H1N1 Swine Flu and Germ Prevention PSA

by Harlan Yee on November 14th, 2009

The other day, I was searching for a logo on my computer and found a folder with pics from a shoot that I didn’t even know I had so now I’m sharing them with you. Back in February 2006, I produced a series of spots for Public Health Seattle/King County. It was a fun production with a jolly group of staff and volunteers. We ended up with a couple of light-hearted spots educating viewers on preventing the spread of germs in public places.



The production consisted of 3 locations:

1. The main Seattle Metro Bus terminal
2. A small neighborhood theater
3. A residential house

The day started early at the bus terminal. A Metro bus had been arranged for our exclusive use that morning. With the help of the folks at Public Health, a group of volunteers consisting of employees and friends came to the shoot. After we got lighting and camera set up, we placed people in the shot.




As usual, several takes were made with each of the primary on-camera people. So we wanted the main person to cough and everyone else needed to look disgusted. Let me tell you, there were so many laughs and bloopers that I wasn’t sure when we were going to get done! After cycling through a few people in the primary on-camera spot, we moved outside for the bus stop scene. This portion of the shoot went a little faster but it didn’t go without the usual outbursts of laughter!




Next, we packed up and along with most of the volunteers, we headed to a local neighborhood theater. As we were setting up, additional volunteers showed up. We needed more people in this part to fill the theater seats. However, we didn’t fill every seat… Only a small portion.






With camera framing, we made it look a bit more packed. We had the same scenario for this part of the shoot. Spreading germs when someone is coughing. Needless to say, there was a lot of laughter in the theater that afternoon. The nice brick walls of the theater created a nice ambience to the shot.




Once we finished in the theater, it was off to the theater lobby and eating area where we created a restaurant scene. After our equipment was moved and set up, we were ready for the coughing to begin in the restaurant. The owner of the theater even sat in as one of the extras. Again, the nice brick walls provided a great background for the scene. Several more takes and camera positions and we were off to the next scene outside.





I love locations where I can shoot several scenes without having to pack everything up in a van and then unpack and set up again. Outside, we shot a volunteer applying hand sanitizer after coming out of a building. Again, we had several camera positions and angles with a couple of different people. We got these shots pretty fast without any lighting. At this point, it was already a long day and we had one more location to go to. So we thanked everyone and packed up.

Next we headed to a home to shoot the scene where we portray a person staying home when sick. Actually, I’m one of those people and my cough was real because I was really sick! I had been coughing all day. This portion of the shoot actually went pretty fast as well. Minimal set-up. In the end, it was a good, full day of shooting.

Posting the spot was done on Quantel Editbox and we did 2 versions in English and 2 in Spanish. Recently, one of the spots was revived to play during movie theater previews to create awareness of germs in public places in light of all the H1N1 swine flu publicity seen in the news. Here’s the Spanish version.


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