“Despite being one of the oldest animals in our planet, [corals] are mostly unknown.” So says Nntonio Rodriguez, the director of this astonishing time lapse video that captures the movements of corals, which are usually too slow to be perceived by even the most avid observer. 

The Barcelona-based director stumbled across corals when he was looking for a unique subject for a time-lapse video. At the time, Rodriguez, like most people, knew very little about these ancient animals. But once he literally dived into the world of corals, he was utterly fascinated.

Rodriguez’s time-lapse project was completed over the span of a year, and includes more than 25,000 photos. He employed the use of a macro camera to capture the intensity and diversity of coral colors. Almost a psychedelic experience, the video takes us into an underwater world where time has slowed down, and where we can see the vibrantly colored polyps moving and feeding.

The intense colors of the corals are the product of billions of algae that make reefs their home. In return for their hospitality, the National Ocean Service explains, algae “produce oxygen, remove wastes, and supply the organic products of photosynthesis that corals need.” The result of this symbiotic relationship is the growth of one the most captivating and beautiful species in the planet- one that is gravely endangered by pollution and global warming.

Though Rodriguez faced multiple challenges in the production of the video (including losing most of the footage), there is no doubt that it was well worth the headache. Few videos have managed to capture so precisely the absolute magic of corals.

If the rhapsody of color isn’t enough to turn you into a coral-lover, consider the fact that these awesome animals build reefs by cloning themselves.


*To find more about the project, you can visit its official page

Every day we track down a Video Wonder: an audiovisual offering that delights, inspires, and entertains. Have you encountered a video we should feature? Email ella@atlasobscura.com.