Expedition Reef

Expedition Reef show reveals in exquisite detail the breathtaking beauty and biodiversity of coral reefs—and the scientists taking action to restore them.

3 user reviews
Type: Feature show
Genre: Documentary
Release date: March 2018

Directed by: Ryan Wyatt



Czech Republic
Best Movie
Fulldome Festival Brno
Audience Award
International Planetarium Society 2018 Fulldome Festival
Directors Award
12th annual Jena FullDome Festival
Best Educational Film
Macon Film Festival
Audience Award
Reflections of the Universe
Best Immersive Show
Immersive Film Festival


Learn the secrets of the “rainforests of the sea” as you embark on an oceanic safari of the world’s most vibrant—and endangered—marine ecosystems.

Narrated by Tony Award® winner Lea Salonga, the all-digital Expedition Reef immerses you in the undersea adventure. Along the way, discover how corals grow, feed, reproduce, and support over 25% of all marine life on Earth—while facing unprecedented threats from climate change, habitat destruction, and overfishing.

“This is a difficult story [and] a turning point for reefs,” says Academy scientist and reef expert Dr. Rebecca Albright, “but it’s not too late.”


You can get this show from:
Audio Visual Imagineering
Fulldome Film Society
Evans & Sutherland
Loch Ness Productions
Reef Distribution
Spitz Creative Media

Show details

Shorter version runtime : not available
Full version runtime: 26 minutes
Suitable for: General audience
Target audience: 6 - 13, 14 - 18, Adults
License: Traditional license, Short-term license
Resource & materials: Guide for educators, Poster

Technical specifications

Video format: Fulldome
Resolution: 1K, 2K, 3K, 4K
Frame rate: 29.97 fps, 30 fps
Show orientation: Unidirectional
Stereo 3D: None
Production technologies: CG
Audio format: Stereo, 5.1
Languages: English

Production & Support

Produced by


Director Writer

Screened at 4 dome theaters and counting...


A visually eye-catching underwater film for planetariums – please more of it! About half a billion people depend on them. They are provided with food and income from the existence of coral reefs. For most other people they are just beautiful, colorful and full of life. Few people are aware of the protection they provide to our coasts or of their importance to the conservation of biological diversity. Expedition Reef takes us underwater and immerses us into these contexts. We learn what the reefs are made of, how they grow, who their inhabitants are and look at them from a global perspective. We humans are dependent on the coral reefs while at the same time endangering them with our actions. Expedition Reef is in line with earlier California Academy of Sciences documentaries on exploration, explanation and conservation of life on Earth, including Habitat Earth and Life: A Cosmic Story. With this film, the Academy once again fulfills its very own mission. Nearly a tradition for Ryan Wyatt’s films, the story begins in his own house, this time in the aquarium. Aquariums house and preserve the treasures of the sea and have also been, so far, the only access to the world of corals for the reviewer. The virtual transition from the big aquarium to the underwater coral world of the Philippines is absolutely fantastic, starting with two Moorish idol fish “swimming” through the aquarium screen. I’d like to see more of such scenes in fulldome movies. After just the first minute the breathtaking quality of the visual design reveals itself. The difference between filming and computer graphics is disappearing. To a large degree, photogrammetric methods were used to build realistic landscapes and models. Thanks to the enormous level of detail, the viewer is not at all faced with the question of whether or not the scenes are real or computer generated. He feels as if he is underwater and is immediately fascinated by the richness of detail. The animation effort to build this scientifically accurate reef world is hard to imagine. Another characteristic of the fulldome films from San Francisco is also intentionally utilized in Expedition Reef: long camera movements over several orders of magnitude without cross-fades and cuts. If we have just watched a cleaner fish during the dental care of a moray eel, we soon find ourselves in Earth orbit looking at the numerous coastal regions with coral reefs. Here, too, the producers score with realism and brilliantly animated graphics. Music and voice are professional and appropriate to the subject. However, I would have loved it to be a little more dynamic. For minutes, the music recedes into the background of perception. Lea Salonga’s offstage voice is very balanced by the rich informational content of the text. The reviewer naturally wonders what such a film is supposed to do in the planetarium. Does a documentary with underwater scenes and without stars even fit into the planetarium? Absolutely! It is time to expand the content spectrum of the planetariums with such well-made films. I deliberately speak of film and avoid the classic word show. Visitors of all ages will not be spared the learning process of encountering an enormously increased range of topics in our domes. This makes active advertising all the more important for planetarium operators. Yes, if the film is good and is offered to the audience with its context, there will be no disappointment. I’d like to see more of such high-quality dome movies. Film review by Volkmar Schorcht, Jena 12th FullDome Festival, May 25, 2018

A great addtion to our show collection

日本、安城市文化センタープラネタリウムで上映されました。 私たちはサンゴ礁の美しさに圧倒されました。 そして、私たちはサンゴ礁の恩恵と今後の課題を正しく理解しました。 観客はこのプログラムによって大きな感動を得ました。