The Beanie Bubble

Based on the 2015 book The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute, by Zac Bissonnette, the film was directed by Kristin Gore and Damian Kulaash Jr.

Depicting the meteoric rise in popularity of Beanie Babies, the film tells the story behind the toy obsession which took off in the 1990s.  Cinesite delivered a brief but impactful series of shots which feature in the opening scenes of the film.

On a freeway a large truck is driving at speed, before a pickup pulls out, causing it to swerve, hit a construction site and flip spectacularly onto its side, sliding down the road.  As it impacts and slides, the back doors open so that cardboard boxes and beanie babies rain out across the road in super slow-motion. 

The aim of the production was to capture as much in camera as possible, and they did so in a two-day shoot. The initial shot of the truck flipping required the digital replacement of the vehicle. The sequence was shot with Beanie Babies in the back of the truck being manually launched from cardboard boxes without lids. However, in order to ensure the required density of tumbling Beanies and to choreograph their aerial positioning, many were later added in CG, in addition to the flaps on the cardboard boxes. Wires and cameras were also removed, and the background of the shots were also adjusted. 

Reference photography was received for the Beanies, and Cinesite’s colour, fur and clothing variations were all carefully approved by the production. They were created using a CG cloth effects simulation (Houdini Vellum Cloth) in order that their volume would be preserved when they interacted with the ground, bending in a realistic and flexible way.

One overhead shot is entirely computer generated – the truck, Beanies, road and environment.  It was created using photogrammetry of the truck and a Toyota car, as well as drone footage.  Despite only creating 10 shots, the sequence’s super slow motion added to the complexity. Although it is an action sequence there is a long run time and there is no motion blur; everything needed to be pin sharp.

The Beanie Bubble