Lightning Rod


The Spining Group

Our Part

We were tasked with creating a commercial for the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster. Great assignment! The only catch… the ride didn’t yet exist. So, we responded by creating an entirely CG world, with a hot rod speedster that revs it’s screaming engine before launching onto the coaster’s track. The crux of the gag was getting the ground to break up realistically.

The Ride

Themed after a tricked out 1950s-era hot rod, Lightning Rod launches riders from zero to 45 mph more than 20 stories up its lift hill to one of the ride’s first airtime moments. At the crest of the hill, riders face twin summit airtime hills before tackling the daring first drop. Lightning Rod races down the 165-foot drop and propels guests along its 3,800-ft. track to a top speed of 73 mph, the fastest speed for a wood coaster in the world.

Located in Dollywood’s Jukebox Junction, Lightning Rod rockets riders around its massive wooden structure on an adrenaline-charged lap through the trees in the hills and valleys surrounding Dollywood. During the ride, guests experience nearly 20 seconds of airtime. The coaster train is comprised of 12 cars, carrying two passengers each, for a total of 24 people per train.

What to Look For

  1. CG car – No actual hot rod existed, so we created one. 
  2. Asphalt demolition – We used object collision dynamics to reveal the track.
  3. Extensive sound design and guitars courtesy of Gatt Sound brought the scene to life. 

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