adidas: boost beads; a million hits on youtube, front page of espn


Producer: Roundhouse Agency
Produced and Directed by: Jeff Winograd
Cinematographer:  Ryan Walters
Editor: Rob Valdez
3D Animation: Darien Henry, Andrew Williamson
Motion Graphics: Martin Kilbourne

Adidas worked with BASF to create Boost Beads, a revolutionary foam bead that could be compacted to form the sole of a shoe and create a extremely comfortable and ultimately quite sturdy base for a shoe.  In order to show this explosive new technology to the world, they wanted to create a quick and impactful piece that would show off the technology while matching its energy. Working with partner Roundhouse Agency, we decided the best way to show off this material was a combination of practical photography at over 1000 frames per second along with 3D animation to show off the formation of the shoe itself.  The beads were explosive and were flying all around the room as we blasted them with music through a speaker.  The results are stunning.  The piece sat as an advertisement on the homepage of ESPN and would ultimately receive more than ONE MILLION VIEWS on YouTube before Adidas took it out of circulation.

A Highly compressed, energy filled product

“For every midsole, adidas needs about 2,500 of these small beads.”

“The new material from BASF now allows us to combine properties such as softness and highly reactive resilience – two characteristics previous thought irreconcilable. The Energy Boost’s midsole offers a completely new running experience.”  

-Gerd Manz, Senior Innovation Director Global Brands, adidas

Boost Beads BTS Phantom camera
Seeing the world at 1000 frames per second

The Boost Beads at the heart of this spot are explosive little balls of energy. Compressed, they form a well cushioned shoe. Without the mold, these little balls are super light and if you squeeze them in your hand, they explode with a bit of force. In order to show this off, we built a set with a speaker onto which we would place the beads. When we sent a low, loud signal through the speaker the beads would fly everywhere. In order to capture this magic cinematographer Ryan Walters chose to shoot on a Phantom High Speed camera. He brought on Via Films to provide this specialty service. To get nice looking shots at those frame rates Ryan had to bring in a lot of light. The set ran hot. Our set was covered in material to catch the beads that went flying all over with every shot. Even with the brief bursts we were shooting, we went through a tremendous amount of storage. In the end we got gorgeous shots of these beads as they danced through the air. It was a fun day of working with amazing equipment. 

Boost Beads BTS Phantom camera with speaker with fog
Boost Beads BTS Jeff fixing shoe 2
Boost Beads BTS Phantom camera with speaker
full 3D animation to bring it all together

While the beads themselves look great at 1000 frames per second, we needed them to represent their place in the soles of the shoes. We tapped the skills of animators Andrew Williamson and Darien Henry to create a full 3D model of the shoe and animate the beads to gather into the sole. It was a difficult process done on a tight schedule and budget. The end result was an exciting part of this super successful video. 

Adidas Boost Shoe Black with Yellow Glow
Adidas Boost Beads shoe half built 3D
Adidas Boost Beads shoe sole only
Boost Beads with yellow glow