Round Um. Since the end of 2021, Babul TV has been offering videos on social media: very personal conversations with well-known Alsatians, in dialect, with rare exceptions. Because the trio of volunteers, initiators of the project, want to contribute to the preservation of the Alsatian language.
“Babul” is an untranslatable Alsatian word, close to the verb “bàbble” (“speak”, “chat”, chat “). Its meaning can be related to” parlotte “,” elocution “or” chat “.
But the nuances are more subtle, as the expressions indicate “Dü hesch ààwer a Babul” (“You’ve got a hell of a mess”) o “Halt dini Babul” (“Arrête ta Babul” – which expresses something like “Hug it”).
And this whole palette of meanings is flourishing on Babul TV broadcasts. Talk shows (but we could also say discussions, confidences or casual talk), with Alsatian personalities.
Programs where you take your time, from twenty minutes to almost forty. Each offers an intimate moment, during which the guest, placed in total confidence, opens up. Serious, deep, humorous, true. Where even tears sometimes flow.
Behind the scenes, Babul TV has three friends, young retirees. “We could say the television of the Three Bearded Men” hilarious Marc Boutonnet, the instigator of the project, suggests.
This former photographer brings all his image, sound and editing equipment. During filming, he directs operations and oversees two of the three cameras.
His accomplice Raymond Piela films with the third camera, and is in charge of the sound recording. Pierre Heintzelmann, the only face in the videos, does the interviews.
Contact the guest well in advance. If possible, the full trio will be with him, instead, “in front of a glass of wine” says Pierre Heintzelmann.
Preliminary exchange can take an entire afternoon. From there, the interviewer selects topics and anecdotes that he or she finds interesting for the interview, and prepares his or her questions accordingly. “Personally, I don’t like improvisation very much” he acknowledges.
The end result, very clean, gives an impression of great fluidity, in a single shot, with questions and answers that follow each other logically. But the reality of filming is very different.
“In Huguette Dreikaus, we filmed for almost 2 hours 30” says Marc Boutonnet. “In others, it was even longer. We put all our time into giving the person a chance to trust.” Knowing that then, during the edition, drastic decisions will have to be made.
The goal is for the person being filmed to stop thinking about the presence of the cameras. “Sometimes there are surprises, when people forget that they are recorded” Raymond Piela smiled. “They talk so freely that they say things that you have to cut later.”
From time to time, when talking is really free, moments of intense emotion also arise, which deeply mark the small team.
In form, no restrictions. Some guests react based on pre-selected photos. Others sing songs, or recount their memories in iconic places.
For optimal interpretation, at the end of the interview, Pierre Heintzelmann repeats his questions several more times, so that they can still be filmed in various frame values.
“It’s very hard work,” he says. “Selecting the right questions, looking for how to ask them (…) And during the plans, we start three, four, even ten times.”
Marc Boutonnet is in charge of the assembly, in the small studio he has installed in his house. “I’m pre-editing” specifies. “I spend three to five days there, three hours in the morning, then in the evening, when I have insomnia.”
“Go slowly until I’m satisfied”both in form and substance: “Let the image montage be correct, and the theme consistent, without giving the impression that we are jumping from one theme to another.”
“Then I call Raymond, so we can watch together, shoot sequences, or add pictures I didn’t save.” An activity that consumes at the same time “until Raymond and I agree” in the final version to be published online.
But with a bright look, his partner, who came to put together a new show with singer René Egles, denies: “In editing, Marc is the boss, and I have nothing to say. I’m just a executor (a Handlanger).”
There are currently only about ten videos online. In fact, Babul TV was only created last October, and the pace of production is one additional program about every fortnight.
The first guests are mainly from the artistic environment of the Bas-Rhin. “We started by asking people we knew” recognizes Raymond Piela: Roland EngelScholle, Isabelle Grussenmeyer … to see what was possible. “
Now they would like to diversify their cast and would also like to contact Haut-Rhinois. But they hesitate to go too far, not to incur too much expense, because all their work is voluntary, and they do not receive any grant.
“They don’t pay us, but we have fun” summarizes Raymond Piela, who nevertheless gives an even deeper meaning to his commitment.
“I have invested my whole life in Alsatian culture” specifies. “And there, it’s a form of continuity. Because there are few means where we practice the dialect.”
“However, a tongue is alive like an apple tree that still bears apples. As long as we can make songs, plays, videos, it stays alive. And who knows, in a century, people will be able to pull off our old shows, and realize that in our time we still spoke Alsatian.
Apart “deliver many business cards”, Babul TV team does not advertise its product. The shows are launched on the net like a bottle in the sea.
Waiting for that “Word of mouth” will do the rest. “And the people we’ve already interviewed. It all depends on the actions.” believes Marc Boutonnet.
Small precision: to find Babul TV on social media, don’t forget to add the term “Alsace”. Because there is another Babul TV on the internet. But this is happening … in India.