By Peter Couture
Times Staff Writer
To make the perfect music video, you need great songs and stunning visuals.
Those two elements once were enough — until now.
"We're adding a third track — our big, bright-red coaster," Universal Orlando Resort's Mike West says of the upcoming Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.
The attraction, which doesn't have a firm opening date beyond "late spring/early summer," will allow riders to choose their soundtrack as multiple cameras capture their reaction to the experience.
"This one really puts focus on the music industry," West says.
Here's how it will work: While in line, riders will browse songs — displayed in LED boards — from five pop-music genres. Once onboard Rockit, riders can make a choice or let the coaster's digital sound system choose a tune for them. When the 1-minute, 53-second thrill is over, riders will be able to customize footage from their experience and compile it into a music video DVD (price has not yet been set) that's ready-made for posting online.
"It's the first (coaster) that you can take the whole experience home with you," says West, who is the executive producer for the creative studio at Universal Orlando.
Next stop: YouTube.
"It's going to be so cool for guests to be able to share their experiences."
Rockit already has changed the skyline at Universal Orlando. It rises some 17 stories (167 feet) above the park, making it the highest coaster in Central Florida, according to West. After that initial 90-degree plunge, riders hit 65 mph. Rockit's German designer, Maurer Sohne, says its "X-Car" technology uses a less restrictive restraint system — no shoulder harnesses — that makes for a more exhilarating ride.
Then, there are Rockit's six maneuvers (one goes underground). West says three of them are coaster firsts:
Treble Clef. Yes, a section of the 3,800-foot steel track is bent into the shape — when seen from above — of the musical symbol. The Treble Clef also bursts through the facade of one the buildings in the park's New York area.
Double Take. Universal says this is the world's largest non-inverted loop. We think it means that the car changes location (from inside to outside) on the track on the ascent and descent.
Jump Cut. A spiraling negative-gravity move. When you reach this point on the track, you feel like you are experiencing a corkscrew.
And get this: During all this, riders are never upside-down.
"You'll no longer be able to picture Universal Studios Florida, or hear it, without thinking of Rip Ride Rockit," West says.