bal harbour blog

Virtual Universe

Culture Watch
The reefs here, including these in Wayag Lagoon, are home to more species of marine animals than anywhere else on Earth.

By Jessica Michault

The world that exists under the waves of the ocean has always been a source of creative inspiration. Sea creatures, fish and aquatic plant life, even the colors of the water itself have been the starting point for some of the most breath taking art, fashion and jewelry ever to reside on dry land.

The high jewelry brand Tiffany & Co. understands, on a profound level, the importance of protecting this precious ecosystem. And it is for this reason it decided to collaborate with Conservation International on a film that would, in a poetic and powerful new way, illustrate just how precious and important our oceans are.

The film is titled “Valen’s Reef” and it focuses on the true story of one villager’s first hand experience of living in the Bird’s Head region of Indonesia. There, due to decades of over-fishing and disrespectful development, he watched the waters become an empty shell of the vibrant underwater community it once was.

Coral reefs like the one featured in the film only make up 0.2% of the earth’s surface, yet they are home to more than 30% of the world’s fish. The reefs also generate $375 billion dollars annually via tourism, food and shoreline protection.

But it is how this movie has been recorded that makes it truly extraordinary. To plunge the viewers into the underwater universe, the filmmakers used state of the art 360 degree virtual reality video technology to shoot the film. In this way, no matter where the viewer turns his head, moves his cell phone or scrolls across his computer screen, he will be able to experience a different aspect of life lived under the sea.

“In ‘Valen’s Reef,’ we use the immersive power of virtual reality to transport you to the most biologically diverse sea on our planet, and one of the greatest conservation success stories of our time, to inspire love and support for our oceans,” said Dr. M. Sanjayan, Conservation International’s Executive Vice President and Senior Scientist.

The technology creates an all-encompassing sensation that makes the viewers an active participant in the film. Beyond the awe of it, there is also the hope that this sort of engagement will entice the film’s audience into action.


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