The Digital Hollywood Experience

The Digital Hollywood Experience


Ed Lantz, President and CEO, Vortex Immersive Media: Ed Lantz is a media and entertainment engineer, scientist, executive manager and entrepreneur.  He is internationally recognized as a pioneer and leading authority in large-format digital cinema and immersive experiences for mass audiences.  Other areas of interest include virtual reality, interactive place-based entertainment, real-time video/music performance, independent films with socially conscious themes, fine art visual music, neuroaesthetics, and wellness applications exploiting the psychophysical effects of interactive digital media. Mr. Lantz has a background in hardware and software engineering, quantum physics and electromagnetics.  He spent seven years leading photonic signal processing R&D at Harris Corp. in Melbourne, Florida, five years at the Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory in Cocoa, Florida leading the development of advanced laser, video and astronomical projectors, and eight years with Spitz, Inc. where he built a team that transformed old-style planetariums into immersive visualization environments and assisted in developing an immersive cinema production team and workflow.  Mr. Lantz is founder and Chair of Harmony Channel, a broadband television network delivering mood-elevating digital media that has been described as “MTV for the Soul.”  He also operates Visual Bandwidth, Inc., an immersive cinema and fulldome video advisory network. Mr. Lantz has published and presented numerous papers on VR and entertainment technologies, and is a regular contributor to ACM SIGGRAPH papers, panels and courses.  He founded the International Planetarium Society’s Fulldome Video Committee and the first Fulldome Standards Summit held in Valencia, Spain in 2004, and co-organized the first Immersive Cinema Workshop in Espinho, Portugal in 2005.  He received an MS in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Tech University (1984), serves on the boards of the Center for Visual Music and the Center for Conscious Creativity, and holds two US Patents on immersive video-based theater technology.


Michael Tolkin is an entrepreneur, investor, and producer. He is the Founder and CEO of Ultro Labs, an innovation lab focused on immersive technology and virtual reality products in the areas of entertainment, fitness, real estate, travel, and communications. He is also the Founder and CEO of, a home design website and digital media platform. Prior to Ultro, Michael served as CEO of IMAX Labs, the innovation arm of IMAX Corporation, where he was responsible for developing new ventures in the immersive entertainment space and founded IMAXShift, a revolutionary new group fitness experience. Michael is also the Founder of NoMad Walk, a proposed new park in the heart of Manhattan, and the Tin Pan Alley Festival.


Jason Schugardt is Visual Effects Supervisor for MPC VR. He joined the studio in 2015 as Head of 3D, bringing an extensive background in 3D and knack for developing new VFX techniques borne from on-set supervisory experience and working on pipelines of all sizes from around the world. That expertise proved invaluable to MPC’s burgeoning VR offering, so Jason shifted his focus to the emerging technology and MPC’s VR projects. His recent work includes the VES-nominated Goosebumps VR Adventure for Sony Pictures, Faraday Future’s VR experience which was part of the brand launch at CES, and Facebook’s Surround 360 experiential VR film, “Here and Now.”

Jason graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor’s degree in Electronic Media and had vocational training in TV production and advertising design. He moved to Los Angeles in the mid-‘90s and began a prolific career in VFX. Jason has an impressive body of work in both commercials and feature films. Commercial projects Skittles’ 2015 Super Bowl spot “Settle It” directed by Dante Ariola, and Sonos’ “Face Off” 2014 Super Bowl spot directed by Mark Romance. He has also led VFX for Acura and Time Warner Cable for Nicolai Fuglsig, and Kia and EA Battlefield for Noam Murro. Among his notable feature achievements are four Oscar-winning films including David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Peter Jackson’s King Kong. Prior to joining MPC LA, Jason spent time at leading boutiques and large facilities such as Sony Imageworks, Weta Digital, MPC Film, Asylum VFX and Method Studios.


Kevin Bachus has served as our Senior Vice President of Entertainment and Games Strategy since November 2012. Previously, he served as Chief Product Officer of Bebo, Inc., an international social networking site, from September 2010 to November 2012, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer of IMO Entertainment LLC, from May 2009 to August 2010, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect of Virrata Games, Inc./PlayDay TV from March 2008 to April 2009, Chief Executive Officer of Uprising Studios from November 2006 to March 2008, Chief Executive Officer of Nival Interactive, Inc. from December 2005 to November 2006, Chief Executive Officer and President of Infinium Labs, Inc. from January 2004 to November 2005, Vice President of Publishing of Capital Entertainment Group, Inc. from October 2001 to September 2003, Director of Third Party Relations-Xbox of Microsoft Corporation from September 1999 to May 2001 and Group Product Manager-DirectX of Microsoft Corporation from June 1997 to September 1999.


Dave Cobb, Vice President, Creative Development, Thinkwell Group: As Vice President, Creative Development, Dave guides project development from concept through all the phases of design with a focus on story and guest experience.From theme parks, rides, and attractions to museums, retail, and resorts, Dave has collaborated on numerous entertainment projects all over the world, constantly looking for new ways to integrate technology, interactivity, and theatricality to engage and excite an audience.Dave has consulted on numerous projects for nearly every entertainment medium for such diverse clients as Cirque du Soleil, Nickelodeon, NASCAR, Hershey’s Chocolate, Universal Studios, Six Flags, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, and the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic Committee.


Kate McCallum serves on the National Board of the Producers Guild of American (PGA) and is also a Board Delegate for the PGA New Media Council.  A long time arts and media professional, Kate is a producer, writer, and digital arts and media strategist with an emphasis in IP development, transmedia and new media technology platforms. In 2004, she founded and now serves as COO of Bridge Arts Media, LLC, a media development and production company. As a creative consultant for Vortex Immersion Media, McCallum specializes in the development and production of fulldome 360/VR immersive content. Vortex executive produces and designs experiential projects utilizing emerging entertainment technologies to create 360 immersive brand experiences including fulldome, VR, interactive media, and projection mapping. Kate launched an R&D artist-in-residence program for Vortex and has been involved in the production of a variety of different types of immersive experiences ranging from a 360 ballet, mixed-media immersive musicals, live music with 360 visuals, and 360 experimental live performance art.  She was also instrumental in bringing the Cal Arts Cinema department to the Vortex Dome to collaborate with the school on a semester-long course in fulldome content creation.  McCallum also writes, produces and consults as a specialist in transmedia and cross-platform storytelling. She has also been contracted to chair, design and program international entertainment business conferences, focused on story and tech, transmedia and cross-platform storytelling, branded content and emerging tech and is currently programming producer for the NAB: National Association of Broadcasters CCW event in New York.  She is also a frequent speaker and last year she was invited to speak and teach masterclasses at the Hong Kong Design Institute and at the Singapore Media Academy, run by MediaCorp, Singapore’s leading media company.  She recently designed, produced and presented in a Transmedia Strategy Design Workshop for the Producers Guild of America, and moderated VR panels for ProMaxDB and SIGGRAPH, and was invited to speak at USC/UCLA’s annual conference, Transforming Hollywood 6:  Alternative Realities, World Building and Immersive Entertainment 2015. McCallum gained more than 20 years of experience at Universal and Paramount working in the production and development of feature films, and primetime broadcast and cable episodic television with some of the top showrunners and writers in the industry then in 2006, McCallum was hired as the vp of programming for the launch of an innovative visual music VoD channel featured on Comcast.  Her responsibilities included helping with the overall brainding of the channel, curating, acquiring and licensing hundreds of hours of content and assisting in presenting pitches to investors.  McCallum also produced original content for the channel and also launched a boutique 360 arts and music label called The Art of Sound.  She then went on to work with Placido Domingo and LA Opera before devoting herself fulltime to her own media production and development company. McCallum is passionate about the power of arts and media to inspire social and transformational change and in 2004, she founded the c3: Center for Conscious Creativity, a 501(c)3 arts and education organization dedicated to “Creating a better future through arts and media.” In 2009, she was appointed chair of the Arts & Media Node of the Millennium Project, an international futurist think tank and contributed a chapter to their State of the Future Report summarizing a study on The Future of Arts, Media and Entertainment 2020. She is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and The World Future Studies Federation.  McCallum serves as an advisor on the board of the Brink Institute and speaks on future trends in the entertainment and the arts.

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM - The VR - AR - Immersive Track

Session II: Herscher Hall, 3rd Floor, Room 303-304, Live Webcast

Amazing Immersive Realities - VR-AR - CG - VFX - Live Action - Arcade & Theme Park Experiences

Jason Schugardt, Visual Effects Supervisor, MPC VR

Michael Tolkin, Founder and CEO, Ultro Labs

Ed Lantz, MEE, PGA, Founder, Vortex Immersion Media

Dave Cobb, Vice President, Creative Development, Thinkwell Group

Jim Stewartson, CEO, Awesome Rocketship

Kevin Bachus, SVP, Entertainment and Game Strategy, Dave & Buster's, Xbox co-creator

Moderator - Kate McCallum, Producer, PGA: Producers Guild of America, National Board Member & New Media Council Delegate

Jim Stewartson, CEO, Awesome Rocketship: A digital entertainment leader with 20+ years of executive experience building successful companies, platforms, and products at the intersection of media and technology, Jim founded his first VR company in 1995. Jim is currently CEO of Awesome Rocketship, a startup focused on building integrated systems for the out-of-home VR market. Previously, Jim was Executive Producer on a massive augmented reality project at Google’s Niantic Labs, CEO of Fourth Wall Studios where he won a Primetime Emmy for the company’s pioneering work in transmedia content, and founder of several companies pioneering 3D, mobile gaming, alternate reality games, and augmented reality.