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Broadcasting relevant, regional programming for a capital’s communities

JLA Productions is France’s third largest TV production company, with hubs in Paris, Lille and the south of France. Established in 2008 by Jean-Luc Azoulay, it specialises in TV fiction content.

By Jean-Nicolas Tirlo, technical director, JLA Productions

JLA Productions is France’s third largest TV production company, with hubs in Paris, Lille and the south of France. Established in 2008 by Jean-Luc Azoulay, it specialises in TV fiction content, mostly comedies and drama series, which are amongst France’s primetime programmes.

As well as its highly successful content distribution arm, the company also has its own family-orientated TV channel, IDF1, which focuses on the various cultures and communities that live in the Île de France region that covers Paris and its surrounding areas. The team is extremely proud of its independence and ability to devise, produce and broadcast from its studios at its Paris headquarters, and relies on a Blackmagic Design workflow to achieve this.

“There are so many different nationalities and communities in Paris, so we have to produce programms that retain a ‘local’ feel and reflect the day to day life of our residents, rather than the news and issues a capital city naturally produces, that have a national importance,” explains Jean-Nicolas Tirlo, technical director, JLA Productions. “We have five studio sets of various sizes in our Paris HQ, which are used to produce shows such as JJDA, a quirky, daily live show that covers celebrity and lifestyle news for Île de France, and ID Rencontres, a TV equivalent of online dating for people living in the area. We also have an OB function, which produces shows such as IDF Chez Vous; a series of postcards from different interesting locations from across the Île de France.”

Each studio workflow is built around Blackmagic Design’s ATEM family of switchers. The main studio, used for debate and discussion programmes, is split into two production sets. There are five shared studio cameras filming in HD, which are connected to an ATEM 2 M/E Production Switcher and Control Panel. Four HyperDeck Studio Pro SSD broadcast decks are used to capture the camera output and a programme mix. The smaller studios are fitted out to film one or two presenters speaking directly to camera. These are designed to be operated by a one man production crew for IDF1’s live programing, using robotic HD cameras with remote control that connect to a Videohub, which then takes sources to an ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher. The team down converts material to SD with an HD-SDI Up Down Cross Converter, which is then fed into the master control room, where the programme mix is passed to a play out and broadcast system.

The Blackmagic Design production equipment matches the vision of JLA’s CEO. “Jean-Luc is a true trailblazer in TV and always wants to be the first in using the latest in broadcast technology. The workflows we have implemented enable us to achieve content of excellent quality for national television as well as providing our local channel with high quality production values. The ease of use and scalability of the family of ATEM production switchers give us complete flexibility in our studio. The range of features such as SuperSource and the multi view monitoring means our programming stands head and shoulders above other channels broadcasting to Paris residents. We have to keep in mind that as a local TV station, we don’t have the budget of a national channel. Blackmagic Design’s products are the best way to maintain broadcast quality at an affordable cost.”

The channel also broadcasts some of its drama series, such as Hélène et les Garçons and long running romantic serial Les Mystères de l’amour on IDF1. As well as using Blackmagic Design production equipment on these programmes, JLA Productions also uses DaVinci Resolve for finishing, which is also completed in house.

“Blackmagic Design is absolutely essential for the production of both our distributed content for national channels, as well as for IDF1,” concludes Jean-Nicolas. “We are one of only a handful of French broadcasters that retain control over every element of the production process, so we can be assured that our high production values are maintained in every element. We can rely on Blackmagic Design, no matter what type of content we are looking to produce.”