Short Film Showcase: Bizarre, Beautiful Ocean Creatures

Producer Sandro Bocci takes an intimate and hypnotizing look at aquatic life through beautiful time-lapses at a magnified perspective. This up-close look brings you into the world of corals, sea stars, and other marine creatures that seem almost otherworldly. I spoke with him about his process.

Can you tell me a bit more about your film?

The project for which I made these shots, “Porgrave,” covers various scales of observation of natural phenomena. There are a myriad of subjects, animals, and beautiful landscapes in the underwater world.

How were you able to capture such vivid colors in the film?

The colors are emphasized by lights close to the UV spectrum that are normally used in aquariums for several reasons.

[P]articular color corrections [were not made]; I don’t like the pictures too elaborate in post-production.

I have been using some macro lenses and other accessories to increase the magnification.

Where did you shoot the time-lapses?

These time-lapse in particular were made in a marine aquarium in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy, with the help of an experienced aquarist.

How long did it take you to shoot everything?

The shots present in … Meanwhile [were] taken in about three weeks.

What are you working on next?

In parallel to the feature project “Porgrave,” I’d like to make a documentary that combines the beauty of these and other species—almost invisible life-forms, marine or otherwise—such as plants and mushrooms and their wonderful luminescence, all at high magnification, in the world of macro and micro photography by manipulating the time, of course.

National Geographic’s Short Film Showcase

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the web and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic’s mission of inspiring people to care about the planet. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of the National Geographic Society. Know of a great short film that should be part of our Showcase?

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Changing Planet

Meet the Author
Rachel Link curates content for National Geographic's Short Film Showcase. Each week she features films from talented creators that span a range of topics. She hopes that this work will inspire viewers to explore the world around them and encourages filmmakers to keep pushing the boundaries of visual storytelling.