event on Castle. After the event is finished recording it will automatically be transcoded and added to our catalogue for your audience to view afterward. We request 72 hours advance notice to set this up.

We will send you a streaming key that will look something like:

Recommendations for a successful live-stream:

  • There are a lot of technical facets at play during a live-stream that can become points of failure. We highly recommend you also be recording the video locally so that it can be uploaded to Castle afterwards in case of technical difficulties
  • Test the live-stream and audio before the event. We can start streaming in advance of the advertised start time with a count-down to troubleshoot any issues ahead of time
  • The most reliable Internet connection when streaming is connecting directly via Ethernet to a dedicated network. A general rule of thumb is to have twice as much upload speed available as the bitrate you want to stream at.
  • To get the most out of the cloud transcoding feature, we recommend that you configure your encoder as follows:

    Video bitrate: 5000kbps
    Audio bitrate: 256kbps
    Resolution: 1920x1080
    Frame rate: 30 frames per second
    Keyframe interval: 2 seconds


Contact

Please feel free to direct any questions you have to our team: hello@intothecastle.com