From Seeing to Beeing?! …

The feeling of presence within 360-degrees video in sports communication

Talk at the IACS summit at Indiana University, Bloomington/USA on April 27th 2018


While the use of VR environments in the context of motor learning and training has been systematically worked on since the second half of the 1990s, especially in the area of „Serious Games“ (e.g. Prensky, 2001, Wiemeyer, 2002, Hebbel-Seeger, 2013 ), new options are emerging with 360-degree video technology and VR eyewear. For the use of these technologies, sports offers not only a wide range of potential usage scenarios. The close connection between 360-degree video and VR glasses and the latest consumer technology in the field of mobile devices is forcing a rapid spread and thus also increasing the technology’s importance within sports.

In addition to the novelty the „presence“ aspect, the feeling of „really“ being somewhere else instead of the environment where someone is physically located (e.g. Singer & Witmer, 1998, S. 225), is currently the main argument for the use of 360-degree video and VR glasses as a projection medium (e.g. Hebbel-Seeger, 2017). On the technological side an important basis for the quality of a presence experience is „immersion“ (Slater & Wilbur, 1997): the stronger technology supports the presence of the user into a virtual environment, the closer the user believes themselves to be to the visualized situation (e.g. Ramalho & Chambel, 2013). Despite the still present technical limitations of the devices, the advantages of head mounted displays (HMD) or VR glasses for 360-degree video content over screen presentations are becoming clear as the former allow for closing off from the outside world, a low-threshold access by employing everyday technology as well as native (sensitive to movement) navigation in space. Even if there is no additional “interaction” with the medium beyond the manipulation of the image section possible and there is “only” the possibility of grasping the events from the perspective of a camera in a fixed position in a given course of action, consumers of 360-degree videos may still have a strong experience of presence as long as the content engages the attention of the user and results in great “involvement” (Singer & Witmer, 1998, p. 227). Depending on individual interests and previously made experiences, a media based spatial adaption may happen in various ways despite employing one and the same 360-degree video and subsequently become an individualized world of experience.

In various studies we have investigated if and how the use of 360-degree video in combination with VR-glasses has an impact on emotional, affective and physiological aspects. In terms of sporting training as well as marketing contexts, our key questions were what influence do immersion and presence experience have on the communication success, what is the role of the projection medium and how to achieve storytelling within 360-degrees video? In this contribution I will briefly share general usage experiences and discuss selected findings.


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Hebbel-Seeger, A. (2017). Innovative Videoformate im Sport. Markenkommunikation mit 360-Grad und VR. In J. Förster, A. Hebbel-Seeger, T. Horky & H.-J. Schulke (Eds.), Sport und Stadtentwicklung (p. 316-346). Aachen: Meyer & Meyer.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital-game-based learning. New York and London: McGraw Hill.

Ramalho, J. & Chambel, T. (2013). Immersive 360° Mobile Video with an Emotional Perspective. Proceedings of ImmersiveMe 2013 (S. 35-40). Bacelona/Spain: ACM.

Singer, M.J. & Witmer, B.G. (1998). Measuring Presence in Virtual Environments: A Presence Questionnaire. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 7, 3, 225-240.

Slater, M., & Wilbur, S. (1997). A framework for immersive virtual environments (FIVE): Speculations on the role of presence in virtual environments. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 6, 6, 603–616.

Wiemeyer, J. (2002). Multimedia im Sport. In H. Altenberger (Ed.), Medien im Sport (p.123 – 153). Schorndorf: Hofmann.


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