Local company makes big splash at Academy Awards - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Local company makes big splash at Academy Awards

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COHOES, N.Y. -- Taking home four Oscars Sunday night, Life of Pi surpassed the competition with Ang Lee winning for best director.

A big part of the movie and the wins in cinematography and visual effects can be traced back to the 80,000 square foot space housing Aquatic Development Group in Cohoes which brought to life many of the incredible waves seen in the picture. And that important work did not go unrecognized as a shout out was made during the visual effects acceptance speech Sunday night.

"I knew they were very appreciative," said Ken Ellis, President and CEO of Aquatic Development Group, Inc. "I knew when it was all done, Mr. Lee spoke very highly of our group that put this thing together, but to get a quick mention out there in movie land is pretty neat."

Making waves for waterparks nationwide, Ellis said production teams began reaching out to them for their expertise more than a decade ago. Life of Pi is now the fourth movie that has come calling.

"We knew that a lot of the movie was going to be filmed in this huge test tank that was built over there, and the waves were an important part of it," said Ellis.

Cheaper and easier than filming out in the ocean, the majority of the movie about a boy stranded at sea took place in a two acre pool they designed with several 1800 horsepower wave generators built and shipped out as quickly as possible. The request they received from the production team was quite the challenge.

"A system that can generate six to seven foot waves at many different intervals at the command of the director, and the equipment needs to be built and shipped by December to be making waves by January. So it's about a six month time frame to do it and filming in Taiwan," said Ellis.

While Ellis did not get to witness the win in person, he was able to see the final product on the big screen with his nine-year-old son.

Ellis said no other movie projects are currently in the works for them, but with such an impressive accomplishment, you can bet it won't be the last movie they do.

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