ELLSWORTH, Kan. (AP) — An everyday object that likely inspires few people to wonder how it’s made was just the thing to draw a TV crew to a small town in central Kansas.
The results of the recent two-day shoot at Maico Industries, where workers manufacture heavy-duty steel poles for traffic signs and other uses, will appear in six to nine months as a segment of the Discovery Channel show “How It’s Made.”
“Every employee took a shower last night, combed their hair and wore a nice shirt. It’s kind of a chance of a lifetime,” plant manager Dave Cox told The Salina Journal (http://bit.ly/1pphYdz ) on the first day of filming by Maj Productions, based in Montreal, Canada.
Maico Industries was alerted by the Kansas Department of Commerce about three months ago to the Discovery Channel search for new material. The company was eager to be part of the program.
“We’re ecstatic. To show off the product and what happens in small-town Ellsworth and rural America is pretty impressive,” Cox said. “We’re proud to showcase that.”
Impressive as the steel polls may be — they are up to 60 feet long in a single piece and able to withstand hurricanes — steel poles — they might not be everyone’s idea of a fascinating object. But audiences have been watching “How It’s Made” for more than a decade, making it a Discovery Channel mainstay.
“The product is the star. We focus on the process from start to finish,” said the director, Yanick Legrand.
“It’s about describing and showing different objects of everyday lives and showing how it’s built from scratch,” director of photography Luc Robida said.
The crew captured every moment, starting with the transformation of coiled steel into sheets. The sheets are then taken to a machine called a press break — one of the largest of its kind in the nation — to be bent into multisided poles.
Legrand called it a challenging shoot, requiring multiple camera angles. He and his crew used a lift to show the pole-making process.
“The size of the process is impressive,” he said. “We usually don’t use a lift to film.”
Maico Industries wasn’t the only Kansas stop for the Maj Productions crew. From Ellsworth, the crew was traveling to Clay Center for a story on grain trailers.