Ethan Stearns serves as the EVP of Content at MWM Immersive (formerly Reality One), the innovative virtual reality and augmented reality division of MWM, a diversified entertainment media company focused on premium content creation in film, television, immersive media and live theater. With his background in feature production and technology coupled with his passion for interactive entertainment Stearns is one of the foremost experts in the field of Virtual Reality and sits on the VR advisory boards of both GDC and VDR. In his role, Stearns oversees all of MWM’s immersive projects.
Prior to joining MWM in 2017, Stearns served as the VP of Virtual Reality at Legendary Entertainment where he spearheaded a number of high-profile interactive cinematic experiences for both virtual and mixed reality.
In 2014, Ethan produced Legendary’s first cutting edge VR experience around the property Pacific Rim. He worked in close partnership with Oculus and filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro to put fans into the driver seat of a Jaeger. Impressed by its quality and success among fans at Comic Con, Samsung asked Ethan to produce a version to package with the launch of their first VR headset.
The following year, Ethan partnered with Google producing two 360° video projects to support the launch of their second-generation Google Cardboard. One of the projects, “Skies of Azeroth”, was the first piece of publicly released content for Legendary’s “Warcraft” and received more than three million views within its first few days on YouTube and marked the official launch of Legendary’s Virtual Reality division.
In 2016, Ethan began work with acclaimed director Alejandro G. Iñárritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki to produce the first ever Academy Award-winning VR project, “Carne y Arena”. The VR installation required over a year of physical production, digital development and sound design to bring the six and a half minute moment to life. In addition to overseeing the content production for the experience, Ethan also engineered the technology required for the physical installation. Using a motion capture volume and a customized Oculus Rift, “Carne y Arena” allows the user to explore a 2,500 square foot area with hyper realistic picture and audio while prototype low frequency subwoofers created the sensations of full body haptics. The project debuted to wide praise at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017 as the festivals first ever VR official selection and is currently installed at the Fondazione Prada in Milan, Italy and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Stearns innovative work continues to push the boundaries of content development, exposing existing and new audiences to the world of immersive entertainment.