On Friday, it was impossible to traverse 107th Street in Marathon from Overseas Highway to Aviation Boulevard. Traffic was diverted to 109th by orange traffic cones and friendly cops.
But the hyper-alert local would have noticed two dead giveaways: a craft services truck (miniature food truck) and a professional-looking sign that read “crew.”
The Weekly reached deep into its sources directory to come up with an explanation for what was happening at the Mosquito Control District offices. Okay, we really just called Beth Ransom, the public information officer for the agency.
“The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District is partnering with Microsoft on a mosquito research project. Microsoft sent a film crew to the Keys to capture the work that FKMCD and Microsoft are doing together for use in a future video,” she said.
A little digging on the Microsoft blog reveals the existence of Project Premonition, first mentioned about a year ago. The project uses sophisticated technology to test mosquitoes to detect infectious disease outbreaks BEFORE they become widespread.
Apparently, Microsoft has developed a mosquito trap design that uses less energy and runs on lighter-weight batteries. It uses a special “bait” system to lure the bugs, and then automatically sorts them and, in some cases, preserves them, for lab study. Microsoft said the traps are cheaper than older models and, because they are so lightweight and the advances of drone technology, can be situated in remote locales.
After filming in Marathon on Friday, the crew moved to Grassy Key on Saturday and set up on Morton Street. Carolyn and Matt Anthony hosted the crew — estimated at about 30 strong in three panel vans filled with equipment — on Morton Street. Initially, they planned to film the front of the house, but ended up focusing on a tiny section of the home’s garden.
The promotion was reportedly produced by Superprime, an L.A.-based production company that produces commercials, features, documentaries and music videos. One of its most well-known works was the 2014 two-minute Nike commercial welcoming LeBron James back to Cleveland.