This square mile of water in the Lembeh Strait has some of the strangest and most unique marine life on the planet.
It's like the set of an extreme sci-fi fantasy. The most grotesque of creatures - blind 3 mentre long worms with bear trap jaws, beings communicating using light signals we cannot replicate, with incredibly engineered bodies and optical abilities from which science is still learning. Hideous miniature monsters that prey mercilessly on anything that strays within their range.
The next and possibly fatal attack can come from anywhere - from an apparently inanimate lump of rock or a gruesome fanged mouth bursting from the black sand. It's the sea's strangest square mile...
"Slow" marine animals show their secret life under high magnification. Corals and sponges build coral reefs and play crucial roles in the biosphere, yet we know almost nothing about their daily lives. These animals are actually very mobile creatures. However their motion is only detectable at different time scales compared to ours and requires time lapses to be seen.
Make sure you watch the video on a large screen. This clip is displayed in Full HD, yet the source footage (or the whole clip), is available in UltraHD 4k resolution for media productions.
The answer to a common question: yes, colors are "real" and not exaggerated by digital enhancement. We have only applied basic white balance correction. However, we used specialized lights to mimic the underwater ambient spectrum. When photographers use white light (artificial spectrum) on corals, they simply miss the vast majority of colours. Corals have spectrum-sensitive colouration due to fluorescent pigments.
The duration of sequences varied from 20 minutes to 6+ hours.
=== Technical details ===
To make this little clip we took 150000 shots. Why so many? Because macro photography involves shallow depth of field. To extend it, we used focus stacking and deconvolution algorithms. Each frame of the video is actually a stack that consists of 3-12 shots.
Just the intro and the last scene are regular real-time footage. One frame required about 10 minutes of processing time (raw conversion + stacking + deconvolution in some scenes). Unfortunately, the success rate was very low due to copious technical challenges and we spent almost 9 long months to get it right.
Music: Atmostra III by Cedric Baravaglio, Jonathan Ochmann and Zdravko Djordjevic.