Tiny stories unfold as a baby pufferfish travels through a wondrous microworld full of fantastical creatures searching for a home on the Great Barrier Reef.
Puff: Wonders of the Reef is narrated by Rose Byrne and marks Netflix’s first original Australian documentary. Debuting Thursday it follows a baby puffer fish through the Great Barrier Reef as he learns to survive and thrive through his first year of life.
Director Nick Robinson, of Wild Pacific Media, and cinematographer Pete West, of Port Douglas’ BioQuest Studios, developed super-macro camera techniques for the film, designed to immerse viewers in the world of the reef’s tiny inhabitants – a world where drama unfolds on scales too fast, too slow, or too small for the human eye to perceive.
After a rigorous auditioning process, the team chose the humble and tiny puffer fish, born at less than 1cm long, to be the star of the journey, as it travels widely, is easily located, is curious with human engagement and is toxic to predators.
The film crew and a team of biologists spent three months researching the microverse to understand the animals and to anticipate outcomes before eight months of filming.
They created perfect environments in the Bioquest studio, one to record long term time-lapses, one for regular time lapses and two others with motion control systems. Even a breath on the sensitive cameras created a visible vibration.
On the reef they spent up to six hours under water at a time.
Puff: Wonders of the Reef is produced by Electra Manikakis, Robinson and Peta Ayers, and co-produced by West, Louise Polain and Daniel Stoupin. Editors include Bobbi Hansel, Natasha Alves, Casper Mazzotti and Jack Riley, while music is by Hylton Mowday.
Screen Australia provided major production investment in association with Screen Queensland.
Experience the reef, as we’ve never seen it before.