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DUCK Serves Up New McDonald’s Campaign

When Leo Burnett needed a full-service production studio to launch a major new McDonald's campaign, they chose DUCK, who called on two of their top directing collectives, Screen Novelties and Kompost, to create the stylized, vivid fantasy spots.

McDonald's ad

Press Release from DUCK

When Leo Burnett needed a full-service production studio to launch a major new McDonald's campaign, they chose DUCK, who called on two of their top directing collectives, Screen Novelties and Kompost, to create the stylized, vivid fantasy spots.

DUCK pitched eight different directors, and the agency chose Screen Novelties and Kompost. "Eric Faber at Leo Burnett came to me and said they had two boards for a really unique McDonald's project and they wanted two completely different takes on each," noted DUCK EP Mark Medernach. "He chose DUCK because of the depth and variety of the artists on our roster. This has always been one of our major strengths - one that has allowed us to build a diverse and ever-expanding client base."

Bebe stars a little girl who imagines a world of kooky animal companions. Set in a child's playful version of a pastoral landscape of staggered rolling hills, the spot features a crafty, fabric look, with rich textures and a unique color palette. Screen Novelties constructed the sets, and fabricated the puppets with various densities of foam built over a wire skeleton and then covered in fabric.

Screen Novelties Directors Mark Caballero, Seamus Walsh and Chris Finnegan led the team that animated the commercial in stop-motion over a few weeks with digital SLR cameras on two stages. They shot most of the scenes in-camera, animating some cycles and elements on green screen to allow for timing flexibility in edit.

"We were excited when we first saw the boards for this animated Happy Meal spot," stated Screen Novelties Director Mark Caballero. "It's always a blast to design and animate animals and monsters, so we knew this would be fun. Fortunately, the gang at Leo Burnett was really supportive of our stylized approach."

Spaceman Stu is set in an illustrated universe of a child's vivid imagination; a stylized and slightly disproportionate world in which fantastical stars hover around the characters and gravity works selectively. The spot stars a character that hovers impossibly over the globe and inside of a McDonald's, smiling as he enjoys his Happy Meal. His large head and helmet, short arms, and odd body proportions created a physical makeup that rendered certain actions impossible and presented difficulties in making the character look comfortable. Kompost used creative problem solving - like cropping in very tight whenever the character's hands interacted with the helmet - to circumvent the awkward movements. Kompost drew the character's mouth in cell animation and later projected onto the 3D geometry, a process that took extensive back- and-forth internal coordination.

To inject the setting with a handmade feel, Kompost crafted the textures and cut the stars out of cardboard before digitizing. In order to create the project in 3D without losing the 2D look, the crew created the original style frame in 2D and then rebuilt the environment and the characters in 3D, running them through various 2D pipelines to recapture the original feel.

To meet the project's abbreviated timeframe and incredible technical demands, Kompost assembled a core team of eight of the most talented and experienced artists from around the globe. "Our crew has once again proven their track record of creating artistically unique and visually stunning work," said Kompost AD and Director Oliver Conrad. "The atmosphere as we worked this piece could only be described as a creative think tank - we collaborated to solve new problems as they arose and immediately evaluated and put into practice new ideas and concepts. Most important is all the passion that went into the project. As in all Kompost projects, everyone on the team was devoted to doing their best to create a truly outstanding piece."

Credits:Client: McDonald'sSpot Title(s): Bebe, Spaceman StuAir Date: September 2010

Agency: Leo BurnettCCO: Susan CredleECD: John MontgomeryCD: Keith HughesAgency Producer: Eric Faber

BEBE SPOTProd Company: DUCKDirector(s): Screen Novelties (Mark Caballero, Seamus Walsh, Chris Finnegan)DP: Ralph KaecheleExecutive Producer: Mark MedernachProduction Manager: Terri WatanabeAssistant Camera and Lighting: Carl HelderAnimation: Kelly Mazurowski, Musa Brooker, Max WinstonCharacter Design: Mark Caballero, Seamus WalshSet Design: Chris FinneganPuppet Fabrication: Lisa Davis, Margaret Meyer, Christopher Rabilwongse, Max WinstonSet Fabrication: Brian Capati, David Waddle, Alexandra Rougeau, Paula LauterbachArt PA: Brad SchafferCompositing: Brian Kokoszka, Kelly Mazurowski

SPACEMAN STU SPOTProduction Company: DUCKAD & Director: Oliver Conrad of KompostExecutive Producer: Gian Klainguti of Kompost, Mark MedernachProduction Manager: Terri WatanabeCG Supervisor: Kenneth PolonskiLighting and Rendering: Kenneth PolonskiLead Animator: Christian SemczukLayout and Additional Animator: Laszlo NyikosLead Compositor: Olio VergineNuke Compositor: David FrancoisLiquid Simulations: Christopher SoyerParticles and VFX: Ernst SchwarzRigger & Modeller: Boris IgnjatovicAdditional Modeling: Adam Juhasz

About DUCK:Los Angeles-based DUCK is a continually evolving creative studio producing commercials, music videos, short films and web content. DUCK offers a wide range of services, including live action and integration, character design, film title design, 2D and 3D animation, digital compositing, digital/traditional ink & paint. In recent years, the studio has expanded, adding an original content division that works with writers and animators on unique ideas for film and TV.

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