Ed Lantz, President and CTO, Vortex Immersion Media
Ed Lantz is an entertainment technology engineer, entrepreneur, immersive experience designer and innovator in giant-screen digital cinema. He left aerospace engineering in 1990 to transform old-style planetariums into 360-degree immersive visualization environments, designing over a dozen dome theaters worldwide while at Spitz, Inc. including the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, National Space Center in Leicester, UK, the Glasgow Science Center in Glasgow, Scotland and Papalote Museo del Nino in Mexico City. He also led the product development of the SciDome digital planetarium which has sold over 100 units worldwide.
Ed co-founded Vortex Immersion Media in 2007 to bring VR, immersive and interactive experiences into mainstream arts and entertainment markets. Vortex produces immersive and interactive media experiences for themed entertainment, VR Cinemas and numerous Fortune 500 companies including Condé Nast, EMC2, IBM, Microsoft, NBC Universal, Nestle, NFL, Nike, Nokia, Sprint and Turner Broadcast. The company has produced 360 concert dome venues as large as 60 meters in diameter with capacity of 3,000 people for artists including Scrillix, Diplo and DJ Snake (dot Party for Production Club) and Childish Gambino (Pharos for Live Nation).
Vortex also operates the Vortex Dome, the first commercial immersive media production studio and events venue located in downtown Los Angeles. The Vortex Dome hosts a wide range of arts and entertainment co-productions including live stage shows (Pasión, BollyDoll), fine arts performances (Blue Apple ballet), live concerts (Ceremony with James Hood) in addition to immersive arts educational activities (classes for CalArts, USC and Relativity University).
Ed has published numerous articles in journals and trade publications on immersive media and virtual reality, is a public speaker on panels and keynote talks including at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and is a regular contributor to ACM/SIGGRAPH. Ed’s personal focus is on the unique cognitive properties of next-generation multisensory “sentient” environments, the merging of virtual and real storytelling worlds, and the development of fulldome theaters as next-generation entertainment and performance venues. Ed holds two U.S. patents on immersive theater technologies, was awarded a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering with minor in Quantum Physics and Electromagnetics from Tennessee Tech University, and is a founder of the trade association IMERSA. He co-authored DIGSS 1.1 (Digital Immersive Giant Screen Specifications) in cooperation with the Giant Screen Cinema Association, is a member of ACM/SIGGRAPH and IEEE, co-chaired the VR Village at SIGGRAPH 2015, is a board delegate on the Producer’s Guild of America’s New Media Council and chairs the Boards of nonprofit organizations c3: Center for Conscious Creativity and Create Now.