"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 it on a large screen! You won't be able to appreciate this clip or see individual cells moving in a sponge on a smartphone. 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 duration of sequences varied from 20 minutes to 6+ hours.
=== Technical details ===
To make this little clip I took 150000 shots. Why so many? Because macro photography involves shallow depth of field. To extend it, I used focus stacking. Each frame of the video is actually a stack that consists of 3-12 shots where in-focus areas are merged. Just the intro and last scene are regular real-time footage. One frame required about 10 minutes of processing time (raw conversion + stacking). Unfortunately, the success rate was very low due to copious technical challenges and I spent almost 9 long months just to learn how to make these kinds of videos and understand how to work with these delicate creatures.
I am glad that I abandoned the idea of making this clip in 3D (with two cameras) - very few people have 3D screens and it doubles processing time.
- Cameras: Canon 7D (died at the beginning of the project as I had overused it in my research), Canon 5d Mkiii (90% of footage is done with it)
- Lenses: Canon MP-E 65 mm lens, and a custom photomacrography rig (custom lenses are better for this type of task)
- Lights: adjustable custom-spectrum lamps (3 different models) - they were needed to recreate natural underwater illumination.
- several motorized stages, including StackShot for focus stacking. StackShot, is sadly not 100% reliable at all and kept destroying my footage.
- multiple computers to process thousands of 22+ Mpx raw images and perform focus stacking (an old laptop died on that mission after 3 weeks of continuous processing).
Edited in Sony Vegas, Adobe Photoshop CS6, Zerene Stacker, and Helicon Focus.
Music: Atmostra III by Cedric Baravaglio, Jonathan Ochmann and Zdravko Djordjevic.