McDonald’s Sharpens Its Cinema Image

DALLAS A high-definition image spot for McDonald’s called “Urban Golf” that begins running in U.S. movie theaters Wednesday was a joint effort of roster shop Moroch and Dallas production studio Frames, the companies said.

Troy Scillian, executive creative director for Dallas independent Moroch, said he wanted to convert the TV spot to one that would maintain its sharpness on a big screen, making it McDonald’s first HD theatrical ad. Most theatrical-release commercials are produced in standard definition, causing the image to appear grainy and undersized on movie screens, he said.

“We asked Frames editor Brent Herrington, who edited the first ‘Urban Golf’ spot, for advice on how to make it happen,” Scillian said.

The process involved retransferring the original 35mm film to HD, where editorial, graphics and effects were reworked, the agency said. Herrington said he removed product appearances, changed the music and picked up the pace to take the spot from food commercial to edgy image piece. Then, using Discreet’s Smoke and Flame systems, Nathan Hurlbut, Frames’ finishing and effects master, conformed the spot and effects in HD. Finally, the ad was retransferred to film and released to theaters in both digital and film formats.

Frames founder and president Ken Skaggs said he started the studio with HD in mind, buying high-definition scopes, tri-level sync generators, monitors and decks. He said he also was among the first to acquire Avid’s non-linear HD editing system.

“We’ll all be watching closely to see what kind of impact the spot has on audiences,” Skaggs said. “After being slow to emerge, I think HD is about to break out, with consumers becoming more technologically savvy and expecting maximum imagery in theaters and in their own homes.”

The agency team for “Urban Golf” included Scillian and Jim Sykora, executive creative directors; Gannon Kennedy, producer; Chris Shafer, copywriter; Aaron Opsal, art director; and Kathleen Torres, broadcast director.

McDonald’s is based in Oak Brook, Ill.