Coming Friday: ESPN’s latest high-wire act — a 3D flick

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Credit: ESPN
Skateboard legend Bob Burnquist performs during filming of “X Games Movie: 3D,” which will debut in theatres in late August.

It grinded to a start in 1995, as something ESPN was trying to figure out how to appeal to a younger demo. In Newport, R.I., it invented an event with some BMX racing, skateboarding, bungee jumping and sky surfing, and then covered it with cameras as best it could.

They lived, and learned, eventually decided it was time to also create something called the ESPN Emerging Technology team.

For these 15th edition of the X Games, again taking place in, around and above Southern California, there are more than 15 things that can be called technological innovations impacting the way the network has been able to turn this thing from a crazy kiddie carnival into a top-ranked sports-edgy telecast, with its own Mountain Dew-over coverage.

Some extreme athletes complain that TV saturation, particularily with ESPN and ABC doing much of it now live and with commercial breaks, has taken some of the soul out the events that don’t necessarily fit into the designated time windows. TV is always guilty in some way of bastardizing a pure athletic endeavor, seemingly for the greater good.
With that somewhat handicap, there’s also no doubt that ESPN has raised the bar in media coverage for those younger, older and Twittering in between.

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The latest bar (and hair)-raiser: The debut of the first 3D sports movie, giving another real-life dimension to the action sports’ founding fathers such as Shaun White, Travis Pastrana and Bob Burnquist.

“X Games 3D: The Movie” had an invite-only sneak peek tonight at the Nokia Theatre, across the street from where most of the main attractions are taking place at Staples Center. It reaches wider theatre distribution on Aug. 21, but only for one week.

We’ll head over there, and have a review of the proceedings with Friday’s media column.

Check out the trailer (linked here)

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