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Colonie company makes a splash on the big screen

Waves featured in ‘Life of Pi’ generated by machine designed in Colonie

Colonie’s Aquatic Development Group (ADG) supplied a specialized wave system that generated the open water shots in Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi.”

Colonie’s Aquatic Development Group (ADG) supplied a specialized wave system that generated the open water shots in Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi.” Submitted photo

— Though the film uses CGI, Keim said the all of the water scenes with waves were done in the wave pool.

Art Long, the “Wave Guru” and field engineer at ADG, was sent to Taiwan to supervise the wave equipment installation and handle the system. Although he was supposed to stay for two weeks, Long came home almost three months later. He said one of the biggest challenges to the job was the short schedule and long hours.

He also had to make sure he got the exact waves Lee was looking for.

“The man is always in pursuit of perfection,” Long said.

Even after working behind the scenes, upon seeing the final result Long was searching to find evidence the film was in pool, but couldn’t find any.

“It turned out better than I had anticipated. They did an outstanding job of whatever magic editing techniques they do,” Long said. “I was looking for technical errors and I couldn’t find any. I was impressed.”

ADG is also involved in several different applications for wave generations, including in zoo and aquarium exhibits and in water parks like the Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark in Pennsylvania.

“We’re fortunate in that our business does generate fun, whether we’re building a water park or creating waves for a motion picture,” Keim said. “In the end, everything we do provides entertainment for families.”

Keim said the best part about the entire project was that it was finished on schedule and was able to create the types of waves Lee was looking for.

“The greatest pleasure taken away is sitting with your family at the theater over the weekend and watching the movie your company was responsible for in a large part,” Keim said. “I get that I’m biased, but it’s honestly one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It was extremely well done, start to finish.”

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