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Behind the Blu-ray: An Introduction to The Engine House

12th August 2019
By Alan Simmons and Sigrid Larsen

Did you ever wonder how all that great Arrow content actually gets onto a Blu-Ray disc?


Held together with menus and programming so you can access the content, toggle between audio tracks and different versions of the film and enjoy interviews with non-English speakers due to subtitles that are clear and accurate? An Arrow title would be no good if none of this worked and that’s what we do at the Engine House Media Services.


Arrow’s little sister is based in deepest darkest East London and we  “author” the discs, subtitle the feature and extras and rigorously test everything to make sure that the disc works how it should. No comma or pixel is left unturned!


Subtitling is an artform and it takes a long time, so we make a start on that as early as possible. This is really important for a number of reasons: a lot of our content can be non-English - think of all the J-horror, gialli, Nordic Noir and Spaghetti Westerns Arrow do - and no-one likes a dub, so translating it so it can be enjoyed by English-speaking fans is essential. Making sure it’s well translated is super important too. It’s a well-known fact that poorly executed subtitles can ruin your enjoyment of a film or an interview.



English language films also get the Engine House subtitle treatment, so that any hearing-impaired Arrow fans know what’s going on. You’ll see them described on the back of the box or on the subtitle selection menu as SDH or HOH. “SDH” means subtitled for deaf or hard of hearing, and “HOH” stands for hard of hearing. If you’ve not seen one before, stick it on and you’ll see that as well as dialogue now appearing, you will also get auditory information described too. Things like music and sound effects come up in brackets to tell you if for example “(ominous music plays)” or “(gun cocks)” - elements of storytelling that non-hearing impaired people might not even realise are important but can be essential to others' understanding and entertainment.