Lonely Planet Writer

Find a few moments of zen with this hypnotic video of moving coral

The effects of climate change and pollution on the ocean’s coral reefs have been devastating, and have inspired one Spanish filmmaker to raise awareness of the issue. Antonio Rodríguez Canto spent a year documenting coral movements for Coral Colors, a mesmerising video.

Trachiphyllia
Trachiphyllia Image by Antonio Rodríguez Canto

“The ability to contribute my grain of sand so that people know a little more about these animals and so they had a little more awareness of the danger in which lies the Great Barrier Reef,” Canto wrote in a mission statement describing the project.

Acanthophyllia
Acanthophyllia Image by Antonio Rodríguez Canto

The filmmaker used a camera with a macro lens to take more than 25,000 still images, combining them to create the four-minute time lapse video. Canto faced challenges along the way, namely creating a controlled environment with sufficient lighting to document the marine invertebrates, and, he noted, “corals are living animals and as such I couldn’t fully control their movements or their lack of movement.”

The result is a vivid, hypnotic chronicle highlighting at least ten different species of corals. Canto notes he tried to remain faithful to the colours in post production, but punched up the saturation, since he wanted the result to be “more aesthetic than scientific.”

Fungia
Fungia Image by Antonio Rodríguez Canto

After a year of meticulously documenting the corals, the video almost never came to be. Canto’s hard drive crashed and took with it all of his work, save for a quick take he put together to show a musician friend, and a few photos he uploaded to Dropbox. He wasn’t planning to show his video until friends and family encouraged him to share it. Check out the beautiful documentary and be happy he did.