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Local business makes waves in the movie industry

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Albany/HV: Local business makes waves in the movie industry
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A local aquatic company dips its toe in the movie industry, creating wave generators for multiple big budget films. YNN's Madeleine Rivera talks to the owner about how the company came to be.

COHOES, N.Y. -- "Movies, geez, we didn't really, maybe that's a niche that we can get involved in, right?" said Ken Ellis, president of the Aquatic Development Group in Cohoes.

Aquatic Development Group has come a long way.

"My father started in 1950, working his way through college, selling commercial swimming pools," said Ellis.

Now, his company occasionally produces wave-makers for hit movies, including the "Life of Pi," which made its box office debut a few weekends back. The company was first called in 2010 with the special assignment.

"We needed a six foot ocean like waves that can be reduced every 10 to 12 seconds which is a challenge," said Ellis.

What resulted was a million and a half dollar system made up of twelve generators. And though Ellis wasn't on location for the filming, he still felt the ripples of Ang Lee, who directed the movie. He still felt the ripples of Ang Lee, who directed the movie.

"If [our technician] had trouble meeting Ang's direction, what can I do? He wants a bigger wave, he wants it quicker, he wants it to break this way, you know, so we'd run computer models and send them over," said Ellis.

Aside from making generators for movies, Aquatic Development Group has also designed water parks. They've designed Hurricane Harbor, Dollywood and the Great Escape.

"We do produce fun here, right? So when you make a wave equipment for a water park, we're making people smile. It's nice to have different types of projects for the guys to work on," said Ellis.

Ellis says there's only a few major wave generator manufacturers worldwide.

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